Sometime late last night or in the early-morning hours, I saw a Facebook post which said, essentially, that the poster would be glad when this World Series was over because then all those who have jumped on the Kansas City Royals bandwagon would get back off and the true fans could have their team back.
His post was immediately pounced on by his friends and he later apologized for harboring that sort of feeling. ("Pounced" may be kind of harsh. "Gently corrected" might be better)
But here's the thing: In every postseason in every sport, fans of teams which didn't make the playoffs will hitch their star to a bandwagon. Reasons vary, of course, from hoping the team they pick will eventually beat a team they dislike to a liking of a certain player and wishing him well.
And, of course, money. There's always money.
But there's something different about this Royals bandwagon and it's a very, very good thing. It's about the things that are or should be right about sports.
It's about the desire to see the underdog win and there's no question that a team which hadn't had a post-season victory in 29 years is an underdog, even with this World Series tied 3-3.
It's about watching players who are perceived to be hard-working, blue-collar guys working their butts off and getting rewarded for it. It's something just about everyone can relate to.
It's about watching a city, an entire region, rediscover its love for a team which had jilted them so many times. Yet, the fans had always held out hope. They wanted this team to win. They wanted to love them again.
It's about the genuine excitement this team creates. And the fans of other teams who would love to see their team be exciting in that way. Cardinals and and Giants fans are used to success. But long-suffering Cubs and Padres and Mets and Rays fans look at this Royals team and see what they can only dream of. And they're appreciating how wonderful it is.
When the latest ESPN map comes up and shows 47 of the lower 48 states are pulling for the Royals, one can only assume that fans everywhere are looking for a ride on this bandwagon just because of the pure, genuine thrill it provides.
And why shouldn't a true Royals fan, who stayed with the team during 100-loss years and managers from Japanese leagues and Lima Time and young pitchers who didn't fulfill their potential, be happy to have a few other people crash the party? All the merrier, right?
The Royals fan base is a wide-spanning one, anyway. There are Royals radio affiliates in six states, including Arkansas and South Dakota. For years, there was one in Clayton, New Mexico. And all those fans in all those states in cities and towns from Garden City to Yankton are living the dream.
So if there's a few extra fans in blue shirts around you, invite them into the circle. Maybe they won't leave. It could be this is the run that brings in new fans, looking for a team they can truly get into. Maybe this is the run that brings in a 10-year-old boy in Wyoming and creates a life-long fan.
Or maybe another one in Korea.
After the game, win or lose, turn to those bandwagoneers and have them buy you a beer. They hopped on your ride. The least they could do is pay for it.