I spent 30 minutes scrolling through various points of that game, from Alcides Escobar’s inside-the-park home run to Alex Gordon’s game-tying homer, to Eric Hosmer’s sacrifice fly to win in the 14th inning.
As Royals fans, we’re always going to have 2015. Flags fly forever.
A day later, as I watch the Royals slog through another game with no heart or emotion, I can’t believe this is the same team that won a World Series less than two years ago.
There are five stages of grief, and we’ve gone through them all in the last week as the Royals of Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain succumb to a slow, mind-numbing death:
Denial: “So, Minor blew a game (again). We’re coming off a Hosmer walkoff and can get right back in it in Cleveland.”
Anger: “How do you not score a frigging run against Ryan Merritt and Mike Clevinger?” Followed by, “Why the hell is Eric Skoglund starting a big game in the major leagues?”
Bargaining: “Eh, Cleveland is white hot, and we’ve still got the Wild-Card. This team will get hot again.”
Depression: “We’re at 40 scoreless innings and counting, including six again Austin Pruitt and his 5.72 ERA. It’s over.”
Acceptance: “Instead of cussing and yelling at the TV, I’m calmly writing this blog and intrigued that the Royals could set the big-league record for consecutive scoreless innings (48).”
I often told myself years ago as the Royals bumbled their way through lost decades that I would never be spoiled if they started winning again. I would appreciate having a team you can take pride in. I failed miserably. I’m spoiled. Watching this team fail sucks.
It’s another good lesson to enjoy success when it’s happening. I should have enjoyed it more when the Royals had a string of miraculous comebacks to win a championship.
The 2016-17 Royals also are a great example of just how hard it is to win like they did in 2014-15. It takes talent. It takes heart. It takes discipline. It takes luck. And it takes strategy.
The latter two have been awful the last two seasons. The heart-breaking death of Yordano Ventura. Injuries to Moustakas, Cain, Gordon and Wade Davis probably cost Kansas City a playoff spot in 2016. That’s terrible luck.
General Manager Dayton Moore’s strategic moves have been nothing short of awful: Signing Gordon to a long-term deal, signing Joakim Soria to any length of deal, signing Travis Wood, trading Davis for Jorge Soler. For every great move he made from 2013-2015, the balance has come due.
But the lack of heart … that hurts. The fans deserve better, especially when we know it’s going to be a long, slow rebuilding process (let’s hope it’s not 30 years this time).
[Prove me wrong again in writing your obit, Royals. I think I’m right this time, though.]