With the recent game-losing gaff from newly anointed Padres savior Eric Hosmer, it raised a question in my mind that I’m sure has crossed the mind of many Kansas Citians. What affects our choice to wish luck to or vilify our former fan favorites? Is it the team they choose? The way they left or what they left behind that we remember more? I know that most Royals fans are split on Hosmer. He was such an instrumental player here, with his memorable mad dash home in the World Series to turn the tide (which is ironic that he’s gone and Lucas Duda who made the wild throw just won the Royals a game with a home run the other day). However, he left in what some people see as a greedy and selfish way.
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I think that wouldn’t be a problem if he went to a contending team, but he went to the San Deigo Padres. A team that hasn’t been relevant at all since the great Tony Gwynn was there. They were destined to stick to their role of the doormat of the NL West with or without Hosmer for the foreseeable future, so many Royals fans were delighted to see that $144 million dollar failure.
An example of the opposite reaction would be Tony Gonzalez. Tony G will always be remembered in Kansas City forever as a legendary tight end that revolutionized the position. Hell, he even got people to start recruiting it differently. Antonio Gates was primarily a basketball player at Kent State, and might of not even been considered for football if Gonzalez hadn’t laid down the groundwork. When Gonzalez left to join the Atlanta Falcons, Chiefs fans almost unanimously were in total favor of his decision and supported him in full force. Chants of his name resonated through Arrowhead Stadium when he made his return as a Falcon. To this day, every one in Kansas City understands he was deserving of playing with a Super Bowl contender, as the Chiefs are snake bitten when it comes to the playoffs. This situation certainly can go for many local sports stars, but those two stick out in my mind. Players like Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, Zack Greinke for the Royals and Marcus Peters, Jared Allen, and Alex Smith are other good examples of differences in feelings about how they’ll be remembered by Kansas Citians.
I mean for all we know, if Hosmer stuck around maybe he’d of ended up like Alex Gordon. Who’s gone from hometown hero to aging goat that is heading for one of the worst contract decisions in Royal front office history. My personal opinion on Eric Hosmer leaving is one of confusion, but I think it’s mostly a monetary move. I get that professional sports are a business and it’s about getting the most money possible, but why go to a team that’s going to be just as bad if not worse than Kansas City for the foreseeable future? I feel like if Kansas City meant that much to him, he would’ve put more effort into staying. As for Marcus Peters, I really think he got the short end of the stick when it came to how he was treated in Kansas City. He was an absolute game changer on the field and would constantly do great charity work in the community (I specifically remember a story about him randomly buying a local child some shoes and a winter coat one day). Now he’s at the Rams and they’re building an absolute juggernaut there, and we traded him for a pack of gum. Some Chiefs fans are saying that they’re glad he’s gone because of his participation in the protests this past season, but that just ignorant. On multiple levels. The man is a phenomenal football player that plays with passion on the field. Terrell Owens was the same way, a phenomenal football player and now a Hall of Famer. Many people had an issue with how he carried himself, but couldn’t argue with the results on the field. So the question here is where people draw the line. I’m curious to find out what exactly a player can do to forever forsake him to a fan base, even after years of playing for a team. Every fan is faced with that question when a great player leaves. Do you continue to love him and root for him, or are you done with that player and leave him, hoping he flames out?