The Best (and Worst) Royals moments of 2015

It’s was a damn fine year, Kansas City. Not only did the Royals win the World Series (yes, that really happened) after coming up one game short in 2014 (and it took the greatest postseason pitching performance(s) to do so), but its been historic for our local teams, as the Chiefs – who set a NFL mark by being the first team to win eight games in a row (now 9) immediately after losing five in a row AND became only the second team to make the playoffs after starting 1-5 – are in the playoffs, marking the first time in their existence that both the Chiefs and Royals made the postseason in the same year. WOW. In the process, Andy Reid’s 30 wins in three seasons, is the most ever by a Chiefs head coach in a 3-year span, as he has made the dance twice in three years and the year they didn’t make it, they finished 9-7 and were not eliminated until the final week of the season.

The story of the 2015 Chiefs is not over as the final chapter is yet to be written. But, the story that was 2015 for the WORLD CHAMPION Kansas City Royals, is the best story to come out of the Truman Sports Complex…ever?

Let’s dive in.

I’m not happy that 2015 is coming to an end, but I’m sure happy it happened. The obvious number one memory from 2015 will be the Royals World Series Championship. What an incredible season this team put together! It’s unbelievable what those boys did! Wire to Wire being the best TEAM in baseball. While they didn’t always possess the best record, though they were always close, no other team played better together as a whole. No other team had the depth of talent that this Royals squad had. The Royals never had to rely on one or two players to always come through and carry the team. Each and every player had his moment in season, and in the postseason, making this one of the greatest TEAM achievements I’ve ever seen. These are some of my most memorable moments while on the ride.

We all have a lot of great 2015 memories that we’ll likely never forget. Acquiring Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto to help in the postseason, and boy did they. The fantastic weather and organization of a World Series parade downtown with 800,000 new and old friends. I know there were some complaints about bathrooms and crowds, but, honestly it was handled about as well as could be expected of that many people in that area. WE WON THE WORLD SERIES.

For me, Wade Davis’s performance in game 6 of the ALCS was possibly the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen from any relief pitcher. I think it’s my favorite moment that wasn’t WINNING THE WORLD SERIES! With a 2-run lead in the 8th inning, Ned Yost opted to go to Ryan Madson, rather than closer, Wade Davis. Madson had a rough track record vs. these Blue Jays in 2015 (1.2 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 27.00 ERA), but Ned always believes in his guys, which is why they love him so much. After an infield single to Ben Revere and strikeout of AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista took Madson deep (his second jack of the game) to tie the game. Madson would then walk Edwin Encarnacion. Now Yost calls on the dominant Davis to put an end to the bleeding, and he does. He pops up Chris Colabello on two pitches, and strikes out Troy Tulowitzki after a full count. Then, after a 45-minute rain delay, the cyborg Wade Davis remains in the game. Unheard of, but, this was the postseason and potentially clinching game. Lorenzo Cain draws a leadoff walk and is driven in on a single by Hosmer to right field. Yes. Scored on A SINGLE to RIGHT FIELD. The rally ends there, but the Royals take a one run lead into the 9th . Russell Martin leads of the top of the 9th with a single and is pinch run for with the speedy Dalton Pompey. Pompey promptly steals his way to third base! No outs, runner on 3B and now a 3-2 count to batter, Kevin Pillar. Wade walks Pillar. Runners now on first and third, with no outs. Davis strikes out Dioneer Navaro and Ben Revere (Revere was NOT happy) for the first two outs. Then, maybe the best part, Donaldson grounds out to third base (he does not have a solid history at the K in the postseason). The Kansas City Royals are back-to-back, American League Champions!

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Here are a few things that happened over the course of 2015 that you may (or may not) have forgotten what with all the celebrating and winning World Championships:

April 26 – Alex Gordon makes an incredible catch in Chicago going three rows deep into left field foul territory. Rex Hudler is amused:

May 20 – Again, Alex Gordon does Alex Gordon things chasing a ball down and crashing into the left field wall. OMG…WADE DAVIS SMILES!              

June 29 – A special personal favorite – Joel Goldberg gives ME a shout out on the Fox Sports Kansas City broadcast! July 22 – Mike Moustakas delivers a 3-run home run to break up a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 7th inning vs the Pittsburgh Pirates at Kauffman stadium. Salvador Perez is so happy for him and gave us this gem:  

 

         

 

July 28 – Cleveland Indians catcher, Roberto Perez, hits a ground ball up the middle which is cut off by Omar Infante. Infante glove flips to Alcides Escobar who makes a barehanded catch and throw to first baseman, Eric Hosmer for the out!

 

August 5 – Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias is hit by a pitch…in a not so great area for him, but, the Fox Sports Kansas City camera team was all over this one. A+ work.

September 15 – We get multiple fun things. A Royals 2-0 win. Alex Rios hits a fifth inning home run in Cleveland, and the stadium fireworks operator turns on the show. He feels shame:

 

Later in the game, a foul ball carries into the first few rows of seats off the left side of the infield and a fan isn’t quite ready. “Is that a dome shot? Ohhhh my! …”Uncle Fester!” – Hud

 

September 22 – Ryan Lefevbre and Rex Hudler have a discussion about words. Hud very much owns that words can be hard for him.

     

 

September 24 – The Royals clinch their first ever Central Division title. Joel Goldberg and Yordano Ventura celebrate together:

 

 

October 14 – After winning the ALDS series vs. the Houston Astros, we learn that Yordano Ventura is not a fan of second hand smoke AND we also learn on this day that Kelvin Herrera will NOT have Jarrod Dyson stealing his camera time. How about a splash of ice cold Budweiser to the mouth, Jarrod?

 

October 25 – Yordano Ventura drops an all time great. He is very understandably excited about returning to the World Series and he sings it out.

October 30 – Mets starting pitcher, Noah Syndergaard starts World Series Game three with a message to Royals leadoff hitter, Alcides Escobar. Syndergaard sends a high and tight fastball just in front of his face. Mike Moustakas replies to this message from the dugout. The Royals would later reply to this message, as a group, with a World Series Championship. They converged on the mound, where he suggested they met him at, and he was not there:


(THE WORST)

April 17 – Serious injury and lengthy loss of eventual ALCS MVP, Alcides Escobar, is thankfully avoided when Brett Lawrie goes in with an unnecessary hard slide to second base:

With the trade of Brett Lawrie to the White Sox this offseason, we now will have the pleasure of seeing this punk 19 times in 2016, and possibly beyond. He usually wears out his welcome on most teams rather quickly. Because, Asshole.

April 23 – In the first series of the season, tempers flared with Lorenzo Cain and White Sox pitcher, Jeff Samardzija after Cain was hit by a pitch. Yordano Ventura displayed some struggles with maturity in the previous series in Anaheim with superstar, Mike Trout. The Lawrie hard slide into Escobar’s leg, lead to dugouts clearing after a retaliation pitch to Lawrie. The Royals were being labeled as bad boys for throwing inside early in the season. Though at the time, and this held up throughout the entire season, they had been hit by more pitches, than HBP they had delivered to opponents. (End of season totals Royals batters HBP: 77, opponents hit by Royals pitches: 52) After a ground ball back to Ventura from Adam Eaton, Ventura made comments to Eaton and things got out of hand. Punches were thrown, suspensions were handed out, and we got the Great Cain-holio.

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Players suspended as a result of this: Eaton (7 games), Edinson Volquez (5 games), Jeff Samardzija (5 games), Chris Sale (5 games), Kelvin Herrera (2 games), and Cain (2 games). White Sox catcher, Tyler Flowers was also fined for his actions.

July 8 – Gold Glove and All Star left fielder, Alex Gordon goes back on a ball to the wall and doesn’t make it to the ball. All of Kansas City held its breath as we watched him lay on the ground in pain. He would miss 8 weeks (47 games).

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Fortunately, the Royals wouldn’t miss a beat, and strangely had a better winning percentage while he recovered. 31-16 record without Gordon (.660), 64-50 with Gordon (.561).

August 9, September 26, and October 27 – Mike Moustakas lost his mother, Chris Young and Edinson Volquez lost their father’s. Needless to say, losing a parent is not easy. I lost my mother as a high school senior, and for me, I was numb. I didn’t want to do anything. Like Johnny Gomes said, It is truly “…unbelievable what those boys did. It’s unbelievable what they did.”

Whatever may happen in future seasons, the excitement this team has brought us over the past season is unforgettable. I will always remember never feeling like this team was out of a game, no matter the score or inning. Their confidence in their own ability to comeback always led me to believe as well. Thank you to all the players, front office, stadium staff, and broadcast teams for bring it to us, the fans. You all made it possible, and in my opinion, delivered it better than any other franchise could have.

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