- David Brown at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
Cops love baseball too. Just like the rest of the community felt the excitement of the Kansas City Royals being in the playoffs Tuesday night for the first time in 29 years, so did the Kansas City (Mo.) police. One problem, of course: It's hard to depend on criminals also catching Royals Fever so thoroughly that they forget to commit crimes so law enforcement also can enjoy the game.
But, in case local scofflaws were feeling the least bit civic, the KCPD took to Twitter in the late innings of Kansas City's 9-8 victory against the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game:
We really need everyone to not commit crimes and drive safely right now. We'd like to hear the @Royals clinch this.
One of the greatest tweets of all time. The best part, aside from the half-joking audacity and sass, is the "really." We really need this, you guys. It wasn't an unreasonable request, given:
- David Brown at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Arrowhead Stadium receives lots of attention for being the loudest place in sports when the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs play there. As the Oakland Athletics found out Tuesday night in the American League wild-card game, the ballpark across the parking lot at the Truman Sports Complex can get deafening enough to affect the outcome of a baseball game, too.
A's outfielder Sam Fuld credited Kansas City fans with an assist after neither he nor Jonny Gomes could catch Eric Hosmer's fly ball in the 12th inning that turned into a triple and sparked the Royals' final comeback in a rollicking 9-8 victory that sent them to the AL Division Series.Mon, Sep 29New England14 - 41Kansas CityGame Recap
- David Brown at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin said he let slugger Adam Dunn know "earlier in the day" Tuesday that he would not be in the lineup at designated hitter for the American League wild-card game against Kansas City. Melvin didn't want Dunn, who's never played in a postseason game in 14 years in the majors, to find out he wasn't starting once he reached Kauffman Stadium and saw the lineup posted.
Right-hander James Shields starts for the Royals, with Jon Lester going for the A's. Dunn's left-handed bat is among the more likely to hit a home run, or reach base via a walk, for either team. He's frequently a fixture against right-handers. As Melvin points out, just because Dunn isn't starting doesn't mean he won't play, or even figure prominently in the outcome.
"He understands, too," Melvin said. "All our guys know that we do things a little differently here at times. We're trying to play for the day. ... He may have the biggest at-bat of the game. So he's ready for that."Tue, Sep 30Oakland8 - 9Kansas CityGame Recap
- David Brown at Big League Stew23 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the reasons for Major League Baseball's enduring popularity is the frequency and simplicity with which its enjoyment is passed among the generations. Almost everybody has stories, or at least memories. Playing catch with dad. Mom driving you to Little League practice. Going to games with your grandfather.
One of the emerging themes leading up to the Kansas City Royals hosting the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game Tuesday night was how history divides Royals fans into two kinds: One, a younger generation that had witnessed little or no success since the Royals won the World Series 29 years ago. The other: An older group that also lived the good-old days.
- David Brown at Big League Stew1 day ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Having to face left-hander Jon Lester in a postseason game is a task no opponent should relish. Lester's reputation in the playoffs is second to few, and his 2.11 ERA in 76 2/3 career innings for the Boston Red Sox backs it up. And yet as postseason neophytes, the Kansas City Royals could benefit from Lester being on the mound for the Oakland Athletics, if players take stock in what he said before, and how he acts during, the American League wild card game Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
"Believe it or not, I've always tried to take the same approach, whether it's April 15th or this game now," Lester said Monday afternoon. "The competitiveness in me does not allow me to throttle back or throttle more, or whatever. Same mentality, same preparation, same routine. Nothing changes because the game means more. I think that keeps me even-keeled."
They say honesty is the best policy. In the case of Minnesota Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, they are full of baloney.
Nolasco, who just finished the first season of a four-year, $49 million contract, mentioned overnight on Twitter that he'd rather be playing for a previous team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dispassionate blogger Aaron Gleeman captured the brief social-media conversation in case Nolasco got the bright idea to delete his comment — which he has:
This will go over well. Dodgers fan tweets "wish you were still with LA" to Ricky Nolasco and he replies "so do I!!!" pic.twitter.com/Dq61tOOiSs
Nolasco is from southern California, and pitched mostly well for the Dodgers in 2013 after being traded from the Miami Marlins. He struggled down the stretch — possibly because of his elbow, and he made an unremarkable start in the NLCS against the Cardinals, a game the Dodgers lost. But he obviously misses the old home town.
This might be hard for some to understand, but Nick Punto of the Oakland Athletics has a reputation — and a talent — for shredding jerseys. After a walk-off or milestone victory, Punto is known to grab the heroic player by the collar and rip his jersey to shreds right off his body in celebration. You might ask "Why?" Well, perhaps the question should be "Why not?" It's what wrestler Hulk Hogan would do — so isn't that a good enough reason?
Anyway, Sonny Gray pitched a six-hitter for the A's on Sunday, a huge effort in a 4-0 victory that stopped their implosion and landed them in the playoffs, at least for a game. So it was time for him to get shredded.
Chicago White Sox slugger Paul Konerko took one last walk off the field before the top of the sixth inning Sunday, playing in his 2,349th game and getting another standing ovation, plus an encore, from the fans at U.S. Cellular Field. They were grateful for a lot. Grateful for Konerko's 16 seasons with the White Sox. Grateful for most of his 439 home runs, grateful for his grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series that helped the White Sox win their only championship since 1917. Grateful that he fit in Chicago, that he was sort of like them, as much as a ballplayer can be.
After the game ended he took another walk around the park. From reporter Scott Merkin at MLB.com:
Konerko circled the field, talking to fans who basically followed his every move since he arrived from the Reds before the 1999 season in a trade for Mike Cameron.
Juan Uribe put on a pair of aviator sunglasses in order to look more like a boss than he already does. He also changed jerseys — going from Don Mattingly's No. 8 to Tommy Lasorda's No. 2 — to complete his look as skipper for a day. He even made real pitching changes.
It might have seemed like a farce, but the Los Angeles Dodgers were being earnest (if not serious) by putting Uribe in charge and having Cy Young contender Clayton Kershaw act as pitching coach. It all worked out, too, as the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 10-5 at Dodger Stadium on Sunday in the regular-season finale. The Dodgers start the playoffs Friday. The Rockies finished a mostly forgettable season 66-96.
The record book (probably) will list Mattingly as the manager for Game 162, but if he was, he was in the wings pulling the strings.
"Easy game today,'' said Uribe, who got a cooler full of a blue sports drink tossed on him by Matt Kemp before a postgame rally on the field.
The Oakland Athletics must believe in the philosophy, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." Surviving an epic collapse that spanned early August, when they owned the best record in Major League Baseball, to the final game of the regular season, the A's beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 on Sunday afternoon to qualify for the wild-card game and eliminate the Seattle Mariners.
Oakland is the last team in after going 16-30 since Aug. 10. The A's also went 5-8 over the final two weeks to let the Mariners bring the regular season down to the final day.
Sonny Gray scattered six hits and struck out five, following up on a 12-strikeout performance — a loss not his fault — in his previous outing. Josh Reddick opened the scoring against Nick Martinez with an RBI triple in the second, and Stephen Vogt followed with an RBI single to give the A's a 2-0 lead. They added two insurance runs in the ninth.