The following is a collaborative piece with my friend and colleague, Kendra Limback. Today, we discuss the rivalry of our favorite baseball teams. She loves her Kansas City Royals, while I am an ardent fan of the Chicago White Sox. As the two teams square off to open the baseball season, we reflect on each of our franchises.
It has been a long, cold hibernation waiting for baseball to begin anew. Today, our teams christen a new season, and hopefully one that brings competition, intrigue, and a postseason run to delight the fans. Kendra and I are taking a few moments to discuss the friendly rivalry of our favorite teams, as the White Sox and Royals open the season. Chicago and Kansas City have been rivals since the Royals entered the league as an expansion team in 1969.
Kendra: Let’s be clear.
I am a Royals’ Fan. I’m my Husband’s Girl. He brings me Diet Dr. Pepper in the middle of the day, I cheer on the Royals by his side. He’s on the closing below, because about ½ these words are his. All last fall, whenever the family would depart from each other, “Be Royal!” was the rally cry. It’s a family trait really.
Baseball through a Mama’s eyes is something special. Watching Mr. share this love of baseball with our two sons has been nothing short of awesome. So, it’s a sentimental tribute to the Royals. The best team in Baseball.
1: Which Team has the Best Stadium?
Sox: Chicago’s stadium, known as “The Cell” has countless amenities, and has been in a continual renovation since it opened in 1991. Concession food is varied and delicious. There is an open air shower for fans on the outfield concourse. Statues of White Sox heroes adorn the center field concourse. I love The Cell, but I’ll concede this one without a fight. While I’ve haven’t yet visited Kauffman Stadium yet, it has always been one considered one of the most beautiful in the game. With it’s recent overhaul, it is even more gorgeous.
Royals: Oh Kauffman stadium. All I know is there is a fountain.
And Sluggerrr…the mascot. I mean, you must be Royal if they spell your name that way! I kind of want to be Sluggerrr.
Beautiful. The fountains in the outfield. Did we mention beautiful fountains?
2: Which Team has the Richest History?
Sox: While neither team can match the championship echelon of the Yankees, both teams have their own glorious stories embedded in team lore. The Chisox have tasted the champion’s cup three times, including the recent title in 2005. They won the first game ever played by an American League team, defeating the Indians in 1901. There are 15 members of Baseball’s Hall of Fame, including Nellie Fox and Frank Thomas.
Royals: The Mid 70s to mid-90s was the Class of American league.
There’s the time that the Limback’s traveled to see KC play in the Metrodome back when it was the Metrodome. A woman actually approached Papa and asked him if he was George Brett’s brother.
Then there was the World Series in 85-Mr. remembers piano lessons during the playoffs and rushing out to see them win the playoffs and go to World Series. He was about 10 at the time. He remembers a call being blown in the 6th game-that umpire was from his stomping grounds. In the last game, there is the memory of watching the Cardinals implode and the Royals coming back to win the Series.
3: Favorite Players in Team History.
Greg: Countless players have worn the White Sox jersey over the years, winning over fans by their excellence on the field, as well as off of it. Some were leaders on winning teams, and some toiled with obscure teams. Ron Kittle was AL Rookie of the Year in 1983, quickly wining over the team’s fan base. Joe Crede put together a magical postseason in 1985 that propelled the Sox to a title. Wilbur Wood, was a multiple 20-game winner, capable of starting both games of a double-header. Some players’ excellence demanded that you stop and watch their every at-bat, such as Frank Thomas, Dick Allen, and now Jose Abreu. Some players combined excellence on defense as well as offense, like Robin Ventura, Carlton Fisk, and Adam Eaton. Throughout their history, they have had pitchers who possessed a filthy repertoire, such as Mark Buehrle, Jack McDowell, Rich Gossage, Chris Sale, and Ted Lyons.
Kendra: Billy Butler. There is nothing funnier than your two younger sons yelling “Billy Butler” at the top of their lungs. And a husband who may or may not have kept yelling “Country Breakfast!” when he was at bat. When he left last summer, there was a slight period of mourning in this household.
Alex Gordon. The triple at the end of the World Series game in 2014 sent us all into a tailspin. He handled this with such awesomeness. I predict the “hustle discussion” isn’t even going to be on the radar this year. Big A has declared him his favorite player, because “he’s in left field like me most of the time and he’s really good.” (It’s okay, I held my tongue.)
4: Favorite Personal Fan Memories.
Greg: I have been to numerous games over the years, and witnessed a variety of magical moments. I witnessed a brawl against the Brewers when our manager, Tony LaRussa broke his arm in the fight. I witnessed many extra-inning victories, and near no-hitters. My all-time favorite moment was watching Bo Jackson seal our trip to the 1993 playoffs with a tape measure home run that began resembling a routine fly ball.
Kendra: In 2014, it was game 7 of the World Series. The World Series. I was wanting to go to bed so badly. I should have sent my 10 year old to bed. It was 10:00 but I couldn’t. He and his dad were having a Father-Son moment. Then Alex Gordon his a triple. And there was the “hustle” conversation. This is all taking place while my son and my husband are standing up in the middle of the living room hanging onto each other with all their might. There was jumping, there was wishing with all their might. There wasn’t a world series.
5: Rival Players Most Admired.
Greg: The Royals have had many colorful players over the years. I loved the defense and grit of Cookie Rojas and Freddy Patek. I trembled when Big John Mayberry came up to the dish. I cringed when we had to face Bret Saberhagen, or John Quisenberry. Billy Butller was always clutch against us, but nobody caused greater fear and admiration that George Brett (whose brother Ken pitched for the Pale Hose in the late 70’s). Brett was one of the greatest players of all time, and rightfully has served as the face of the franchise.
Kendra: Paul Konerko; a long time first baseman. He’s a great hitter, He’s a class act. Such great sportsmanship to cheer on the Royals a bit last fall.
Frank Thomas; a Hall of fame first baseman, A great designated hitter, a really good designated hitter.
6: Predictions for 2015.
Greg: As last season drew to a close, our beloved Paul Konerko congratulated the Royals on making it to the postseason, and then encouraged them to make our division proud. Kansas City lived up to that challenge in spades. Their postseason run was glorious, and they made the game fun to watch with the defensive wizardry and their shut-down bullpen. This year, their starting rotation isn’t quite as deep, and their offense still has noticeable holes. While they will fight and scrap with their typical grit and class, last year’s summit won’t be relived. I believe the White Sox will win 87 games, and potentially earn a Wild Card berth, while KC will find their way to 83 victories, just short of the postseason.
Kendra: The White Sox? While I know they are on the up and up, I predict a middle of the pack finish. Maybe a wildcard spot in the playoffs? In the spirit of sportsmanship, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
For my Royals? A World Series naturally. It’s a bold prediction. I think this team has heart. A bullpen that’s ready. Players that are ready to hit. It might be bumpy along the way, but I think it can happen.
It’s Mike Moustakas that will break out this year. He has a ton of potential. I (Kendra thinks that this is his year to shine!) Now pass me a Moose, I’ll wave it proudly.
Go Royals. (Kendra & Mr.)
Perhaps you and a friend can wirte a collaborative duel about your favorite rivalry. The Royals crushed the Sox in the home opener, but luckily, the season has just begun. There is plenty of time for payback. In the meantime, Go Sox!