Losing

“Losing builds passion,” says Olympian Natalie Dell O’Brien. She contends that losing can help athletes focus and do the hard work necessary to win.

“Find something that is worth doing so much so that you are willing to risk failing in it,” the bronze medalist challenges.

The Royals won the first two games of the 2019 season. I was beside myself giddy with hope for the Royals to surprise the MLB community. One series victory under their belt in the first weekend. My spring optimism had been rewarded on the field. And then…

They were never really in Game 3, falling behind 6 – 0 before rallying and scoring 3 runs in the last three innings.

In Game 4, the Royals were winning 4 – 3 through eight innings, then gave up a run in each of the 9th and 10th innings.

Game 5, the Royals had a 5-run fifth inning to go ahead 6 – 3. The Twins tied the game in the 8th and won in the 9th.

Game 6 — Tied through 5, the Royals lost to the Tigers by 1 run.

Game 7 — Ahead 4 – 2, the bullpen surrendered 5 runs in the bottom of the 7th for another loss.

Game 8 — A “no offense” loss.

Game 9 — Seattle hit a lot of home runs.

Game 10 — It was 2 – 2, and then it wasn’t. More Seattle homers.

Game 11 — A two-out, 9th inning home run gave Seattle another victory.

Game 12 — Up by 2 runs going into the 9th, with two runners on, two outs, and a full count, a freak accident on the warning track allowed the tying runs to score. A 10th inning home run won it for Seattle. Whit Merrifield’s historic 31-game hitting streak ended when he struck out to end the game in the bottom of the 10th.

The Royals are now 2 – 10 with a lot of hard losses.

Last year the team lost 104 games, recalling the three years of baseball comical tragedy in the mid-2000s:

2004 – 104 losses.

2005 – 106 losses.

2006 – 100 losses.

In fact, from 1995 to 2012, the team only had one winning season. Royals fans are experts when it comes to cheering on losers.

The agonies of so many defeats made the thrill of 2015’s victory all the more extraordinary.

Losing sucks. It is demoralizing and depressing, like an April blizzard in the middle of spring.

Losing at a 2 – 10 pace is historic.

“Losing builds passion.”

I’m taking out the losses on the plastic dimpled balls at Fun Acre batting cages.

There is a singular silver lining to losing:

Affordable game-day seats.