I know everyone is anxiously awaiting for me to pen one of my daily soliloquies about the Royals, which has become a ritual in the last 10 days.
To be honest, I’m Tap City. I’ve got nothin’. The needle is under “E.” My brain is fried.
These never-say-die, unbeaten Royals have drained all of my creative juices, making me a shell of my former self. I’ve used all of my best lines from my 40 years in the business and even reached back into my bag of golden oldies and pulled out a few of my forgotten favorites that were covered in dust.
These Royals are emotionally exhausting. Starting with their come-from-behind victory against Oakland in the wild-card game — doesn’t that seem light-years ago? — they have played nothing but numbing, stomach-churning, can’t-bare-to-look, Tums-popping games. They do nothing the easy way. It’s all one- or two-run games, games that turn on unlikely homers or the latest defensive flavor of the day by Lorenzo Cain. They speed around the bases like a 4 x 100 relay team and all of a sudden have discovered they’re no longer the 96-pound weakling on the beach by popping more balls out of the park than their opponents in postseason play.
They have turned a nine-inning game into a six-inning game. If the Royals have the lead after six, it belongs to the Kansas City fortress of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, the real stars of “Terminator 3.” They grab the ball and it’s “Hasta la vista, baby.” Well, that was Terminator 2, but who’s counting at this stage?
I think even Royals fans are exhausted as they have been put through the emotional wringer. Their roar Tuesday didn’t seem as vociferous on the Richter Scale, even though they’d had a week to re-boot and gargle. The only exception was when Mike Moustakas made an amazing tumbling-into-the-dugout catch that will go down in baseball lore along with Derek Jeter’s iconic flip play against Oakland, the catch by Willie Mays in center field off the bat of Vic Wertz (now I’m dating myself) and the Sandy Amoros grab in the 1955 Series (that one’s for the true baseball junkie like myself).
The Royals need to close it out this afternoon. They’re sending soft-tosser Jason Vargas to the mound against Miguel Gonzalez. Heck, the Orioles could send out Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally or Pat Dobson — each a 20-game winner for Baltimore in 1971 — and they might not have a chance. Right now, the Royals think they could beat ol’ Cy Young himself.
The Royals need to broom it. They can’t give Baltimore any semblance of hope, that they might pull off the impossible four-game sweep only achieved by the 2004 Boston Red Sox when they erased the Curse of the Bambino against the hated Yankees. Kansas City fans, despite this improbable postseason run, are still fragile. If Baltimore would win today and win Thursday, you’ll hear a stadium of “uh-ohs” being uttered.
I need the Royals to win today. I need to exhale and recalibrate and turn my attention to my beloved Cardinals, who are in serious trouble against San Francisco. They are teetering and I have a sinking feeling when they head home Thursday, they will do so with no more games left to play. The Giants have won the World Series in 2010 and 2012 and they want to add to their even-year legacy. If the Cardinals can’t win Game 4 today, they may as jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.