The Royals are bringing me back

Seriously? Um, yes.

Seriously? Um, yes.

The great thing was Bob Dutton’s lead.

I woke up on a Saturday morning, flipped open my laptop, checked my work e-mail, checked Facebook, checked Gmail, read some fans’ thoughts about C.J. Henry, and then I went to kcstar.com to see what if my competitor on the KU beat, Brady McCollough, had written anything for the Saturday edition.

I still don’t know, because when I clicked the sports tab, there was a photo of Zack Greinke and a cutline describing how awesome he had been Friday night against the Detroit Tigers.

Then I did something I haven’t done in, I don’t know, four years. I clicked on a Kansas City Royals game story. This was Dutton’s lead:

Is this the night, after more than a generation, that baseball truly became relevant again in Kansas City? Maybe. Just maybe.

It’s not a dazzlingly clever or funny lead, but it struck me as perfect. It is the most relevant question he possibly could have explored, and he asked it at the right time. Not too soon, but not after everybody was already talking about it.*

*Perspective like this is part of the the value of a good beat writer, and it is why fans should read their local writers instead of (or at least in addition to) the national outlets. ESPN.com, for example, is just going to run the AP story from that game, which, by design, will be less developed.

I bring this up not just to praise Bob Dutton (who I’ve never met), but to say that the Royals are bringing me back (for the first time).  As I’ve written here before, I don’t care about baseball, and the main reason for that is the Kansas City Royals, who have been an embarrassment for the entire time I cared about sports.

Tonight, I will be at Kauffman Stadium to see Kyle Davies pitch against Zach Miner. This is the first time I can remember that I bothered to look at who was pitching in the game I was going to watch. This sometimes applied even during the game.

And it has almost everything to do with Zack Greinke, who is not only awesome, but also weird. Even if the Royals don’t make the playoffs this year or any year of Greinke’s $38 million contract, it was still a good decision, because they Royals matter now. Thirty-six thousand people turned out last night. It was the kind of decision the Royals haven’t made many times in my lifetime, and the more they make them, the harder they’ll be to ignore.

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