My Greatest Sports Moment
March 17, 2017
Filed under Opinions
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The feeling that ran through my body on October 23, 2015, was exhilarating, and it is a feeling that has yet to be matched. The performance that played in front of my eyes that evening is still one of the most dramatic and heart-wrenching games I have ever been a part of. Through all of the agony and the pouring rain, relief was finally met four hours and seven minutes after first pitch.
It was game six of the American League Championship Series in Kansas City, Missouri.
The winner would advance to the World Series, a series that the Kansas City Royals have not won since 1985, 13 years before I was even born. The excitement could be felt in the air as fans pushed their way through the gates and into the smell of peanuts and freshly cut grass. I was a child, amazed by everything I was seeing, relishing every moment. For only the second time in 30 years, the Kansas City Royals were in the playoffs trying to show to the world that they belonged there for good.
As I fled to my seat hours before the scheduled start, I took in the surreal surroundings of the event that was taking place in front of me. My favorite team was on the biggest sporting stage possible, and I was ready for it.
When the first pitch was thrown, the crowd roared as it signaled the start of a battle that would determine the American League Champion. After the first two innings, I was able to settle into my seat and enjoy the game for what is was with a two-run-lead cushion. But sports are never that easy, and by the sixth inning I was trembling nervously as the lead dwindled down to one run.
Then the unimaginable happened; in the eighth inning the Toronto Blue Jays took their first lead of the game. A crushing blow to the hearts of all 40,000 bleeding Royals fans. With almost no time left to score, an overwhelming sadness swept over the stadium as fans started to realize their beloved team could be failing them once again. And then, it began to pour down rain.
Oversized rain drops, illuminated by the stadium lights, filled the sky. The perfect weather for the turn of events that had just occurred. Then, the stadium announcer came over the speakers to announce that the game was going under a 45 minute delay, despite the immense sound of groans hovering over the crowd as they made their way to the main concourse. Sad fans left. Non-believing fans left. The fans just trying to not get wet left too.
I stayed because I simply do not have it in me to leave a sporting event early. If my team has any chance of winning, I stay. To spoil things a little, the Royals still had a chance of winning.
As fans filed back into their seats, they all started to look at each other hoping to gain any support they could, myself included. I didn’t wanted to see the fate I knew my team was about to endure. I didn’t want this magical playoff run to end.
The Royals didn’t want it to end either. I screamed during every pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning as a deafening roar continued to escalate as more men continued to reach base. My heart couldn’t believe it, it started to beat faster and faster with every hit and run the Royals were able to scrap in. Before I knew it the game was tied and our best hitter, Eric Hosmer, was up to bat.
My mind was still swirling trying to comprehend the historic comeback we had just made, when Hosmer hit a ball so hard a snap echoed around the entire stadium. The stadium exploded. I was losing my voice realizing we were about to take the lead. I screamed “We’re going to the World Series” to my dad, who was next to me, but never in a million years could he hear me. The feeling of intense joy and relief filled my body as we had finally reclaimed the lead.
The next half inning the Royals struck out the last Blue Jays player and stormed the field and jumped around in a collective mob. The team couldn’t believe it. The fans couldn’t believe it. The city couldn’t believe it. The Kansas City Royals had just made one of the greatest late inning comebacks in their franchise’s history and were finally returning to the World Series: an event that is indescribable to people who aren’t fans of the sport, or of a team that has the ability to change your life.
Fireworks shot into the air. Fans cried, fans hugged and fans celebrated. The win meant so much to the city; they were able to forget about the dismal past and focus on the promising future that was their new team. And as the team raised the American League Trophy, fans screamed with joy as their team had finally done it.
The 2015 Kansas City Royals will go down as one of the most exciting and game changing teams in MLB history. The Royals broke a Major League record for most comeback playoff wins in a season with eight. The MLB was founded over 114 years ago.
The Royals were projected to win 72 games that year; they won 95. The Royals were projected to lose the World Series to the Mets; they won in five games.
This team was one of the greatest to ever wear a Royals uniform, and I will always remember this game as being the most electrifying and thrilling sporting events I have ever been too. The game wore me out like I was a player. I was exhausted. I was sweating, my legs were quivering as they hadn’t sat down in over three hours. But the Royals had won. The goal had been achieved and the long awaited prize had finally been claimed. This game has crowned itself as my greatest sports moment.