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Hi, my name is Collin Hansen, and I'm a Kansas City Royals fan. I just can't help it, and I'm not even from Kansas or Missouri. But my local radio station growing up carried their games. In my greatest act of youthful rebellion, I backed the Royals against their rivals and my family's favorites, the Minnesota Twins. I collected as many George Brett baseball cards as I could find. Royal blue became my favorite color.

The franchise has fallen on much harder times than during Brett's heyday. Actually, for as long as I can remember, the Royals haven't won anything (I wasn't old enough to follow their 1985 World Series championship, and they have not returned to the playoffs since). And yet, I listen to most of their games and follow their minor-league prospects. I flew to Kansas City last year just to catch a weekend series. My wife once called Royals broadcasts the "soundtrack of our marriage." That was 2003, when the Royals actually won more than half their games (for the first time in 10 years). My wife and I don't have that problem anymore, probably because I can no longer stand the losing by late July.

Despite all the foreboding history, I can't help but look forward to opening day on April 3. I should know better. The Royals have no hope. This offseason they added some aging, declining veterans and will pair them on the field with unproven, inconsistent youth. Even their best young pitcher recently left the team after a fight with the manager. They compete in a division with last year's World Series champion Chicago White Sox and the up-and-coming Cleveland Indians. Best-case scenario, the Royals will still lose 90 games, against only 72 wins.

But dedicated fans know they cannot in good conscience ditch their team during ...

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Play Ball
From 2005 to 2007, "Play Ball" examined the relationship of sports and faith: sports is important precisely because it is a form of play, that is, a manifestation of the Sabbath. Contributors included Mark Galli, Collin Hansen, Mark Moring, and others.
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