Tag Archives: Royals

Kansas City Royals in the ALCS: Faith Versus Science

The Kansas City Royals have made the ALCS, and this makes virtually no sense, other than the undeniable fact that it has happened. We all watched how, so we should know, and yet it isn’t really explainable beyond the old clichés of “they got hot at the right time” or “the game is really all about matchups.” Spend some time on Baseball Reference, and you’ll see that the Royals have abandoned commonly accepted plans for success like “on-base percentage.” Statheads will tell you that KC doesn’t belong in the playoffs (they’re the first playoff team ever to rank last in walks and home runs), and they don’t deserve to advance. But they have advanced. And the meritocracy of sports deems that they’ve earned it. Math can tell you other teams are better or that these wins are convenient statistical aberrations. It doesn’t matter, and anyone who says otherwise is only sparking a debate as old as time. It’s science versus faith.

The deluge of data in modern times creates a thirst for explanation. The more we know, the more we believe we can know how. Millennia of scientific advancement, from the wheel to the iPhone, back that theory. But at the end of every scientific advancement is the less recognized failure of not advancing it further. After all, that iPhone wasn’t always number 6. The point is that our methods, however developed, always carry evidence of being underdeveloped. Because we’re always progressing, we’re permanently incomplete. This is the essence of science versus faith. What is the more we can never reach? An atom is built from protons is built from quarks is built from subatomic unicorns the urinate massless photons. We never reach the end of the rainbow, but logic tells us that something has to be there.

The problem with the faith versus science debate is that most parties are ready to vehemently defend their side, even though both sides openly admit their shortcomings. Faith, in any regard, is defined as complete trust in something, whether proof exists or not. And we experience what science doesn’t know with every time we sleep. Why we feel compelled to fight each other about what believe instead of bonding together over the desire to know more is a shame. It probably springs from our need for personal security, but it’s how it is. We don’t know so much, and it should be completely okay. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing. In fact, it’s very healthy to embrace the fact that you don’t know stuff. That unexplained sleep will come much easier.

A fast, defense-oriented baseball team with a lights-out bullpen isn’t some realized referendum on the existence of the great beyond, and yet they exist as a tiny little nod to the fringes of magic that seems to happen in sports all the time. When a moment is so narratively perfect that it feels as if we’ve all collectively willed it to exist. Even though it’s logically absurd, we all feel it. We did give it a very pointed shot this year with USA Soccer. Science’s analytics tells us that the Royals shouldn’t be able to keep up these wins. They shouldn’t be able to pull this off for an entire post-season. But faith tells us that they are completely capable. It can definitely happen. We can all feel it, and nobody can disprove it. Not yet anyway.

A man of faith and science,
DR

Advertisements

I don’t like baseball, but I love the Kansas City Royals

I watched Moneyball last night and it really got me in a mood. How can you not be romantic about baseball? So I finally decided to use this post that I was going to save until the actual season. Whatever, it’s coming out.

I’ve been a Royals fan my entire life because I’m from Kansas City and I believe that loyalty in the face of hopelessness is admirable.  This is will be my first only attempt to win new souls for the fanbase. I’m looking for a fairly specific niche: the thousands of fans that are simply bored by baseball (girls, foreigners, people under 50, anyone without an adderall prescription or weed habit…I’m looking at you). So if you don’t like the game, you should be a Royals fan. Here’s the pitch:

Even hardcore baseball fans don’t want to talk about baseball with a Royals fan. There are only two kinds of Royals fans.

  1. The first kind only wants to whine about the league’s financial imbalance and how unfair it is to be a small market team (what they should be doing is discovering a revolutionary approach to scouting that will give them an edge for about 2 seasons before the rest of the league picks it up and gives them all the same problems they already had).
  2. The second kind of Royals fan is like me, disgustingly optimistic because they clearly don’t know anything about baseball.

I mean, do you want to talk to either one of those guys? No way! Real baseball fans figured that out about 3 years after George Brett retired, so if you’re not a baseball fan, it’s the perfect cover. But then there’s the kicker: if some KC-based archeologist finds the Ark of the Covenant and trades it for half of the Phillies’ pitching staff, the Royals might just sneak into the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, and nobody will blame you for partying like it’s 1985 and missing work the next day.

If you’re a non-baseball fan, you can’t lose here. Just print off the picture at the top of this post and put it in your cube/office.  Your work is done.