Nearly 29 years ago I had my young 11-year-old heart ripped out of my chest after the Kansas City Royals claimed the 1985 Major League Baseball World Series.
That year, my beloved St. Louis Cardinals were on the losing end of an Interstate 70 showdown that has come to symbolize the nearly three decades of futility offered by the Royals.
The statement is not a putdown, but one supported by facts. But now, I must say, is a good time for family and friends who call Kansas City home.
Most of you probably think Cardinals fans are arrogant. I’ve heard it twice recently from a colleague and a very good friend (a guy who proclaimed on local television that he is THE No. 1 Royals fan).
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Humbly, I submit that may be the case for some, but for me, I just simply love and cheer for my squad. Not once in 29 years have I ever harbored any ill will toward the Kansas City Royals or their fans.
If the name Don Denkinger rings a bell, then that’s a different story altogether.
Some of my best buds are Kansas City natives. At least once a year for the last seven years, I have made it a point to visit Kauffman Stadium for a Royals game. And every time, all I could think of is how nice a ballpark the “K” is.
There is nothing more beautiful to me than sitting in that stadium watching cars zip by on I-70 in between pitches.
Even my 15-year-old basketball-only-playing son got in on the Royals’ unbelievable race toward the World Series. Last Wednesday we shared a moment in front of the TV that I will cherish forever.
For the first time in his life, he got a chance to see what October baseball is all about. Every pitch counts. Every swing matters, and every hit, throw or run scored is exhilarating.
It’s well documented that Kansas City is a Chiefs town now, or even for the progressive, a Sporting KC town. But to me, this has always been a baseball town.
With the eyes of the sports nation watching and legions of Royals fans going through every conceivable emotion known to man, the boys in blue are making their return to the pinnacle of professional baseball.
Although it took almost 30 years to get back, this outsider offers a tip of the old ball cap –— Kansas City style — to the Royals and their no-longer-suffering fans.
Enjoy the World Series experience, Kansas City. The team, its fans and the town deserve it.
Toriano Porter is a reporter for the Lee’s Summit Journal, a sister publication of The Kansas City Star.