Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mets vs. Royals: the end of at least one classic baseball drought

The New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals are set to square off in the 111th World Series.  However, regardless of which team wins, the fact remains that at least one of the two long deprived Major League fan bases will once again get to enjoy the view from the top of the mountain.

It has been 30 years since the Royals last hoisted the World Series trophy, 29 for the Mets.  It seems as of late, however, that a pattern has been developing; teams that were once notorious for missing the playoffs and letting their fans down in other ways are now suddenly stealing the spot light.  Hell, the Chicago Cubs were just a few wins shy of appearing in their first Fall Classic since 1945, though this loss was much less heartbreaking for Chicago than the Steve Bartman incident of 2003

Not many predicted a Mets, Royals match up at the beginning of the season, yet here we are, nearly through October, with two teams that  I never thought about when baseball was a bigger deal in my life, battling it out for what would be a landmark championship for both.  Sure, the Royals did make it to the World Series a year ago, but the point is that those teams who have won in the past ten years have been made up largely by some of the usual suspects.  Since 2004, the Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants have both won three series, while the St. Louis Cardinals have won twice and the damn Yankees notched one of their 27 championships.   Nonetheless, both Mets and Royal’s fans alike have a lot on the line now.

I for one am no stranger to this sentiment.  Growing up in New England, I spent much of my youth surrounded by depressed and bitter Red Sox Fans.  I was taught early on how to observe the age-old tradition of being let down by the Red Sox.  Although I really did not suffer because I was just ten years old when they finally won again in 2004, but many close to me, like my grandfather, had spent their whole life waiting for a Red Sox title, being let down year after year.

So for the Mets and the Royals, there is more on the line than just a parade and ring ceremony. There are people to consider.  There are a lof of fans that go their entire lives without seeing a championship.  The Mets have a chance to give some love to those New Yorkers who have had to wait patiently while the Yankees soak up all the glory.  The Royals on the other hand, have the possibility of giving Kansas City a big championship that can only come from the city’s lone big-time professional team.

The two teams viying for the title could not be more different.  The Mets are charactarized by a stellar pitching rotation, highlighted by stars like Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard.  The Royals are a small ball team, that relies on base hits and stolen bases, as well as a talented and deep bullpen.  The takeaway however, is that regardless of whether the party ends in Kansas City or New York, one group of fans will get a long overdue taste of baseball greatness.

-PJP

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