In a wonderful stoke of luck, my 10-year-old daughter took a long afternoon nap yesterday. This set things up perfectly to allow her to stay up for all of the (potentially final) World Series game, even though it was a school night.
The stage was set last year as we soccer fans caught KC baseball fever just before the playoffs, like many others. We watched every game from the edge of our seats as our Royals pulled off many late game comebacks and beat the odds time and again. My then 9-year-old daughter was crushed when San Francisco Giants star pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, popped up Salvador Perez for the out that sealed their win over the Royals. And though I too was heartbroken, I could barely keep myself from smiling because I knew that these memories were the kind that won’t soon be forgotten. These are the things that attach you to your hometown team and have you growing up loving the sight of a white “KC” on royal blue background.
Fast forward now to the 2015 season. We were still not die-hard baseball fans that watch every game (and we don’t have the cable stations to watch a lot of them either), but occasionally I would catch some of a midday game and occasionally my daughter would ask, “Did the Royals win today?” We kept tabs well enough to know that they were doing well, quite well in fact. And as October approached, we were more than ready to start watching every game of our boys in blue.
Our team looked like the men we’ve grown to love with now familiar nicknames like “Moose”, “Hoz” & “Salvy” playing their “never quit”, hustling style of baseball… but they also looked like a team of composed, world class veterans that have been here before and know what to do.
With only one hiccup in game 3, the Royals arrived at game 4 with a 3 game lead. It hadn’t been easy by any means, but they looked dangerous and hungry. Mets fans knew they couldn’t rest easy even when they had the lead because the Royals had turned on their comeback fire too many times in the late innings. Game 5 was no different.
After mom had gone to bed a few innings previous, my daughter and I snuggled in front of the TV and waited anxiously to see what would happen. It was the 9th inning and we were down a run. A rush of excitement overcame us as Eric Hosmer played the age old base running game of chicken with the Mets fielder that decided to make the throw out to first. As he turned to first, Hoz took off for home. The pressure was too much for the first baseman as he tried to relay the throw home. It was off by several feet and the Royals had tied the game. Into extra innings we go!
I gladly explained to my daughter how extra innings work in baseball. She had been asking questions about baseball rules and strategies all through the playoffs. Sometimes I would even hear her explain these to her mother – occasionally even chuckling that “mom doesn’t understand”.
We sleepily watched two more innings go by with pitchers keeping the score tied at 2-2 as the clock ticked closer to midnight. Then the moment happened. We broke loose and started getting hits. We watched in amazement and muffled cheers as the Royals tallied 5 runs in the 12th inning! It was happening. The Royals were going to win the World Series! Half an inning later the king of closers, Wade Davis, confirmed it.
The Kansas City Royals. Won. The World. Series!!
We cheered. We hugged. We took selfies. We listened as the city around us erupted with fireworks and hoots and hollers out their doors.
We watched the post game for a little bit because I wanted it to set in. I wanted this memory to solidify a little bit so that in another 30 years, maybe she can think back on this and remember when we snuggled in and watched our Royals win the World Series.