How Should I Feel About Royals Baseball Now?

This blog typically is reserved for analytical pieces on Kansas City Royals baseball. Ever since I bought the domain off of WordPress a couple of summers ago, I wanted it to be a blog that focused on appreciating the little things about Royals baseball, which wasn’t an easy thing to do, considering how dire things were for the Royals around that time.

I started The Royals Reporter in the Summer of 2019 and this blog somehow survived the COVID pandemic of 2020 and the COVID-affected year of 2021. No other blog I have written in my 34 years of life has lasted as long as The Royals Reporter.

Honestly, to think about the seasons I have gone through on this blog is quite remarkable. It feels like I’ve been running this blog for about 5-10 years, not three.

After all, being a Royals fan, a real passionate one to boot, is tough enough.

Yes, there were the highs of 2014 and 2015.

The incredible playoff run in 2014 that was jump-started by Salvador Perez’s game-winning hit against the Athletics at Kauffman Stadium.

Beating the Mets in Queens for a World Series title in 2015.

The World Series parade in downtown Kansas City shortly after that fateful night at CITI Field.

Despite those spectacular and memorable moments, unfortunately, a lot of Royals history, especially in the post-Ewing Kauffman era, hasn’t been easy to stomach.

Since 2015, the Royals have not had a winning season, and haven’t been really close in the playoff hunt since. The club and fanbase have been undergoing a rebuilding process since 2018 which has resulted in two 100-plus loss seasons (2018 and 2019) and a finish of no better than fourth in the AL Central division standings.

Granted, the rebuild is starting to produce some fruits of the scouting and professional development team’s labor over the past half-decade.

Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez were added to the 40-man roster this offseason after incredible offensive season in Double-A and Triple in 2021. The young pitching core, led by by Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, Carlos Hernandez, and Jackson Kowar, showed flashes last year at the Major League level.

And don’t forget about Bobby Witt, Jr., the most anticipated Royals position prospect since…well…George Brett maybe?

(Though unfortunately, this lockout may delay his 2021 debut, as Dayton Moore alluded to in a recent interview with the Kansas City Star):

But the past three years haven’t been kind, even if the Royals record hasn’t been all that bad, especially compared to 2018 and 2019.

COVID wiped out 102 games in 2020. In 2021, COVID restrictions limited fan capacity at the ballpark. It wasn’t until June until things felt normal at Kauffman Stadium. Full (or “fuller”) and livelier crowds at the K and in the parking lot during tailgates were a regular sight again during the summer months.

Those last few months of 2021 made Kansas City sports fans look forward to the 2022 season, especially with the promise of the club being a little bit better than the 74-88 club a season ago.

But of course, this Winter, money, and greed got in the way.

And I’m getting tweet replies like this from the Royals social media account on Twitter:

This just doesn’t feel right.

Losing games to a global pandemic? Okay, that’s something to be understood.

Losing games because owners want to squeeze out a buck in the short term?

Well…let’s just say I’m not the only Royals fan that feels frustrated and nearly done with Major League Baseball.

I get there is other baseball going on, and I do not want to take away the spotlight from them.

JuCo, small college, division I, and Independent League baseball certainly deserve our fandom and money, especially since they value the fan more right now than Major League Baseball owners.

The Kansas City Monarchs don’t have a mega-deal with Bally Spots. Kansas City Kansas Community College doesn’t play in a 37,000 seat stadium. Some friends of mine (those who grew up in Kansas City) didn’t even know the University of Kansas had a baseball team, let alone one with a “fire” uniform set:

All these forms of baseball deserve our respect, and I hope to watch more of them this summer, as a result of this lockout (however long it goes).

But at the end of the day, Major League Baseball and Royals baseball just hit differently when it comes to the “National Pastime”.

They are why I write hundreds of thousands of words on this blog. They are why I spend hours creating spreadsheets of data of players’ statistics. They are why I got deeper into Fantasy Baseball and started writing for Pitcher List, with my latest post coming out yesterday (on Chas McCormick, an Astros player of all people):

They are why I spend most of my dispensible money on KC Royals hats, jerseys, and apparel. They are why I bought a partial season ticket package, making me an “official” Season Ticket Member for the first time in my life (I technically wasn’t one with my “Keep” tickets, apparently).

I love Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals…

Even if they don’t really love us fans back, especially during this lockout.

Now, I know what the owners are doing is not indicative of everyone in the Royals organization. Moore has proven that, as he has been more outspoken than any other executive in baseball about the lockout since games were cancelled.

In fact, his perspective and honesty has prompted many KC and National Sports media figures to believe that Moore should be next in-line to be the comissioner of Major League Baseball (though I’m sure he wouldn’t want the job now, especially considering how the owners have made Rob Manfred their scapegoat through all of this):

The lockout will not go on forever. It will end at some point, whether it’s in May or 2023 (God I hope not).

And as much as it pains me to say this, I will be one of the first Royals fans in line to ensure that I have my tickets for the “new” Opening Day.

But who knows what my feelings will be for the Royals going forward and in the long term.

Already, I’m feeling a little jaded, a little more pessimistic about an organization that always seemed to be more player and fan-centered than other more “corporate” franchises (i.e. Tampa Bay and Oakland).

And that’s just me…

Who know how other Kansas City sports fans will be when Royals baseball returns.

I have a feeling they won’t be as forgiving as me.

Which is not good for the Royals or the future of baseball in Kansas City.

And that’s just a shame.

Because at the end of the day…no experience in the Metro, in my opinion as a Kansas City resident, beats a game at the K.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga/Getty Images

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