By now, you probably know the current crop of Kansas City Royals players pretty darn well. And you should. Unless you’ve been in a coma you know that they’ve brought the World Series back to our humble little city, which I heard described on the radio today as a “Midwestern hamlet.” Really? Oy.
But I don’t want to talk about Moose et al. No, I want to dedicate this post to the guys who toiled on the teams in the franchise’s Dark Ages (1990 – 2010). Why? Because those guys are important and relevant to our current excitement. They gave us a history. The time period might not be a proud history but the players did what they did for us to the best of their natural ability (well, except for Zack Greinke for that one season and Melky Cabrera and Miggy Tejada.) It might seem cruel to say but, really, if they had been better, we probably wouldn’t be having as much fun right now. But, seriously, these fellows hit home runs, held the opponents scoreless, stole bases and made great catches. They might not have done so enough to get the team to the World Series, but they made us love the Royals.
So here’s to you Jim Eisenreich, Mike MacFarlane, Kurt Stilwell and Kevin Seitzer. Take a bow Danny Tartabull, Bo Jackson, Gerald Perry and Terry Shumpert. Hats off to you, Bill Pecota (whom I always called Biff, because of Biff Pocoroba. I know, you don’t remember him either.) But you do remember Brian McRae, Kirk Gibson, Wally Joyner and Keith Miller, I’m sure of it. And you probably will smile when you read David Howard, Gregg Jeffries, Kevin McReynolds and Jose Lind. They wore the uniform just like George Brett and Eric Hosmer. Then there’s Gary Gaetti, Greg Gagne, Mendy Lopez, Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon and Mike Sweeney, the lonely All Star.
Cheers to Kevin Appier, who deserves Hall of Fame consideration, Rey Sanchez, Gil Meche, Gary Gaetti, Jose Offerman, Michael Tucker, Joe Vitiello, Tim Belcher, Jose Rosado, Jeff King and Bob Hamelin, the stylistic link between Steve Balboni and Billy Butler.
Salute to Hipolito Pichardo, Chris Haney, Rusty Meacham, Felix Jose, Mike Boddicker, Storm Davis, Steve Farr, Jay Bell, David Cone, Tom Gordon and Jeff Montgomery.
And the list goes on. Keith Lockhart, Mike Magnante, Joe Randa, Phil Hiatt, Mark Teahen, Jon Nunnally, Jermaine Dye, Raul Ibanez, Glendon Rusch and Gil Meche. Oh and Pat Rapp, Hal Morris, Larry Sutton, Carlos Febles, Jeff Suppan, Mark Quinn, Dee Brown and Brent Mayne.
And Angel Berroa, Chad Durbin, Neifi Perez, Chuck Knoblauch, Aaron Guiel, Kila Ka’aihue, Paul Byrd, Jeremy Affeldt, Desi Relaford, Ken Harvey, Darrell May, Mitch Maier, Jeff Francoeur, Chris George, Runelvys Hernandez, Jose Lima, David DeJesus, Jimmy Gobble, (Oh yeah! Jimmy Gobble!), Mike MacDougal, Calvin Pickering, Jose Bautista, Terrence Long and Emil Brown.
And Mark Grudzielanek, John Buck, Ross Gload, Tony Pena Jr., Joakim Soria (whom I shall always respect for actively telling people to quit calling him the Mexicutioner because of the horrific drug gang violence then plaguing his native Mexico), Mike Aviles, Joey Gathright, Alberto Callaspo, Yuniesky Betancourt, Brayan Pena, Brian Bannister, Jason Kendall, Scott Posednick, Kyle Davies, Sean O’Sullivan, Jeff Francis and last but by no means least, Bruce Chen.
You and the many, many other players who were Boys in Blue did the only thing a fan asks for–play hard for our team. And for your efforts, I say thank you.
Now on to the Giants!