No one's been more intriguing to watch during baseball's playoff season so far than the Kansas City Royals, but chances are you only know a handful of their players.
Despite being a small-market team, the Royals are just six wins away from taking the World Series. They defeated the Oakland A's in the Wild Card game, swept the top-seeded Los Angeles Angels and have taken the first two games from the Baltimore Orioles.
Kansas City has yet to lose, which is impressive in itself, but what exactly makes the Royals so interesting? Simply put, they're just more fun. They're enjoying themselves more than any other team in the playoffs, and they're taking care of business in the process.
Need more proof?
1. They make "small ball" entertaining.
Teams known for their "small ball" tactics are usually not super exciting to watch, but that's not the case with Kansas City.
The Royals have used their speed more effectively than any other team during the season, leading the majors in stolen bases with 153. That hasn't changed in the postseason, as they've swiped bases even in the most crucial circumstances.
With his team's playoff life on the line, down a run in the bottom of the ninth, Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson stole third against the Oakland A's in the wild-card game last month. He would go on to score the tying run, capping off a four-run comeback. The Royals went on to win that game, and their aggressive running helped them win five straight games after.
Not only do they make plays on the base paths, but the Royals have been stellar on the field as well, led by outfielder Lorenzo Cain.
2. They're underdogs playing like top dogs.
Heading into the season, no one pegged the Royals as major contenders. According to gambling website Vegas Insider, in February Kansas City was given 50-1 odds to win the World Series, putting them in the middle of the pack.
Their total team payroll, like their initial Vegas odds, was also not very high. Totaling just over $92 million, the Royals ranked 19th in the MLB in player salary, yet they've made it deeper in the playoffs than the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose payroll exceeds theirs by more than $143 million.
With that in mind, it's no surprise the Royals roster isn't chock-full of household name players. But considering how they've played this year, though, people will start to remember Mike Moustakas, Cain and Dyson.
3. They're clutch.
The Royals have a flair for the dramatic. After their win last week against the Orioles in Game 1, they became the first MLB team ever to win four extra-inning games in one postseason. No matter if they're down four runs to the A's in the Wild Card game, or facing the heavily favored and experienced Angels: The Royals have gotten the job done time after time this postseason.
Whether it's getting a big hit in extra innings or making great defensive plays to save runs, the Royals pull out all the stops when it matters most.
4. They're loving every minute.
From their laid-back demeanor, you'd think this team has been here before, but this is the franchise's first playoff appearance in 29 years, and they're taking it in stride. They make sure to have a good time on the field and off it, partying with fans just as readily as entertaining them.
And even though they're playing on the biggest stage in baseball, they make sure not to take any moment too seriously.
So if you're considering rooting for the Royals, you might want to jump on the bandwagon soon. With the quick work they're making of their competition, now's the time to say you've always been a fan.