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The Royals’ reign in the American League is coming to an end

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Saturday’s Say Hey, Baseball takes a look at the end of the Royals’ title defense. Plus, Ryan Zimmerman hits himself with a pop foul.

Oakland Athletics v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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It’s been an obvious truth for a while now — we will have a new World Series champion this season after the Kansas City Royals lost their 73rd game of the season to drop their fifth game in a row Friday night to fall seven games out of the Wild Card and 11 out of the division with 15 games to go. The team that rose from the dead on multiple occasions during both their 2014 AL Pennant run and their 2015 World Series victory won’t pull off one last revival act, and they’ll be playoff spectators for the first time since 2013.

While most neutral projections back in the spring seemed to suggest that this was an inevitability for the Royals, there were still plenty of baseball prognosticators who gave the former World Series champions a fighting chance for this season. It’s hard to have doubt in a team that had gone to two consecutive World Series and done so while making a habit out of making comebacks from nearly insurmountable odds on a near-regular basis during their postseason runs. Unfortunately for Kansas City, this was the year the projections were correct, and their run is coming to a close.

So, what’s next for the Royals? Will Dayton Moore decide that it’s been a good run for this particular crew (which is what some fans on Snapchat apparently want) and embark on another rebuild? Or will they use this upcoming offseason as a chance to retool and attempt to challenge Cleveland and Detroit for supremacy in the AL Central next season? The former champs have plenty of options, but they’ve reached the end of the line in their current World Series defense. If we’re going to see late-game heroics and barely-believable comebacks in October 2016, then it won’t be coming from the team on the blue side of Missouri.

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