Even though the song references diamonds and tigers, "Royals" by Lorde is not about baseball. And yet, in the best pop culture news for the Kansas City Royals since Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle and others first pined for Bruce Chen, it turns out the baseball team in K.C. inspired Lorde to write the No. 1 hit. Really.
Back in September, this is what the 16-year-old pop sensation from New Zealand told VH-1:
“I had this image from the National Geographic of this dude just signing baseballs,” Lorde told us when we sat down with her recently. “He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals.’ " Lorde was so taken by the image and the word that she penned the song around that idea. "It was just that word. It’s really cool."
It wasn’t just a photo of a baseball player, though. Lorde is also a massive history buff and her love of the real life royals of the past also played a part in creating the song.
Oh, whatever, VH-1. But who is the player in the NatGeo photo signing autographs? A quick check at National Geographic online wasn't helpful. The Kansas City Star speculates that it might be George Brett who, pretty much, is the only player in Royals history. Hey, the Royals have a history after 1985, even if nobody wants to remember most of it.
Update: This is probably the photograph. It's of George Brett. There can be only one!
Aside from Brett, smart money is on Jeff Francoeur, the greatest Royal of this generation, being the ballplayer in question. He might have passed on to the National League, but Frenchy will always be a special part of Royals lore for how he bonded with Oakland Athletics fans over pizza and bacon.
Whoever it is, it's pretty cool that a 16-year-old girl from halfway 'round the world knows about baseball and can identify with the Royals — no matter that they haven't won in nearly 30 years. It's a long shot that she's ever seen a diamond in the flesh. As sports go, baseball doesn't have much of foothold in Oceania. It don't run in their blood. Or, it didn't, until Lorde came along. Now, the Royals ought to be thinking of opening the 2015 season in Wellington.
And now, for those who haven't heard it in a few days:
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