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KC’s burgeoning fan base learning on the fly

As the team takes center stage for the first time in nearly three decades, everybody who is involved is learning to make adjustments.

Royals superfan, SungWoo Lee
Royals superfan, SungWoo Lee
Jamie Squire

The Royals are like a band that has been playing its music in bowling alleys across the Midwest who, one day, releases a single that goes straight to number one and two weeks later, they find themselves on the big stage at Madison Square Garden.

If you've been frequenting that bowling alley for any length of time to watch the band, you forget that most of the world has no knowledge of them except for the number one single.

A link to a Wall Street Journal article about how the Royals are named after a livestock show rather than kings or castles has more than a thousand social media shares. People seem surprised to learn this.

New fans are stunned to learn that standing room only tickets for Game 1 of the World Series are ranging from $600.00-700.00 on StubHub, and that, as of this writing, you can pay as much as $16,503.50 for the most expensive seat at Kauffman Stadium, while parking passes are starting at a mere $156.00 per game. Remarkably though, the stadium will be packed to the gills because everybody wants to be able to say, "I was there."

I went over to my Mom's house to watch one of the playoff games with her. When one of the television broadcasters referred to Mike Moustakas as Mike Mou-STAKE-us, she turned to me and said, "Mou-STAKE-us?" She doesn't get to watch many games, but apparently she has watched a few more than at least one broadcast professional.

During another playoff game, a couple of friends and I saw former Omaha manager Mike Jirschele on TV, coaching third base for the Royals, and we began talking about what a great story he is. One of the guys who was present that night doesn't follow baseball, so he was fascinated to learn that Jirschele has been working in a furniture store in his home town of Clintonville, Wisconsin every offseason for as long as anybody can remember. Oh, and I just learned that Jirschele plans to report for duty again this year, one week after the World Series.

The Omaha Storm Chasers (the Triple-A affiliate of the Royals) have been tweeting about two watch parties they are hosting in town this week, but they are unable to actually use the phrase "World Series" (MLB rules prohibit it, according to the team) to promote the event, making for some awkwardly worded tweets and press releases. I had no idea until I reached out to the team. So, I'm adjusting, too.

Even the Royals are adjusting. After mishandling social media and the blogosphere for so long, they finally embraced SungWoo Lee (@Koreanfan_KC), who has become the symbol of hope for a fan base that has waited for nearly three decades for a postseason appearance. And he's coming back from Korea for the World Series.

My pastor used the word "we" in a sermon illustration this past Sunday when referencing Kansas City's playoff run. "Yes, I said ‘we' when referring to the Royals," he said. It might not be his last reference about the team from the pulpit this fall. The congregation will have to adjust. But you can hardly blame a hapless Cubs fan from being caught up in the excitement.

In fact, you can't blame anybody, really.