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Carson: Coming to grips with the Royals

| Friday, October 30, 2015

The Kansas City Royals are two games away from winning the World Series, and they’ll have five chances — if they need that many — to get it done.

I still don’t think I’m okay with this.

Yes, I understand the fun narrative the team has created. The Royals were for so many years a ragtag bunch of misfits — save Carlos Beltran — full of “AAAA” players who’d make SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10” list more often than they’d make its more positive counterpart.

It’s a fan base that’s suffered a lot, and certainly one that deserves the team they’ve found themselves cheering for. It’s an energetic group of players that complements the recent passion brought by Royals fans to Kaufmann Stadium, and one that is, generally speaking, a likable crew.

But I still can’t fathom living in a world where the Royals are the best team in baseball. Nope.

Why am I a hater?

Well, let’s start at the top, with Royals manager Ned Yost, who I’m pretty sure is an idiot masquerading as a successful baseball manager. Time and time again, he makes puzzling decisions, like leaving a non-roster spring training invitee, Ryan Madson, in the game a week ago to face José Bautista with the game on the line instead of brining in closer Wade Davis — who was warm in the bullpen — to get an extended save.

Madson missed his down-and-away spot, and unsurprisingly, Bautista deposited the ball in the bleachers to tie the game in the top of the eighth.

Of course, Lorenzo Cain won Game Six and the ALCS, for the Royals in the bottom of the same inning when he scored from first on a single to right field, because these are the fluky things that happen to Kansas City these days.

Related: Blown ball-strike calls in a 2-1 game with the tying run 90 feet away for Toronto also happen to benefit the Royals these days, it seems, which was a little annoying.

Or maybe it’s silly things like Eric Hosmer’s bat flip on his walk-off sacrifice fly early Wednesday morning to win the first game of the World Series, or …

Actually, nah.

It’s time to look in the mirror and admit it: I’m simply a bitter, beleaguered Cleveland sports fan who’s tired of seeing the perennial AL Central last-place team suddenly in back-to-back World Series.

Look, here’s the thing: A year ago, the Royals snuck into the playoff via the Wild Card game and back-doored their way into the “real” postseason thanks to a come-from-behind win over Oakland.

That’s where it should’ve stopped. Twelve months ago, the Royals weren’t that good of a baseball team — and one I was certain was worse than my beloved Indians, who missed the playoffs after underperforming.

But, of course, Kansas City pulled out 10 more wins the rest of that postseason and found itself hosting Game Seven of the World Series for all the marbles.

For my sanity, I’m glad they came up short.

This year the story changed, however. I finally can admit the Royals are a “good” team.

But I still can’t convince myself they’re befitting of the title “world champions.”

The Cardinals? A much better team this year. Same thing with Pittsburgh, who won 98 games and then got bounced by a suddenly-hot pitcher in a one-game playoff. The coming demise of Jake Arrieta is going to be a real enjoyable thing, by the way.

If the Royals can find a way to get the last two wins — and let’s face it, they should at this point — I’ll be happy for my friend who’s from Kansas City.

But I’m still going to struggle to come to grips with the idea of the Royals being the best team in baseball.

The Royals are supposed to be that team that always screws up, a team an Indians fan like me can count on for 15 wins every season.

So, Mets: Please. Help.

Find some way to save this.

Because I’d much rather admit you’re the best team in baseball than have to finally admit it’s the Royals.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Alex Carson

Alex Carson graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics and living in O’Neill Hall. Hailing from the Indianapolis area, but born in Youngstown, Ohio, Carson is a Cleveland sports fan convinced that he’s already lived the “best day of his life.” At The Observer, Carson was first a Sports Writer, then served as an Associate Sports Editor (2015/16) and an Assistant Managing Editor (2016/17), before finishing his tenure as a Senior Sports Writer. A man of strong convictions, he ardently believes that Carly Rae Jepsen's 2015 release E•MO•TION is the greatest album of his generation, and wakes up early on Saturday mornings to listen, or occasionally watch, his favorite least-favorite sports team, Aston Villa. When he isn’t writing, Carson spends his time counting down the days to the next running of the Indianapolis 500 and reminding people that the Victory March starts with the lyric, “Rally sons of Notre Dame,” not “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.”

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