Have a seat in the wayback machine to mid-September 2014, ancient history now for the Royals, before the euphoria of October redefined the franchise and purged a generation of frustration.
The idea of seven Royals being chosen to the 2015 All-Star Game would have been preposterous.
Not to mention the notion of the American League team being managed by Ned Yost, the object of the ire of many Royals fans.
This was an organization, after all, that had lost 2,532 games from 1986 to 2013, when it was mired in the longest playoff drought among the four most-established U.S. men’s sports and almost actively cultivating a psychology of futility among fans desperate for something, anything, to rekindle their faith.
Then that revival suddenly arrived at last in October, starting with the inconceivable comeback against Oakland in the American League Wild Card Game that proved to be a portal to a new dimension — to game seven of the World Series and beyond to a promising first half of 2015.
The energy of that breakthough is still being harnessed and gaining momentum, which is why the Midsummer Classic in the Queen City of Cincinnati will be a coronation of the Royals.
“Something to cherish,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
And Cincinnati is as fitting a place as any for this improbable twist.
It’s a city that hatched the imagination of filmmaker Steven Spielberg and made a mayor of Jerry Springer and where pigs fly — at least in sculptures and a marathon theme to honor its history as “Porkopolis.”
This once-outlandish scenario of a flood of Royals on the Cincinnati riverfront came to be because the team’s turn of fortune was so abrupt — and because its fan base was so parched it can hardly stop swigging it down now.
That’s evident from record-breaking TV ratings and the whopping attendance increase at Kauffman Stadium.
And, of course, it most reverberates in the rabid All-Star voting for the Royals, who at one point in the balloting had eight would-be starters.
It stacked up then as the Royals against the National League, a development that both exposed loopholes in the online-only voting system but also rewarded the most galvanized and resourceful fans.
For his part, Moore said he voted the “traditional one time.”
“But I was told that several people in our office used my (e-mail) account to make sure we maxed out the 35 (possible votes),” he said, smiling.
Ultimately, other fan bases rallied and an entirely justifiable Royals presence prevailed, including relievers Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera.
Even left with three starters in the wake of Alex Gordon’s groin injury, the starting trio of Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez matches the best in Royals history (1979) and matches their total number of starters since 1989.
Maybe the voting system will change after this year, and maybe the preciousness of the Royals’ turnaround will fade some after this year.
For that matter, today’s accomplishments, Moore knows, are no predictor of future success.
So Tuesday is a day to be savored, as much because it celebrates a reversal of fortune as it does the appreciation it stoked in fans.
“It’s important,” Moore said, “to enjoy the moment.”