Star Magazine

Cindy Hoedel: In an era fraught with villains, the Royals are the heroes we all need

Salvador Perez (right) posted G-rated locker-room videos of Lorenzo Cain, one of the many ways the Royals have endeared themselves to their fans. The two joked recently at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Salvador Perez (right) posted G-rated locker-room videos of Lorenzo Cain, one of the many ways the Royals have endeared themselves to their fans. The two joked recently at Camden Yards in Baltimore. The Kansas City Star

With apologies to Tina Turner, we do need another hero.

In a world increasingly obsessed with villains — the Islamic State, Boko Haram, the ebola virus — we desperately need some old-fashioned good guys to cheer for.

To me, that explains everything about the Royals’ implausible, delightful Cinderella run in the postseason.

Whether our hometown team takes the crown in the World Series, it has already been crowned “America’s team” by writers and commentators from sea to shining sea, and in some ways that is an even sweeter victory.

The country’s infatuation with the Royals is easy to understand. They are everything we have come to not expect in championship-caliber athletes: humble, team-oriented and just plain nice.

In a you-couldn’t-make-this-up development, we learned that Lorde’s hit song “Royals” was inspired by a photo of George Brett, who happened to play on the last Royals team to play in the World Series, back in 1985.

The 1976 photo was not of Brett at bat, crushing a long ball the year he won the American League batting title, but of the cherubic young star smiling in a sea of outstretched fan hands clutching baseballs to be signed.

The lyrics of the song uncannily mirror what America loves about our Royals, which is precisely that they don’t act like royalty.

“And we’ll never be royals/It don’t run in our blood/

That kind of luxe just ain’t for us/we crave a different kind of buzz.”

Indeed.

The Royals get their buzz in wholesome ways that have charmed the rest of the country: Eric Hosmer inviting fans via Twitter to a bar after sweeping the Angels and picking up part of the tab, Salvador Perez posting G-rated locker-room videos of Lorenzo Cain, pitcher Scott Downs playing catch with Baltimore fans in Camden Yards, pitcher Brandon Finnegan buying tickets for a broke fan who tweeted him.

It helps that Kansas City has the same squeaky-clean image as its ball club. Fans here celebrate by adopting adorable puppies.

Our cops are so nice they sent barbecue to the Baltimore cops even though they won their division series bet with them.

Our town was recently named the coolest city in America in a deeply unscientific survey by Huffington Post, and most telling were the decidedly unhip resasons: good food, affordability and nice people.

President Barack Obama, in honoring Sporting Kansas City this month for its soccer achievements, gave our city a shout-out, noting the recent accomplishments of the Royals, the Chiefs and even the Kansas City roots of his new press secretary.

“It’s a pretty good day to be from Kansas City. You guys are kind of cocky right now,” the president said.

He meant it as a compliment, but the fact is, we are not cocky at all. And that’s why this fall the whole country has fallen for our boys in royal blue.

To reach Cindy Hoedel, call 816-234-4304 or send email to choedel@kcstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @CindyHoedel, and on Facebook.

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