Two months. Two entire months. That’s how long it’s been since I decided to take my (debatable) talents to the northland of MO. Kansas City: Home of good culture, great BBQ and a passionate community. 60 days has seperated me from all that I had previously known; cashew chicken, two lane highways and a walmart on every corner. I’ve gone from the expectation of being an entertainer every time there’s a mic around to being an expert every time there’s a frosty mug around. I’ve also been away from my favorite fanbase in the entire world: Cardinal Nation. Baseball’s best fans, backed up by reverence to a winning tradition, passion for the team that gets them there and a loyalty that is the envy of most other teams. Instead I’ve found myself stuck in the middle of another fanbase, that of the Kansas City Royals.
It’s not been easy repping Cardinal Red in a sea of Royal Blue, especially given the history between these two teams. You can’t wear a Cards cap in downtown KC longer than five minutes without someone yelling ‘1985!’. It’s the automatic go-to for any Royals fan and why shouldn’t it be? In 1985 the Cards had a 3-1 series lead with chance to finish the Series at home, but Royals pitcher Jackson showed up, whereas Forsch didn’t the first couple of innings, forcing the series back to KC and the infamous Game 6, where The Call was made. Honestly, this is all most Royals fans remember about that Series. Clark tossed the ball to Worrell, but 1B ump and crew chief Don Denkinger supposedly had his view ‘blocked’ and missed what was clearly an out, calling Orta safe. The Cards weren’t the same after and the Royals went on to own Game 7 and the Series. It was so controversial it is rumored to still haunt then Cards manager Whitey Herzog to this day. (Whitey, you won one in ’82, don’t let this get to you!) Royals fans refuse to let Cardinals fans forget this. I understand why…and I respect that.
Of course, it’s not been that hard to rep Cardinal Red either. See, after that Series, these two teams went in polar opposite directions. The Cards have been to three Series since, winning two and are consistently one of the most (if not THE most) successful franchises in baseball, continuing it’s long and storied tradition of such. The Royals have become a joke, even to Cubs fans at times. It’s gotten so bad that the two major stories surrounding the Royals have been their ridiculous home-losing streak and the hiring of George Brett as Hitting Coach (desperation attempt to settle the increasingly bitter fans after a decent start to the season).
KC and STL both recently hosted the most recent chapter in the I-70 Rivalry, the Cards taking 3 out of 4 quite dominantly, including the two at Kauffman which contributed to that huge Royals losing streak. I was at both games, decked out in as many Cards accessories as security would allow me to walk in with. Being at both games it was easy to see Cardinal Nation was contagious: the entire stadium was drenched in red. Each person I sat next to had a Molina, Wainwright or Holliday jersey. Even Pujols had some repping. Years of losing has undoubtedly contributed to the mass of allegiances to other teams, which assuredly makes the few true Royal Blue even more bitter.
I’ve learned that when Royals fans yell at you “1985!”, they don’t like it when you respond “2011! 2006! 1982! 1967! 1964! I got more, I can go on!”
They’re also not particularly fond of “1985? I wasn’t even born then, but I have seen two since I’ve been here!”
Royals fans don’t like being reminded of the present, so they’re not huge on you yelling back “2013!” (this also works for any of the last 28 years really).
Also, if you really want to throw in a multi-team stab, they don’t like it when you yell back “Robinson Cano!”
OR, if you wanna go multi-sport, you can say “Hey, they’re still scoring more than the Chiefs…barely” (They REALLY hate that)
Truth be told KC, I’m pulling for you. I know what a World Series can do for an economy, and it’s not that you’re hurting in that dept (in fact, you’re putting STL to shame) but a strong playoff push could do this town and it’s fans some good. Honestly, I want you to make it, please. Get to the World Series so we can finally annihilate you and you can finally shut up about something that happened 28 years ago. GO CARDS!