Saturday night the Royals played the Minnesota Twins, a team they have to catch if they want a spot in the AL Wild Card game. The Royals went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning and then it was the Twins’ turn.
After two batters the Twins were up 1-0, after three batters the Twins were up 2-0, after four batters the Twins were up 3-0.
The Royals were not going to score a single run all night, so the Twins could have stopped right there, but Minnesota tacked on 14 more runs just to be sure.
Final score: Twins 17, Royals 0.
So was that it; was that the final nail in the Royals coffin?
The Wild Card race
The last time I heard Ned Yost talk about it, which was a while back, he said the Royals were still focused on winning the division. Since then, the Indians have gone on a 10-game winning streak while the Royals went 3-7.
The Royals entered Sunday 12 1/2 games out of first place with 28 games left to play. Unless the Indians collapse and the Royals get red hot, the Royals best chance to make the postseason is the Wild Card.
And those chances aren’t so good either.
As things stand now, to get into the Wild Card Game, the Royals would have to catch six teams: the Twins, Angels, Orioles, Mariners, Rays and Rangers. The chances that all six teams are going to cool down while the Royals heat up aren’t good.
If the odds are so bad, why keep watching?
In 2014 I did not think the Royals would make the playoffs, win the Wild Card game, sweep the Angels, sweep the Orioles or make it to Game 7 of the World Series.
In 2015 I did not think the Royals would beat the Astros in Game 4 of their playoff series, or the Blue Jays in Game 2 of that playoff series, or the Mets in Game 1 and Game 5 of the World Series.
I may have what psychologist call a flat learning curve — no matter how many times the rat is put in the maze, he never finds the cheese — but at some point I have learned to quit making predictions.
If you ask me that I think about the Royals chances, here’s what I’ll say: the Royals are done when they’re mathematically eliminated and not before.
And even if the 2017 Royals are mathematically eliminated from the postseason, I still want to see the final games of this particular group of players.
In 2011 Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar played their first games for the Kansas City Royals. Three years later they were in the World Series, the next year they won it. Watching these guys grow from rookies to champions has been a pleasure and I’m guessing a lot of Royals fans feel the same way.
The Kansas City Royals will likely be a very different team in 2018, so fans of this team and these players have 28 regular-season games left to watch before the band breaks up.
And speaking of bands …
On January 30, 1969 the Beatles performed live for the last time and they did it on a London rooftop. If you had been given the chance, wouldn’t you have wanted to be there?
The Beatles weren’t what they were, but they were still the Beatles.
Now here’s the depressing part: that final Beatles concert was stopped early because some people complained about the noise.
One more time: the Beatles were putting on a live, free concert – the last time they’d ever perform in public – and some people complained about the noise.
Right now the Royals do not appear to be what they were, but they’re still the Royals; the team that gave Kansas City a World Series championship and a thousand thrills.
There are 28 regular-season games left; enjoy the concert.