5 Reasons to Be Thankful if You’re a Fan of the Kansas City Royals
5 Reasons for Kansas City Royals Fans to Be Thankful Heading into 2014
With Thanksgiving coming soon, many people begin mentally sorting through all the things that make them thankful. After the important stuff like family and health and all that junk, we eventually get to the good stuff like beer and sports and bacon-wrapped shrimp. As you settle in this Turkey Day, watching the football games as you enjoy your beer batter-fried bacon-wrapped shrimp (you're welcome), don't forget to pay your respects to the baseball team that kept you entertained thus far.
I should point out before going any further that the Kansas City Royals franchise should be most thankful for the fans who came back to the team in droves once they sniffed out something better than mediocrity and boosted their ratings more than any other team in the league.
This Royals season was an often-tumultuous but always-intriguing roller coaster ride that was well worth the time and/or money that fans spent to follow it. This team's bandwagon is charred and damaged from the many attempts to set it ablaze both in prior years and throughout this season, but thanks to a true-blue loyal fan base it's still going strong. I know plenty well that it isn't easy to root for an embarrassment of a baseball team year-in and year-out, so the fans that did stick it out deserve a serious gratitude from owner David Glass this upcoming Turkey Day.
For the fans, there is plenty to be thankful for heading into next season. As we approach Thanksgiving, let's take a look at five things for which all Royals fans should be thankful.
5. One of The World's Greatest Stadiums
Kauffman Stadium opened in 1972, and unlike most of the parks created around then, Kauffman has stood the test of time. Recent renovations significantly improved what was already one of the best ballparks on the planet. With its beautiful fountains and crown-capped HD scoreboard, the Royals and their fans should be thankful they play in such an appealing locale. Heck, they should also be thankful they don't play in Oakland (or Houston, stupid pole).
4. Witnessing The Boston Strong Movement
One of baseball's most heart-warming moments took place this season, and the Royals were right there in Boston to soak it all in. When the Boston Red Sox returned to Fenway for the first time since the Boston Marathon Bombings, the Royals were honored to be the team to welcome them home. Baseball turned a tragic event into a memorable series of tear-inducing, feel-good humanist moments, showing that a strong mentality conquers all combative nature. The Royals and all their fans should always be thankful for getting that front row seat to some of those moments.
3. The League's Most Valuable Catcher
The young Royals catcher Salvador Perez deserves a lot of credit for this team's success and overall mentality. At only 23 years old, in the early years of an incredibly team-friendly contract, Perez is already a team leader and a well-rounded ball player. As I've said before, he's also the most valuable catcher in baseball, so there's no doubt that all Royals fans should be thankful for Salvador Perez.
2. A GM With A Plan
Long-time Royals fans will remember the name Allard Baird with a grimace and a brief shudder. Baird preceded current GM Dayton Moore and damaged the franchise almost beyond repair with his indefensible cheapness. This is the man who let the Royals become a league-wide laughing stock. This is the fool who let Carlos Beltran walk away for a million bucks. It's been years since Baird was GM, but the resentment I still foster almost earned him his own spot on this list.
Now, enter Dayton Moore. During his tenure with the team, Moore has slowly turned KC into a winner with a deep, well-funded farm system and strong connections with Central and South American countries that produce top-shelf baseball talent like the Swiss produce chocolate and watches. Moore convinced a once-surly and unlikable team owner into maximizing his team's chances to attain relevancy. Under constant, sharp-eyed scrutiny from a starving, agitated fan base, Moore produced (what projects to be) a perennially competitive baseball team, and that should be more than enough to keep Royals fans thankful for years to come.
Although the Royals have lots and lots of questions to answer, their future is unavoidably bright. Hope is a word that often gets overused by sports journalists, including and especially myself, but this team is absolutely dripping with it.
With current All-Stars, future All-Stars and noteworthy prospects on the horizon, the roster is going to give the franchise enough pieces to win with long into the foreseeable future. The aforementioned GM isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and well-respected skipper Ned Yost just signed a two-year extension.
This team will be primed and ready for a playoff chase in 2014, and every Royals fan finally has good reason to hope. When it comes to Royals baseball, fans should be more thankful for that hope than for anything else this year.