The Kansas City Royals electrified the baseball world by making the World Series last year as a wild card team, and continued effective budgeting by GM Dayton Moore has the team back in the postseason, this time as the American League Central Division champions. Even in a 5-2 defeat to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, the Royals’ collective feistiness and desire to win the blue collar way made itself known from start to finish.
And blue collar describes Kansas City to a tee, and not just because of the team’s colors. Rather than try to overwhelm opposing teams with high profile free agents, a myriad number of powerful bats and a big budget starting rotation, the Royals like to win the hard way, fighting tooth and nail for nine innings thanks to a group of young players who genuinely appear to play for the love of the game rather than the numbers on their paychecks.
In the playoffs, that desire to work hard and not ever coast could end up punching the team another ticket to the World Series.
When the Royals made the playoffs as an AL Wild Card team last season, it seemed like a borderline fluke that they won the play-in game, the ALDS, then the AL Pennant and got all the way to the World Series, where they lost to the San Francisco Giants in seven games. The fact that Kansas City got that far with a mere $98.8 million payroll seemed even more of an anomaly, considering how the Giants’ was at $178.2 million, so the thought that the Royals would get back to the playoffs in 2015 while playing in the tough AL Central with a strong team like the Detroit Tigers seemed borderline laughable.