I'm 23. I consider the high point of my 23 year pro sports fandom to be when the Royals finished a magical, yet mediocre 2003 season with an 83-79 record.
Wars have been fought and "won", I've seen five presidents in office, I've nearly completed all of my schooling, I have attended 2 universities, and nothing. Nothing has made me smile in professional sports in Kansas City in 23 years. Until yesterday...
Zack Greinke is my generation's George Brett. He is our Len Dawson, our Tom Watson, our 3-run homer off Goose Gossage into the 3rd deck. He's a shining beacon of hope on a franchise that has otherwise proven to be worth no more than wasted summers and sleepless nights for the few true fans it has left. He is the face of the lost generation of Kansas City baseball. He has college kids at Mizzou rivaling Albert Pujols jerseys with #23 jerseys. He is uniting a city's young population. Nights that Zack pitches might as well be quarter draws at Harpo's or Saturday night at The Hawk.
We've been searching for a long time. We had trouble relating to Mike Sweeney. We couldn't understand Carlos Beltran. Zack is our guy.
He's 25 years old. He's dealt with anxiety issues that so many young people are dealing with in today's fast moving world. Some of us feel that we will never be good enough, that we will always be beaten by someone else. That our best will never be good enough. We've all wanted to drop what we're doing and join the PGA tour or go mow lawns in Hawai'i for the rest of our lives, or at least we had the thought.
He symbolizes what so many young people are seeking: Hope. The hope that we can overcome our inner demons and become what we truly strive to be. The hope that a hapless and dormant fanbase can rally around a 25-year-old phenom who has the potential to lead this franchise and this city into an age of greatness and success. Much like a 26-year-old who captivated this town in a chase for .400, much like a 21-year-old who anchored a World Series rotation.
Zack is more than a Cy Young winner. Zack is our guy.
And he's going to be our guy for a long time.