Rest easy, Kansas City. You’re royal again.
For the second straight season, the Kansas City Royals are heading back to the postseason. Only this time, they won’t be forced to sweat things out as a wild card.
Thanks to the team’s 10-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night, and the Minnesota Twins’ loss to the Cleveland Indians, these 2015 Royals are now champions of the American League Central for the first time in franchise history.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said Royals second baseman Ben Zobrist. “It hasn’t been done here for a long time. There’s a lot of guys in this clubhouse I’ve talked to that have toiled for years to get to this point, to win the division. For them to do it, you can see the kind of sigh of relief, the excitement in the organization.”
While this is the first-ever AL Central crown for the Kansas City Royals, it’s not as if they haven’t been in this position before. The organization has topped its division in the past. It just hasn’t happened in 30 years — not since KC won the AL West back in 1985.
Can you imagine waiting for anything for that long? We certainly can’t. Which is why we couldn’t possibly put into words what this must mean for a starving fan base. Still, that doesn’t mean we won’t try.
Prior to this latest accomplishment, the Royals found themselves in one of the most unfavorable positions in Major League Baseball. Their 29-season drought between division titles was the longest active streak in the entire league.
Of all the Major League teams with the good fortunate to have experienced division glory, only the Pirates came close to matching Kansas City’s suffering. Of course, considering the Pirates won the NL East in 1992, the Royals did have a seven-year head start. If you’re looking for other organizations that truly know what Kansas City has had to go through these past three decades, you’ll have to turn your attention to other professional leagues.
Fortunately for us, the heavy lifting has already been done. According to MLB.com:
“For the sake of comparison, the NFL’s Cleveland Browns haven’t won a division title since 1989, the longest active drought in the NFL. The NBA’s Washington Wizards haven’t won a division championship since 1978-79, a 36-year drought.”
At least the Royals can officially cross their names off that list. We don’t see the Browns or Wizards following suit anytime soon.
The Kansas City Royals — and their fans — have had to go through 29 consecutive seasons without capturing a division crown. To finally have that monkey off their back has to be extremely rewarding. That absolutely deserve to celebrate. However, this is no time to get overzealous. There is still work to be done.
Winning one’s division is commendable, but it loses some of its luster if you can’t win the whole shebang — especially if the odds are in your favor. The last time the Kansas City Royals won their division, they captured the World Series as well. If you ask us, that would be some history worth repeating. We’re sure the current squad would agree.