It is interesting, in almost any context, to muse on how a particular period will be remembered by history. In the case of the Kansas City Royals and 2012 I think it is an especially interesting question. In the simple statistical annals it will go down as a 72-90 year, a one game improvement on 2011 and a third place finish. But I very much doubt that is how it will actually be remembered by the fans.
It is impossible, of course, to determine what might be most notable about this year in the hindsight provided by ten or twenty years. But one can provide some suggestions and the strongest impression I have this year, at least on the field, was one of disappointment. I thought at the beginning of the year that the Royals should finish above .500; sure the pitching wasn’t that good, but at the time it didn’t look like it would be a disaster. But it was. This isn’t just a reference to the twelve game losing streak at the start of the season, though that was a lot of it. Even when the Royals started to try to climb back they would be derailed by not having the needed pitching.
In addition to the pitching woes, this might go down as the year of the injury. Salvador Perez missed almost half the season after requiring surgery in Spring Training, Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino had promising seasons ended early because of Tommy John surgery and Joakim Soria‘s Royals career was ended by that self same injury combined with free agency. All teams have injuries, but this was a particularly poor one for the Royals.
But there are more optimistic possibilities as well. Kansas City and the Royals fan base did themselves proud with the hosting of the All-Star Game this year and there was no doubt that it was a rousing success. It may be remembered as the year Billy Butler broke out. And if everything goes as Dayton Moore will hope, this may also be remembered as the year in which the Royals acquired the last piece of the puzzle they needed to compete in the years that followed.