by Cade Webb
An unseasonably warm autumn night in New York provided a comfortable setting for an unlikely champion to be crowned the champions of the baseball world. The Kansas City Royals, who were projected by many baseball analysts to finish in the middle of the pack in the American League Central, took the baseball world by storm for a second straight postseason.
After an AL Central title, the Royals were the favorites to come out of the American League and bring a World Series to Kansas City for the first time since 1985. This time around, the Royals were crowned World Series champions.
Related: PHOTO GALLERY: Royal Celebration
For Royals fans, a World Series title has been 30 years in the making. For the majority of students at the college, the Kansas City Royals had been the laughingstock of Major League Baseball for most of their lifetime, and a World Series had always seemed far out of reach, but fans never lost hope.
For Dain Ruis, a student at the college, winning a World Series was a dream come true.
“The fact that I wasn’t alive the first time we won it, and this was my first World Series, I’m just really excited about it … I think we are all so proud of them,” Ruis said. “I was speechless. I knew we were going to win the World Series this time, because we should’ve won it last time.”
A World Series championship, while full of storylines, means more for a city than one might initially think. For student Connor Berry, the fact that publicity was brought to his hometown was enough for him.
“The World Series means we are back in the game. It’s been 30 years since the last time the Royals won it, and it brings a lot of good publicity back to our city,” Berry said. “It brings a lot of hope to our sports teams, and brings publicity to Kansas City. The world’s attention was on us.”
Royals legend Frank White is a household name around Kansas City along with historians of the sport, and is known for his show-stopping plays as a second baseman. White is now a legislator for Jackson County, and believes that a World Series does good beyond just a baseball team.
“Winning at that level is good for everybody … It’s good for the economy, it’s good for the players. I think everyone benefits. It genuinely makes people feel good about themselves… The fans in Kansas City have been so supportive. They will remember this forever,” White said.
The Royals followed a narrative that carried over from last season’s magical playoff run, and this time the Royals found themselves on top of the baseball world. The team’s success was built on putting the baseball in play and placing stress on the defense, followed by a shutdown bullpen.
It did not take long for the Royals to make their prior successes known in this World Series. On the first pitch to the Royals in Game 1, Alcides Escobar hit the first inside-the-park home run in a World Series game since 1929 and set the tone for a Royals team that won seven games when they once had a win probability of less than 25 percent. Berry says the home run from Escobar is a play he will always remember.
“The inside-the-park home run from Alcides Escobar was awesome. I’ll remember that [for] a long time,” Berry said.
The World Series title brought not only a baseball team together, but also an entire city. Last postseason, the country got a glimpse of just how special this team, and city, could be. The Royals exemplify the culture of Kansas City, with a gritty, never-quit personality, and this year the entire country was shown what this city, and its baseball team, is truly about.