Sunday, July 26, 2015

(stevo voice) because of course his middle name is brent! ...

“I thought them feelings was long gone, baby,
But you take me back in time!
Just like Spring Break?  In Panama City?
Girl from Indiana?  Sure was pretty.

But she ain’t got nothing on you, tonight!

Cause you’re like the summer lover –
You don’t come or go!
Never had to say goodbye!

And I wake up every morning?
Feeling like a first kiss,
Every time your lips touch mine!

Makes me wanna sneak
Down your driveway,
To climb out your window –
Get in girl!  We’ll roll ‘til the dirt road ends!

You can climb up in that back seat!
With your dirty little bare feet!
Get the butterflies like we used to,
When we had our innocence!

Just like we’re seventeen again!

Looking back? 
I wish I could put you,
Inside every memory.

You could be my first love,
My first kiss,
My first and last everything …”

-- “17 Again” by Brantley Gilbert … which is not only my favorite effort this artist has ever released (even if the linked version leaves a lot to be desired), and not only am I seriously contemplating dropping $150/ticket to see the secondary warming up act for Kenny Chesney next weekend at Arrowhead … but gun to my head, save for “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “I Don’t Wanna Be”, and “Somewhere Only We Know”, this?  Is my favorite song of all time.

Cue “Innocent” filing a lawsuit, over that declaration …

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Seventeen again.

That’s the only reaction I have to today’s news – massive, landshape-altering, absolutely mind f*ck blowing news – out of One Kauffman Way ,at the trade the Royals pulled off on Saturday night … saw fall through due to some shady shyster doctors ... only to see the deal re-pull together, about lunchtime today.

I’m seventeen again.

Considering when the raiders visit Arrowhead this season, I turn 39?

That's a good thing.

No -- that's a DAMNED good thing.

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When I was seventeen?  You could legitimately argue, that was the greatest sports year of my lifetime in this town, and for me personally.  The Knicks reached the Finals, finally smashing the glass ceiling Michael Jordan and his Bulls had established for that franchise.  My adopted NBA franchise, the Bucks, used the first pick in the draft on Glenn Robinson ... who had just dominated KU in a way few players ever have, in the Sweet Sixteen at the Dome in St. Louis.

The Chiefs made the AFC Championship Game, won their most recent playoff victory, saw the Steve Young / Joe Montana showdown as a home opener none of us will ever forget, saw the greatest Monday Night Football game of all time, as Joe Montana threw his 54th (and final) pass of the night to Willie Davis, who crossed that goalline like the champion every member of the Red and Gold is, and saw Mr. Montana's (and for all intents and purposes, Mr. Peterson's) career end in Miami on New Year's Eve.

The Rangers (my and “The Voice of Reason”’s adopted NHL team before I moved to Dallas) won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years.  The USMNT pulled off an epic franchise-altering upset of Columbia, to reach the knockout round of the World Cup. 

OJ Simpson made white Ford Bronco famous. 

And oh yeah -- Dr. Tom FINALLY got his national championship, not just at the scene of his most gut-wrenching, admirable defeat (The Orange Bowl), but against the team that gave it to him (your ... because they certainly aren't my) Miami Hurricanes, almost eleven years to the day, Bernie Kosar pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history.

All, when I was seventeen.

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And please -- allow me to once against apologize to my buddy Bunch's mom, for wearing the carpet by her patio door into destruction that New Year's Eve, from pacing the floor so much.

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Politics?  Again – life-altering.  The Republicans defeated health care reform, and rode that (along with the Clinton budget that was the last sane idea to pass the Congress, or so it seems) to winning the House for the first time in fifty years.  I met First Lady Clinton, and a lifetime of (for lack of a better way to put it) indefensible idol worship was blossomed. 

--------------------

I still have in The Cigar Box, the tickets from the Rangers vs Mariners on August 11, 1994.  My dad moved up my visit to my eventual collegiate home, Texas Christian University (go Horny Frogs go!), so that I could catch a game at the new Ballpark in Arlington, before the strike hit.

That’s how much baseball once meant to me – my dad instinctively knew “move PTO and a recruitment visit up a week, so that my son doesn’t b*tch about a missed opportunity at a place I don’t give a sh*t about, for a sport you couldn’t pay me to watch.” 

Oh, and baseball, when I was seventeen?

The Royals took the field on Monday, July 25th, 1994, 7 ½ games behind the Chicago White Sox, hosting the White Sox for the opener of a four game series that would, for all intents and purposes, determine the fate of the season.

I still remember the ending of that game that night, like it happened yesterday.  The game aired on the ill-fated so-called “Baseball Network”, that ABC and NBC were splitting.  Through nine innings, it was all square at three.  In the top of the twelfth, the White Sox took the lead.

In the bottom of the twelfth, Bob Hamelin drilled Roberto Hernandez pitch to (reggie jackson voice) second f*cking base, and the Royals won 6-4.  They wouldn’t lose again for nearly two weeks, to move to within a game of first, before losing a couple, and the strike hit.

I mention all this, because today?  About 11:20am, when my phone went crazy during breakfast at the Second Parents house, with Twitter and MLB At Bat app updates?

I felt seventeen again.

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It was when I was twenty seven, that I lost my love for the sport.

2004.  The by far, bar none worst season in franchise history.  You want to grow to hate a team, hate a franchise, despise a sport?  Buy full season tickets for 81 freaking home games, only to have the season unfold so horrifically, that by mid May, you’re ten games out of first, and by mid July, you’re giving away your tickets for free, because you can’t endure the misery anymore.

It took ten years, to undo the damage of 2004, to make me feel seventeen again, twenty years later.

It took a “where the hell did this come from?!?!?!” run of indefensible and unexplainable proportions, last October, to undo 2004.

Although if I’m being fair and honest …

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It took one game, one pitch, one moment, to undo ten years of sports hurt and hatred, literally instantly. 

And yet … today felt different.

Because I felt thirty seven leaving that stadium, that blessed piece of concrete and dirt and turf and only God knows how many up-chucked beers out of me in that paved parking lot through the years.  I felt every inch of thirty seven, on Tuesday, October 1, 2014.

I felt seventeen again, seeing the Twitter update, this morning.

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“Gang?  The chips have been shoved to the center of the table.”

-- me, in describing (and defending) the James Shields trade, three years ago.

--------------------

Today, our Boyz N Blue, the Kansas City Royals, not just shoved the chips into the center of the table?

They flipped the sunglasses down, perfected the stone-cold sober face, and prepped for the river to emerge from the deck.

The Royals entered today as the unquestioned best team in the American League.  Best record, biggest divisional lead, over 84% playoff odds, a magic number of exactly 60 (with 72 days remaining in the season – that’s truly … hang on, I have to do this right.  (john davidson voice) That’s incredible!)

They exited the day having rocked Dallas Keuchel for five runs via four outs, leading to a 5-1 lead that not only held up, but coupled with the Twins defeat to the Yankees, dropped that magic number to 58, and grew that divisional lead to 7 ½ games.

To put this in perspective, the last time the Royals led a division by 7 ½ games?

Was at the All Star Break in 2003.

The last time the Royals were 21 games over .500 (as they currently are, at 59-38)?

Was October 1, 1989.

The Chiefs were barely six games into the Carl and Marty Years, the last time the team across the parking lot, this was unquestionably great.

All of that, is well and good.

It’s what they did in between attempting to push the chips in last night, and gaining another two in the Magic Number Derby, that has me so geeked, that has me so fired up, that has me feeling seventeen again.

--------------------

The Royals today traded for Johnny Cueto, the ace of the Reds’ staff, probably the best starting pitcher on the market, and (along with Cole Hamels) the one starter available who can alter a postseason.

The Royals got seven strong recovery innings out of Yordano Ventura today, barely seventeen hours after they got six strong recovery innings out of Danny Duffy.  The two starting pitchers who fueled last year’s surreal run?  Just turned in their two best outings of the year.

And someone better than the two of them combined at this point?

Joined the rotation today.

Because for only the second time in the last twenty years, the Royals front office and ownership group, pushed the proverbial chips into the middle of the table, in an all-out gamble, to bring that trophy with thirty flags / pennants on it, home where it belongs. 

And where it hasn’t been, since 1985.

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I’ve rarely if ever been as happy to be a Royals fan, as I am today.

My team rules the American League.  My team just landed the biggest fish in the marketplace, and yes, it cost a lot to get him – Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed.

For one of the rarest of rare times?

My team looked at the acquisition cost, and openly mouthed the words “f*ck it, we’ll pay it!”

(At least, I’d like to believe, Dayton Moore uttered those words.)

The American League favorites just got even more favorite-y today, and I’m not sure what has me harder – that the Royals are the AL Favorites, or that they just got ridiculously better?

And for the first time since I can recall being seventeen – isn’t that a good thing, to not be able to pick which outcome excites you more?

I mean, at seventeen, what gets you more geeked – sneaking up the driveway, to that girl’s window … or sneaking back down it, out of said girl’s window?

Did it really actually matter?  (Hell no it didn’t.)

What has you more geeked today, Royals fans – the fact that the Royals, our Royals, our Boyz N Blue, just risked the next three years, for one championship shot this fall … or that we’re all feeling so damned ecstatic over it, it feels like we snuck up and back down that driveway, when we were seventeen, because just like when we were seventeen, we never saw that moment coming (pun intended)?

And does it actually f*cking matter, which answer is the most correct?  J

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I guess I’ll close with this, and it’s two fold.

(1) I did not watch a second of today’s Brickyard 400.  And

(2) Of everything today meant, of everything today could possibly mean, of everything today altered, of everything today could possibly become?

The single biggest thing I kept asking, had nothing to do with today, the past, the present, or the potential future.

The only question I kept asking to every person at The Pool was “how the hell did Mr. Cueto’s parents decide on Brent, for a middle name?”

(1) was unthinkable as recently as twelve months ago.  Hell, not being at the Brickyard in person was unthinkable twenty four months ago.  I literally did not tune in for a second of the race today, although multiple TVs and multiple other media outlets were available, to follow the action.

(2) is what I love the most though.


Who the hell names their kid (first name) Brent (last name)?

Have you ever known someone with a middle name of Brent?

And I say this, as someone with a cousin named Brent, as someone with a great friend (whether he realizes it or not, I don’t hate you dude, I just hate what we’ve become, as I do so many other things, these last few years) named Brent, as someone who looks at a dude from the Dominican Republic and thinks “what’s the Spanish translation for Brent?  Wait, there isn’t one?  He's really named Brent?!?!?!?!?!”

I love it.

I freaking love it.

Just like I love everything about today, as a Royals fan, as a fan of the greatest metropolitan area the Earth has ever known (that would be us, 816 / 913 / hell I feel generous -- 785 as well), as a fan of the Boyz N Blue, as someone who is secretly hoping to attend a Double Header Day out-of-state, in a few months*.

I loved everything about today.

Loved it.

And that’s not fair.  Using a past tense verb there isn’t fair.

I LOVE today, for all it truly means.

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(*: I talked at least two tailgate members into a roadie at Minnesota on October 19th, with a side trip to Sioux Falls on October 17th (on the way up) or October 20th (on the way back).  Anyone interested in going, let’s make this happen.

Why, you ask, did I pick THAT, as the “must make” roadie this fall?  (And someone, it always falls on me, to make the call … and usually, in my defense, I nail it.)

The Twins could be hosting Game Four or Game Five of the ALCS that night … after the Chiefs do what Chiefs do, and flog the Vikings that afternoon.  The one person told about it, who is waffling on the trip (and I love ya Cindy, but come on, commit already), is the only one who saw through the true reason, to make the roadie.  “Wait – there’s a chance you’ll see both our teams play, isn’t there?”  I love the smart people in the room … even if I’ll never be one of you.)

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Today, Royals fans, our team just announced to the world that we’re in it, to win it.

The best team in the American League, just got better.

As a friend of mine on Twitter posited: “I’ve seen my team trade it’s players to get them into the playoffs.  It feels great, to be the recipient this time.

I couldn’t agree more.  I’m seventeen again – we’ve signed David Cone.  We’ve traded for Felix Jose.  We’ve announced to the world that we are in it, to win it, with today’s trade for Johnny Brent Cueto.

But The Fake Ned (the awesome Chris Kamler) put it best, by posting this classic scene from the best baseball movie ever made.

And Royals fans?

For the first time in our cognizant lives (if you're under the age of 40)?

These words not only are the truth?

Our front office, our management team, and most importantly, our ownership, believe every damned word of these said words:



"Win the whole f*ckng thing".

For the first time since I have been writing, blogging, or opining my thoughts and/or opinions into typed verbiage, I am going to invoke three words, I use for one team, and one team only, until today.

You ready?

Because today?  The arrival of Johnny Brent Cueto means one thing, and one thing only.

(stevo voice) "Season.  F*cking.  ON!!!!!!"

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