The Kansas City Royals Are World Series Champs. Here’s Why It’s More Than Remarkable

After suffering nearly 30 years of futility, 29 of them failing to make the post-season, the Kansas City Royals solidified not just their second World Series championship in history Sunday, but their place in history as one of the most captivating teams the sport has ever seen.

The box score will tell you the Royals defeated the Mets 7-2 in Game 5’s 12-inning affair. What it won’t tell you is how the Royals continued to defy odds no other team in the history of baseball has been able to overcome.

Think it would be easy to beat Mets ace Matt Harvey? The flame-thrower had completed 8 innings, giving up four-hits and no runs while striking out 8, trying to become the first pitcher to toss a complete-game shutout in a potential World Series elimination game since Curt Schilling in 1993.

Even with just three outs remaining, the Royals had no doubt they would come through. And why wouldn’t they? Theteam had already completed 6 comebacks this post-season in which they had less than a 20 percent chance of winning.

By the end of the World Series, they would make it 8 comeback wins. 

The Royals were a dominant Madison Bumgarner away from winning the Series last year. No way they would let the title slip from their grasp in 2015. 

So to make up for last year’s heartbreak, Kansas City received moments that will live on for as long as baseball is played. 

Eric Hosmer surging towards home with two outs in the 9th for the tying run on a routine ground ball to third base. Check.

Backup infielder Christian Colon singling in the winning run in his first at-bat of the entire post-season, having not seen a pitch in four weeks. Check. 

Alcides Escobar with a bases-clearing double to break the game wide open. Check mate.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer slides into home to tie Game 5 against the Mets in the 9th inning Sunday night. Photo: Getty

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer slides into home to tie Game 5 against the Mets in the 9th inning Sunday night. Photo: Getty

The last time a team found a way to win the World Series the way the Royals did Sunday — down at least two runs in the 9th inning or later of a clinching game — you would have to time travel back before WWII (the 1929 A’s and the ’39 Yankees).

But of course that’s not the only reason this team will be remembered.

Seven of the 11 Royals’ post-season wins involved the team training by at least two runs at some point during the game. First ever for a World Series champion.

In six of those wins, the Royals were losing going into the 6th inning. First ever for a team in a single post-season. 

Also, the Royals trailed in all five games of the World Series, winning three of them after trailing in the 8th or later. Again, first team to ever win in that fashion in 110 years of the World Series.

Royals pitcher Wade Davis celebrates with catcher Drew Butera after making the final out of the 2015 World Series. Photo: Getty

Royals pitcher Wade Davis celebrates with catcher Drew Butera after making the final out of the 2015 World Series. Photo: Getty

After Hosmer tied the game in the 9th inning, even Royals Manager Ned Yost told reporters after the game he knew his team would come through yet agian.

“Once we tied it, I said, `We’ve got this game,’ just because our bullpen is so good. So really, after we tied it, I felt totally relaxed. I even said, `My heart should be beating faster than it is.'”

The Royals are also the first team since the 1961 Yankees to lose Game 7 one year and then win the World Series the next. They’re also the first team since the 2002 Angels to come from behind in all four World Series wins. And they had a rally monkey! (Maybe Paul Rudd is good luck?)

 

But what else makes the 2015 World Series champions special? 

The fact they’re a small-market team without an inferiority complex.

That while they don’t have a single player who is considered the best at his position in baseball, together, they’re the best team in baseball. 

And that they have a city that rallies behind them in the most unbelievable ways, and yet still does it the right way.

The current Royals team in Kansas City is one its small fan base will cherish forever. But the rest of the nation needs to take note that the 2015 squad wasn’t just remarkably memorable for how they took the crown, but that this team is so far removed from the cellar-dwellers that inhabited the AL Central for decades that the winning is here to stay. Nope, the culture has changed, folks. And don’t be shocked when it’s your team that blows another 9th inning lead to them next year.


Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports.

Photo: Getty