It’s almost impossible to escape it. Whether you’re walking through campus, sitting in class or having a drink at The Palms, the excitement is everywhere. “Royals Fever” is contagious in Maryville and everyone is catching it, from lifelong Royals fans to students who couldn’t tell you what an RBI is.
While covering how Northwest students and Maryville citizens are reacting to the Royals’ incredible run, we here at the Missourian heard several interesting tales of Royals fandom. Many wanted to share the moment they became Royals fans. Others reluctantly shared their feelings durings the team’s several 100-loss seasons since their last World Series win in 1985. However, most seemed to be happy just talking about the Royals with a smile on their face this October.
That’s what’s most surprising about this Royals run. In some respect, it’s bringing everyone together. Our professors are beginning their lectures by rehashing the previous night’s game. Students at the Bo Burnham performance last week were cheering more for the Royals than the comedian before the show. At the very least, people now have a guaranteed conversation starter with strangers at the bar.
Even more remarkable is how far-reaching the fervor about our local professional baseball team is. Before this year, most people in Maryville were largely uninterested in the Royals, even though we are less than two hours from Kauffman Stadium. Any conversation about them likely ended soon after it started. Most would just shrug and utter the ever-familiar phrase: “I guess there’s always next year.” Nowadays, it’s almost difficult to get anyone to stop talking about the Royals.
However, the massive increase in Royals fans as of late does draw ire from some ride-or-die fans. It’s undoubtedly true that many fair-weather Royals fans have proudly dusted off their Royals jersey in the last month, boasting about their fan credentials. It’s natural that the Royals fan who’s been with the team through every miserable season would cringe hearing someone’s obvious lie about their dedication to the team. Still, true fans should just be happy that their beloved Royals are getting the attention they deserve.
Truthfully, we here at the Missourian are still surprised we’re even writing about the Royals. Our Opinion Editor, who couldn’t tell you a player on the team three weeks ago, never believed the Royals would make it to the playoffs, let alone the Fall Classic. Now, he’s scrounging whatever blue clothes he has in his closet to wear on game day.
Win or lose, the Royals’ trip to the World Series is astounding in and of itself. It’s given everyone in Maryville an underdog to cheer for. It’s given students stressing out about classes and work something to look forward to. We can only hope the Royals can seal the deal against the Giants. That way, these good feelings can continue for months to come.