The Kansas City Royals are in the World Series for the first time in 29 years. And it's personal for many. Guest blogger Andreina Byrne shares her story about the invincible Kansas City spirit that keeps us loyal Royals fans cheering for our boys in blue. There wasn't an ‘Interactive Kids Area’ or, even a Sluggerrr, for the first years of my Royals’ love affair. There was just baseball. “Limonay, limonay, limonayyyed, ohhhh” the adorably animated vendor used to yell. Fans would yell with him, as I tugged on my dads jacket to make sure he heard the hilarity going on all around him.
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My older brother and my older sister and I have been going to the K since before I could walk.We knew that when my Irish-immigrant-dad said “Royals game?” in his Americanized-brogue from living here for ten years, that it was truly, a time to party. Hot dogs and peanuts overpowered our knobby legs as we struggled to balance them in our laps. We’d get the occasional lemonade too, of course, if the vendor could reach us before the opposing team had readied its outfield players. The Royals have always been themselves, and there wasn’t a need to impress the fans, even my five-year-old self, who wanted nothing more than to catch my first real catch, like Smalls from the Sandlot. The only thing noticeably different from Smalls and I was my hot pink Mickey Mouse hat that I wore backwards until age 13. Other than that, a growing love for baseball and the passion that it created in every fan was all that mattered.
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And that’s what made it so memorable. As the early 2000s set in, Kauffman Stadium hit the 50 million in attendance mark, and in 2006, our city began a $250 million dollar renovation to our beloved stadium. I’d like to imagine that after Slugger turned ten that same year, his jersey was dry cleaned a few more times, and his tail was brushed a bit more often, too. After all, he isn’t just the king of any jungle. Despite each roster change, or even the inducted hall of famers, our city has remained the same. What no vendor, baseball record, or even renovation could have done, is change the heart of Kansas City, or our Royals. They’ve always been our loyal boys, even when some of their fans weren't always as loyal. They've always been active participants in our Midwest city, even if, at the time, getting an autograph from a smiling outfielder at a Hy-Vee or Chiefs game didn’t seem as cool as it actually was. The Kansas City Royals have defined the genuine spirit that Kansas City has to offer. Kansas City, and the Royals, honor what we are: a Midwest city that is far beyond a cowtown stereotype, and, a city that requires nothing more than a love for baseball.
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