The 2018 Kansas City Royals aren’t going to be very good.
We know, in the beginning of Spring Training, the Royals are going to lose more games than they win this season. It’s a different feeling than the one fans have had entering the previous handful of season.
In 2013 we thought, “Hey, maybe these young guys will start to be pretty good.”
In 2014 it was, “Let’s build on the momentum of 2013,” which led to, “Let’s finish this thing” in 2015. The 2016 season had a bit of a victory lap feel to it and 2017 was met with a hope for one last ride.
We all know what 2018 is going to bring. Eric Hosmer is gone and so is Lorenzo Cain. It doesn’t appear Mike Moustakas will wear KC blue this year. We’re headed for full-on rebuild mode.
And that’s OK.
I’m still going to make my treks to Kauffman Stadium this season. I’m going to tailgate with friends, sit in the cheap seats, cheer for a KC win and go home bummed out if they lose.
What I’m not going to do is tell you that you aren’t a true fan if you don’t go to games this year. You spend your money however you see fit, and if you don’t want to spend it watching a losing ball club, that’s your choice. Years ago I probably would have mocked you for not being a real fan, but not anymore.
So why am I going to spend my money on a team likely to lose 90ish games?
Here are some ways I’ll enjoy the 2018 Royals:
Looking for the little wins. I’m not talking about moral victories when KC wins 1-of-3 or 1-of-4 in a series against the Red Sox or Yankees. I am talking about individual performances that could greatly benefit the Royals for years to come.
I want to see Jorge Soler become a professional slugger. I want to see Danny Duffy put together a strong, healthy season as a starting pitcher. I want to see Alex Gordon bounce back at the plate and Salvy Perez put together a decent second-half of a season.
Youth. The Royals don’t have a highly-touted farm system, so it would be great to see some unknowns turn into legit prospects and some past prospects turn into real major league players.
Miguel Almonte went from a pitcher with a ton of promise to a pitcher coming off an injury-plagued season that saw him throw 49 innings. I hope he’s a permanent member of the KC pitching staff before June is over. I’d also love to see pitcher Kyle Zimmer stay healthy, but I’m trying to be realistic in this column.
I’d love to see pitcher Jakob Junis continue growing on a great 2018 in KC.
As far as position players, I want to see Hunter Dozier, Adalberto (formerly Raul) Mondesi, Bubba Starling and others make strides this season. I’d love to see Starling earn a starting spot in center field before the season is over.
Tradition. It’s just not summer until I’ve had a chance to tailgate at a Royals game. I especially love my first game of the season, walking through the concourse and taking in the field in front of me for the first time in months. I swear, every year it’s like I’m seeing the green of the grass, the brown of the dirt and the white of the lines and bases for the first time in my life. It’s beautiful.
That’s why I’m still going to games this year. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a crazy run like the 2003 Royals where they play competitive, surprising baseball all season. I’m ready for the ride no matter what.