How do the Royals stack up at the midpoint of the season, compared to previous seasons?
The Royals leave July 4 with a 34-46 record, 10 games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers.
They were in slightly better shape last year, posting a 39-48 record and facing a 10-game deficit. The Royals are in much better position than the middle of the decade, when they hadn't reached 30 wins by this point three times, and faced deficits of 29 and 27 games behind the American League Central leader in 2005 and 2006.
Since their last playoff appearance in 1985, the Royals have only reached July 4 with a winning record seven times (1987-89, 1993-95 and 2003).
The 2003 team was 46-38 on July 4, boasting a 2 1/2 game lead in the Central. Of the five instances when the Royals led the division since 1979 on July 4, only the 1980 team, which won the AL pennant, managed to win the division.
This year's team was in first place as late as May 15, and held a three-game lead on May 7, maxing out that day with a record of 18-11, a season-best seven games over .500.
So what's the good news?
Zack Greinke, of course.
Despite either losing or getting a no-decision in five of his last seven starts, Greinke is 10-4 on July 4, seemingly a lock to be an all-star when the rosters are announced today.
He leads the AL in ERA (2.00), complete games (5), shutouts (2) and is tied for the lead in wins.
At this pace, he'll be the ninth 20-game winner in Royals history, and the first in 20 years when Bret Saberhagen won the second of his two Cy Young Awards with a 23-6 record.
When was the last time a professional sports team in Wichita won something?
The Wingnuts baseball team clinched a playoff berth this week in the second year of its operation, capturing the American Association North Division first half title.
Their baseball predecessors, the Wichita Wranglers, won their division in 2006, before losing in the Texas League championship series. The Wranglers won the league title in 1999.
The Aviators, the indoor football team prior to the Wild, was poised to play for an American Professional Football League title in 2006, before the league announced Wichita would have to travel for the championship game. The Aviators declined a spot in the game in protest, and never played another game.
The Wichita Thunder won the CHL's championship in 1994 and 1995. It last played a playoff game in 2007.
In their 20-plus years of existence, the Wichita Wings never won their league's championship.