SURPRISE, Ariz. — The glamour, the excitement, and the emotions of winning a World Series can be quite overwhelming, and just like a long night out on the town, you probably wake up feeling the effects the next day.
Coming into 2016, the Kansas City Royals will try to do something that hasn’t been done since the Yankees did in 1998-2000, and that is win back-to-back World Series championships along with appearing in three straight.
“That’s the best moment, no one forgets that moment from the World Series last year,” said shortstop Alcides Escobar. “New year, new team, we’re playing hard again and trying to get another World Series.”
Winning back-to-back has been done on 15 separate occasions, which seems like a lot, but in this day and age where the parity in the league is higher, the shot to do so has to be considered lower than it was before 2000.
The so-called hangover can be something that follows the team around like a dark cloud. It could hamper a team’s performance if you let it, but one of the leaders in the Royals clubhouse doesn’t think it will.
“That’s just all talk,” Royals outfielder Alex Gordon says. “We just go out and play and see what happens. Hopefully it doesn’t happen, but you just never know.”
The motivation can waver, but the Royals have never really been a team that has been a favorite year in and year out. If they are to get back to the World Series, going in with that underdog mentality may not be that bad of an idea.
Coming into 2016, they have to be given a certain amount of respect. They are tied for the fifth best odds to win it all in 2016, according to Bovada, but have most of the same pieces in place as a year ago. There are obviously those who will leave just because there isn’t enough room to keep everyone, but for those who did stay, they will have that target on their back.
“Last year was a very important year for the team, the best year of my career,” said Escobar. “This year, and mostly the same team, everyone is so happy coming back right now in Spring Training and getting ready for the season.”
But coming into this year, this Royals team seems to have a good mindset in the clubhouse that they will be able to adapt to having that target on their back and that the whole hangover talk is, well, just talk.
“Every year is different, every year you should have that same mindset of wanting to win it all and that’s what we have,” Gordon said. “Last year was great and we relish on it this Spring Training. We’re happy about it, but we still have more goals and more plans ahead of us.”
You don’t want to completely put it behind you, but you have to be able to have the mindset of wanting more and not being content with what you have. It is all about coming together as a team, as a unit, and playing for each other.
“Everyone’s feeling really good, really happy in this clubhouse,” Escobar said. “And like you say, we lost a few guys, and we have a few new guys, and that’s the most important thing, coming together.”
Some people say losing the World Series is harder to come back from, but the silenced that by coming back the next season and winning it. They bounced back from losing it, but now, can they keep it up after winning it?