I don’t know about you. But I am happy. Baseball makes me happy. Kansas City Royals baseball makes me very happy. A winning Royals team make me extremely happy.
Each April every MLB city predicts a World Series for their team. This weekend as the Royals clinched their first playoff appearance since 1985, I felt my knees weaken and chills run down my spine. On Friday night, I was with my son cheering on our defending MLS champion Sporting KC. I turned to the usher and said “I would never have believed it if someone would have told me in ’85 that I would watch the Royals secure their spot in the playoffs while attending a professional soccer game in Wyandotte County.”
But there I stood with thousands of other Kansas Citians as the soccer game ended and the TV monitors turned to baseball and we cheered that final out. All weekend long that euphoria continued. There are 162 games in a MLB season and it came down to the last weekend. We finally got the monkey off our back and ended the longest playoff draught in professional sports history.
Much has changed since 1985, when we won the World Series. The playoffs have expanded. We now have a Wild Card game. Many of the current players and fans weren’t even born. You take what is given to you, and you make things happen. Making things happen for the Kansas City Royals has been a roller coaster of emotion. But a stolen base from a player who is only 5 ft., 7 in., a last inning walk-off single, shut-out pitching and a magic number of “ZERO,” resulted in our #HuntForBlueOctober.
So what does all this mean for Kansas City? It’s just a game, right? Well, yes and no.
Sports bring us together. It spans cultures, languages and geography. Kansas City loves its baseball. We’ve been waiting loyally for almost three decades for meaningful fall baseball. The last two months watching this team through both the highs and lows has connected the community. When communities are united, you feel a stronger sense of place. You reflect on past success and loss. You feel a bond to history by wearing the same shade of blue but each generation brings its own influences like #believe” or #BeRoyal.
Only 10 MLB cities get to experience this level of happiness each season. And in 2014, Kansas City is one of them. My hope for today as we paint the town blue, is that we remember this unity and carry it forward to improve our community. Today, this city stands united as one, without a state line, without rivers and without highways that intersect and divide. Come on Kansas City, #BeRoyal!