For the first time in a lifetime watching the Royals, there was disappointment.
Not the kind of disappointment that you get used to when you watch a small market team traipse out a cast of characters that has no business playing the Major Leagues. Not the kind of disappointment you feel when you tell someone you’re from Kansas and they immediately tease you for being subjected to being a Royals fan.
No, the kind of disappointment felt late Wednesday night after the Royals fell one run short in Game Seven of the World Series, that actually felt good.
Now, I’m not saying the Royals losing Game 7 was a Moral Victory. No way, I’m not moral victory guy. Moral Victories are for losers. Moral victories are excuses to feel better about why you didn’t win.
What I am saying is the Royals, a perennial punching bag in all of Major Sports as one of the worst franchises – in any league – didn’t just make it to the World Series with smoke and mirrors only to get blown out on the biggest stage. They got beat by what will be considered in the modern era as the greatest Postseason Pitching Performance ever.
As Magical as this Royals team was during the postseaon, as timely as the hitting was, as stingy as the defense was, even as unhittable as the Royals three-headed monster of Herrerra-Davis-and-Holland was; all of that, the Twitter love, the national pundit love, the nostalgic love, the endless mentions of George Brett and Brett Saberhagen love – it was going to take something monumental to overcome that wave of emotion and good baseball to beat the Royals in Kansas City for a what seemed certain to be the Championship that would end a 29-year drought in the city of fountains.
It’s as if the Royals had been throwing down Straight Flushes throughout the playoffs until the Giants threw down their Royal Flush….
I’m not a baseball historian, but I also consider myself a smart enough guy to know greatness when I see it. What Madison Bumgarner did to the Kansas City Royals and really throughout the entire postseason, didn’t seem real at times. Sure, there’s Aces who pitch lights out, but at some point, somebody breaks through on ’em, gets a hit, and then maybe a few get strung together.
Nope. Not this time around.
This mountain of a pitcher, with his greasy locks hanging out of the back of his hat, systematically mowed through a Kansas City lineup in two starts, and then, in the kind of stuff you expect to see in a movie with Brad Pitt and Robert Redford, this guy comes into Game 7 – on the ROAD, In RELIEF – and proceeds to throw 66 pitches – or 183 in three days – and shut down the Royals AGAIN.
And like that crazy little wizard with the big hair in the Clash of Clans commercial, sure the Royals had Magic, but Madison Bumgarner, he had fireballs.
So yes, there’s disappointment, but it’s disappointment because you fell short in a historic matchup that will always be remembered. Granted, it’s the wrong side to be on, but for one week, and especially on one night, the Kansas City Royals erased 29 years of heartache, misfortune and misery with a performance that left even the most cynical of sports fans glued to their seats and a fanbase with a renewed sense of pride.
Who knows what this means for the future, it would appear to be bright, but remember, this is the Royals, so as improbable as this World Series run was, it’s equally as mysterious as what David Glass will offer up financially to keep the good vibes going.
A week ago after the Royals were beaten down in Game One, I said, that’s the Royals, build you up to let you down. Well, after Game 7, that is the Royals for you, build you up, only to let Madison Bumgarner let you down.