One Hell of a Season

Is everybody here? Everyone out of the showers? Good. Good.
Team, now that our season is complete I want you to know one thing: I am very, very proud of all of you.
Oh, we heard the predictions when the season began: “Kansas City can’t make the playoffs!” And they were right. Our season ends today with the post-season well beyond our grasp.

But you know what prediction really bothered me as your manager? “The Kansas City Royals will be losers again this year.” And we are not losers. YOU are NOT losers! I mean, sure, if you’re  just talking about baseball scores, technically, yes we are absolutely losers. But that’s not how we judged ourselves this year.
After opening the season with fourteen straight losses – not just losses but thrashings, contests where other teams would laugh at us on the field and point, we realized that the World Series was not going to happen. That’s when club management decided to go with youth. Veterans were shipped off to other “good” teams and we loaded up with promising young players.
It was a good plan on paper. Sadly, those promising young players, it turns out, want to win, and we don’t do that here. After a while, many of our players would disappear from the team only to turn up on other teams a few days later under fake names and wearing large artificial mustaches in order to circumvent their contracts with us.
That’s when we decided to go even younger and sign a number of players from high schools and middle schoolers from the  metro area. Seemed perfect: they could go to school in the day, be Royals at night. And it worked!  For a while. We lost but we had FUN. Until the child labor lawyers came along. Then it got ugly.  
So we thought, Hey, instead of looking ugly, why not look great? We signed models. Men, women — didn’t matter. Gave them gloves and cleats, trotted them out there.  Not supermodels, mind you. More like catalog models. A few ballerinas. I’ll tell you this: We. Were. Gorgeous! 

But the losses continued. Weren’t even really losses by then. Weren’t even games. Other teams would just hit the balls and run around the bases, our models would sort of run around in different directions. It would go on for hours like this until the players and fans would simply start to wander out of the stadium. 

Well, ultimately it wasn’t the losing that started to bother team management. It was our consciences. We could do so much more important work. Fired the models, hired scientists, researchers, scholars. Put Royals uniforms on them and let them do their important work on the field during games. Chemistry equipment right there in the infield. We were still losing every time, mind you, but if we could cure Parkinson’s, that would matter even more than a baseball game. Might have happened too if it weren’t for all the hit baseballs crashing into the equipment and beaning our scientists.

But we were committed to the science. So we signed some security guards to protect them. Goons, really.  Opposing players would get within a few feet of our physicist and BAM, blow to the head. Alex Rodriguez got his skull fractured, which is apparently a big deal. (I had kind of stopped following what was going on in “baseball” by then.) 
We weren’t fielding a legit baseball team by any means but we still had a chance to run a decent society on the field. So we kept the goons and the brains and brought in light manufacturing facilities, merchants. We brought in young families and opened a school on the field. We designed a flag and began minting our own currency. Fans would come to the ballpark but they wouldn’t be allowed to leave and would be naturalized as citizens and given Royals uniforms that they were required to wear.
By mid-August, we were a police state. We ruled by fear. It wasn’t the decadent thrill that other ballparks offer, mind you. Instead of beer and hot dogs we served cloudy water and a porridge made of meat by-product and paper. We felt that life is suffering and society should reflect that.

Well, you know what happened next. Management became decadent, erecting gold statues of themselves in the luxury boxes. The fans organized a protest movement in left field, and then came the uprising and the capture and the beheading and the burning down of the ballpark and the Missouri National Guard and the salting of the earth where the ballpark once stood.
Me, I stuck around. And I’m just so proud of you! You’re a group of hobos and dogs who wandered on to this field and built crude shanties. You don’t even know what I’m talking about with this baseball business. It’s possible you aren’t even real. I’ll be honest, I’ve been hallucinating pretty hard since around the time of the ballet dancers. I’m pretty sure a yeti played second base for us round about Labor Day. But I just want you to know that, real or not, you’re all winners to me. So rest assured that if there isn’t another  Plague outbreak,  I’ll see you at spring training!

John Moe is a public radio host with American Public Media and lives in St Paul, Minnesota. He is a contributor to and author of Conservatize Me.