By Valerie Velikaya
I couldn’t help but laugh when the commentators of TBS announced that the Los Angeles Angels were in a four-year playoff “drought.” As a born and raised Royals fan, it was not until this week when I’d finally witnessed my very first Royals playoff game.
If that’s considered a drought for the Los Angeles Angels than the Royals have been in a Great Depression.
I’ve witnessed long and heated discussions between Royals loyalists, who could only feverishly question what was stopping the team from winning.
What was the cause of 29 years of disappointment? Whether it was the pitching, hitting or simply bad luck, there was always a reason that would hinder the chances of returning to the glory days.
The times of George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson and Brett Saberhagen storming the field in a winning post-game celebration seemed like ancient history.
Only a couple years ago, by August 1, Kauffman Stadium was lifeless and void of excitement with not even a drop of hope of making the postseason, much less, winning the World Series.
And typically, this time of year is nothing but Chiefs talk as the Royals are swept under the rug.
That is until now.
The last several years of building and developing in-house talent has finally come to fruition. The Royals have a core group of homegrown players like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. We’ve watched each of them grow as players and evolve into a team that can win.
These guys are solid major leaguers whose most valuable quality is complimenting one another. The Royals are built on athleticism with a good dose of team chemistry.
If not a timely hit, a steal at second or third, a circus act catch in the outfield or a dominating performance out of the bullpen, this team has unified their best qualities to create a winning formula.
And after a season of ups and downs, the Royals have officially advanced to the American League Championship Series.
The impact on the city has been undeniable – blue flags and fountain waters flow freely. Kansas Citians proudly adorn their Royals attire as they cheer for their boys in blue.
The fans’ electric energy has revived the stadium as well as their team, and the Royals never fail to thank them for their support and dedication (as well as their creative signage).
The atmosphere in Kansas City is thriving like never before.
“It’s more than electric,” said Ned Yost in a radio interview. “It’s atomic.”
Needless to say, the team and its fans are ready to take back the crown.
Contact Valerie Velikaya, managing editor, firstname.lastname@example.org