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As I walked through the gates that night, I had an almost divine sense of confidence that the beloved boys in blue would pull out the win. I had never felt so confident about anything before in my life, as for days I had believed it was a sort of pre-destined event.
The mighty Royals had taken the place of David against a pair of Goliath’s, first facing the 98-win Angels and then the 96-win Orioles, sweeping both, and as most know, David was not dethroned from his rightful place as king after defeating the Goliath’s. So it seemed, as I walked out of the concourse to view the beautiful field with the prominent “World Series 2014” logo staring up, that there was no chance that the Game 7 of the World Series would be a disappointment.
The David-esque Royals had come far, specifically from what appeared to be the epitome of disappointment after being 48-50 shortly after the All-Star break. Instead of giving up, the hometown team, the same that had not made the postseason in 29 years, pulled together to wrap up the first Wild Card spot and secure home field advantage for that precious one-game playoff. Of course, it ended with the ultimate comeback, one that will be engrained in the Royal faithful’s mind forever, and notably similar to the one made throughout the second half of the season.
After being counted out because the deck was stacked against the Royals, they did the near impossible and came back not once but both times. From that enthralling Wild Card game on throughout the American League championship, the team of destiny went on an absolute tear, proving their seeming invincibility through multiple extra-inning game-winning home runs. As the Royals approached the World Series undefeated October, they carried all the momentum possible.
The first game was less than the magic previously experienced, with James Shields getting utterly crushed, and for the first time in the 29 years the Royals had lost a postseason game. In all reality, they hadn’t just lost, but they had been embarrassed, losing 7-1, causing nervous questions about the royals’ thought-to-be invincibility to ring out throughout the city. Instead of quitting, they regained their footing and won the next two games, but lost in San Francisco for the next two, leaving the series 3-2 in the Giants’ favor. Coming back home, Yordano Ventura threw his second gem of the series, forcing the ever important and climactic Game 7.
Game 7 has always had a certain air, a certain romantic nature to it, and it was a perfect way to cap off what could be eventually claimed one the greatest postseason runs in the modern history of baseball. It would be so finite, so dramatic, that it couldn’t have been written better on a screenplay. With the impending drama dancing in my head, I walked in and saw the World Series painted up the first and third base lines, I knew the Royals were going to win, and I was going to experience history.
The game started out slow, but soon enough the score was 3-2 in favor of the Giants, and hence came the epic final battle between the two teams’ greatest weapons. On one side of the ring there was the superhuman-like Madison Bumgarner, who disregarded all preconceived notions of a pitch count and attempted the five inning save. On the other side was the cyborg-like combination of Herrera, Davis, and Holland, who combined for a 5 2/3 inning outing. The two battled into a stalemate, extended zeroes on the top and bottom of the scoreboard all the way until the bottom of the ninth inning, and with two outs, Alex Gordon came up to bat. After a misjudgment and further misplay by Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez, Alex Gordon was stopped at third by Mike Jirschele, bringing Salvador Perez to the plate.
The famed hero of the Wild Card game stepped up to the plate, to make history and bring a trophy adorned with tiny little flags of infinitesimal to Kansas City. In addition, he had been the only one to expose Bumgarner’s humanity with a seemingly pointless home run in the Game 1 loss. However, although it was meaningless, it was innately a sign, a suggested sign that he would be the one to slay the mighty dragon and to save the kingdom, Perhaps Bumgarner felt fatigued, but for whatever reason, he left a ball hanging over the plate that Perez could get his bat on.
As the ball rose into the air, I rose to my feet watching Juan Perez read the ball, trailing back and finally giving up on the ball as he watched it descend into the Royals bullpen. Chaos erupted throughout the stadium, as the only former hero was anointed as king of baseball in Kansas City. The man who had saved Kansas City’s season once before had just finished it with the first ever Game 7 walk-off HR, leaving all of Kansas City in a dreamlike stupor.
All of the seemingly prophesized events had come true. The royals had come back from the brink of nothingness for the third time, with Alex Gordon down to his last out, and then the previous rescuer of baseball, Salvador Perez once again delivering his team to the Promised Land.
The team, the drought, the circumstances; they all came together perfectly together to write a story so unbelievable that future generations would think it was truly written as a screenplay. Keeping in mind that history is written by the victors, the team that defied all logic wrote their own incredible story, promising that no baseball fan alive during 2014 would ever forget that run. Of course, Kansas City would have never forgotten the team regardless of the result, but the team was destined for more, wanting national fame and the brief status of “America’s sweetheart.”
Carrying over into this postseason, the 1st place royals look to continue their postseason romantics by defending the crown. This year’s squad has changed a little with the addition of Rios and Morales and the loss of Shields, Holland, Guthrie, and Vargas, but the same youthful enthusiasm that existed the prior year is still very prevalent and flows throughout the clubhouse with visible effects on the players. King Salvy will continue to look for clutch hitting opportunities, and Ventura will continue to look for shutdown postseason starts. The future looks bright, even though I can’t help but looking at the past and getting goosebumps.
By: Seth Wingerter
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