Ostergaard: Hal McRae’s steak and other reasons to love the Royals

From SABR member Josh Ostergaard at the New Yorker on October 15, 2014:

When the Kansas City Royals sprinted into the postseason for the first time in twenty-nine years, I felt like an atheist who’d died and been ushered through the pearly gates into Heaven, no questions asked. I’m happy to be here, yet I’m bewildered. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the faith of a true son of Kansas City.

I was in my mother’s womb during the fall of 1976, when the Royals first reached the playoffs. We lost in five games to the Yankees. A few months later, doctors delivered me into the golden age of Royals baseball. Ewing Kauffman, the team’s owner, tended his club with attention and care. George Brett won batting titles, Frank White snagged gold gloves, and the team was in playoff contention every season. They made the World Series in 1980, then won it in ’85.

In the slow motion of childhood, the first sign that the kingdom was vulnerable was the death, in 1987, of Dick Howser, who’d managed the World Series victors. Then Frank White retired, the great center fielder Willie Wilson went to the A’s, and the slugger Bo Jackson’s hip was destroyed in a football game. George Brett won another batting title in 1990, but that year the Royals finished in second-to-last place. He retired three seasons later. In retrospect, these were normal, if painful, changes, and they didn’t destroy the team or my devotion.

Read the full article here: http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/hal-mcraes-favorite-swiss-steak-reasons-love-royals

Originally published: October 16, 2014. Last Updated: October 16, 2014.