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For the first time since late August I watched almost none of the game.
I had agreed some weeks ago to work for the Northstars (my daughter’s special olympics team) at the Staley Homecoming. It’s charity work and I love these folks, so I was good with missing the Royals.
Plus, there’s always headphones!
I wound up with a flat tire on my way to Staley so while my tire was being replaced at NTB I went to Side Pockets on Englewood Road to wait and watched the first innings while watching the 3rd and 4th inning of the Tigers and Twins. 6-0 Twins and 3-0 Royals; this stood to be a great night… but my car was ready.
I worked the concession stand at Staley. When the night was done it was 10-4 Twins and 3-0 Royals. As I walked to my car with the new tire it was 3-1 Royals and the final came in from Detroit.
Holland mowed down the White Sox (well, Konerko hit a liner) and before I had reached 169 South the Royals had clinched a postseason berth. I heard Physioc says, “Totals, Royals 3 runs 7 hits no errors, White Sox 1 run 6 hits no errors. Time of game: who cares, 29 years…” And I just laughed out loud.
Then I smiled.
I thought of Fred Patek crying at the end of the 1977 ALCS. I thought of Dane Iorg’s flare in 1985’s game six. I remembered Brett standing on second base with the old monochromatic crown showing his face and .401. I thought of the great Pine Tar controversy.
I heard of Jeremy Guthrie’s yelling speech from the top of the table in the clubhouse. Suddenly, I couldn’t remember the stupid things that happened in 1995-2009. Did it ever happen?
YES, yes, 1995-2009 did happen. We should NEVER forget. It makes this so much sweeter, doesn’t it? I took the playoffs for my birthright – heck from my 9th birthday through my 20th birthday it was EXPECTED. 1995-2009 gave me connection with my parents who remembered the absolutely awful A’s teams that played in their childhood. When my mother would tell me that this is not how baseball teams always are, I knew it, intellectually that there were Cubs fans, Indians fans, Braves fans, Rangers fans, etc. But I had never lived their life.
1995-2009 tells us what that life is. Baseball is – even in those years – a wonderful thing. But it is so frustrating.
I think frustration is likely still ahead of us in this season. I hope not, but I’m a realist, at core. But the frustration of 1977 or 1980 is so much better than arriving at May 15 and knowing once again that the baseball season will end before there is any color on any tree (other than green). That you’ll never have to wear a jacket to a game because baseball is always played when the temperature is above 80 (except in April).
For the last 10 years all I wanted was for my team to be as good as the Rays or the A’s. Last year I was satisfied with the fact that my team was not eliminated until the last week of the season….
And I didn’t get to see this game. Just like game 7 in 1985 which I saw pieces of as I was headed back to Rolla for class the next morning. Arriving well after midnight since our group had to stop in Sedalia for a few hours to watch innings 5, 6 and 7. I HEARD Denny call Motley’s second inning homer. I heard Joe Buck call Motley’s catch we were near Jeff City at the time.
There are folks who think I shouldn’t watch the Royals. Last year I was in Alaska during most of the 15-5 streak. This year I was in Minnesota when the 24-6 streak got going…. Sometimes I wonder. I don’t believe in any of that nonsense, but…
I’m going to the ALDS game three if we have it since I already have tickets.
I was, after all, there the night they clinched in 1985 (October 5 vs the A’s with a Willie Wilson single in the 10th).