The 2014 World Series starts tonight, and as the Rockies have been no-shows since some time back in May, I find myself having to choose a team to cheer for. This really wasn’t hard, given that I’ve been going for the Kansas City Royals since their wild card playoff with Oakland a few weeks ago. But here are three reasons why they are the only team I could wish to win this Series.
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1. Everything they have in common with the Rockies.
It’s been said already, hundreds of times, but the Royals’ story is so like the Rockies’ was in 2007. Mid-market team, devoted local fan base, history of playoff irrelevancy. The Royals have been a team much longer, and their postseasonless streak was much longer too, but it’s hard not to see ourselves in the eyes of their fans. Plus, they have swept their way through the playoffs so far, something only the ’07 Rockies have done since the addition of the wild card.
Of course, we have now reached the point where the fortunes of those teams will hopefully diverge. It would be heartbreaking to watch the Royals succumb to a sweep the way the Rockies did, whether it’s because of too much rest, too much cockiness, not enough preparation, or what have you. And the Giants certainly have experience on their side: this is their third World Series in five years, and they won the previous two. The Royals haven’t won a World Series since 1985. The Red Sox were coming off a win in 2004 when they beat the Rockies in 2007, and it showed. The Rockies looked pitiful, like they never should have gotten that far in the first place. I’m really hoping that’s not what happens to the Royals.
2. Everything they do not have in common with the Rockies.
Call to the Pen
The Royals have a small payroll. It’s ranked 19th in baseball, and it’s about $3 million less than the Rockies’. And yet, they have done everything right with that money. They are an example of what a front office should do when faced with limited resources: don’t make excuses, don’t whine, just do what you have to do to win. The Royals were mostly absent from the big midseason trade-a-thon at the end of July, and that worked just fine for them. All the guys who made big moves, like Billy Beane and Dave Dombrowski, are wintering down in Florida while other teams play. Do you even know the name of the Royals’ GM? It’s Dayton Moore, and he has quietly assembled a championship team. Their manager, Ned Yost, is certainly not the best manager on any scale, but his team keeps winning. And you can’t argue with that.
This is also a team that knows how to use the tools it has. They’re speedy, so they steal bases. They’re aggressive in the outfield, so they make big catches. Their bullpen is unstoppable, so they score enough runs and hold off the other team well enough to turn the ball over to Kelvin Herrera. They’re not good at home runs, so they haven’t relied on them–although they know when to hit a big one, as they’ve proven throughout this postseason.
Their starting pitching is only okay, and certainly not on par with the Giants’, but they’re used to getting by on what they’ve got and not depending on a big start from James Shields or Jason Vargas to get the win. This is a team that is so much fun to watch (although those of us without cable haven’t done much watching), and they are what the Rockies could be with a better front office and a little bit more self-awareness.
3. The Giants
I am so sick of those stupid Giants. What is it with these even-year World Series wins? It makes no sense. You could say some of the same things I’ve said about the Royals about the Giants, as far as knowing what they’re good at and capitalizing on opportunities, but you could also say they’re a stupid team who shouldn’t have won this many games. Bottom line: if the Giants win, nobody else does. They’re no fun. Go Royals.