Sunday, March 31, 2013

Only a Dream

I slowly rolled over to the side of the bed to check to see who could possibly be blowing up my phone at such an early hour. I slid my finger across my iPhone and smiled as I gazed at Mike Moustakas lifting James Shields high into the air. I wasted no time in saving the moment from eight hours before as my background. 

I lay back on to my pillow and stared up at the ceiling. I took a moment to reminisce about the summer that could wind up being the best of my life. For the first time in my existence the Royals had made the postseason, which in itself would have been good enough to satisfy me. Man, was that a wonderful ride. 

Less than a year ago, the Royals had cashed in on their prospects and while Wil Myers was fantastic as a Ray, you would be hard pressed to find a Royals fan regretting the trade. James Shields was everything a Royals fan could've hoped for and then some. His effects on the rotation extended well beyond the his own performance. It seemed like every night he was on the top step motivating his guys. There were even rumors that moving forward they are going to implement his training exercises throughout the system. It is incredible that one player could have such a profound affect on an organization.

Of course, Davis was no slouch either. Most of us thought he would be a key factor heading into 2013, but he surpassed expectations. Thanks to those two guys performances and the workloads carried by Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals fell just short of 1,000 innings. As a result, the bullpen was dominate in the late innings. Not only was Greg Holland perfect in his save opportunities, but the Royals managed an incredible 73-2 when leading after seven innings.

I couldn't help but laugh at this second thought. You see throughout the second half of the season, there were a couple of fans that really made their mark. One fan dressed sort of resembled a Mario brother with a giant moustache and "Royal Flush" in script across his overalls. The other fan wore a toilet suit with an oversized handle. Each time the bullpen would 'K' a hitter they would make a big scene flushing the batter away. It didn't take long for Crown Vision to get them regular air time.

I glanced back down at my phone and realized I had been in laying awake for nearly ten minutes. I sat up and looked at the wall ahead of me where there hung a framed copy of the Kansas City Star from September 30. The headline simply read "Postseason Bound!". For Royals fans that was enough. On the cover, was a picture of Eric Hosmer being mobbed by teammates at home with Jeff Francoeur undercutting him in his man region. 

Watching Eric Hosmer's two run home run sail into the Kansas City sky before landing in the left field fountain was probably the most beautiful thing I had ever witnessed. It was so fitting. Hosmer, who had struggled so much in 2012, was simply a beast in 2013. It wasn't a coincidence that his division winning home run went opposite field. He led the league with oppo bombs in 2013. Looking back, it is amazing that he wasn't selected to the All-Star game.

Apparently, Jim Leyland felt content with Salvador Perez, James Shields and Alex Gordon on the roster. Again, for Royals fans that felt like enough. I'd be shocked if Perez and Gordon didn't win Gold Gloves in a few weeks. In fact, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar would also be plenty deserving. That defense was unbelievable. Every night Baseball Tonight would be packed for of Royals in the Web Gems segment. 

Lorenzo Cain's catch against Toronto in the seventh game of the ALCS will be on baseball highlight films for generations. The look on Jose Bautista's face when Lorenzo Cain closed his glove around a ball that was two and a half feet higher than the fence was priceless. What is even more amazing is that it wasn't even the play of the game. That honor will always be held by Moustakas 468 foot home run to put the Royals ahead in the top of the 9th. 

For a guy that watched most of these guys win titles in the Minor Leagues, it was awesome to finally see them have the opportunity to be heroes on the big stage. I finally remembered to check the text message that I had received. Among the congratulatory texts from friends and family members was one text from a friend. It simply read "Plaza, Friday at noon." I smiled bigger than ever. It was seven years ago that Dayton Moore had selected the Plaza as the site for the future World Series parade. I couldn't believe it was finally going to be reality. I only hope that it wasn't just a dream.

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