Royal revels: KC celebrates after clincher
KANSAS CITY -- In one corner of the Royals' clubhouse, players jumped and cheered in a circle, drinking and spraying Dom Perignon at each other, all the while chanting "1738" as Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen" blared in the background, the song that became their second-half anthem during the ride toward their first division title in 30 years.
In the hour after the Royals' 10-4 win over the Mariners that secured the American League Central title, the players and coaches and front-office folks celebrated and partied with almost the same energy as last year's postseason clincher in Chicago that locked up their first post-season trip in 29 years.
"It's not quite as much fun as last year," Hall of Famer George Brett said, "but it's still pretty damn fun."
Even Royals owner David Glass, drenched in champagne, noticed one subtle difference: "You know, last year they were spraying the champagne and drinking the beer. At least this year they're drinking the champagne and spraying the beer."
All around the clubhouse there were lasting images. There was Brett, the third baseman from the 1985 World Series champions, hugging this year's third baseman, Mike Moustakas.
"I'm really happy for you," Brett shouted at Moustakas, through the noise.
"We'll make ya proud," Moustakas shouted back.
There was general manager Dayton Moore bear-hugging center fielder Lorenzo Cain, the player Moore brought to Kansas City in the Zack Greinke trade along with shortstop Alcides Escobar -- that was the deal that announced to the baseball world that the Royals were going to become as athletic a team as they could.
"This is good. This is good," Moore said into Cain's ear as more champagne sprayed their way.
In another corner a jubilant Luke Hochevar hugged newcomer Ben Zobrist. Hochevar sat out all of last year after Tommy John surgery and witnessed the 2014 celebration from the sidelines. This time he was a major contributor, and front and center.
"Last year was something special," Hochevar said. "But this year ... I'd be lying if I didn't say it meant more. Just being able to contribute on the field makes you feel so much a part of it. This is just great."
Soon it was time for another victory lap outside as a few thousand fans hung around to enjoy the party a little longer. The players huddled with their families on the field as the crowd cheered.
Chants of "MVP! MVP!" showered Cain as he stepped out of the dugout.
Second baseman Omar Infante, who could be out for the entire postseason because of an oblique strain, and Moustakas, held up the "W" sign that is hung outside the Royals Hall of Fame after each victory.
Fans cheered for closer Greg Holland, who earlier in the day spoke with deep emotion about his season coming to an end because of a torn ligament in his elbow that he had tried to play through.
And, of course, there was manager Ned Yost, who a year ago was almost run out of town, now toasting along with the gleeful fans.
"Without you," Yost shouted, "we never would have gotten here. You're the greatest!"