It was the perfect quote at the perfect time from the perfect person.
His name is Denny Matthews, and he’s seen bad baseball. He’s been the Royals radio broadcaster since the Royals became the Royals, back in 1969. When it was all over, as Sunday spilled into Monday, the man who’s seen Royals history — who is Royals history — captured Royals history. From his perch in New York, he spotted hundreds of Royals fans after Game 5 had finally, gloriously ended.
“They’re chanting ‘Let’s go Royals,’” he said. “But now there’s nowhere to go — they’re there.”
They’re there. The Royals are there, at the top, the World Series champions. No more Denkinger or Vince Coleman what-ifs. Nineteen eighty-five is now “a” year in history, not “the” year in history for Royals faithful. As my columnist counterpart in KC, Sam Mellinger, tweeted after the game: “The Royals are World Series champions, finally and again. The parade will be Tuesday, along Grand Blvd, like they did in 1985.”
Finally and again. The Royals are the best team in baseball and, even, the best baseball team in this entire state.
The swagger has shifted west.
It was a pretty incredible accomplishment for these Royals, especially with their payroll, especially against the Mets pitching, especially because the Kansas City Royals are supposed to be the Kansas City Royals. It was storybook — eight of 11 postseason games were comeback wins.
And it was storied — these guys don’t strike out often, these guys had some epic hits, these guys include Eric Hosmer, who just seems too good to be true. Six RBIs in the World Series, six RBIs in the ALCS and five in the ALDS. Gold Gloves the past two seasons. A regular season line of .297/.363/.459. He’s only 26, drafted and homegrown. He’s theirs. And, just like any title team, they have so many fun contributors, guys who won’t have to ever buy a Boulevard, be it Lorenzo Cain or Mike Moustakas or, of course, Salvador Perez.
What’s neat, even if you may dislike the Royals, is because we’re here in this state, surely you know at least one person who’s a Royals fan. It’s neat when it’s personal, and you know that a team’s title provides unadulterated joy to someone you care about — even if you don’t care about their team. As St. Louisans, you know that feeling that they had this morning — when you wake up the day after a World Series championship and it hits you, that wasn’t a dream, this is real.
So here we are. The Cardinals won 100 games. The Cubs beat the Cardinals in the NLDS. And the Royals won the World Series. We’ll look back in awe of what happened in our little baseball world in 2015, and we now look forward to what could be a heck of a half-decade.
So, when do pitchers and catchers report?