It’s fitting that the Kansas City Royals begin the 2014 baseball campaign, on Monday, against the Detroit Tigers. Perhaps it will feel like a preview of the whole season, mano a mano between potentially dominant division rivals.
The Tigers have a lineup of monster starting pitchers and baseball’s newest $300 million (or so) man, Miguel Cabrera.
The Royals have, uh, a pile of young energy, emerging talents and bona fide arms on the mound, led by James Shields and closer Greg Holland. Fans will be eager to watch the progress of fireballer Yordana Ventura and will be hoping against hope that third-baseman Mike Moustakas has at last found the hitting groove his team desperately needs.
One noted baseball broadcaster has already envisioned the Royals in the World Series next fall (against the Los Angeles Dodgers).
We hesitate to join such a bandwagon, preferring a strategy of lowering expectations and embracing a pleasant surprise when they’re exceeded. But certainly the Royals will, as they usually do, confound us one day and amaze the next. Without a doubt they will be contenders.
So spring now, finally, is here — as defined by the rhythms and the glory of baseball. Go, team.