The Royals have become America's sweetheart. Diving, running, jumping, pitching, and yes, even slugging their way into the World Series in historic fashion - becoming the first team in MLB history to win their first eight postseason games.
All of the attention has brought a flood of attention from new fans:
On the Royals bandwagon. #ALCS— Tracy Cadigan (@tcadigan) October 15, 2014
Just jumped on the Royals bandwagon.— Cruiz Thomason (@cruiz_thomason) October 15, 2014
The Royals bandwagon. I am on it.— tcita (@tcita) October 15, 2014
I'm jumping on the Royals bandwagon I don't even care— Brian Carroll ⚾ (@carROLLING_UP13) October 15, 2014
Such a bandwagon #Royals fan right now. How could you not love this team. #ALCS— David Couture (@DCouture1990) October 15, 2014
I've become such a bandwagon Royals fan!⚾️— Michael Willis (@Michael19Willis) October 15, 2014
Hard not to like these KC #Royals. I'm jumping on the October bandwagon. That catch was incredible!— Andy Freedman (@ahfreedman) October 15, 2014
Who have I become? I'm listening to the #royals on ESPN radio at work. The bandwagon passed and I had to jump on.— AJ Winecorc (@abbywinecorc) October 15, 2014
Can't wait to drive this KC Royals bandwagon to the World Series. All aboard!— Ricky Mueller (@Muellaa19) October 15, 2014
How do I get on this #Royals bandwagon?? Man this is fun— Brian Clark (@thawk654) October 15, 2014
Unashamed that I've become a bandwagon Royals fan. Easily the most fun team in baseball since the 04 Red Sox— Chandler Hansen (@chandlerhansen) October 15, 2014
Idk man, I joke about this bandwagon thing, but I'm really fallin in love with this Royals team #maybenomorebandwagon— Matt Brennan (@mattbren24) October 15, 2014
Stop right there if you think I’m going to offer a negative view of bandwagon jumpers. On the contrary, bandwagon jumpers are often the way fan bases grow.
I became a Royals fan as a young boy during the 1970s, when they were busy winning division titles. I became a Steelers fan during the 1970s, when they were busy winning Super Bowls. I became a John McEnroe fan in the late 1970s/early 1980s, when he was busy winning Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles.
That’s often how it works.
Fans become exposed to a team or an athlete they weren’t familiar with, and they get caught up in that team’s magical postseason run, and they hear stories about the players on those teams, and they stick around. Maybe not all of them, maybe not most of them, but enough to make a difference.
I never stopped following the Royals, even at their most dreadful. I never stopped following the Steelers, even though they went 26 seasons between Super Bowl titles. And I still watch McEnroe play on the PowerShares Series tour (the senior tour).
If you are younger than 30 and you grew up in Kansas City without ever experiencing the glory years, yet you loved the Royals anyway, hats off to you. Seriously. But we all take different paths. I grew up in a city that doesn't have a major league team. And the Royals were good when I was young, so that was my path - well, that, and my uncle from Kansas City who was a diehard Royals fan.
Kansas City doesn't have an NBA or NHL team, but if you enjoy either sport and if you have a team you cheer for, you probably chose a winning team (at least at the time), and then you stuck with them, even when they went through dreadful stretches.
So let's cut the bandwagon jumpers some slack. Open the doors wide and offer them a comfy seat next to you so you can enjoy the ride together. It will give you a chance to fill them in on what they have been missing.