For many years now, I have called myself a Kansas City Royals fan. In the early '80s, my next-door neighbor was from Kansas, and he turned me on to the likes of Willie Wilson, Amos Otis, Hal McRae, Bret Saberhagen, Kevin Seitzer, Bo Jackson, Steve Balboni, Dan Quisenberry and of course George Brett.
In 1986, as a 10-year-old kid, I sent manager Dick Howser a get-well card when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Coach Howser passed away in 1987, and later that year, as an 11-year old, I received a thank you card from Nancy Howser, Dick’s wife.
Years later, when I was a husband and father, I named one of my twin sons Brett after my favorite baseball player in the whole world, George Brett.
I have never liked another team in my life. For me, it has always been and always will be the Kansas City Royals.
However, since George Brett retired in 1993, we Royals fans have had little to cheer about. Our farm system is considered one of the best in the major league, yet the best finish the team has had was in 1994, when the Royals finished second (four games back) in the strike-shortened season. We’ve traded away great players in the past (Kevin Appier, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Zack Greinke and Carlos Beltrán to name a few) all for the purpose of “our future.”
As a long-time Kansas City Royals fan, I am tired of being all but mathematically eliminated by May 1. I am tired of saying “next year we’re supposed to be better.” I’m tired of losing!
The future is now.
Last week, the Royals made a blockbuster trade, sending top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi along with two other minor leaguers to the Tampa Bay Rays for former All-Star James Shields and fellow right-hander Wade Davis.
In other words, we dipped into that very same talent pool that has been preparing us for the future to start winning now.
I’ve seen where fans and “experts” are against this trade, calling it “stupid” and “old KC ways” and calling for the team to fire Dayton Moore. I may not be a team executive or have a business degree, but I am pretty sure the team is tired of losing too, and this trade isn’t as bad as what people think.
This trade gives the Royals exactly what was needed…pitching. The Royals offense was not bad in 2012, ranking 20th in runs scored (676) and seventh in team batting (.265). However, the Royals pitching has been bottom feeders, ranking 23rd in ERA (4.30) and 28th in quality starts (69).
In two years, we Royals fans might be saying to ourselves “what if?” in regards to Wil Myers. Or we could be asking ourselves, “You think we will go deeper in the playoffs this year?” Only time will tell, but the future is now in Kansas City, and I am excited for 2013.