If the Kansas City Royals are going to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1985 when they won the World Series, the effort will require dominant pitching, timely hitting, sound defense and as much dancing as possible by a fan named Jimmy Faseler.
Faseler's curiously hypnotic, surprisingly intense and altogether hilarious routine, performed Monday night at a critical point in Kansas City's 7-1 victory against the Cleveland Indians, was shown on the JumboTron scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium, and on Fox Sports Kansas City. Fans in person and at home went wild, or were possibly aghast. Faseler was not only entertaining, but he also was serving notice to the rest of the potential playoff field: The Royals won't be out-danced.
In a phone interview with Yahoo! Sports, Faseler, a 28-year-old resident of nearby Independence, Mo., expressed only one qualm about his televised dancing: His exposed belly.
"I got a text from my mom that said, 'Hey, sweetie. Saw you on TV. You need a longer shirt.' "
And yet, it was his oversized belly that jiggled to rhythm, his formidable hips that shook to the beat, and his intense eyes that made contact with an FSN KC camera and would not let go. Emotionally, it was an impromptu response to Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain of the Royals hitting back-to-back triples in the bottom of the sixth. But technically, this also was an accomplished dancer performing his craft.
A stocky yet agile onetime theater student who has performed on stage in Branson, Mo., Faseler grew up idolizing Chris Farley, hoping one day to join him during one of his classic Saturday Night Live skits. That would be impossible anymore, were it not for the magic of GIF animations:
That's what it's all about right there. Farley was a long-suffering Cubs fan, too. He would feel Faseler.
Faseler said he goes between 275-300 pounds, but used to be lighter before missing some workouts. Who hasn't been there? Faseler said he realizes he needs to eat well and exercise more.
"One of my friends was like, 'Well, I guess I'll see you at the gym on Thursday morning,' " Faseler said.
Let's not get hasty. The belly is part of the gimmick. If the Royals really are going to bring in Faseler down the stretch to help with rally dancing (there's an open spot on the 40-man roster, right?) then he can't shape up too much, too soon.
Eric Hosmer of the Royals saw all of the dancing happen on the JumboTron and remarked:
“He’s got phenomenal moves for a big guy. He’s got good core stability. He was really doing it.”
Hosmer has seen Faseler dance on the JumboTron before. Faseler made the end-of-season highlight reel for 2012 for dancing when Billy Butler hit a walkoff home run.
"Pretty much every single Royals game I've been to, I've made it on the JumboTron," Faseler said. "Mainly for dancing."
Mainly. Yeah, but this is the first time in a pennant race.
Really, he's just happy the Royals are doing something in September, just 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot with 13 to go. That's never happened in his lifetime.
"Just the fact that we're talking about the Royals in September is awesome," said Faseler, who was joined at the game by friends Joe Mike Terranella and Scott Clayton. They danced too, and were pretty silly/funny, but Faseler obviously was the lead.
"We don't practice at home or anything, but we understand each other's cues," Faseler said.