Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why I Bleed Blue

I was still playing Little League baseball when my uncle, Howard, took me to my first major league game in Kansas City, the Royals vs. the Yankees. I knew most of the Royals players from the baseball cards I had collected, but I had never heard of the rookie third baseman who started that night. He had shaggy curly hair and a big chaw of tobacco bulging in his cheek. "At third base and batting third, number 5, George Brett."

I have been a big fan of the boys in blue ever since - Big John Mayberry playing first base just like me, Dan Quisenberry with his side arm sinker, Frank White making amazing plays at second, Willie Wilson rounding the bases in a blur of blue, and of course, George, the greatest pure hitter of them all. Now it's been 23 years since the Royals were World Series Champions, and all the names and faces have changed over and over. In recent years it's been hard times for my boys, but lately I'm getting more optimistic.

I went to the game last night and took my friend Terry, who had never been before. It was a beautiful evening complete with some great barbeque, a rowdy crowd, and my Royals looked great. It felt like the old days. So hope springs eternal.

How can you not love these guys? The Royals are every man's team, the ordinary guy's team, with no big payroll, no big endorsements, no spoiled superstars, just the one token all-star that the league requires. To watch them play baseball reminds you that for these guys, it's still a game, a great game, a baseball game.

So, keep your big money, big market franchises. You can have them. I will always bleed blue.

6 comments:

Mike Ruffin said...

Great article, Drew. I know how you feel. I saw my first Atlanta Braves game the first year that they were in Atlanta. I was a fan through all the bad years. We may be approaching some lean years down here; I hope not.

I remember those great Royals teams. I remember all the press the organization got about their Baseball Academy. I had the pleasure of attending one of their Spring Training games at Haines City, FL, I think their last year there.

Even though I am a fan of a big-market team (although the Braves don't have the market or the payroll of the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Angels, Cubs, etc.), I love it when a low payroll team does well. If the Braves can't win their division, I hope the Marlins do.

Anyway, thanks for the post. Go Royals!

Sue said...

...and little Freddie Patek, Amos Otis,Hal McCrea.....

You sound just like me Drew. I guess I bleed blue too. I'm always a fan even when there is no hope. I honestly see hope this year though.

Problem is,I'm afraid that the teams that do have the money will come in and take players like David, Joakim, and Jose away from us just like they did Johnny Damon.

Drew Hill said...

Thanks, Mike. I know you're a big Braves fan, and I guess the two teams share some management history with the same guy, John Schuerholz, having built both teams, the 70's and 80's Royals and the 90's and 00's Braves. Now we have his understudy, Dayton Moore, as general manager and he's turning things around for us. Better days ahead. How about a Braves - Royals World Series someday?

Sue- I'm with you all the way, and we didn't even mention all the great starting pitchers like Busby and Saberhagen. It's tough being a small market team, but I think we are starting to come around with some great young pitching. Go Blue!

samwrites2 said...

Drew,
Personally, I'm holding out for a Rangers vs. Astros World Series.
Saw the Rangers in Turnpike Stadium when they'd just left D.C. and the Astros when they'd only been in the Astrodome a few seasons. Not the same now that they play in different ballparks.
Free agency and the strike pretty much cooled my enthusiasm.
-Sam

Drew Hill said...

Hey, Sam. An all Texas World Series? Has that ever happened before? We had an all Missouri match up in '85 when the Royals beat the Cardinals, the I-70 Series.

Our son Sam enjoyed going to a Nationals game in D.C. a few weeks ago. Hope you're having a great summer.

samwrites2 said...

Drew,
In Texas, it would be an I-45 series.
Never happened and doubt it will. If it does, it will be yet another sign of the end times.
-Sam