Copyright © 2015
by Ralph F. Couey
It was a Wednesday night, the 8th of July, just before the All Star break. The Royals were in first place in their division, proud owners of the best record in the American League, and the second-best in baseball behind only that other team from Missouri. But in the space of less than a minute, everything went sideways. Tampa Bay Rays' Logan Forsythe launched a drive to deep left field. Alex Gordon, as he has done so many times before, took off in pursuit. Usually such a play ends with the ball in Gordon's glove as he slams into the wall. But this time, as he approached the wall, he tried to pull up. And then he went down. I, along with a few tens of thousands of other Royals' fans listened, quite fearfully, as it appeared at the moment he may have suffered a season-ending, if not a career-ending injury. Later, we were told that what we initially thought might be a blown knee or broken leg, has been diagnosed as a grade-2 strained groin muscle. This is a painful and serious injury to be sure, but one that has a better and brighter light at the end of the dark tunnel of his absence from the lineup.
In the hours following that moment, I endured my worst fears. But out of the depths of the past came a memory of September 1969. The Chiefs were off and running on what every instinct in your body knew was going to be The Year. Then Len Dawson went down with a knee injury. All the hopes and dreams for a season of glory seemed to have collapsed. At least for the fans.