Summer’s here, and this is around the 27th one that the Royals haven’t been fall playoff/Division-winning bound, although they have posted a handful of winning seasons among the rest of the losing ones since 1986. Of course, this doesn’t include their inconsequential winning/dominating Spring Trainings that only tease us. And, although it still remains to be seen this year–and at this writing no particular reason to not be optimistic, and several reasons to be–there is always the excitement of a few wins in a row (as foil to the usual losing streaks), possibility, and hope (and at the end of the season, the potential of next year!).
George Brett is their new batting coach now though, and it does appear that he has made a difference with the hitting, home runs, and certain individual players. I remember going to games in 1973 and ’74, Brett’s first few underachieving years. I didn’t know anything about him then, and was mostly interested in the opposing teams’ future Hall of Famers, especially when we got to sit right over their dugout. I always looked forward to seeing my neighbor, Mr. Berry’s son, Ken, when the Royals played his team, and we’d yell and waive at him in the outfield. Another Royals batting coach named Charlie Lau finally got a hold of Brett though, and we all know what he eventually went on to do. Throughout the 70′s and first half of the 80′s, I’d listen to the Royals dominating success and Brett’s heroics on my transistor radio and watch them on TV.
Summer and baseball; the two are inseparable, win or lose. However, with some very talented players on both sides of the ball, some current and future all-stars, and one of the best farm systems in the majors – who knows – maybe the Royals will return to their glory days!
Some great books on the Royals and baseball we have here at the library are: “George Brett: from here to Cooperstown,” by George Brett with Steve Cameron; “The Kansas City Royals,” by Mark Stewart; and, “Baseball: a history of America’s favorite game,” by George Vecsey.