Above all else, I’m a fan. And just like most fans, I want my favorite team to win. I want them to win every single game of every single season even though I know that’s not realistic, but that’s what being a fan is about. You all probably already know that fan is short for fanatic, and that is what I am to the Royals. Not only am I ultimately just a fan, but I’m kind of an idiot fan in that even if I know losing will help their draft stock, I still want them to win. In my heart, 75-87 and finishing in third place is better than 64-98 and finishing in last place. In my head, I know that’s crazy, but I just can’t get myself to root for a Royals loss.
I’m pretty sure I’ve told the story before, but with Spring Training here in a few weeks, it’s always fun to look back on what caused me to be obsessed for
six months eight months the whole year. I was pretty much born into my love of baseball as both of my parents are and were insane fans of baseball and especially the Royals. When I was little, I’d hear tales of the teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s. I was born in 1985, but sadly as a nine month old, I don’t remember anything about that season. I know that’s surprising, but it’s true. As I got a little bit older, my favorite player was Danny Tartabull. As a small child, I just didn’t know what a big deal George Brett was.
Of course, that was toward the end of George’s career and as I got older, I began to learn more and more about Royals history and what a rich history it was. In the mid-1990s, being a decade removed from the playoffs and the World Series just didn’t seem like that big of a deal, but of course time passed and now we’re heading into the 28th season since the World Series team and at times it just feels like the Royals may never win again.
Somewhere in between me really figuring out baseball and today, I started to really love statistics. I’ve always been good at math, so I was interested in statistics in school and that transferred onto the baseball field. I was the kid who would work a walk in a little league game and as I was jogging to first would calculate my new on base percentage. My baseball career ended later than many, but far earlier than I had hoped, but my love of the game and my love of statistics has never really waned. I think one of the downsides of being a guy who loves statistics the way I do and being a fan of the team I am is that those advanced stats don’t look kindly on bad teams. The team is bad for a reason and the stats tell the story of it. Bad teams have bad players. Bad players are bad for a reason as well and so just by looking at the statistics, it’s easy to say that I’m a pessimist because the numbers don’t look kindly on the Royals.
A lot of times, that’s where I’m coming from. I don’t look at the Shields trade as a negative simply because I value prospects too much. I look at it as a deal I didn’t love because everything I see shows me that the trade will not get the Royals to the promised land in the next two years. Clint and I talked about this on this week’s podcast, and 82 or 83 wins simply isn’t enough. I’d absolutely enjoy every single one of those wins, and as Clint pointed out, that’s more happy days than sad days and I’ll take it. Still, I want the Royals to win the whole —-ing thing as they said in Major League. Personally, I felt that there were other ways to improve the roster more than making the particular moves they did.
But here’s the beauty of it all and something that I feel like a lot of people may not necessarily see because they don’t know me. No, I don’t like the fact that Jeff Francoeur is the starting right fielder. And no, I’m not crazy about the fact that they gave Jeremy Guthrie a third season. And no, I don’t think the Royals win more than somewhere around 83 or 84 games in 2013 and maybe not many more than that in 2014. But you know what? I will still cheer like crazy for them to win every single night out. I’m not president of the Jeff Francoeur fan club, but if he hits a home run to win a game in April, I’ll lose my voice cheering. Chris Getz isn’t my favorite player, but I want him to get a hit every single time he steps to the plate.
To me, all I care about is that the Royals win games. When I get upset about a move or a decision in a game, it’s because I don’t think that’s the best move to get the Royals to that ultimate goal of winning games. It isn’t because I’m constantly negative or because I’m rooting for the team to fail. It’s quite the opposite actually. I’ve talked about this before, but there are times when I wish I could go back to the days when I could just blindly believe in the organization, but I just can’t do it anymore. Time and time again, you hear people talk about trusting the organization and occasionally the tired argument of why aren’t I in a front office if I know so much better. I don’t usually dignify that with a response, but the Royals organization hasn’t exactly given people much of a reason to trust them.
That said, all would be forgiven if they win. Right or wrong, I ache for this team to win. I’m in a bad mood after a bad loss and I’m in a better mood after a win. That’s gotten better for me as I’ve gotten older, but I’ve been a fan of this team since the day I was born and I’ll be a fan of this team until the day I die. No one trade or one decision could drive me away no matter how much I bitch and moan. If the Royals make it to the playoffs. I’ll write a one thousand word article just repeating, “I was wrong. Dayton is superior to me in every way.” I’ll be more than happy to do that. There’s a lot of bickering among fans that, as far as I can tell, is mostly due to a difference in philosophy. This is your yearly, rambling reminder that we’re all in this for the same thing. It’s about the Royals winning games. Which they’ll hopefully do a lot of in 2013.