Sideline Report: Party like it’s 1985


Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

If you had told me in 2010 that the Kansas City Royals would compete in back-to-back World Series and win the second, while I would have appreciate the thought, I also would probably have laughed at you. There’s no way this team that was losing 90-100 games a season would actually contend for a championship anytime soon. At least, that’s what I thought then.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Ever since their famous run in the late 1970’s through the 1980s, capped by the franchise’s lone title in 1985, the Royals have been atrocious at best. They have had great young talent such as Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Raul Ibanez and Angel Berroa. None of it panned out, save a third place finish in the AL Central in 2003. For the most part, from 1994 – 2012 this team was despicable in how they failed to lose and just not do anything about it.

Finally, hope for the future came in the form of a new general manager by the name of Dayton Moore who came over from the Atlanta Braves — who was replacing Allan Baird. Moore wasted no time building the team through the draft with prospects that were supposedly big league ready — including some kids named Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez. He also made a blockbuster trade to send our star pitcher and 2009 American League Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers, since Greinke thought surely that this team wouldn’t win anytime soon.

You could say that trade went in the Royals favor considering the prospects that we received happened to be the last two ALCS MVPs in Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar. The Royals looked like they were finally trying to make moves to put our once pitiful team back in the limelight. Moore and owner David Glass were setting the pieces in place for the Royals to get back into the postseason.

It still took some time though, as another two seasons went by, when Moore once again made a big play in the trade market. Prior to the 2013 season, two more of our amazing prospects, outfielder Wil Myers and pitcher Jake Odorizzi, were sent to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis.

All of these moves resulted in the Royals finally looking like the teams of old. The 2013 season went down to the wire, finally ending in this young team failing to catch up to the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians in the division race. It was a year to build on for the future and made the team and fans realized the team can contend once again.

As you all probably know, the following year was an even more magical run. The Royals finally broke through and made the playoffs for the first time in 29 years. They made headlines by making an epic comeback in a 9-8 thriller against the Oakland Athletics and sweeping both the ALDS and ALCS. Of course, we all remember how that all ended with a narrow defeat in game seven of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

That loss proved to be a motivator for the  team to finish the job this year. The Royals rolled through 2015, having seven all-stars and making blockbuster trades for Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto. They finished with the best record in the AL and made another magical run through the playoffs. This time around, they barely made it past Houston, outlasted Toronto and outplayed New York.

This team simply didn’t quit. They had seven comeback victories, along with 40 runs scored after the eighth inning. Those are insane numbers and show how this is one of the best playoff runs of all time. This newfound success was a long time coming, and reinvigorated the love for baseball in Kansas City. Once the punchline of the MLB, the Royals are back on top.

You may remember I made a little prediction before the playoffs, saying that a certain New York team would win the World Series. Even before that, I stated the reasons that the Royals wouldn’t make the World Series. I was dead wrong and I’m so happy I was. It’s been a Blue October in Kansas City. It’s been far too long since this team was relevant and finally, and the rebuilding is over. The Royals are on top of the world, as the 2015 World Series champions.

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