So the Cardinals are out, and the Royals are in. The St. Louis Cardinals lost the National League Championship Series to the San Francisco Giants while the Kansas City Royals proceed to the World Series after defeating the Baltimore Orioles to win the American League pennant.
I have mixed feelings about that. I married into a Cardinals family (many of whom still reside in the St. Louis area), and I’ve been rooting for the Cardinals along with them ever since. But growing up in Eastern Kansas, I have a soft spot for the Royals, the team I naturally rooted for as a kid.
It was easier back then when the Royals had players like George Brett and Bret Saberhagen (and were actually good). I was at best a casual fan, but I watched the 1985 “I-70 Series” between the Royals and the Cardinals and enjoyed the Royals’ victory, little knowing it would be their last post-season appearance until this year (it’s not the Curse of the Bambino by any means, but still hard to believe)!
Even after switching sides, I still had some attachment to the Royals, considering them my second favorite: I described them as my American League pick, a heresy at which my wife rolled her eyes. Whenever casting votes for the All-Star Game, I cast all my NL votes for Cardinals players, and all my AL votes for Royals. Very scientific.
As much fun as another I-70 Series might have been, most of my Cardinal fan friends don’t seem too upset with things falling out the way they have. The Royals have been on an incredible roll, sweeping both of their post-season series; with catcher Yadier Molina out of commission, the consensus is that the Cardinals wouldn’t have much of a chance this year. And as my wife pointed out, the Royals have earned the chance to face someone other than the Cardinals.
Still, I won’t be walking around with a suspiciously new Royals jersey like many fans. I don’t judge them or anything; I just think it would be a little bit opportunistic for me to join them after being a Cardinal fan for so long. It’s a personal line (although if they had ended up facing the Cardinals I might have had to get one of those “a house divided” shirts). As it happens, I do have some Royals paraphernalia I had picked up at a visit to Kauffman Stadium, and I won’t feel a bit guilty about hoisting one in honor of the Royals when the World Series starts on Tuesday. And why not root for the Royals? After all, they’re the Giants’ problem now.
Post-Series Update: Well, that was some World Series, and while it didn’t end quite the way I would have hoped, there were many great plays and both teams put forth a strong effort, extending the Series to seven games and a victory decided by only a single run. Although the Royals lost, they have much to be proud of, and they were obviously a great club this season, as shown by their play when Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner wasn’t on the mound. Congratulations to both teams.
P.S. As it turns out, I did end up getting a shirt: