Big League Stew
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew2 hrs ago
The Kansas City Royals might not have gotten to the World Series if players hadn't started focusing on their own clan instead of playing "Clash of Clans" on their iPads.
As we prepare for Game 1 of the World Series, pitting the Royals against the San Francisco Giants, the Kansas City Star's Andy McCullough gives us a great look into the Royals clubhouse, and how they refocused themselves during the summer doldrums to become a World Series team.
The baseball season is long and full of downtime for players, so inevitably they turn to things like video games to pass the time when they're traveling or waiting for a game to start. Some Royals had such an affinity for "Clash of Clans" — an online strategy game where you build a village and do battle with other clans — that it concerned coaches. Consider this moment after a July loss that sent the Royals under .500:Tue, Oct 215:07 PM PDTSan Francisco at Kansas CityPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Savvy by now of the San Francisco Giants' tendency to play meaningful games beyond the regular-season schedule, Brandon Belt and his family planned ahead this season. The Belts rented a house about 25 miles east of AT&T Park that included an option for the month of October.
Most players who don't live in their baseball city year-round sign leases that expire on the last day of September, because that's when the regular season usually ends. That often means having most of their belongings shipped to their offseason residence — which could be thousands of miles away — while the player and his family are compelled to live in a hotel until the playoff run ends.
San Francisco's run hasn't ended yet; The Giants visit the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.
Regardless of forethought, Brandon and Haylee Belt faced a dilemma as October approached. With their first child, a boy named Greyson Belt, being born in September, living closer to the ballpark made sense come playoff time. Even with a house already rented.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
You didn't think it was just radio stations having fun with Kansas City Royals being in the World Series, did you? World Wrestling Entertainment's popular "Monday Night Raw" was live from Kansas City on World Series Eve, and the occasion wasn't going to pass without cheap heat.
Randy Orton — the star of those hilarious RKO Vines — was called on to anger the Kansas City crowd by dissing the Royals. He's a good fit, considering he's from St. Louis.
Orton was cutting a promo against John Cena when a "Let's Go Royals" chant broke out in the crowd. Orton quickly flipped into super heel mode and told the fans:
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
If you're a fan of the Kansas City Royals or San Francisco Giants, sorry, this list really isn't for you. We don't expect you to root for anybody on the opposing team in the 2014 World Series, which begins Tuesday night at 8:07 p.m. ET at Kauffman Stadium.
But if you're a baseball fan — even a very casual baseball fan — looking for somewhere to place your rooting interest during baseball's championship series, this list is totally for you.
Do you like players with feel-good comeback stories? This World Series has those. Do you like unlikely heroes? It has that too. Do you like a guy who's paid his dues finally getting a chance on the biggest stage? The World Series has that.
It's even got a joker who's very good at his position, a guy who gives great speeches and a rookie who could make history. (btw, one of those guys smells good too).
Get to know the eight World Series players below, and you might find someone new to root for as the series begins.
Answer Man: Terrance Gore talks velocity, dunking in the WNBA, jumping over a pickup truck and SkittlesDavid Brown at Big League Stew21 hrs ago
The Kansas City Royals caught Terrance Gore by surprise the day they drafted him in June 2011. Listed at 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Gore figured he would become a teacher at the time he got a phone call from scout Colin Gonzales saying the Royals had picked him in the 20th round. It's been an unconventional journey to the majors ever since for Gore, reputed to be the fastest player in the league, who mostly serves as Kansas City's pinch runner.
Pegged as a latter-day Herb Washington — a sprinter Charlie Finley hired off the street for the Oakland Athletics 40 years ago — Gore has stolen eight bases without being caught in the majors, and his legs have helped the Royals win in other ways too. Gore has only two plate appearances in the majors but it's possible he could score one or more of the key runs in the World Series.
Not long before the World Series started, Gore slowed down for a moment for a quick Answer Man session to discuss his whirlwind rookie season.
David Brown: Does wearing No. 0 signify that it takes no time at all for you to get from Point A to Point B?
- David Brown at Big League Stew21 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY — The Kansas City Royals considered bringing back right-hander James Shields for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series this past Wednesday, but instead decided against it and went with lefty Jason Vargas.
There was the matter of the kidney stone Shields had just passed.
Everything worked out, with the Royals beating the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 to advance to the World Series. And Shields is feeling better after getting 11 days of rest before facing the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Game 1 of the World Series.
Reporter Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star broke the news that Shields hadn't been feeling so hot recently. Actually, Shields said the pain was "excruciating":
Shields underwent a CT scan to determine the source of his discomfort. By then, the team’s medical staff deduced he had already passed the stone. Shields still looked wan on Monday afternoon, when a rainout of game three allowed the Royals the opportunity to use him on regular rest for the fourth game.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew23 hrs ago
The Stew told you Saturday about a couple San Francisco radio stations that decided to stop playing "Royals," the ubiquitous hit song by Lorde, until the World Series ended. It's a great way for Bay Area radio stations to show their support for the Giants in their series against the Kansas City Royals while also making headlines for themselves. Mostly the second one, though.
Proving that every radio stunt has an equal and opposite reaction (ain't that right, Isaac Newton?), a radio station in Kansas City has decided it will not stand for a San Francisco radio station getting all these headlines. Oh, and it supports the Royals too
Thus, 99.7 The Point (aka KZPT FM) announced Monday that will play "Royals" more frequently, specifically in the hours leading up to Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. This makes sense, we suppose, because it's not like They Might Be Giants have a recent hit song to take out of rotation in K.C.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
Are you having baseball withdrawals yet? Yeah, us too.
While we wait for the World Series to begin — that's Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. ET, by the way — The Stew figured it's a good time to relive some of the best moments of the 2014 postseason so far. And what a postseason it's been, with so many close games, great plays and unlikely heroes.
So here's our World Series Eve rundown of the eight best moments of the playoffs. You may not agree with our list 100 percent, and that's OK. Leave your own top moments in the comments or tweet them to @BigLeagueStew.
8. Kolten Wong's walk-off gives Cardinals Game 2 of NLCS The entire NLCS didn't finish the way the St. Louis Cardinals hoped, but they can at least be happy at the emergence of Wong as a postseason star. The rookie was smacking the ball all over the place, but his biggest moment came in Game 2 of the NLCS when he hit a walk-off homer to tie the series at one.
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- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 days ago
There are a lot of different angles that can be analyzed heading into this sure-to-be fascinating World Series matchup between the Kansas City Royals, who have not appeared in a Fall Classic since 1985, and the San Francisco Giants, who have won two of the last four.
Is it David vs. Goliath? Dynasty vs. Drought? Or maybe you prefer the quick, aggressive and fearless newcomers vs. the composed, resilient and opportunistic former champions. They all aptly describe this series on multiple levels, but when looking at where these two teams have come from in 2014 and where they hope to go, the stories are essentially the same.
They both controlled their respective divisions for a time, only to fall behind the preseason favorites down the stretch. They both advanced in the do-or-die wild card round. They both were perceived as underdogs, yet dominated in the LDS and LCS rounds without home field advantage. And they enter the World Series with impressive postseason streaks intact.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 days ago
As we noted on Friday, the umpiring crew for the 2014 World Series has been selected and announced. The expanded crew of seven, which now includes one umpire who will be assigned to oversee replay challenges in New York, will include four veterans who are set to make their World Series debuts.
Among the first-timers is 16-year veteran Eric Cooper. He received the good news in a phone call from MLB's Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre, and at the time of the call was driving home with wife Tara after they took in an afternoon movie.
Understandably, Cooper was taken aback by the call. After all, he's been in the business a long time now, and that late October call had never come before. There probably wasn't much indication that his outlook would change much this season, but it has, and it appears he at least partially had expanded replay to thank for that.