Blue Heaven: Royals fans can’t stop pinching themselves
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even the damn broom has a narrative, and it starts something like this: Steven Vidauri wanted to wear blue to work Wednesday, but the bosses said no dice.
So he did what any other enterprising and baseball-mad Kansas City Royals fan would do these days: He vandalized the hell out of something that he could carry around until it looked suitably blue.
In this case, that something was a broom with a long black handle and a black head, to which he wrapped duct tape in a swirly pattern and taped the letters "KC" on the head where everybody could see. Especially when he started waving it around madly the way the Scots in "Braveheart" did before they charged the English, so all of the Power & Light district could revel in its bushy blue glory.
"I didn’t think it would be at (age) 27," the Kansas City native said after watching his beloved Royals sweep the Baltimore Orioles, 4-0, Wednesday night to clinch the franchise’s first American League pennant and World Series berth since 1985 — the first in his (young) lifetime.
"I thought it would be when my kids were having kids. I still can’t believe it."
Believe, my friend.
Believe in the power of Moose and the magic bat of Nori. Believe in the heat of Yordano and the cool of Wade. Believe in Shields, Vargy and J-Guts, making sweet tapestry of the strike zone. Believe in LoCain covering whatever parts of the Earth an ocean hasn’t gotten to yet.
Believe in Gordo, in the power of gold strong enough to knock down walls, yet persistent and tender enough to move Buck Showalter to tears.
Believe in Ned.
(Stop laughing. 8-0 is 8-0, people.)
Believe in Dayton, in the satisfaction of renovations realized.
Believe that this is, indeed, what speed do.
While closer Greg Holland sealed another coffin, a few miles away, beneath the shadows of the Sprint Center, strangers high-fived strangers. Streamers shot into the smiling masses. The mosh pit bobbed and weaved and wiggled with joy. Husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, fathers and sons.
Some arm in arm. Others only in spirit.
"Dad went to this one," Jake Boone, Steven’s slightly tipsier friend, shouted gleefully, pulling out his smart phone. He thumb-scrolled through a library of pictures, then stopped at a tiny shot of a man holding up a tiny 1985 World Series ticket, the one that belonged to his father. He beamed. "I’m going to this one."
"We are now going to at least two games," Steven shouted. He pointed at his new ‘do, cropped tight on the sides, inspired by the Royals’ slugging first baseman.
"(Boone) is the one who gave me this haircut," Vidauri explained. "It’s the Hosmer ‘Hawk."
"I cut it before the wild card," Jake interjected, as if that was the totemic sacrifice that put their beloved men over the top.
That or the broom. Lorde, Lorde, Lorde.
"The hashtag will never die!" Steven shouted, shaking the broom with enough zest to wake the hordes of Falkirk. "The Orioles just got Yosted!"
Believe. Believe in October karma. Believe you can ice a game without ever getting a dribbler past the infield.
Believe in bunts. Because why the hell not?
Believe in small ball and run prevention, in a world where speed and fundamentals bring the thunder.
Believe in a Fall Classic, dadgum it, because you’re getting one.
After all this time, all those miles, after all those face-palms and heartaches and times you screamed like Roger Daltrey that expletive-expletive it, you weren’t going to get fooled again.
After the times you came for the beer and the food and the fountains, you can stay for the baseball. You can wear your heart on your sleeve. Or your head. Or your chest. A crown with four points, symbolizing the circles of hell you endured to get to Wednesday night’s champagne showers and caviar dreams.
"How ’bout them (expletive) Royals," a patron said, loud and proud, as darkness fell over the downtown skyline.
Another couple passed, all dimples and blue.
"You may not be into this," the man said to his blonde lady friend, stopping to break stride. "But I’m gonna cry now."