The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 27, 2012

Mike Pound: You got to admire Royals’ fans

By Mike Pound
news@joplinglobe.com

— I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not easy to lose 12 major league baseball games in a row.

But the Kansas City Royals were up to the task recently. The Royals lost games in just about every fashion a baseball team could. They lost close games. They lost lopsided games. They lost because they couldn’t pitch. They lost because they couldn’t hit. They lost because they couldn’t field, and they lost because they were unlucky.

It got so bad for the Royals that other teams were beginning to feel sorry for them. Heck, even I was feeling sorry for them. The reason I was feeling sorry for the Royals is because, despite their losing, I know that the Royals are actually a pretty good team. I think that’s what made the whole thing so sad.

As I write this, the Royals have a “two-game winning streak.”

By the way, only for the Royals would two wins in a row be considered a “streak.”

Whenever I have a little fun at the Royals’ expense, I get nasty emails from fans. But the thing is, I have always considered myself a Royals fan. I like the Royals. Always have. I was living in Junction City, Kan., when Charlie Finley moved the Kansas City Athletics to Oakland, Calif., and I was still living in Junction City when the Royals were formed and began playing.

By the way, the late great Bill Grigsby, longtime voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, used to work for Charlie Finley. Grigsby, who truly never met a man he didn’t like, despised Charlie Finley.

I think that says a lot about Charlie Finely.

It reminds me of the time on the great TV show “Laugh-In” when Richard Dawson — dressed like W.C. Fields — said, “I never met a man I didn’t like .... except Will Rogers.”

That still makes me laugh.

But that’s not my point. My point is that I like the Royals. I was living in Kansas City when the Royals won their first pennant. I saw George Brett hit a double late that year and boost his average above 400. Next to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Royals are my favorite team.

Being a Cardinals fan is easy because the Cardinals tend to win more than they lose. Being a Royals fan takes guts. Being a Royals fans takes persistence. Being a Royals fan takes alcohol.

Ha.

This year, the Royals are supposed to be pretty good. Now, I don’t think anyone is predicting that they will win the World Series, although for the Royals being “pretty good” would sort of be like winning the World Series.

I think that’s the problem here. For once people expect the Royals to be pretty good, which means that for the first time in a long time there is some pressure on the team.

Heck, it’s easy to play baseball when people don’t expect you to do well. It’s much harder to play baseball when people expect you to be pretty good. I think that’s why the Royals lost 12 games in a row. Well, that and the fact that their pitching is — shall we say — suspect.

But now that the Royals are on a two-game “winning streak,” I think things will get better. I think that the Royals will start to relax a bit and play better baseball. I think the Royals will, in fact, be pretty good.

At least I hope they will be pretty good. I have tickets to several Royals games this season and I recently bought a couple of new Kansas City Royals shirts.

See, I’m pretty lazy. I want it to be easy to be a Royals fan again.