‘d like to speak to you all about something important. I’ve been on these pages for over a year now and I think we’re close enough I can tell you this. The title of this column is not some twisted euphemism.
Royals’ pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Wednesday of this week; stop worrying about anything else but this.
This declaration of fact is more important than anything happening in Washington, Jefferson City or even the Platte County Courthouse. It’s more important than a raging pandemic or how many masks you should be wearing. It is time for my annual baseball column.
Listen, no whining from the peanut gallery. I’m less qualified to write about major league baseball than I am about politics, life or any of the other things I write about, so just deal with it. Call Foley and complain if you must, but this column is an annual privilege of mine and it won’t go without being written. Don’t email me or text me with things I’m wrong about, I don’t care. Most of my fantasies in life have been dulled with a blunt collision with my chronological age. Let me have this moment of fantasy.
My first dream for the Royals is that Bobby Witt, Jr. makes the team that heads north after a scorching spring. I have a dream that Bobby will make the major league roster and take the league by storm. The son of a major leaguer, I also dream that Bobby will start chumming around with another major leaguer’s son named Patrick Mahomes. Can you imagine having bookend stars at the Truman Sports Complex? It would be glorious and a wealth of riches that we deserve as fans. Patrick checking out Bobby’s games from a suite. Bobby checking out Patrick’s games from the sideline next fall. Double dates on the Plaza. Oh my, my vicarious dreams are real. They already share a personal trainer, why not go all in? Bobby’s added some weight and looks the part of a “superstar.”
The fact that I get excited about this is concerning in a stalker kind of way, but you can’t be prosecuted for fandom, can you?
You people used to get excited about Jamie Quirk and George Brett chumming around; that is not in the same hemisphere as Bobby and Patrick. Anyway, it’s a fantasy within striking distance; akin to having a gift card to Priscilla’s, but no girlfriend, but striking distance, nonetheless.
Beyond that fantasy, I’m predicting a “what if” season for Royals fans in 2021. Remember 2013 when the team had some promise and they sucked for an entire month of the season? That’s the year that George Brett became hitting coach in the middle the season, ending his consecutive streak of Kansas City’s most glorious beer drinker. It was frustrating and annoying for Royals fans. That is also the year they won the Cactus League title. They were among the league leaders through April and the momentum built. Then May happened and the team went 8-20. That is 8 wins and 20 losses if you are counting at home. That’s bad if winning and losing is a thing you keep track of in your life. They ended up third in the AL Central, seven games back and if not for that May, could have been a contender at the end.
It was weird season. I think we may see something similar this year. Lots of potential and too much time to gel. But here is why you should keep you eyes on the team, even through the bad spells. The 2013 season ended with a walk off grand slam by Justin Maxwell. The Royals won that day 4-0 to end the season with James Shields pitching a gem against the Rangers. That hit, win, walk off grand slam was like a proverbial launching point for the 2014 season that saw two straight World Series appearances after.
Welcome back, baseball.
(Guy Speckman can be reached at email@example.com or defending himself against restraining orders from Bobby Witt, Jr.)