Thursday, April 17, 2014

ECKEL: Torn, but full of Royal hopes

By ABBY ECEKL, Herald Staff Writer | 8/12/2013

Boston always has been my first love, but Kansas City always has been home.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been cheering for the Boston Red Sox, but I’ve always loved the Royals. My feelings for both were torn Friday night as I attended the Royals-Red Sox game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. I had an opportunity to spend time on the field before the game, hang out in the Red Sox dugout and schmooze it up with some of my favorite Boston ball players.

Boston always has been my first love, but Kansas City always has been home.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been cheering for the Boston Red Sox, but I’ve always loved the Royals. My feelings for both were torn Friday night as I attended the Royals-Red Sox game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. I had an opportunity to spend time on the field before the game, hang out in the Red Sox dugout and schmooze it up with some of my favorite Boston ball players.

After hanging out with left fielder Jonny Gomes and having a moment with second baseman Dustin Pedroia, I quickly ran to the rest room to change into my Royals attire.

Though our seats favored the Red Sox, sitting six rows behind home plate and a few seats to the right of the Red Sox dugout, we were all Royals.

Coming off a 5-1 win Thursday night against the Red Sox, Kauffman Stadium was almost sold out for Friday’s game, and the excitement at the stadium was unlike anything I’d seen there before.

The Sox started out with the lead scoring a run in the first inning, but it didn’t faze fans; we sat quietly awaiting what some might call “a Royal comeback.”

The Royals aren’t known as the comeback team for no reason. By the top of the fifth inning, the Sox had a 6-3 lead over the Royals. Fans remained confident though, knowing this was only the calm before the storm.

The Royals cracked bats and shut up the Red Sox dugout in the sixth inning coming out and scoring six runs.

The majority of the sixth inning was spent on my feet, jumping up and down, cheering in excitement and high-fiving fellow fans. Royals fans were on top of the world, and nothing was going to bring them down.

I must admit, I’ve not always been a true Royals fan, but in all honesty, it’s only because they’ve broken my heart one too many times.

This is a different team though. One of the youngest teams in the MLB, the Royals are coming off an 18-5 winning streak since the All-Star break.

Kansas Citians who never gave the Royals a second glance in the past are now raising their eyebrows and sharing in the excitement and hopefulness of a playoff team.

Even David Ortiz, or better known to some as Big Papi, was surprised the Royals took the series against the Red Sox this past weekend.

“Told that the Royals were only 4 ½ games behind in the wild-card race, Ortiz shook his head,” the Boston Globe wrote Monday. “Man, they would be tough to play for somebody in the playoffs,” Ortiz told the newspaper. “They have a lot of talent. Those young guns are coming after people. Look at what they did to us.”

People are taking notice, and not only long-time fans and Kansas Citians — ESPN no longer saves clips of the Royals games for their laugh reels.

It’s been a long time since the Royals have given us this much hope for a playoff, and for that, we should not only take notice, but get our hopes up again that this year might just be our time.

Abby Eckel is a Herald staff writer. Email her at aeckel@ottawaherald.com

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