Monday, March 31, 2008

I Have A Dream.

(With all due respect to the original speech, the words of which move me still, and I pray always will.)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest miracle season for a sports team in the history of our nation.

Two score years ago, a great American, whose name adorns the stadium in the shadow of which we sit for every home game, signed the Kansas City Royals into being. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Kansas City A’s fans who had been seared in the flames of utter incompetence. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their losing ways.

But forty years later, the Royals fan still is not free. Forty years later, the life of the Royals fan is still sadly crippled by years of bad draft picks and front office stupidity. Forty years later, the Royals fan lives on a lonely island of wins in the midst of a vast ocean of losses. Forty years later, the Royals fan is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself the butt of jokes throughout the land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to this blog to cash a check. When the architects of Major League Baseball and the MLBPA wrote the Collective Bargaining Agreement, they were signing a promissory note to which every baseball fan was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all fans, yes, Royals fans as well as Yankees fans, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Hope and Faith.” It is obvious today that Baseball has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her fans of small market teams are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, Baseball has given the Royals fan a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient payroll.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank account of David Glass is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of Wal-Mart stock he owns. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of a winning baseball team and the security of long-term contracts for all of our young players.

We have also come to this blog to remind Baseball of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of drafting players based on their signability or to take the tranquilizing drug of a rebuilding plan. Now is the time to make real the promises of a winning team. Two-thousand-and-eight is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Royals fan needed to blow off steam and will now be content with not having the worst record in baseball will have a rude awakening if their team returns to more 100-loss seasons.

But there is something that I must say to my people: in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for victories by drinking from the cup of boos and jeers. The marvelous new passion which has engulfed the Royals blogosphere must not lead us to a distrust of all our players, for many of them, as evidenced by Brian Bannister, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our support.

They cannot win alone.

And as they win, we must make the pledge that we shall always show up to support them.

There are those who are asking the devotees of the Royals, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Royals fan is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of the Buddy Bell Era. We can never be satisfied as long as Chip Ambres drops a routine flyball with two outs in the ninth to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We cannot be satisfied as long as Ken Harvey gets nailed in the back by a cutoff throw. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are forced to watch Angel Berroa swing at sliders in the dirt. We cannot be satisfied as long as Ross Gload starts every day at first base. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until there are “no outs to go!”

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the dream of every baseball fan.

I have a dream that today, on Opening Day, Gil Meche will rise up against the mighty Tigers lineup and smite them like a vengeful god, hurling fastballs and curveballs and brimstone and fire until nothing is left of the batter’s box in Detroit but ruins for future generations to ponder.

I have a dream that one day in the clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field, the sons of Floyd Bannister and Steve Swisher will be able to sit down together - after the former has vanquished the latter four times on his way to a complete-game victory.

I have a dream that Zack Greinke, The Baseball Jonah himself, will announce his return to the entire nation this April with a brilliant, befuddling performance against the New York Yankees, becoming the first Royal in a dozen years to strike out a dozen batters.

I have a dream that the Royals will complete only their second winning April since 1989, and there will be a discussion of the team on “Baseball Tonight” for the first time since 2003. Steve Phillips will even be moved to say, “this team will go as far as Mike Sweeney can take them.”

I have a dream that John Buck goes back to his front leg kick, and belts 30 home runs this season.

I have a dream that George Brett starts attending games wearing an Alex Gordon jersey.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that David DeJesus wins a batting title.

I have a dream that Mark Teahen plays five different positions this season, and hits at all of them.

I have a dream that Rob Neyer sends me an email in June. “Rany, old buddy,” he’ll say. “Do you think we could talk about the Royals?”

I have a dream that when the Royals play the Cardinals this summer, a sea of blue will envelop the stadium. Busch Stadium.

I have a dream that Billy Butler launches a line-drive home run to left-center field against C.C. Sabathia with such velocity that Grady Sizemore will need medical attention to treat cuts sustained from flying shards of what used to be a Dodge truck.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that Alberto Callaspo goes three whole months without striking out. And when he does, the ball gets away from the catcher and he reaches first base anyway.

I have a dream that two thirds of the planet is covered by water, and the other third is covered by Tony Pena.

I have a dream that the Royals fill their hole at first base when Vanderbilt slugger Pedro Alvarez falls to them with the #3 pick, and he comes up in July and looks for all the world like Frank Thomas did in 1990.

I have a dream that Joey Gathright discovers a heretofore-unknown method for stealing first base.

I have a dream that the Royals stop regretting that they didn’t draft Clayton Kershaw when they had the chance, and that the Dodgers start regretting that they didn’t sign Luke Hochevar when they had the chance.

I have a dream that baseball bats speak only English when Yasuhiko Yabuta is on the mound.

I have a dream that at the trading deadline, Dayton Moore suckers another general manager into giving us the extra starter we need for the rights to Colt Griffin and Roscoe Crosby.

I have a dream that our second baseman turns double plays with such blinding speed that next spring the old Mazeroski's Baseball magazine will be revived under the name "Grudzielanek's".

I have a dream that Brian Bannister wins a game in August throwing nothing but a knuckler he learned on the bus ride over from the hotel.

I have a dream that the Royals win a crucial game in September when the Mariners forfeit because they’re just too damn scared of facing ex-teammate Jose Guillen.

I have a dream that Greenpeace launches a protest outside Kauffman Stadium, claiming that Joakim Soria’s cutter is contributing to global warming by cracking so many bats.

I have a dream that in his first year as manager, Trey Hillman shows the tactical genius of Earl Weaver, imparts the fundamentals like Bobby Cox, and utters post-game quotes like Casey Stengel.

And if the Royals are to be a great team, this must become true.

And so let victories spring from the fountains of Kauffman Stadium.

Let victories spring from the dark cavern that is the Metrodome.

Let victories spring from the blighted skyline around Comerica Park.

Let victories spring from the highest reaches of the upper deck at U.S. Cellular Park.

Let victories spring from the Mistake that used to be the Jake known as Progressive Field.

But not only that:

Let victories spring from the exalted monuments of Yankee Stadium in the Division Series.

Let victories spring from the rocky boulders of the Big A in Anaheim during the ALCS.

Let victories spring from the ivy of Wrigley Field in the World Series.

From every ballpark and stadium and field, let victories spring.

And when this happens, when our beloved Royals shock the world by winning the AL Central, when they run roughshod over the Yankees and Angels and Cubs, when Gordon lifts Zack Greinke into the air on a cool October night in Kansas City, we will be able to see the day when all Royals fans, fans in powder blues and home whites, lifelong devotees and bandwagon jumpers, those listening to Denny Matthews on radio or those watching the TV with the sound down and still listening to Denny Matthews on radio, fans in their homes in Missouri or on farms in Kansas, fans celebrating in bars in Westport or from the stands at Kauffman Stadium, will be able to join hands and sing in the words that every baseball fan lives their whole life waiting to say:

“Champs at last! Champs at last! Thank God Almighty, we are champs at last!”

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW... Just... Wow.

What a PERFECT read to start opening day! I can't even put into words how awesome that post is. Now lets get to it, starting today in Detroit!

Keep up the great work, sir!

Anonymous said...

LOL! Perfect, Rany, simply perfect! Thank you for yet another brilliant entry.

Anonymous said...

I'm literally in tears. Come on Royals. Don't break my heart again.

Adam said...

A tear just rolled down my eye.

Todd said...

I laughed. I cried. Amazing.

ConGregation said...

Awesome job, Rany.

Alex said...

Wow, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who started to tear up. This is just too good.

Ron Hostetter said...

Awesome, Rany. You are the best.

Just curious... Did BP do the Faith and Hope articles this year? I don't see them on the web site...

Thanks

Adidas said...

Just having a postivie blog like this is enough. I don't need a world series in KC...... OK OK. Just kidding.

"We cannot be satisfied as long as Ken Harvey gets nailed in the back by a cutoff throw."

I was at that game. I threw up a little in my mouth when that play happened.

ChaimMKeller said...

You know, Rany, I could almost believe in that dream...until you mentioned Rob Neyer wanting to talk about the Royals again. Heck, "Rob 'n' Rany on the Royals" was updated seldom enough before he gave it up!!

And what's this "Big A in Anaheim" place you mention toward the end? I thought it was in Los Angeles! ;)

Cleveland said...

Thanks for capturing this seminal moment so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

I'm not even a Royals fan, and it still got a little dusty in here ...

David said...

I literally have chills right now after reading this. What a way to start the season!

Jim said...

Play ball!!!!!

Anonymous said...

you're the best, Rany. Gathright stealing first base...I LOVE that idea!!!

Anonymous said...

Great way to start the season, and it would be an even better way to end it!!
That said, can we PLEASE sing the national anthem in ROYALS stadium with "home of the brave" when the stadium is full this year? If I wanted to hear "home of the Chiefs" I'd go across the parking lot....
Go Royals!

bankmeister said...

That was really darn good. I won't give it a perfect because I can't justify blaming Buddy Bell for the last couple of seasons. Very good stuff, though. Very good, indeed.

Scott said...

I know that for even the most optimistic of us it is a long shot, at best, but if a championship season this year would be "the greatest miracle season for a sports team in the history of our nation," are we really justified in believing that the 2008 Royals are the best Royals team in recent memory, and headed in the right direction?

As great as every one of your posts have been, the best part of this blog is the ever-changing subtitle. Those lines perfectly capture Royals fans thinking in a single sentence.

Official Scorekeeper said...

Preach it, Rany!

Clifton said...

Note for later: A podcast of that would be a fine way to celebrate an AL Central pennant. :)

Pops said...

Beautiful, Rany. Thank you, sir.

Ryan said...

I traded for Soria and Gordon this past week. I'm winning or losing with our future.

Woo hoo! Royals are in first!!! The mighty Tigers fall!

162-0!!!

t-bone said...

Dolan, I knew that was you... Go Royals and thanks Rany for all this fine reading!

Anonymous said...

Perfect post. Today is the first of many days in first place

Anonymous said...

Please let it be true...

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Thank you!

NYRoyal said...

The dream is off to a good start. Royals opening day win over the supposedly unbeatable Tigers. They contained one of the best offenses in baseball and got to one of the best SP's in baseball for 4 er in 6 ip. Two comebacks and an extra inning win. The dream lives.

Anonymous said...

I was okay until you evoked the memory of Brett/Saberhagen in '85 via the Gordon/Greinke moment. That was beautiful. Can still see George's mouth wide open in glee as he vaulted Sabes into the night air in Kansas City.

Anonymous said...

tacky

Anonymous said...

"I have a dream that Billy Butler launches a line-drive home run to left-center field against C.C. Sabathia with such velocity that Grady Sizemore will need medical attention to treat cuts sustained from flying shards of what used to be a Dodge truck."

Loved That!

Saburo said...

Blog from heaven...
Thanks Rany!

Anonymous said...

um... wow... that is all

Jonathan T. said...

You are a god! Holy smokes, Batman! I would buy that from you...I would read it every year forever. Amazing...I literally almost cried and laughed really hard at the same time...wow...Did I mention that you are a god? Bless you Rany, bless you!

jjf3 said...

Rany,
It's been 2 days since I read this, and this is still the best summation of what Opening Day means to people that I have read. Awesome work. Especially the Ken Harvey mention...brilliant.

Joe