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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Riding the Bandwagon

As I write this, the World Series is tied at two games apiece between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. Of course, the Giants have been there, won it in 2010 and 2012, so they should probably sit on their hands and let someone else have a turn for crying out loud, but that wouldn't be as satisfying as winning it legit. And they don't show signs of being inclined that way, we had them all but put away in game 4, their starting pitcher was in the dugout crying before the third inning was over, and they came back to whip us 11 to 4.

And that Home Alone guy, Hunter Pence, he's earning a special place in the hearts of Kansas City fans. He probably wouldn't seem like such a twerp if he wasn't playing so much like an MVP. One of my Facebook friends has posted accusing him of every crime and social indiscretion she could come up with: walking in the house with muddy shoes; knocking her to the sidewalk and not saying sorry; listening to Nickleback; to breastfeeding until he was 11 years old; liking the new Star Wars movies more than the old ones. And so on.

Anyway, it's all awakened the latent baseball fan in me. My teams being the Royals and Pirates, my adult life has been spent mostly regretting the times I peak at the standings or go to a game. When your teams collectively lose 200 games a year with regularity, it's better to focus on football, the arts, a good book, almost anything. But with the excitement and fun this fall, I even turned my bike into a bandwagon complete with a Royals flag and a spoke card I designed styling the Royals crown into a broom. Actually, I think it looks more like a fly swatter, but I know it's a broom.

I've even developed some baseball superstition: until game 4 the Royals were undefeated in post-season play if I wore a Hawaiian shirt. I messed up on Game 1 of the series and was stuck in my work shirt. I got changed in the 7th inning, and the Royals started to rally but it was too little too late. I know my shirt has nothing to do with the team's play and success, but damned if I'm going to let my wardrobe be misaligned again, even after we lost Game 4 with me properly attired.

I've watched more televised baseball this October than I probably have in the past 30 years combined, and I've really enjoyed it. As emotionally satisfying as a swept Word Series would have been (after that incredible run from the Wild Card to the ALCS where the Royals turned out to be literally unbeatable), it's great for this town that the series will end at Kauffman Stadium. I'll cop to being a fair weather fan, and as such I don't really deserve any success.

But the hardcore fans, they've been waiting so long for this. The people who have been buying season tickets all these 100-ish loss years, who have spent their time and money rooting for players like Carlos Beltran who leave the minute they hit free agency, those folks deserve a Royals World Series and the incredible party that will be Kansas City for sixth and possibly seventh game.

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