Sometimes, it’s a good thing to miss a Royals game.
I started my personal All-Star Break a day early and bypassed the closing contest of the first half. After reading a few recaps scattered through the interwebs, I’m not sorry.
That’s a prescription for high blood pressure.
Whatever. All that counts is the Royals cruise into the All-Star Break winners of eight of their last 11. They split with the Twins, swept the Rays and took two of three from the Jays. That’s a really, really great homestand.
It gives the Royals an American League best 52 wins. It is the fifth time in franchise history the club has topped the half-century mark at the break. It’s their best first half showing since winning 55 games in 1973.
Here’s a first half number I really like: 1,501,411. That’s the Royals attendance from their first 46 home games of the year, an average of 32,639 fans are passing through the turnstiles each game. That’s an increase of 9,973 fans per game over 2014. It underscores what we’ve been saying for years: Give Kansas City a winning baseball team, and they’ll support the hell out of it.
I know we point to last September and October, but for me, the renaissance began at this time in 2012. Of course you remember the Royals hosting the All-Star festivities that year. It was a four day party in Kansas City. FanFest was packed. The Futures Game was sold out and featured Yordano Ventura and Wil Myers. We booed Robinson Cano into taking the collar in the Home Run Derby. We serenaded Billy Butler with cheers.
Something happened that week that changed the course of baseball in Kansas City. Ownership noticed the passion. Here was proof that Kansas City truly loved baseball. It sounds insane, because the passion was always there. It could be difficult to find, but it was certainly there. Yet seeing all those people cheering the prospects in the futures game and giving Cano the business in the derby, flipped a switch. Baseball as a collective was impressed. They wondered aloud about why they took so long to return to KC, because the hospitality and the interest and the passion was off the charts. Kansas City wasn’t blasé about the game because we were in the midst of 29 years without meaningful baseball. For us, the All-Star Game was meaningful baseball.
It’s recent history, so there’s no need to go through a recap of the aftermath, but yes… baseball in Kansas City was reborn that All-Star week in 2012.
It’s as if we’ve come full circle. From the lone representative in 2012 and another 90 loss season, to this week with seven players for the defending American League champs. Quite a ride.