Ok, men. We’ve played good ball this year. We’ve pitched great, and we play the best team defense I’ve seen in a long time. Our hitting hasn’t always been where it needs to be, but it has saved us a numerous times throughout this year as well. You’ve been preached to all year about taking things as they come, one game at a time, and I’m not going to deviate from that. What I am going to talk about is maintaining focus and increasing the intensity with which we play.
Now, I’m no high-falutin’ wordsmith, nor am I the best player to ever play the game. What I am is a disciple. I’m a believer in the Royals – the name that each of you proudly displays as you take the mound, your defensive position, or even your place in the batter’s box. It is the team that has struggled to maintain relevance since some of you were even born. It is the team that has a cautiously optimistic fanbase. It is a team that deserves to win. I believe is a team that NEEDS to win.
You’ve all been playing baseball for a large portion of your lives. You’ve won little league titles. You’ve played on state championship baseball teams. What you haven’t done yet as a team is to win the big games. Most of you have had little exposure to what it means to make it to the playoffs and then win in the playoffs. It lights a fire within you, and it has the power to ignite a whole city. You can be part of something special. You can be legends.
You’ve played great as a team this year. You’ve overcome long odds and have battled together as men to be where you are now. You only have twenty games left – twenty games left to cement your place in history. It’s time to step it up. You’ve played all year with a fire smoldering in your belly. You’ve played well enough to bring you to where you are now. I’m here to tell you now that that isn’t enough any more. A smoldering fire will not get you to the playoffs.
It’s time to flare up and unleash a Royal Inferno upon the competition. It’s time to move past being “good enough”. It’s time to torch the competition. It’s time to leave our enemies in a pile of ashes. It’s time to be a blazing beacon of embattled blue. It’s time to win.
Blaze on, gentleman. Blaze on.