The Kansas City Royals were dead in the water for decades. How dead in the water? Some years back Royals’ fans walked out en masse in the seventh inning, from a Royals/Yankees game. What were they protesting? The income inequality that rendered small market teams unable to compete with the Yankees of the world.
My how times have changed. Revenue sharing shrank the income differences. Royals’ fans, among baseball’s most long-suffering, have been rewarded with back-to-back World Series appearances. Kansas City is the reigning World Champion.
The American League Central was the private playground of the Detroit Tigers for much of the last decade. Now it’s the Royals. Will the White Sox, Indians, or Twins get a turn?
The top storylines in the A.L. Central are as follows:
Kansas City, after being ignored by preseason prognosticators, lost to San Francisco in the seventh game of the ’14 World Series. The Royals won it all last year after being likewise ignored by those same prognosticators. Even slow-witted prognosticators can learn. The Royals are betting favorites to win the Central, albeit by a hair’s breadth over Cleveland. Can Royals’ manager Ned Yost continue to pull the strings to find success?
The Cleveland Indians hired proven winner Terry Francona to manage the team to the World Series. So far, two years into his tenure, the Indians have yet to make the post. Undaunted, the Tribe made 31 player moves in the offseason. Kansas City may be running on the lead, but Cleveland is going to the whip.
Detroit seemed to get old, all at once. But, if there is a comeback in the strong right arm of Justin Verlander, and thunder in the bats of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, Detroit could again be a contender.
The Chicago White Sox are always contenders, at least in the mind of long-time Sox announcer “Hawk” Harrelson. This year Harrelson hopes to get it right. South Side baseball fans hope so. The acquisitions of veterans Jimmy Rollins and Todd Frazier inject some new, if not young, blood into the clubhouse.
It has been almost three decades since Jack Morris and Kirby Puckett propelled the Twins to World Series glory. The years since have been unremarkable, at best. The Twins play in Target Field, which is one of the most picturesque parks in all of baseball. Twins manager Paul Molitor hopes his young players mature and free -agent signee Byung Ho Park turns out to be a hitting star. That would give Twins fans somethng to enjoy besides the ballpark itself.