Apparently sportswriters across the country are in a snit about the number of Royals players currently leading the returns of the All-Star Game voting. They believe nefarious behavior is to blame, perhaps a high-level hacking scheme ala Target (and the other 9,000 companies and entities that have endured hacks the past few years) generated by someone with a strong desire for KC to represent. Like maybe a KC Royals fan or two, for instance.
News flash: I’m sure what they suggest is an entirely plausible scenario but also a far less probable one. I believe that people like me and the people I actually know—in real life—may be the ones responsible.
Exhibit A: These are Royals T-shirts I have purchased in the past 6 months—FOR MYSELF.
I now have a total of 7, one for each day of the week, including 1 long-sleeved one for cooler weather that I bought during the World Series last fall right before temps here plummeted and that I duly noted in this post. Guess how many Royals T-shirts I owned before last October? Correct answer: Zero.
Exhibit B: Within the past 8 months, I have given a number of gifts bearing the Royals logo for Christmas and birthdays, including the Royals ballpoint pens I distributed around my office when they won the pennant last fall. Because that’s what writing program directors do when their team wins after 29 years of habitual losses.
Exhibit C: My teenage daughter requested and received this on her birthday.
We did have an unseasonably cool start to summer, so she has worn it quite a bit in the past month. Now that the heat and humidity have arrived, she wears it around the house while bitterly complaining about how cold the air-conditioning makes her feel.
Exhibit D: On Senior Skip Day, a Monday in April, my daughter’s class wanted to attend a Royals game just as the previous senior class did. My daughter was bewildered to learn the game was sold out and there were absolutely no tickets to be had…on a Monday afternoon. I pointed out that on a Monday afternoon in April of last year, the 2014 senior class likely had choice seats at a significantly discounted rate since they would have been among just a handful of people attending.
Exhibit D: My husband is a Cardinals fan as he was St. Louis born and raised. However, on Mother’s Day this year, he surprised me with this:
In addition, he is VOLUNTARILY watching some Royals games and helpfully explaining unusual technical elements of the game as they arise, like the “balk” incident during last night’s game against the Bo Sox (slang for Boston Red Sox for non-baseball readers). He is, at best, a closet fan; we can not really be sure who he cast his All-Star ballot for, so please don’t include him in any estimates. And don’t disclose any of this to his family, most of whom still reside in St. Louis.
Exhibit E: Speaking of St. Louis, my husband and I attended a birthday party there in May for my cousin, a priest and native Kansas Citian, who had recently relocated and was turning 80. He made his own fashion statement by sporting celebratory Royals gear. Lots of friends and family from KC traveled there and, predictably, most of his presents were Royals polo shirts except for the lone Cards shirt given him by his niece who lives in St. Louis. Being a priest, he was terribly polite, but we all know he will never wear it.
Exhibit F: I just sent a birthday gift to my brother who lives in California. You know him on this blog as “Mark,” gift-giver extraordinaire and arranger of my grandmother’s birthday celebration at a Royals game over a decade ago which I covered last October in a tribute post to my grandmother titled Ageless and Timeless: Baseball’s Most Ardent and Lesser Known Fans. I sent him a powder blue Royals t-shirt with a crown image.
Exhibit G: Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with a dear friend and former colleague about the All-Star hoo-ha. Why this constitutes evidence is that she is a college English teacher and has had virtually no knowledge of or interest in the Royals in the 23 years I have known her—until, that is, last fall. We met back in 1992 when she directed the Writing Center and I directed the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at a local college. We spent countless hours in our shared office talking of rhetoric and composition and every literary genre imaginable, except that of baseball lit. The clincher is this: yesterday she cited as her source on this topic an article in Sports Illustrated. OMG. She read an article in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED! (Are you starting to grasp the magnitude of the shift in the fan base here???)
In fact, she was so irritated at the implication in said article, that KC fans were “stuffing the ballot box,” that she was heading to her parents home on the north side of the city to coach them on All Star Game voting. Please note she was not creating bogus email addresses, but, rather, within the parameters of the ancient art of rhetoric, simply trying to persuade other, less media-savvy folks to vote.
Exhibit H: I voted 35 times in the All Star Game voting even though it seemed shady and almost criminal to do so. I did it because Major League Baseball encouraged me to vote 35 times—no more, no less. Why 35? I have no earthly idea. Honestly, it felt as if the ghost of Tom Pendergast was leaning over my shoulder every time I hit “send.” (See 20th century political machines.) I have lived faithfully by the one-person-one-vote mantra my whole life. And like most folks these days, I have way more than one email account. But I didn’t even bother to use the others because I already thought 35 votes somewhat excessive.
So I present my case. Everyday kind of people of all ages are voting for the Royals. People who never ever voted for anybody to be in an All Star Game are voting. People who waited 29 years for baseball worth getting excited about are also voting. People who were born 29 years ago are voting. Kids are voting. High schoolers are voting. 80-year-olds are voting. And if some crazed computer hackers are voting by manipulating the results, then locate and prosecute them. Nobody here wants to believe this MLB enterprise permits cheating. We’re having way too much fun ridnig Royals’ wave.
And Sports Illustrated, if you are so interested in the real voting story, come to Kansas City and talk to anybody you should happen upon. I guarantee within minutes you’ll find about a million people highly likely to have already cast their allotted 35 votes…for the Royals.
All of which begs the question: So who YOU votin’ for?