Read the headline on the essay from third baseman Mike Moustakas on The Players’ Tribune and you might think it’s a plea to Royals fans.
And the first segment of the essay, which is titled “We need you, Kansas City,” sort of reads that way. But then it turns nostalgic. In a way, it seems like a good-bye note.
Moustakas opens by writing about the Royals’ current plight: they are 3 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second wild card with 10 games to play.
He recounted the comeback against the A’s in the 2014 Wild Card Game with a story that many recall from Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS — Moustakas saying “We’re not losing this game!”
So, yeah, I believe in miracles. I’ve seen it all. And maybe I need to bring that whole “We are not losing!” dugout mumbling thing back for all the games we have left.
I’ll have to think about it, I guess, but I can promise you this much: I’m going to give it everything I have for the rest of the season. We all are. You’re not going to see a single guy on this team packing it in.
That’s not what we do. That’s not the Royal way.
We’re going to go out and play as hard as we can, and then … we’ll see what happens.
Moustakas then wrote about how the Royals organization and the city are like a family to him. That helped him when he made it to the majors.
However, Moustakas wrote, it was a bit overwhelming to make it to the big leagues.
But he wrote:
One of the biggest things that allowed me to get comfortable was the fact that I came up with a core group of young players who all got the call at around the same time. Me, Hos, Salvy, Danny Duffy, Jarrod Dyson, Greg Holland, we all found ourselves on the major league team and were able to kind of figure it out together, after becoming friends in the minors.
And when I say friends, I don’t mean, like, just teammates who you’re cool with. I mean real, true friends.
I became like brothers with those guys. I love and respect them as people, and I’d do anything for them. So to be able to break in and not only have tremendous leadership from guys like Alex Gordon, but to also have so many friends around you to help with the transition … that was huge for me. We were all watching our friends’ dreams come true.
Moustakas said the fans’ desire for a winning team helped motivate the players. The last piece of the puzzle, he wrote, was the family atmosphere that owner David Glass, general manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost instilled, and how it included the entire front office.
That environment meant a lot to Moustakas during a low point in his life. He wrote:
Two years ago, when my mom passed away, every single person on this team came up to me and gave me a hug and just made it crystal clear that they would be there for me in any way I needed.
I’ll always remember Hos locking eyes with me the first time we saw each other after my mom’s passing, and him just walking up to me at my locker, putting his arms around me and giving me a great big hug.
It still gets me, to this day, when I think about that moment.
Moustakas also addressed the fact that the many of the Royals will be free agents at the end of the season. From the essay:
But we’re not thinking about that now.
We’re spending our time making sure that we do all we can to win ballgames and give our fans something to cheer about. And if we do enough of that … you never know.
The more you play this game the more you realize that anything is possible. Nothing shocks me anymore.
Moustakas wrote about the excitement of clinching a playoff spot in 2014 and the parade after the 2015 World Series championship.
He is particularly proud of being able to give the fans a chance to celebrate that title. Moustakas wrote:
The relationship I’ve built with this city and the people of Kansas City means so much to me. Arriving here, and becoming a Kansas City Royal, and joining this family, has been one of the great honors of my life. It’s an absolute privilege to put that jersey on each day and represent for this city.
And while the entire baseball world may already be counting us out this year, and we could really, really use a five- or six-game winning streak right now, we’re not giving up, Kansas City.
We’ve all definitely seen crazier things happen, right?
You can read the entire essay here.