From giant emojis to fans themselves, everybody is smiling these days in K.C.

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Just a few years ago, the Kansas City Royals were seen as a team still a ways away from the postseason - but then they went 86-76 in 2013, flashing signs of what was coming next.

That led to an 89-73 record in 2014 that saw the upstart Royals slam their way past the Oakland Athletics in the AL Wild Card Game and push the San Francisco Giants to Game 7 of the World Series.

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With a current 3-2 ALCS lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Royals now find themselves on the cusp of another World Series appearance after blasting through the regular season with a 95-67 record.

As is the custom for teams that (more or less suddenly) become perennial powerhouses, the entire region of Kansas City is swept up in Royals fever.

General manager Dayton Moore and team icon George Brett spoke with MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby this week about the attention the club is receiving. For Moore, he has a firm grasp on the contextual power of it all:

"Life has been breathed back into the fan base. Being a kid born in [Wichita], I know how important this team was to my family and families through the Midwest. I grew up a fan of this team in the '70s and '80s, but I did not know about the character of that team until I came back to Kansas City and could be around George Brett and listen to him explain his passion. Then, I realized why those Royals were so special."

Hall of Famer and Royals legend George Brett, currently Moore's special assistant, echoed the same sentiment when speaking with Ringolsby. He cites the 2014 club's relationship with the fans as an obvious example of their current popularity boon:

"And these guys [on the team] get into it. Last year, after the World Series, they invited the fans to come down to the Kansas City Power and Light District, and 25,000 showed up. The players picked up the tab. These guys get into it. They know what's going on and that's why they have the town eating out of their hands."

These past two seasons have done wonders for a franchise that really needed a boost, and there's no reason to assume they'll be going away anytime soon.