Jeff Passan

  • Night to remember: Royals win wildest of wild cards with thrilling comeback

    Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports8 hrs ago

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There is always a payoff. That's why we're addicted to sports. No matter how ugly it gets, how miserable the team, how long the skid, how abhorrent the owner, how dreadful the management, how unlikeable the players, the payoff exists, somewhere in the future, at some random juncture, like on a Tuesday in the middle of America at a baseball stadium that for 29 years waited and waited and waited for such a night.

    The noise here – the noise will forever sear itself into the minds of those who heard it, because it's not the sort of thing that can be captured and retransmitted in its full glory by technology. Photographs can encapsulate the moment in which the bat hit the ball, the man lifted his arms, the team spilled onto the field. And video can illustrate the desperate dive and the kid running harder than he ever has around third base and the dust that kicked up when he stomped on home plate. Nothing can do justice to 40,502 people with three decades of pent-up frustration and sadness and losing unburdening themselves with a simultaneous scream, primal and redemptive, beautiful and bestial, proper.

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  • Royals rally past A's in epic 12-inning AL wild-card game

    Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports12 hrs ago

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As the first game of baseball’s 2014 postseason bled deep into the night, those lucky enough to find themselves in Kauffman Stadium would be forgiven if they shared a thought that on the surface sounds blasphemous: It was worth the wait.

    For 29 years – 29 years of sporting pain and misery and, most of all, losing – the Kansas City Royals stumbled the tortuous and torturous path of the saddest franchise in baseball. And in their first trip back to the playoffs in nearly three decades culminated with a rollicking, crazy, come-from-behind, 12-inning, walk-off 9-8 victory over the Oakland A’s in the American League wild-card game, the stadium shook as it hasn’t since Kansas City won the 1985 World Series.

    This was the best game of the baseball season, and it wasn’t even October. By the time Salvador Perez laced a two-out Jason Hammel slider down the left-field line to score Christian Colon, baseball’s postseason had been kicked off in grand style, with the Royals advancing to face the Los Angeles Angels in the AL Division Series and the A’s collapse fully realized.

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  • Derek Jeter takes his place among Yankees gods with memorable farewell

    Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports5 days ago

    NEW YORK – The New York Yankees exist to make gods, to turn humans superhuman by virtue of their defining characteristics, real or imagined. Babe Ruth was the larger-than-life caricature, Lou Gehrig the classy figure felled by tragedy, Mickey Mantle the purest talent possible, Joe DiMaggio the essence of gracefulness, Yogi Berra the human malaprop. They live on in Monument Park, the center field homage at Yankee Stadium, to which people travel from around the world, as though on Hajj, to pay respects.

    Derek Jeter arrived here with the No. 2 on his back, anointed before he'd taken a single swing with a single-digit number, which only Yankees greats wear. Before long, his sobriquet was clear: Derek Jeter, the epitome of clutch, the sort of legend that grew in his salad days and waned as the vagaries of time took with it most of his game.

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