Well, here we go.
The series that was never supposed to happen is about to begin. The Royals will play for the World Series championship over the next four-to-seven games.
Wildest dreams, Cinderella story, “…tears in his eyes, I guess…”, etc., etc.
I’ve read a couple posts already this morning that spoke of how surreal this is. Even after a week of rehashing how they got here, it’s still hard to believe that any of this has happened, and is continuing to happen. Last night I watched a show on MLB Network that showed the highlights, game-by-game, of the Royals’ first eight games in the playoffs. There have been so many big plays in this run that I kind of forgot about a few. Examples: Jarod Dyson’s throw to third in game two of the ALDS and Tim Collins freezing Josh Hamilton with a wicked curveball to end the inning in the same game. In other post-seasons those would be unforgettable moments. In this crazy one, they’re footnotes to legendary catches by Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon and late-inning heroics by Gordon, Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Salvador Perez. Oh, and the absolute dominance of everyone in the bullpen, anchored by Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland.
And, my goodness, the roars of the Kauffman Stadium crowds in the 12th inning of the Wild Card game and then in the clinching game of the ALCS when Gordon hit his three-run triple and Hosmer crushed his opposite-field homer. Non-fans are probably sick of hearing this description, but you would feel 29 years of bad baseball being released in those roars.
As a fan, I’m worried about what’s next. It’s one thing to rip through the first three rounds. But the World Series, after six days off, is another thing. Will the magnitude of the moment make what happens over the next week different than what came before? Has the magic drifted away during the break?
The thing is, though, I don’t think the players are concerned with that at all. This team, time and again, has picked itself up and charged back. They’re young, inexperienced, and maybe too naive and/or dumb to feel the weight of the moment. I think they’ll be fine.
Me, on the other hand? I’m expecting a lot of tense late nights over the next week. The equivalent of a long NCAA tournament run packed into a single week, with only a travel day or two to break the tension. I’m hoping the weather stays nice so I can get outside and burn off some of this nervousness and adrenaline.
I do not mean to be greedy, but I would not mind four more wins from the Royals at all, no matter how they get them.