Among the favorite teams of former Democrat staff writer J.R. Lind are the Hendersonville Commandos, the Alabama Crimson Tide, the MTSU Blue Raiders and the Kansas City Royals.
He graduated from Hendersonville, attended Alabama and received his degree from MTSU. Kansas City?
As he explained to me one time, when he was a child, he decided to choose his favorite baseball team based on the outcome of the 1985 World Series between the Royals and St. Louis Cardinals.
And because of an errant decision by umpire Don Denkinger [all right, it’s not all the ump’s fault], J.R. has been subjected to nearly three decades of summertime frustration.
Give him credit, he’s stuck with the Royals through either thick or thin, but not both, because Kansas City, one of the game’s top organizations for the decade preceding 1985, became the poster child of all the poster children of baseball’s have nots. They lost their manager, Dick Howser, and closer, Dan Quisenberry, to cancer within a few years of their championship. Their forays into free agency [Cy Young-winning reliever Mark Davis] ended disastrously and then they couldn’t even afford to do that.
A year ago, I wrote in this space about the Pittsburgh Pirates’ resurgence after nearly a quarter century of irrelevance. The Royals are this year’s Pirates. They’ve been on the mother of all hot streaks in recent weeks to sling shot past the Detroit Tigers and into the American League Central lead.
They’re so hot, Sports Illustrated featured them in last week’s issue. In the Ben Reiter-written story, it turns out J.R. isn’t the only Royal fan from an odd location [I know, we’re not that odd, but we’re not a likely source for KC baseball fans].
A South Korean named SungWoo Lee picked the Royals as his favorite team nearly 20 years ago for undisclosed reasons and has rooted for the ever since during the middle of the night from Seoul.
He recently visited Kansas City and was treated like a celebrity. He received gifts, media attention, lunch with the players and even threw out the first pitch.
J.R. should make a fall visit to Kansas City and get the Royal blue carpet as well for his three decades of dedication to the MLB team of lost causes. The Royals don’t have the charm of the Chicago Cubs.
As you may remember, after leaving The Democrat, J.R. auditioned for and won a spot on Jeopardy. Not only did he land a spot, he won twice and got to chat with Alex Trabek for three days.
He deserves a chance to shake hands with George Brett.
The category is sports for a trip to Kauffman Stadium, Alex.
The Kansas City Royals.
What is J.R. Lind’s favorite baseball team?