As we all know, the Royals have some…. problems. The Kansas City Star devoted their entire baseball preview section to the Royals’ horrid defense. The Royals sign guys like Kyle Farnsworth and Jason Kendall and find nothing wrong with this. They have no bullpen to speak of.
And that’s just the baseball-related problems.
It’s easy to see that Kansas Citians (is that the correct demonym?) know their baseball. And I’ve concluded that the Royals fanbase is easily one of the smartest, most cerebral, and most cynically pessimistic in all of sports. And therefore, one of the best.
Look at fans of other chronically bad teams: Cubs fans are, if anything, annoyingly optimistic. Pirates fans don’t care as much that they lose all the time because they have the Penguins and Steelers. Nationals fans don’t exist yet. Padres fans are in San Diego, meaning they have better things to do when the Pads suck. Indians fans are stuck in Cleveland. They’re pessimistic, but they’re hardly cerebral (trust me on this one).
But you’re in Kansas City, what else are you going to do? Watch the Chiefs?
Royals fans know their place, and they know their shit. Last Sunday, about five guys sitting behind us (I went with my dad, who visited for the occasion) had some sort of quip for every Royals player on the roster. They knew EVERY SINGLE stat. They knew things about Yuniesky Betancourt’s VORP that I didn’t even know existed.
When Yuni hit a two-run home run off Verlander that juuuuust cleared the fence, the guys, along with everyone else in the stadium, waited a minute before actually standing to cheer. They had to make sure they believed what they had just seen.
From somewhere behind me, someone yelled, “That was a no doubter!” Everyone giggled.
After that, Billy Butler was put out, and the dudes in back shouted something like, “Hey Billy! How does it make you feel that Yuni’s got a higher OPS than you right now!”
Everyone in the section laughed at this, as if it was normal to taunt your own players using Sabermetric statistics.
‘Am I in some sort of twilight zone?’ I thought to myself. I felt like I had walked into a convention for baseball bloggers. Except there were 45,000 of them and they all seemed like normal Midwesterners wearing blue (estimated that about 1/8 of the blue being worn was Kansas Jayhwaks apparel and not Royalswear, but whatever). A lot of college indie-type kids and a lot of fat guys who look like they eat a lot of barbecue. Definitely not the “mom’s basement” crowd you’d think for the kinds of insults being slung (“Hey Cruz, you realize your ERA is infinity, right?”)
So my whole point here is, I’m slowly becoming a fan of Royals fans. If I wasn’t a Tigers fan, I’d probably be a fan of the team itself. As it is, the Royals and their fans are hard to hate. At one point during the game— that 6-run inning the Tigers put together on that pitiful KC bullpen— I stood up and cheered wildly. It was after Trey Hillman had taken out one reliever. On the very first pitch from the next reliever, one of the Tigers singled.
Anyway, we stood up and cheered. I was wearing my Brandon Inge t-shirt (yes, I own such a thing, asshole). My dad and I were vastly outnumbered, but stood up anyway. At this point, it was something like 6-4 with no outs and runners on second and third. Some guy way in the back of our section yelled “Sit your ass down!”
And that was literally the only vitriol we received throughout the entire game. An inning later I was out in the smoking area talking to a KC fan and told him where I was sitting. “Oh yeah!” he says. “You’re the guy who I told to sit his ass down! How’s it going?” We discussed intricacies of baseball and the economy for the next ten minutes (I’m not even joking).
Now, I’ve been to Tigers-White Sox games on the South Side. I’ve been to games in Cleveland: That kind of thing would never happen there. Those guys are assholes. I’ve never been to games in Boston or New York, but I’ll guess it’s the same. In those places, you’re just the enemy. (On the same token, I’m proud to say that in Detroit, unless you root for the White Sox and not being an asshole in return, you’re generally cool with us. Now, rooting for other hockey teams are a different story…)
Listen folks, maybe it’s because they’re bad, or maybe they just accept their fate as clown princes of baseball. But the whole point of this post is: I consider myself a proud fan of Royals fans. You should too. I think you’ll love them.
Now that baseball is actually back, I’m going to try and post more often. Anyone miss me? (You don’t have to lie).