Saturday, October 4, 2014

Certain Royalty

We are, perhaps, somewhat jaded as Mets fans, and rightfully so given the way the last 8 seasons have ended up. But it doesn't look so bad when measured against a franchise like the Kansas City Royals, who are in the Postseason for the first time since 1985, when they won their only World Series Championship behind bygone names like George Brett, Frank White and Bret Saberhagen. That was 29 years ago. If that's not enough to get you to root for them, and root for them hard, well, then I don't know what to tell you. The Royals made their way into the ALDS on Tuesday night, by virtue of a furious double-comeback against the Oakland A's, coming back from deficits of 7-3 and 8-7 in the 12th inning before ultimately winning 9-8.

In the ALDS against the Anaheim Angels, a team that boasts the Best Record in Baseball, the Best Player in Baseball in Mike Trout, and a pair of former MVPs in Albert Pujols (still not very good) and Josh Hamilton, the Royals seem unfazed, and after winning both Game 1 and Game 2 on the road, in 11 innings, on Home Runs from, respectively, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, I'm beginning to think there's something a little deeper at work here.

For one, after watching Game 2 play out in particular, I began to realize that, for the Major League Ballplayer, you don't pick the Postseason, the Postseason picks you. Think about this. The Angels and Royals are led by a couple of bright young stars in Trout and Hosmer. But if you were going to think of the guy who was going to steal the show and make the Postseason his own, it would have to be Trout, wouldn't it? Trout is the odds on favorite to win AL MVP, after hitting 36 Home Runs and driving in 111 in the regular season. Hosmer, on the other hand, was injured, has failed to live up to his billing as a franchise 1Bman, and for the season hit 9 Home Runs and drove in 58. But when the bell rang for October, the roles have flipped. Trout, the ballyhooed, has gone 0-for-8 with 2 walks in his first Postseason. Hosmer, on the other hand, has been a man possessed. After going 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored, an RBI and a Triple of massive importance in the Royals' 12th inning winning rally, Hosmer greeted the Angels by going 3-for-7 in the first two games, including 2 walks, 2 runs scored and a 2-run Home Run in the 11th inning Friday night that proved to be the winning hit in Game 2. That's the sort of clutch you would have expected out of a big-time star like Trout, and not someone who's struggled to find himself like Hosmer has. But this Postseason has been Hosmer's coming out party, and he's showing what he's capable of in front of a National audience. Some guys just find that spotlight. Hosmer's performance, along with Moustakas, and some clutch play from other unsung guys like Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez and Jarrod Dyson have aided the Royals...The Kansas City Royals!!...ahead 2 games to 0 and heading home with a chance to sweep the Angels out of the playoffs on Sunday night.

You want a story that will make you believe and feel good about Baseball, that's it right there.

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