Monday, November 2, 2015

The Oligopoly is Dead

After ten years, the Kansas City Royals have finally vanquished the Oligopoly. May it never show its ugly face again. Yes, we'll hear another year of Met fans whining about how much they've had to suffer without a World Series title (30 whole years! Boo-freaking-hoo!), but it's a small price to pay.

The Royals were a joke for most of my baseball fandom. The winning season they had in 2003 was the first I ever saw from them, and at that point, it was a novel occurrence. They immediately followed it with another string of losing seasons, most of which only caught the attention of baseball fans due to Joe Posnanski's blog. They had become emblematic of the small-market franchise struggling to compete with the big dogs.

In the early 2010's, their minor league system was the talk of baseball, and things seemed to be looking up at last. But there was still the question of how or when these guys would mature. And of course, the postseason being as fluky as it is, could they defy the odds and win the World Series?

It looks like the script couldn't have played out any better: K.C. did it with their homegrown guys, overcame deficit after deficit, and made it to the top of the hill. It was the culmination of a long process, and a dream ending for every small-market club that needs to invest heavily in scouting and player development just to contend at all. They've given a glimmer of hope to a lot of fans who've had to watch the big-ticket squads take the trophy in recent years.

Now that the Oligopoly has been squashed, 2016 might be worth looking forward to. Let's hope next year's World Series champion will be another group as likable and interesting as this one.

Congratulations, Royals!

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