A new color appeared at Weston’s Applefest last weekend — Royals blue. Usually as the people stroll down Main Street at the annual event, you’ll see mostly Chiefs red, perhaps a little Mizzou black and gold or some K-State purple. It is after all football season. Although this past weekend, baseball season was still on, and the Kansas City Royals are winning big time.
Am I dreaming? Surely not. Are you kidding me? Wow! Giddy. Unbelievable. Did that really happen? Tension. Euphoria. Amazing. Wonderful. Do we really have to wait until Friday for another game?
Baseball was played during the Civil War, so let’s assume 150 years from now some guy or gal is sitting in a comfortable chair in Platte County reading about baseball history in the Kansas City area. The words will of course focus on players, scores and a setting at Kauffman Stadium in an adjoining county south of the river.
Elevated trams may make the ballpark only 15 minutes away by then or 5 if they’ve moved it downtown. But let’s assume the stadium still seems like a trek away.
Let it be known to history that in every corner far and wide from old KC, there lived long-suffering baseball fans who faithfully watched games almost nightly on television. Or in cases like mine, they preferred listening while sitting on the back deck on a summer night to Hall of Fame broadcaster Denny Mathews call a game on the radio.
Our hopes and faith have been dashed repeatedly on the rocks of baseball bad luck and ineptitude. In fact, the entertainment became, at times, following the Royals to see just how bad things could be. In the better days, it was that our team won against seemingly all odds begat by history.
Then, we won over and over. Are you sure? Please don’t wake me up.
I mean, we barely won in dramatic fashion in a do-or-die Wild Card game. That alone seemed to make the season a success for the baseball team but also, a deeply satisfying validation crept into souls of the faithful. Then the Royals swept the Angels in three games to advance to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1985.
The Royals soundly whipped what was considered the best team in baseball. The notoriously slowest man on the team stole second base. Hitters who were heart broke by hitless frustration during the regular season homered.
Suddenly I’m in denial about the possibility of us losing, ever again.
Our spirits should never be hitched to a sports team because emotional crush is only a bad game away, but we cannot help it. We’re drinking deeply. Then we exhale the past.
Who cares if it lasts? This feels too good in the moment to stop.
The person reading our history in the future can never fully know just how high and how fast our hearts shot skyward due to baseball during the past week. Oh the glory of the unexpected victory, followed by more victories. Success fans fan flames. On Sunday, I was sitting on the straw bales on Main Street at Weston’s Applefest waiting for friends to play music onstage. People filed past. Men wore KC Royals baseball caps. Women sported Royals t-shirts. Parents pushed kids attired in the Royals logo in baby strollers.
Will it endure?
Weston’s Applefest is perhaps the largest and most enduring festival in the county, unless you throw the Platte County Fair into the mix. The place was packed with people and street vendors were busy. Apples and pumpkins in October are timeless. But the Royals winning, is it just a passing joy? Like our recently unusually cool summer that also brought good rains?
Either way, what a beautiful week it is. And until we’re beaten, I’ll keep daydreaming that I’ll need a cup of hot spiced apple cider laced with cinnamon to keep my hands warm listening to Denny Mathews call a World Series game on a chilly October night.
Bill Graham, who lives in the Platte City area with his family, may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.