Although the staff here at The Leaven had Royals fever, it never developed into the “blue flu.” In other words, we love our world champion Royals, but couldn’t go to the celebratory parade as it was held on Tuesday, our deadline day.
To be honest, I’m just happy that I lived through this Royals season and postseason. You may not know this, but I play two positions for the team. In an American League park, I’m the DP (designated pray-er) and in a National League park, I become the DW (designated worrier). So many times in the postseason, I found myself mouthing the words of the man who said to Jesus: “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24)
Remember that fourth game of the American League Divisional Series against the Astros in Houston? It was an afternoon game on Columbus Day. I was diligently praying — I mean, working — in my Leaven office, wearing headphones so I couldn’t hear the applause or groans from those in the building watching the game live. I’m so glad that I didn’t know that the Royals, facing elimination, were trailing 6-2 in the top of the eighth inning with only a 3.2 percent chance of winning. I would have had heart failure.
Things got no better when the Royals were in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, which was played on a Saturday afternoon. When I went over to hear confessions, the Blue Jays were ahead 1-0. By the time I went to put on my Mass vestments, we were behind 2-0. When I got to the back of church, I held up two fingers to the usher to see if that was still the score. He shook his head and held up three fingers. After Mass ended, I whispered to the usher on my way out, “How bad is it?” He grabbed my arm and said, “You get right back up there on the altar. It’s 4-3!” “Good guys?” I asked. “Yes!” he gushed.
As people filed out of Mass, a parishioner flashed his Apple watch at me, now showing a score of 5-3. Shaking her head, his wife “assured” me that he didn’t look at that watch even once during Mass.
And don’t even talk to me about the World Series! I was so battered by Game 1 that I wanted to hear nothing about Game 2. So, I went to Quality Hill Playhouse to enjoy an evening of song and to escape. I’d just sat down and opened the program when an elderly lady behind me said to her husband, “Well, I hope that darn Cueto is on tonight!” For goodness sake, there was no escaping the series.
At intermission, a woman across the aisle stomped her feet and moaned, “Rats! Rats! Rats!” I checked to see if any rodents were scurrying away, but she was only lamenting that the Royals were behind 1-0 to the Mets. I scampered quickly to the lobby only to hear the woman in the ticket booth yelling that the Royals had tied it up. As the show resumed, the emcee announced from the stage that the Royals were ahead 3-1. So much for avoiding the game and its stress.
So, no one was happier than me on Sunday night when the Royals beat the Mets! Sure, I was thrilled that we won the Series, but I was just as happy to retire from my DP and DW positions. (I found it’s much less nerve-racking, by the way, to watch the postgame highlights, since you already know the outcome!)
Seriously, there are so many positive things that one could say about these Royals. Perhaps, though, Dayton Moore, the general manager, said it best in an interview from 2006 with former Kansas City Star sports columnist Joe Posnanski.
“It’s our job as an organization to build a team that this town can be proud of,” said Moore. “And from what you’re telling me, [Joe], that’s a team that plays the game hard, a team filled with good character guys, a team that plays good defense, a team that never gives up. How do you think a team like that would resonate here?”
Well, we got that type of team and, judging from the massive crowd that turned up for the parade, I’d say it resonates pretty well here. You know, a team like that would make a great parish as well.
Two final points:
For all my fellow DPs and DWs out there, don’t forget to fervently thank God as least as many times as you appealed to him during the season.
Secondly, let’s savor these special Royals by modifying what we’ve chanted all season. Do it with me: “Thank you, Royals!” (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)