- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports8 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For nearly a month, the Kansas City Royals forgot what the solemnity of a losing clubhouse felt like. No music straining through the speakers. No boisterous ceremony tabbing the player of the game. No smoke machine coughing out thick clouds of vapor. Just quiet and reflection and stunted voices trying to remind the Chicken Littles in the room that one loss does not a crisis make.
The Royals lost Tuesday. They lost bad, 7-1 in Game 1 of the World Series to the San Francisco Giants. They lost with their best starting pitcher, James Shields, allowing three runs in the first and five over three innings while watching his ERA this postseason balloon to a most inconvenient 7.11. They lost in front of a crowd of 40,459 at Kauffman Stadium that deflated following that first inning and, despite efforts to the contrary, never found any of the energy that permeated in four previous home playoff games. They lost to Madison Bumgarner, a pitcher who better embodies the Big Game nickname affixed in front of Shields' first name.Wed, Oct 225:07 PM PDTSan Francisco at Kansas CityPreview Game
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports11 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – James Shields said he's a big believer in amnesia. For his sake, he'd better hope his Kansas City Royals teammates are, too, because they need to forget Game 1 of the World Series if they have a shot against the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants snapped Kansas City's eight-game postseason winning streak, riding a Hunter Pence home run, another sublime Madison Bumgarner performance and a mistake-filled Royals showing to a 7-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.
Shields, the Royals' right-hander who said before Game 1 that he wanted to forget about his previous struggles this postseason, compounded them in grand fashion and continued a week of pain that started with his passing a kidney stone. Shields was more Big Lame James than his nickname Big Game James, yielding three runs in the first inning and five overall in three innings of work. Shields' ERA this postseason leapt to 7.11, his early exit the opposite of convenience for Kansas City.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – At 4:30 a.m. last week, already awake for 90 minutes, Ned Yost began vacuuming his condo. He can't help but get up at 3 a.m. these days, the anticipation of the next day of this incredible Kansas City Royals run to the World Series rousing him from his slumber. With nothing better to do, Yost figured his place could use a once-over, seeing as vacuum hadn't met carpet once all summer and his grandkid was coming to town to watch grandpa continue the biggest surprise of the postseason, even bigger than the Royals: Ned Yost, effective manager.
"I wake up excited," Yost said. "I wake up happy. I wake up anticipating Tuesday."
Now that it's here – now that Yost, the most maligned Ned since Homer first met Flanders, is managing heightened expectations in addition to a ballclub trying to make the first undefeated run ever through a postseason – the permagrin will dissolve into the dead-eyed face of a manager running through all the permutations a manager must. The sorts of decisions that damned Yost to the reputation he's doing his best to abolish.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Not that anyone needs excess motivation to watch the intriguing matchup between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants for baseball’s championship, but just in case, here are 2,014 reasons to watch the 2014 World Series.
1-29: For the 29 years since Kansas City’s last championship. Or playoff appearance. Or relevance. The Royals are a great story because of their spectacular run in October, sure, though seeing it through the lens of nearly three decades of ineptitude only heightens the stakes for a city ready to burst at the seams with excitement.
30-52: For the 23 days between the Royals’ last loss and Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. ET. It was a 5-4 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.
53-60: For the eight consecutive wins the Royals have posted this postseason, the most ever to start a playoff run. They haven’t lost a playoff game since Oct. 23, 1985.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – On the biggest night of baseball this city has seen in nearly 30 years, the man responsible for so many great moments here was just like the 40,000-plus people losing their minds around him. About a dozen rows back of the third-base dugout, Frank White sat anonymously – or as anonymously as Frank White can sit in his city – and relished the Kansas City Royals clinching a spot in the World Series for this suddenly baseball-mad town.
It was his third time visiting Kauffman Stadium in the past month, a softening from the stance outlined in his autobiography released less than two years ago: "You'll never see me in that stadium again." White smiled, posed for pictures, signed autographs, momentarily forgetting what kept him away and still keeps him at a distance.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
Tickets to the first game of the World Series in Kansas City have skyrocketed to record prices, with the average seat going for more than $1,000, behind-the-plate seats for more than $13,000 and standing-room-only tickets listed for more than $600, according to an analysis by SeatGeek.
Even in the last five years, as ticket prices for sporting events have multiplied in price, no opening game of the World Series has matched the demand of Kansas City, which last hosted one 29 years ago. The average resale price for a ticket is $1,048, according to SeatGeek, with the cheapest get-in price at $602 and rising.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals are America. They are not America because they reside in the heartland or because they love barbecue so much one of their players concocted his own signature sauce. They aren't America because they play baseball, either, seeing as baseball isn't America's sport anymore, nor because they represent hard work or determination or the other bromides that soothe the masses.
The Kansas City Royals are America because the system that served them so well went haywire, and they did something about it. They stopped feeling bad for themselves, concocted a plan, fought back. They succeeded. They are America because their rich-poor divide grew bigger every year, their middle class withered away, the economics of their world marooned them, and they refused to use any of those things for an excuse, not anymore.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The wind started early in the day, blowing from west to east, rippling the flags at Kauffman Stadium. It rarely moves beyond a light swirl here, only occasionally unleashing the sort of gust that plays havoc on the baseball, as it did in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Hit a ball in the air Tuesday night and it was bound to move fast, like it was late for a date.
Mike Moustakas understood this as he clomped toward the dugout suites along the third-base line, a place where people willing to shell out big bucks get to hobnob with the dirt track that rings the field. Corner infielders who join the Kansas City Royals learn early the trick to traversing the dugout suites: Go to the front edge, plant yourself, find the ball and make a choice. The choice is the difficult part.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports9 days ago
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The brilliance of Lorenzo Cain in the outfield now has numbers to back it up – and they’re every bit as impressive as the highlight catches that have become commonplace during Kansas City Royals playoff games.
Data from Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s Statcast system detailed every step of Cain robbing Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy of extra bases with a diving catch during the Royals’ 6-4 victory in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. The numbers are eerily similar to a Statcast-tracked catch in July by reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen, giving a hint of the incredible data deluge expected to arrive next year.
Cain was shaded slightly toward right field, as was McCutchen with Juan Lagares at the plate. While McCutchen’s first step was quicker than Cain’s (.17 seconds to .24), Cain made up for the jump with an incredible burst of speed. He topped out at 21.2 mph, according to Statcast data, nearly two mph faster than McCutchen (max speed: 19.4 mph) and faster even than Yasiel Puig’s top-end speed of 21.1 mph in a robbery of a Wilmer Flores hit this season.