The Razz: Tales From a Bandwagon Fan

Author’s note: I realize that a LOT of my columns lately have been Royals-related. That’s because my life has revolved around the Royals for the last month, and that is not even a little bit of an exaggeration. I went to three postseason games. The ones I couldn’t personally attend, I was busy arranging meetups with friends and food and so, so many drinks at my favorites dives around the city or apartments with cable. I left work early a LOT and got into the office late even more often (thanks boss, you’re the real MVP). I made it to the gym maybe four or five of the last thirty days. I over drafted my bank account HALFWAY THROUGH THE MONTH.

But it was fucking worth it.

Parade faces

* * *

I’ll admit that I’m not a Royals lifer. I moved to Kansas City a little over two years ago, right when being a Royals fan became fun and cool and not painful and tragic. I’ve never paid much attention to baseball until now because I didn’t understand it’s intricacies like I do basketball (from playing it) or, to some extent, football (from watching dudes I like play it). I’ll be the first to admit to you that I don’t know the struggle of a lifelong Royals fan.

But in my defense:
a) I’m hardworking, enthusiastic, and loyal as shit – all characteristics that I think Kansas Citians and Royals fans value and embody.
b) Kansas City is now my home and the Royals are my team. This is my home base. Even if I move away for another boy or another job (or both), even if the Royals go another thirty years without so much as a shot at the postseason, my potential offspring and I are stuck with this team. I love them.

S,o instead of lamenting the pain that being a Royals fan has(n’t) brought me and contrasting it with the magic and wonder of this World Series win, I’m just gonna leave you with some personal anecdotes, with the help of The Three Greatest Songs for a Royals World Championship:

  1. Queen – We Are The Champions

I was at the bar down the street from my apartment, Hi-Dive, when the Royals won it all. I started drinking vodka water with lime in the sixth inning – not because I had given up hope, but because I knew we were going to win and I needed to start prepping my body for the party. We bought victory shots right before the Royals tied the game in the eighth. I know this seems silly in retrospect, but there was never a doubt in my mind that we would win it Sunday night.  I just had a feeling, one I’ve only ever felt one other time in my life.


I don't have a clever caption for this. We're just World Champions is all.

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My sophomore year of high school, my basketball team won the state championship. I was a mostly-JV player who they let on the floor during the last quarter of varsity games if we were smoking our opponent by 20 points or more, which we often were that season. I didn’t personally have a lot to contribute to the team besides being lanky and goofy and nearly-always having a smile on my face (the exact same things I contributed to the Royals’ world championship).

I felt the same way about that team as I do about the 2015 Royals. I never spent any time doubting them. From day one of basketball practice, from day one of the postseason, I just knew we were going to win and it’s a feeling I’m not sure how to describe. It sort of starts in your stomach and spreads all the way out to your face and fingertips when your team does something particularly magical, steals a base or blocks a shot or whatever.

Back to the bar – as soon as Wade Davis threw that last out to seal the Royals victory, the whole city went mad. I think there was champagne, but I don’t remember because of the plethora of spilled drinks and hugs and tears – there was just a lot of moisture happening. I do know that We Are The Champions played because I have a video of it…

I remember the song playing in the locker room after we won the state championship. There wasn’t any champagne to be popped because we were sixteen but our moms and our coaches were all there, crying and beaming. We were jumping around and hugging and We Are The Champions played on a loop.
Two of the most perfect moments of my life.

2. Fetty Wap – Trap Queen

I’m a big fan of trap music in general, because I’m a big fan of shaking my ass as soon as any alcohol hits my system and trap music is incredibly dance-able.  Trap Queen was such a smash hit that it might have gotten a little overplayed and overdone, if it weren’t for the Royals. Sometime mid-summer, reporters started to notice that the players were dropping subtle references to “1738” (Fetty Wap’s first line in the song) in their post-game interviews. Eventually the story broke that these goobs were fining each other if they DIDN’T reference 1738 to the media.

They were winning a LOT, they were feeling good. They gave the media and the fans insight into their locker room antics and we couldn’t get enough. The kitchen chalkboard at my house has read 1738 for the last month. Our fearless leader and HBIC Gat got drunk during game 5 of the ALDS…

People all over the city started finding 1738s everywhere. Some super-dedicated person person figured out that Hosmer crossed the plate to tie Game 5 exactly 17 hours and 38 minutes into the World Series.

It was our siren song for Royals fandom. I’m sure everyone else thought we were crazy. And maybe we are. “Everybody hatin’, we just call ‘em fans though.”

3. Hood Go Crazy – Tech N9ne

I was in Vegas in May with seven of my girlfriends. One night, we went to a club when David Guetta was DJ-ing. We were dancing and having a great time; I may or may not have jumped into the pool in my underwear. We were feeling ourselves. At some point, a group of guys who claimed they sold real estate in Aspen invited us into their cabana (they actually ended up being very nice and not creepy) and we partied with them until the sun came up. Sometime around 4 a.m., the club mostly cleared out except for degenerates like us, Hood Go Crazy by Kansas City’s own Tech Nino came on the loudspeakers. It only took a moment for my friends and me to lock eyes and then we proceeded to lose our god damn minds. We jumped up on the couches and tables, any available surface, and started jamming out, by ourselves, singing every single word of Tech’s ode to our hood.

That's me in the back soaking wet
That’s me in the back soaking wet

When the song came on right before I left the bar that had housed my world championship experience, it was so perfect I nearly cried. This IS the type of shit that makes the hood go crazy. I was actually in my neighborhood, with a bunch of my really good friends, having this shared experience with them in the way you only can if you’ve lived in Kansas City. It was jazz and beer and barbecue and baseball and that grumble in Tech’s voice, all rolled up into thirty years of anticipation and heartbreak.

I could go on about the rest of the evening, the drinks and the cheers and the hugs and laughs, hi-fiving people in their cars as I walked down the street, sporadic  “Let’s Go Royals” cheers that broke out every few minutes until the sun came up, the electric celebration that gives you chills. I could tell you about the parade. Nearly a million patient, kind people, probably every able-bodied person in the metro, walking miles, standing on tiptoes, hoisting kids above their heads, just to get a glimpse of their world championship team, the players, the manager, the trophy.  I don’t have to go on about it though. If you live in Kansas City, or near Kansas City, you already know. And if you don’t live in Kansas City, well, I can’t speak for everyone who has survived 29 years of heartbreak for this. But I’m almost sure that they would say it was worth it, for an October I will never forget.