It’s easy to be a fan in the good times, but a true fan loves the game even when the team is not doing so well.
And there might even be a level of fandom beyond that: people who love the Royals even though they literally cannot see the game.
Welcome to the world of the visually impaired baseball fan.
It takes a special person to follow baseball when the game does not unfold visually in front of them. For these fans, loving baseball, and the Royals, can still be a part of who they are. Instead of seeing the action, they hear it.
Here are three such fans:
Cheryl Traub, Toronto
Of all the baseball fans in Toronto, how many love the Royals? You can count Traub among what has to be a small group.
Some years ago, Traub moved from Alberta, Canada, to Princeton, N.J., and finally on to Toronto.
She attended a school for the blind, eventually learning to be a medical transcriptionist. Using audio reports from doctors, she is able to to transcribe their notes to medical-records software.
Her first involvement with baseball came when the Royals were playing the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1985 ALCS. For some reason, she never connected to the Jays and their fans, but she liked baseball too much to give it up. So she rooted for the Royals.
In the 30 years since, her commitment hasn’t waned. And this postseason, she’s again listening to longtime broadcaster Denny Matthews call games between the Royals and Blue Jays.
Her favorite player? Center fielder Lorenzo Cain.
Frank Miller, Overland Park
Miller is a junior in high school at Kansas State School for the Blind.
He can see the television, but his vision is such that he cannot read.
No matter. Miller is about as hard-core Royals as it gets.
He watches their games by himself, upstairs, instead of joining classmates in the school’s TV room. He wants to relish every moment, catch every stat, know every play — things he finds difficult to do in a group setting.
As soon as the Royals score, though, he bolts downstairs, clanging through the stairways. Back among his classmates, he erupts into a chant that’s quickly joined by others in the room.
“Let go Roy-als! ... Let’s go Roy-als!”
Then it’s back up to the solitary TV. Until the Royals score again.
Miller’s favorite player? Kendrys Morales.
Josh Sisson, Kansas City
Sisson is a Kansas State School for the Blind alum. He’s also a graduate of Truman State.
He cannot see at all. But he still worked non-stop at Truman State’s student newspaper, The Index, and has written many sports stories.
So how does he write about sports without seeing the action?
A recent story about Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez helps explain. Early in his career, Volquez was sent down to the minors by the Texas Rangers and told to adhere to a series of rules intended to impart discipline. One of the rules: always have his shirt tucked in.
That sounded familiar to Sisson, on whom such details are rarely lost.
“Funny you would say that,” he said. “The radio guys are saying that Volquez is always wanting to tuck his baseball shirt in.”
Sisson’s favorite Royal is super-utilityman Ben Zobrist.