LARNED — I’m sorry that I’m not talking about it.
It REALLY is big news.
It REALLY is one of the biggest stories in the sports world this summer, but … gee ... I’ve gotten bored with professional baseball!
Just when I’ve chucked it all in and given up on the sport, the Royals come along and win Nos. 16, 17 and 18.
Six games over .500?
How do you wish for football when the Boys in Blue are creating a masterpiece right here in the middle of the country?
For years, Royals fans have clung to the names Brett, Frank White, Saberhagen and Bo Jackson. Heck, it was ALL we had to cling to for year after year after year. It was enough to make even a strong baseball fan wish for football.
Of course, many of the Chiefs’ teams made one question that notion as well!
Now, unexpectedly, like a snowstorm in August these baseball guys in Kaufman Stadium have done the unexpected. They’ve joined a pennant race! Will miracles never cease? The names don’t quickly roll off the tongue. Billy Butler. Wade Davis, Justin Maxwell, Mike Moustakas, Escobar and Dyson, not exactly household names but, hey, these guys are playing inspired baseball!
The key word here might be inspired. These Royals play the game with inspiration. They are playing hard and playing smart. They are having fun and they play with a purpose, an energy that hasn’t been seen in a Kansas City baseball stadium in, oh gosh, several decades!
All of a sudden the biggest news in Kansas City is NOT that Jamaal Charles hurt his foot in a Chiefs’ practice, but who is going to take the mound against Miami? The fact that Detroit and Cleveland keep winning, keep stiffarming the Royals and holding them off, is not important. That the Royals ARE in the hunt, in mid-August, is what makes our skin tingle.
Can this winning streak really make us forget that the Chiefs looked pretty good in their first exhibition game?
Can it make us forget that Kansas State and Kansas have begun fall practices, and that college and high school games are only a few weeks away?
Thankfully the Royals are sweeping away the cobwebs of our minds and reminding us what it is like to have a professional baseball team that has a shot at being in the playoffs. Who’da thunk it?
Go on Royals. Make baseball fans out of us again.
• CHALK TALK
No sooner than I mentioned Pete Rose in last week’s column than he pops up in the news.
I commented how strange it was that the drug users in baseball only get suspended for 50 games while Rose got a lifetime sentence. Pete opined this week that he “should have picked another vice. Like drugs, or beating his wife, or alcohol. I might have gotten a second chance.” I’m with you Pete! ... KU football boss Charlie Weis plays music during practice at KU. Some of that music is by Bon Jovi. Weis said, “I am very pleased that our players are starting to sing the chorus of “Living On A Prayer.” Sounds appropriate, coming off a one-win season! ... Gee, now that the NCAA has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they say they are getting out of the jersey selling business, raking in huge profits off of the names of the collegiate players. Of course, several lawsuits by former players in federal court would have NOTHING to do with that decision, would it? ... Best running back in the country that most have never heard of? John Hubert of Kansas State, the Wildcats starter for three straight years. He’s not big, he’s not fast, he’s just tough. He reminds me of a quote that famous network sports announcer Curt Gowdy once said about Hall of Fame baseballer, Brooks Robinson: “He’s not a fast man, but his arms and legs move very quickly.”
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.