Vol. I, Issue 3
The Miraculous Return of the KC Royals
In my backyard, on Cherry Street in South Kansas City, near I-435 and Holmes Road, our backyard was shaped like Candlestick Park—a baseball field each summer and a football field each autumn. My dad was a high school catcher and Royals fan, and would mow base paths into our makeshift diamond so my brother, friends and I could determine whether a neighbor kid had run out of the base path to avoid a tag. Left field was deep, and you could easily turn a double into a Bo Jackson-like inside-the-park HR if you got it past the oak tree. Center field was guarded by three or four tall pine trees, so anything hit in was a ground-rule double. Right field was short and steep, but a deep shot could easily carry into the neighbors yard.
I remember that we had real bases, a catcher’s mitt and mask, extra gloves for visitors, dozens of balls (including tennis balls and racquet balls for home run derbys), and an actual rubber for the pitcher. We might have been ten miles south of Royals Stadium (later renamed Kauffman), but you’d hardly know it.
I remember that my bedroom walls were lined with Royals pennants, Chiefs jerseys, and posters of Bo Jackson, Flash Gordon, Christian Okoye, and Marcus Allen.
I remember being at Royals Stadium when Bret Saberhagen threw the first no-hitter in team history—it was a boring game until the seventh or so, when it became the most nerve-racking experience of my early life!
I remember that, for one of my birthdays, my dad took a group of friends and me to Royals Stadium. Bo Jackson came up to the plate with the bases empty, and struck one deep. I remember watching the ball bounce off the right field wall, the outfielders scrambling to pick it up and locate the cutoff guy. I looked down toward second—no sight of Bo. Was he already headed for third? No, he was already scampering around third and headed home! The cutoff man looked shocked, paused, and re-directed his throw. The pitcher caught the ball somewhere in the infield and just held it… As Bo jogged across home plate and toward the dugout. Thirty thousand of us just sat in silence for a moment, grasping what we just witnessed. And then the place went absolutely GRAPE NUTS!!!
So I’m not exactly joking when I say this has been one of the best weeks of my life. Not. Joking.
All these years living with the internal anguish of my favorite sports team losing, and losing, and losing.
Losing big—we set the record for consecutive 100-loss seasons.
Losing small—we almost made the playoffs in 2003 and 2012 but narrowly missed.
Losing players—Beltran, Dye, Damon, Byrd, Greinke, Soria, Myers, etc.
Losing, and losing—and losing.
But in the words of that old man, the Royals season ticket holder since Opening Day 1969 that was interviewed during the Wild Card game, “We’re back. That’s all. The Royals are back.”
Just to review, consider the last ten or so days of my life, perfectly coordinated with this year’s launch of Fidelity Sports, Inc. (c), and this fall’s launch of The Monday Review, one of the most highly-anticipated new Sports & Culture commentaries to come out of a narcissistic Kansas City born, Kentucky based 1984-born amateur essayist probably ever.
Friday, Sep 26: We beat the White Sox 3-1 to clinch a Wild Card spot—and our first playoff appearance in 29 years.
Sunday, Sep 28: We come back from behind to beat the Sox again, 6-4, and clinch home field advantage against the A’s in the winner-take-all playoff game. Champagne party #1.
Tuesday, Sep 30: In our first playoff appearance since I was 15 months old, the Royals come back from down 2-1 in the 3rd, down 7-3 in the 8th, and down 8-7 in the 12th. In five hours and 12 innings, we hit 13 singles, stole 7 bases, threw 208 pitches, played 21 of 25 eligible players, and saw a 12th inning single bounce off the third baseman’s glove to WIN THE GAME!!! Champagne party #2.
Thursday, Oct 2: We beat the 98-win Angels—in Anaheim no less—3-2 in the 11th inning!
Friday, Oct 3: We beat the 98-win Angels—in Anaheim no less— 4-1 in the 11th inning!!
Sunday, Oct 5: We CRUSH the 98-win Angels—completing the sweep at home—8-3 in only nine innings!!! Champagne party #3.
Favorite October Stat So Far
Pitchers Used by the Angels In the First Six Innings: 8
Pitchers Used By the Royals In the First Six Innings: James Shields
What’s Going On With the NFL?
Stay calm, folks. This happens every year. In the first 5 games, some teams look really bad and then really good (like the Patriots losing to KC by roughly 40 then beating Cincy by roughly 40 six days later). Some teams look really good and then really bad (the Lions lost to a Kyle Orton-led Buffalo despite nursing a two TD lead most of the game… Kyle Orton!!!). One-third of the way into the seaons, here’s a quick summary of all 32 NFL teams.
Teams We Know Are Good
1. Seahawks (2-1)
2. Broncos (3-1)
3. Bengals (4-1)
4. Chargers (4-1)
5. Eagles (4-1)
Teams Better Than Their Records—And WILL Make the Playoffs
6. Colts (3-2)
7. Packers (3-2)
8. Chiefs (2-3)
Teams That Are Just Plain Confusing—They MIGHT Make the Playoffs
9. 49ers (3-2)
10. Patriots (3-2)
11. Ravens (3-2)
12. Steelers (3-2)
13. Lions (3-2)
14. Panthers (3-2)
15. Falcons (2-3)
16. Saints (2-3)
17. Bears (2-3)
18. Dolphins (2-2)
Teams Worse Than Their Records—And WILL NOT Make the Playoffs
19. Texans (3-2)
20. Cardinals (3-1)
21. Cowboys (4-1)
22. Bills (3-2)
23. Giants (3-2)
24. Browns (2-2)
Teams Whose Star Player Faces Multiple Counts of Child Abuse and Who Need Their Star Rookie QB To Return In Order to Make the Playoffs
25. Vikings (2-3)
Teams We Know Are Just Awful
26. Rams (1-3)
27. Sporting DC (1-3)*
28. Buccs (1-4)
29. Jets (1-4)
30. Titans (1-4)
31. Jags (0-5)
32. Raiders (0-4)
* Sporting DC is my latest nickname for the terrible Washington team. It’s super retro-cool, like the MLS’s Sporting KC and all of Euro Futbol. Here are my favorite names for DC in order of dope-ness:
Hip-Hop Jam of the Week
Lecrae’s dope beats on Anomaly already got Fidelity Sports Album of the Year. Here’s a line from the lead off track:
I failed at being you
But I’m winning at being me
I’m winning at being free
Ain’t no competition but me
What in the WORLD is Going On With College Football!?
Basically the same story as the NFL—it’s just too soon to tell who’s really good and really bad. The difference is that one loss in college football can cost you a season, and in the NFL, you can get away with five or six and still win it all.
The only thing we really know after six weeks is that Georgia RB Todd Gurley has already secured the Heisman. Heck, he might be the only guy invited to NYC for the trophy ceremony. Other hopefuls to DQ themselves already: Infamous Jameis, ‘Bama wideout Amari Cooper, championship-hopeful QB’s Marcus Mariota, Bryce Petty, and Kenny Chill.
As it stands, and we’ve got a long way to go, this is my prediction for the four-team playoff:
#1 Seed: Alabama (11-1)
#2 Seed: Florida State (11-1) **
#3 Seed: Michigan State (11-1)
#4 Seed: Missouri (11-1)
One-loss teams really upset they didn’t have more SEC wins: Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and East Carolina.
Two-loss teams that are better than Michigan State and Florida State: Ole Miss, Miss State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Georgia and Oregon.
** Assuming a 10-point loss at Louisville in three weeks.
It’s a great time to be a sports fan. That’s for sure. Gather some friends, pop some corn, and make sure you don’t miss too much.
And stay tuned to Fidelity Sports for all your intensely passionate, completely biased, deeply flawed sports and culture commentary.
Be easy, folks.