This is not an analytical piece. This is opinion and emotion.
The last time the Kansas City Royals went to the playoffs, I was a high school junior living in Des Moines, Iowa. Growing up in Des Moines, you were either a Chicago Cubs fan or a Royals fan. Being a weirdo, I was, of course, a Minnesota Twins fan, and I was damn envious that the competing Royals were going to the post-season again.
In 1986 I went off to college at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville. My first girlfriend in college, Susie Hudson (she's Susie Robinson now), was (and is) a fanatic Royals fan, and I must admit that at the time I was quite jealous that she knew what it was like to have your team win the World Series. At the time, I barely knew what it was like for your team to win 80 games.
That changed in '87, of course. Since that time, the Twins have two world championships and other playoff appearances under their belt. The Royals, meanwhile, have been in the pits for years and have finally clawed their way back out.
When the Royals made the James Shields trade a couple of winters ago, I thought it was a bad move, a short-term expedient that would probably hurt the organization in the long run. And indeed, it is quite possible, perhaps even likely, that when all is said and done Jake Odorizzi and Wil Myers will end up a more valuable package of long-term WAR than Shields and Wade Davis.
The Royals are a team with serious weaknesses; the offense is damn awful. But the Royals are in the playoffs, and once there anything can happen.
I think back to 1987, when a badly-flawed 85-77 Minnesota Twins team won the World Series. It should not have happened; they allowed more runs than they scored that year and by the Pythagorean math should have finished 79-83. And the Twins had made some very "short-term thinking" moves to build that mediocre '87 squad, trading prospects to acquire an overrated "proven closer" in Jeff Reardon, having used more prospects (including Jay Bell) two years before to acquire 36-year-old Bert Blyleven, and inserting all manner of washed-up vets on the roster like Joe Niekro and Steve Carlton and George Frazier and some minor league scrapheap guy named Les Straker.
Indeed, the Twins did all kinds of questionable things to build that team, way more questionable than what the Royals did to build this one.
But speaking solely as a fan and not an analyst, do I really remember or care that Dan Gladden's OBP was too low for him to be a genuinely effective lead-off man? Do I think about Dan Schatzader and his 6.39 ERA? Do I remember Tim Laudner's .191 average?
I think about fact that I still use my 1987 Minnesota Twins World Series championship keyring every day.
I hope Susie gets to buy a Royals one.