Friday night we went to the Kansas City Royals game. Something we have done so many times before, both as a couple and as a family of three.
But this time felt different.
This time felt nostalgic.
This time felt like something was ending. There was no playoff chase. There was no hunt for a blue October. There was just Friday night baseball on a cool September evening. There was cotton candy and cheers for the home team. There were great plays and ones that should have been better. In the end, there were home runs and a W hung.
This time there were also standing ovations.
Watery eyes as we watched some of our favorite players take the last at-bats we would get to see in person in a Royals uniform. We watched an opposing pitcher who we once cheered for, who then became an important reason we had some of the guys we were sad to let go of this year. Better yet, we watched him lose while our guys shined one more time. There were autographs on ballcaps for Madeline and there were Salvy splashes.
There were memories.
Memories of the watching a group of guys play a game we love to watch together in a way that we have never seen before in our lives. Stolen bases, come from behind wins, and lines that just kept moving. There were memories of Patrick and I watching Hosmer make his MLB debut at the K. There are memories of watching the Royals clinch their first postseason appearance in 29 years and late nights watching October baseball for the two years. There were memories of listening to them speak during FanFest. Memories of watching a team mourn a fellow teammate, a brother this past offseason. Memories of a bond between a team, a bond with a city that seems to go beyond baseball.
I have read all the articles this weekend.
I have cried tears with each one. I have watched the highlight videos of careers that we have followed since some of these players were just 18-year-old kids. I have been sad. It feels like we are losing more than just great ballplayers. Losing some magic formula that made Kansas City and baseball and these players feel like more than just some random group of guys we watched play nine innings. They felt like friends, like a family to this city and it does feel a bit like mourning to know that we will most likely be saying goodbye to many of them over the next few months.
So to Moustakas and Hosmer and Cain and Escobar – Thank you for making baseball in Kansas City fun again. Thank you for making it cool to wear a Royals shirt outside of Kansas City again. Thank you for everything you did for our community, our charities, and city. You will always be Forever Royal to us.