-- KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Good Lorde. Kansas City Royals fans waited 29 years for this?
This was the reward for sitting through four 100-loss seasons, eight last-place seasons, 20 losing seasons and 28 playoff-less Octobers? This is what they get for enduring the trades of Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, Bret Saberhagen, David Cone (twice) and so many others? This is what all those decades of misery was for ... a 3-hour, 32-minute reminder of those three decades of misery?
The Royals came into the World Series as the hottest team in the postseason. They had gone 8-0 in the American League playoffs and had barely even trailed after the comeback in the wild-card game against the Oakland Athletics. They hadn't lost a game in more than three weeks.
And then came Tuesday's 7-1 loss in Game 1 that took fans Back to the Past.
The Royals trailed the San Francisco Giants 3-0 before their first at-bat. Their ace, James (New Nickname Needed) Shields, didn't get past the fourth inning. Danny Duffy walked in a run. Eric Hosmer grounded out with the bases loaded and two outs. Even Lorenzo Cain was unable to reach a line drive that dropped in front of him for a single in the top of the first inning. Sure, it would have been a hell of a catch, but we've come to expect that from the center fielder who covers more ground than that enormous U.S. flag unfurled before the game.
After weeks of dramatic victories and extra-inning home runs and final at-bat wins, the Royals managed exactly one chance to get back in the game when they had runners on second and third with nobody out in the third inning. And they squandered that chance with consecutive strikeouts and Hosmer's groundout. And then they watched "Awful Game" Shields give up two more runs the very next inning to dig them into a 5-0 hole.
"I feel like the game would be different if we had capitalized with runners on second and third and no outs," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "Right there, we could have possibly made it 3-2 and the game doesn't get out of hand if we just played a little bit of fundamental baseball.
"That's the first time in the postseason -- the first time in a long time -- we haven't played fundamentals. We just need to shake it off and do it tomorrow. It was just one of those games. It didn't work out. We're based on fundamentals and playing our game. And right there we didn't get it done."
But don't lose hope, Royals fans. It was only one game, just one loss.
Rather than focus on 1986-2013, reach back further, back to happier, more successful times -- back to 1985, when your Royals rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in the World Series, and back to when a certain movie with Michael J. Fox was the most popular motion picture of the year. Perhaps all the Royals need is another sequel to "Back to the Future."
Marty: Doc, fire up the flux capacitor. We need to get back to 1985 and bring Bret Saberhagen back. I mean, a true "Big Game" ace we can count on to pitch well enough so Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland have a lead to protect -- or pitch so long those three aren't needed at all. And we should bring back George Brett, who can fire the team up on the field. And maybe we can bring back umpire Don Denkinger because, you know, just in case.
Doc: Sorry, Marty. I won't be able to fit them in the time machine.
Marty: C'mon, Doc! I know the DeLorean isn't big, but we should at least be able to squeeze in Saberhagen.
Doc: They don't make DeLoreans anymore, Marty. This isn't 1985. This is 2014. My new time machine is a MINI Cooper.
OK, so forget the "Back to the Future" reference. The Royals don't need a flux capacitor. They simply need to recapture the momentum they had in the playoffs. And don't blame the loss of that momentum on the five-day layoff. The Giants had a four-day layoff, too. And as has been said many times, momentum is only as good as your next day's starting pitcher.
So the Royals need a good start from Yordano Ventura, who unfortunately left his last game with tightness in his right shoulder. And they also need to create scoring opportunities, as they did in the playoffs and the regular season.
And well, maybe they can get Lorde, whose hit single "Royals" was inspired by a photo of Brett, to sing for them. Since a couple of San Francisco radio stations are refusing to play the song during the World Series, she might need to sing a version at Kauffman Stadium.
And they'll never be Royals! (Royals)
Game 1 was awful, but the Royals can still do it. There are still six games left in the World Series. Only the foolish (myself included) predicted a sweep. As Hosmer said, "It's pretty hard to sweep through the whole playoffs."
(And if Marty could fit Saberhagen into the MINI Cooper, that would help, too.)