The Royals are living a charmed life these days. The start of the new season for the World Champions could not have played out any better. Major league baseball rolled the dice scheduling a night game only 3 days into April. Under a Chamber of Commerce like setting, it turned out perfect.
It was standing room only with 40,000 plus fans and millions more for the nationally televised game against the Mets. It hardly seems possible that 5 months have elapsed since these two teams went at it in the World Series. This city was electric Sunday night. The Royals have connected with the fans like never before. They own this town.
The Chiefs finally won a playoff game for the first time in 22 years and still don’t come close to matching the Royals on the sport’s popularity meter in KC. There’s a pretty good buzz on opening night with the gold lettering on the Royals jerseys and hats. I would have preferred the regular blue lettering on the jerseys which would have made the gold more prominent on the head gear but that is just me.
While watching the game, I marveled at how much fun these guys seem to have on the field. There is no super star on this team. There are probably 3 or 4 guys who stand out as fan favorites. Eric Hosmer is most likely the player you could designate as the face of the team but I’m not so sure that Salvador Perez hasn’t grown into that role as well. Mike Moustakas has a large following also.
The Royals starting pitching is the only thing that could hold this team back and make it difficult to repeat as World Series Champs! Edinson Volquez is unquestionably the ace of the staff. After that, who knows how this rotation is going to play out.
The bullpen had some shaky moments in the opener. The fact that Joakim Soria laid an egg in his return as a Royal caught some by surprise. Soria gave up all 3 runs and didn’t last an inning. Wade Davis, best reliever in baseball, closed the door preserving the 4 – 3 victory over the Mets.
By the way, the Royals opening day payroll is $131.5 million. Alex Gordon leads the way making $12 million dollars a year after getting that 6 year $72 million dollar contract in the off season. The $12 million Gordon is earning is more than the entire Royals player payroll 30 years ago when they won their first World Series.