Royals fans revel in return to playoffs at rally back home
KANSAS CITY -- For Royals fan Judy John, the allure of a chance to celebrate was too much to pass up.
Even the weather, with the temperature in the low-50s exacerbated by strong winds, could not stop John, of Odessa, Mo., and a group of other Royals devotees from attending the team's rally at the American Royal festivities in preparation for Kansas City's upcoming American League Division Series games.
"It has been awesome, it's just hard to describe," said John, of her team's first postseason appearance since 1985. "It's just so surreal."
The main annual attraction at the American Royal is the World Series of Barbeque, but this year, the Royals playoff push added a new dimension to the event.
A prominent wave of blue was evident throughout the American Royal Complex.
"I hate to say this, but we're seeing a lot of the fair-weathered fans wearing blue," John said with a chuckle. "But that's OK with me."
The gathering in front of the American Royal Main Stage featured team mascot Sluggerrr, Kauffman Stadium host Danaya and the KCrew amping up Royals fans for Game 2 of the ALDS, which takes place in Anaheim on Friday night.
Win or lose, the Royals will return to The K for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Monday, if necessary.
"It's been a great year," said Brent Begley of Kansas City. "We've been waiting a long time, obviously everyone's been waiting a long time -- 29 years. Good fans here in Kansas City. It's nice to see a winner."
John saw the team at its peak in the 1980s, and then at its nadir when 28 years of postseason-less baseball followed a 1985 World Series title.
Now she's just thrilled that other fans can experience what she did when she fell in love with the team in high school watching the George Brett-led Royals.
"I was around in the '70s to see their winning, I saw them win in 80s, and then we really had a rough 29 years, and now all the young people are now seeing what I felt and they're understanding that," John said.
Between the Royals' postseason push, and the Chiefs clobbering the Patriots on Monday Night Football, it was a fantastic week for Kansas City sports.
"This is the best city to be in in the whole world right now," said Rick Lalla of Independence, Mo.