Monday, November 2, 2015
ROYAL TRUE GRIT
Slip Slidin' Away, Internet Domain
Growing up in central Kansas with a father that had a passion and talent for the game of baseball imbued me with a life-long loyalty for Kansas City baseball. Unfortunately, my dad suffered through the long seasons of the KC Athletics, but I had the pleasure of being in Royals Stadium (now The K) during the George Brett glory days and the 1985 World Series. Brett is still with the Royals organization and his gritty style of play is stamped all over these young players I just watched win the 2015 World Series. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting George and his wife when they hosted a Las Vegas charity event at their home. His three silver bats on display in the study represented offensive excellence in three separate decades.
This Royals baseball team whose motto is “keep the line moving!”, puts the never in “never say die”. They not only trailed in all five games of the World Series but were still behind into the eighth inning in three games which they won. That has never happened in 110 years of World Series history. They seldom strike out because they feed on two strike counts and love fast balls. They keep the petal to the metal on the base paths. Eric Hosmer personified this grit as he made a dash for home plate on a routine throw to first base to tie the final game. They live the NY Yogism that “it ain’t over till it’s over!”
In retrospect, I couldn’t help but think about the 1969 movie True Grit where John Wayne received his first and only Oscar as a tough old U.S.Marshal who had a reputation for getting the job done. Grit is plain old rough granules of stone and folks associate it with a strength of mind and the conviction to see things through in the face of strong adversity. Persistence and practice with a purpose are great equalizers over superior talent. The Royals have a team attitude and connection with overflowing self-confidence. Add in a lot of talent and you have a recipe that’s becoming more legendary than KC BBQ!
And the irony of George Brett’s quote at the beginning of the ninth inning of the last game wasn’t lost on me. As Lorenzo Cain gritted through seven pitches to lead off with a walk against the Met’s ace pitcher Harvey, Brett was overheard to say, “I’ve seen this movie before.”