Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Joe Posnanski on the marriage between Kansas City and Royals baseball

Your read of the day:

The Royals represented so much of what Kansas City wanted to believe about itself. They were a family. They were creative. They were tough. And they were part of the community … you could go out to the Plaza after a game, and there would be star third baseman George Brett or big first baseman John Mayberry or pitcher Dennis Leonard. You could buy a player a drink, and he would probably walk over and talk about the game. Frank White, who grew up in Kansas City and worked on the construction crew that built the new Royals Stadium (now the even newer Kauffman Stadium), played second base like no one had ever played it before.

Willie Wilson, perhaps the fastest man to ever play major league baseball, would hit balls that skidded off the artificial turf, and he would be a wonder to watch run around the bases. Hal McRae, who believed that you played baseball to win, would slide hard to break up double plays. Relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry would throw strike after strike after strike, counting on his brilliant defense to make the great plays behind him. And more often than not, it did.

Kansas City could not get enough of that team. From 1976 to 1993, the Royals, playing in perhaps the smallest market in baseball, averaged more than 2 million fans per season.

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