I've long tried to understand why baseball fans are so defensive of their teams. Much more so than other fans in other sports. All fans are defensive on some level, but its just different in baseball.
In the NFL, criticism is not only welcome, its often expected from the media and fans. Fans want wins, plain and simple. In college sports, fans are defensive, allegiance is a huge part of the fan culture, lines are drawn, but at the end of the day, most fan bases know their roles in the hierarchy of what college sports are. Kansas State relishes being disrespected, Mizzou fans expect things to go wrong in the big moments, Kansas fans, walk around in their own little world of Jayhawk supremacy.
Baseball is different. It isnt about allegiance, it isnt about popularity or hierarchy or even wins. Its a local, cultural, familial bond. The one thing baseball has that no other sport has, is the exclusive attention of fans every day for 4 months out of the year. To fall in love, you need prolonged intense contact. Baseball has that with its fans, and it creates this bond with a team that is more familial than any in sports.
If you have children or siblings, you understand this: no one is allowed to take shots at your family, but you. When your kids are on the big stage, they can do no wrong, we all have soft spots for our own. If your little Charlie misspells balloon at the spelling bee, its not him, its the system, they didnt go over that in class! How is he supposed to know that word!
We protect our own. The Royals the Royals are Kansas Citys own. The Chiefs arent playing games everyday for four straight months. When I criticized Mike Moustakas for being a poor hitter earlier this season, youd have thought I said Kansas Citys child was a bad speller. Lets forget his slash line this season was .212/.271/.361, thats my player! Its not his fault! was the reaction.
There is something myopic and nonsensical about defending players blindly because of the color jersey a player wears. But theres also often myopic and nonsensical about love. Kansas City is in love with the Royals. Theyve stuck by them for 30 years. I can finally say, I get it.
Its why when I hear people say, Its a great time to be a sports fan in Kansas City, which Ive heard a lot on our post game shows the last few weeks. My response is this: Yes it is, but lets not lose sight of what this is really all about. The Chiefs are doing great, Sporting KC has done so well recently and K-State, Mizzou and KU all have things to be happy about recently, but lets not lose sight of what the Royals are doing. This time is about the ROYALS. Its a great time to be a Royals fan. Whats happening with them is uniquely Royal and uniquely Kansas City.
You can have great passionate relationships with any team, but with the Royals it is different for so many reasons, not just the bond, but what that bond represents because of 30 years of losing, because of turmoil, because of the constant reminder their failure is your burden as a fan, because you never left.
It is a great time to be a sports fan in Kansas City, but this about the Royals. Let this be THEIR moment. Let it be yours.
Its not hyperbole long before the HUNH offense, Bill Snyder revolutionized the way undersized programs recruit, scheme and attack traditional powerhouses.
He turned upsets into expectations. He did it with unique strategies and a new way of thinking. After 30 years, opposing coaches still cant figure out him and his Kansas State Wildcats. Which is what makes this Thursday nights game against Auburn so much more intriguing.
Similarly, Tigers coach Gus Malzahn marches to the beat of his own drummer. Hes often called an offensive genius. Is it hyperbole?
I dont know, but its hard to argue with the results.
What I do know is Auburn at Kansas State will be the best coaching match-up of the 2014 college football season.
Perhaps Malzhans most valuable coaching attribute is that he has no tendencies as a play-caller. He is unique in this regard.
Everyone has tendencies but not Malzahn. His system allows plays that acutely attack the weakness of each specific defense.
In a different way, Snyder has been equally as effective; there is no better coach at finding and exploiting the tendencies/weaknesses of an opponents. Malzahn the master of surprise, Snyder the master of attack.
Thursday isnt Ali and Liston its Byrne and Fischer. (HERE - [hperlink - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
For a football junkie, this the match-up you dream about. One you circle on the calendar and remember forever all the more so given Snyders age.
Hes one of the best coaches in college football history in part because he turned a perennial doormat into a champion out of nothing but cunning and guile. And he did it twice!
Malzahn is perhaps the hottest young coach in the game today the star of the hour. Not simply because hes been successful everywhere hes parked his bus on every level in every way, although he has.
Rather, it is because hes done it without a noticeable blueprint.
He sees situations, assesses them, finds the solution, and then coaches up his players on who to execute it.
Both Malzahn and Snyder are remarkably good at solving problems and adapting to adverse circumstances, and both win at an elite level. So, which one wins on Thursday the young upstart wizard or the crafty master?
One things for certain I wouldnt miss this for anything.
There are no games scheduled for today.