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And they’re off… (to a REALLY bad start)

MICHAEL: (Tip of the cap to Susan, Eric’s wife for bringing this to our attention…)

Some folks might be surprised to know that one of the teams that did not make it into the “You Stink! Top 15 Terrible Teams” is the perennial-underachieving Kansas City Royals. We did include the George Brett Pine Tar Incident in our “Hall of Shame,” but frankly, KC didn’t have the deplorable stats over the course of any one season. I for one have always admired the Royals fans as they have stuck by their team no matter how many times they disappoint.

The Royals slogan for the 2012 season is “Our Time.” This year is supposed to be a significant one for them as the city is finally hosting the MLB All-Star Game. Unfortunately, it has already become historic for another reason as the team has gone 4-14 (as of this post) while becoming the first major league baseball team to lose their first 10 home games since 1913. The 1913 Yankees went through their first 18 home games without a victory, longest such stretch in history. They lost the first 10, tied Boston, 3-3, then lost seven more before finally winning at the Polo Grounds. The 1995 Florida Marlins and the 1940 Chicago White Sox each lost their first nine home games.

Understandably some of the Royal’s most loyal fans are vehemently voicing their displeasure. Kevin Kaduk over at Big League Stew has a blog post this week about this phenomenon in which he calls out the team’s skipper Ned Yost who fanned the flames of discontent when he casually stated that “the adversity of a 3-14 start is the fertilizer for maturity and growth.” Sam Mellinger of The Kansas City Star echoes Kaduk’s sentiment on his blog and writes that “the Royals are losing more than just games.” He adds that “Building the greatest farm system in the history of upright man is apparently no cure for historic stink.”

No doubt that the performance of the Royals thus far has been sub-par. O-K…it’s stunk. No one is denying that fact and no one at Kauffman Stadium is hiding their distaste either. Check out the TV shot (above) that captured a fan with the best seat in the ballpark reading a book. That said, there is still that loyal-Royal  fan base. These midwestern die-hards, much like the long-suffering Red Sox fans of the past, or the ardent Cubbies fans of the present, never give up, even when they are handed a first-class ticket every year on baseball’s equivalency of the Titanic’s maiden cruise.

Not all KC fans have jumped ship. I recently read an essay posted online by a teenage girl titled A True (Royal) Blue Fan. In it she writes “As a Royals fan, I completely understand. When my team is losing, all I want to do is hide my face in shame. But I don’t. I support them until the last strike out, the last error, the last weak pop-out. If I can’t be proud of my team’s performance, I can at least take pride in the fact that I’m not a fair-weather fan. If the Royals are going to be there, April after April, year after year, then their fans should be too.”

She concludes her piece by proclaiming, “As the years go by, I know I will always find things to love about the Royals, even if I can’t love their win-to-loss ratio.” And perhaps that is what I find most interesting about this particular story…that a young lady understands more about rooting for a baseball team (even a bad one) than all the cynical adult fans and sports-writers in Kansas City.

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