Much of the discussion lately among the long-running email thread between The Catbird Seat writers has more or less centered around the AL Central race between the Tigers, Royals and (to a lesser extent) Indians.
With apologies to Detroit and Cleveland, the heart of the discussion has been about the Kansas City Royals and the fact that they appear set to break a 29-year postseason drought with either a Wild Card berth or a Central Division title.
TCS editor James Fegan and fellow contributor Nick Schaefer have been steadfast in hoping for the Royals' demise, and James penned an excellent piece Wednesday detailing why, exactly, he'd prefer the long-suffering franchise continue to suffer.
The point both James and Nick make in taking this stance isn't unwarranted. A Royals postseason appearance will bring praise upon two men — Ned Yost and Dayton Moore — who continue to demonstrate incompetence day after day, year after year. To say the Royals are winning in spite of Yost isn't all that far from being true. But hey, it's baseball. That stuff happens.
I'll apologize to both James and Nick for putting words in their mouths, but it seems to me that the biggest problem they have with the Royals isn't so much with what the organization is doing, but with the impending narratives deifying guys like Yost and Moore should the Royals break their streak.
You know it's coming, too. There will be glowing columns about the men who helped the Royals to the postseason. Yost's temperament kept the clubhouse calm and helped the struggling hitters break out of their funks. Moore's multi-year process in building a winner has finally come to fruition. It's coming, and it's going to be bad. I can almost hear Nick screaming at his computer from here.
I'm not trying to discredit this way of thinking. Those narratives are and will be frustrating. I also understand how difficult it is to find anything to root for at this time of year when your team is out of the race. But it's hard not to root for something, and in my case, I often choose to root for different. And the Royals in the playoffs would be different. Maybe they don't deserve the success they appear poised to find, but my interest in their success has more to do with getting away from the status quo. Put another way: I'm sick of seeing the damn Tigers in the playoffs every year much like I was sick of the Twins in the early 2000s.
And I don't mean to say I'm rooting for them in the sense that I'm suddenly a fan of a given franchise. Much like my fellow bloggers, I'd much prefer every AL Central team fail miserably and the White Sox win the division every year.
But it doesn't always work that way, so at this time of the year I choose to ignore the annoying narratives and root for different. Different is cool.