From: Lonnie Shalton
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 4:10 PM
To: Lonnie Shalton
Subject: (Post 1) It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over – Yogi Berra (and Lee Judge)
Game 4. Now I know why Snoopy is smiling. Here’s hoping his KC version still looks like this after Game 5 tomorrow night. No matter what, there will be no way to ever wipe off the smiles of the faces of the KC fans in the late afternoon yesterday.
No one really knows if the recently departed Yogi Berra said it first, but the phrase “It ain’t over till it’s over” has again been validated. Much to the chagrin of the office of Governor James Abbott of Texas, tweeting at 3:02 yesterday: “Congrats to the @astros on advancing to the ALCS! Hoping for an all-Texas #ALCS.” The tweet has been deleted, but not before it was saved on screens nationwide.
The coincidences of yesterday and last year’s Wild Card game with Oakland are almost eerie. Four runs down going into the 8th inning, the go-ahead run scored with Luke Gregerson on the mound, and that run being scored by Eric Hosmer.
Yogi again gets to help us with a quote: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” And Lee Judge can simply run his KC Star editorial cartoon from 54 weeks ago:
The new caption: “BIG DEAL…I’VE SEEN A TEAM COME BACK AFTER BEING DOWN BY FOUR RUNS IN PLAYOFF GAMES TWO YEARS IN A ROW!”
I have a bias for this cartoon. I acquired the original through Lee Judge’s annual sale of his cartoons for the benefit of Project Warmth. Go Lee.
For those who want to dig deeper into some baseball playoff minutiae:
1985 Redux: In keeping with “déjà vu all over again,” the home teams in the four divisional playoffs this year faced off in 1985. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers and the Royals beat Toronto for the respective pennants. We all know what happened next – in a game that was a good omen for 2014 and 2015, the Royals came from behind in Game 6 of the World Series to shock the Cardinals. Game 7, an anticlimactic 10-0 victory, gave KC a World Series champion. The Royals had trailed both Toronto and St. Louis by three games to one. Yes, I remember Don Denkinger’s call, but Terrance Gore was safe yesterday too. Replay is not infallible.
Back to the Future: My son Brian reminded me that one of the predictions in the 1989 movie “Back to the Future Part 2” was that the Cubs would win the World Series in 2015. Here is the clip, but the Cubs should not look to the film for accuracy – it also predicted that the American League entry would be a team from Miami. Michael J. Fox does not question that the Cubs might win, but he wonders about the then non-existent major league team in Miami. The film was partly right. Miami did get major league ball (1993), but the Marlins are in the National League. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADXs2C4Vmho#t=12.
Judging the Royals and “The Slide” by Chase Utley: Another plug for Lee Judge. In addition to his political cartoons, he blogs almost daily about the Royals and tweets during the games. His theme is inside baseball: , http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/. A good example is his explanation of the Hosmer tag when Carlos Gomez was picked off by Wade Davis: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article38497959.html.
One of Lee’s most prophetic posts related to slides that take out a middle infielder trying to complete a double play. I am sure most Royals fans recall this past April when Brett Lawrie spiked and injured Alcides Escobar. Judge wrote a post then that reminded us of the most famous second base slide in playoff history – maybe now overtaken by Dodger Chase Utley breaking the Mets Ruben Tejeda’s leg this past week. Some 38 years ago, Hal McRae of the Royals in Game 2 of the 1977 playoffs took out Willie Randolph of the Yankees. The aftermath was a new rule about not leaving the base path on a slide. The Judge post includes videos of McRae’s play and the Game 5 slide by George Brett as he completed a triple with a hard slide into Graig Nettles who then kicked George. http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19239777.html.
A couple of tweets from others in the aftermath of the Chase Utley slide:
“This kind of senseless tragedy could be prevented if more of our second basemen carried guns.”
“No. You’re not politicizing leg-breaking mishaps. You can’t let emotions prevail. Now isn’t the time.”
The Ad: Yes, she is back (not the one with the English accent, but another woman in blue hawking the blue pill). It’s a close race between her and the DraftKings/FanDuel semi-gambling sites for ad overload. At least we are without the good and bad Rob Lowe this year. With her football in hand and #16 as her jersey number, I’m thinking Lenny Dawson. This tweet caught my attention:
|10/10/15, 6:30 PM
“So, son, isn’t it great that MLB games are on during the day?” “Yep. Hey dad, what’s ‘erectile dysfunction’?”
From: Lonnie Shalton
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 11:04 AM
To: Lonnie Shalton
Subject: (Post 2) Awaiting the ALCS – A Story of Ten-Year Old Fans
Snoopy is so happy that the Royals beat Houston to advance to the ALCS!
I’m happy too. My major league stadium viewing began in 1955 when I cut school with Jay DeSimone to see the Kansas City A’s who had relocated from Philadelphia. My peak viewing was in 1985 when I luckily attended all seven I-70 World Series games, including that magical comeback in Game 6, sitting next to my 14-year old son Jason. For several years, I had season tickets that were mostly used by my Mom. When she was no longer able to go on a regular basis, I dropped the tickets and started depending on the kindness of others for an occasional day at the K. At a certain age, high definition TV has its advantages.
Age 10 in 2015: But now there is a more modern baseball-obsessed person who must be served. My 10-year old grandson Ian. His interest in baseball was percolating last year, and the Royals run did not hurt. He got a Sports Illustrated subscription and started inhaling baseball info from the internet and video games. As we came into this season, he surprised me with his knowledge of the best players in both leagues. Way ahead of me for sure. He had not played any organized ball and so got his start with a 3&2 baseball camp this past summer. I took him to many of the sessions, and in the long drive to the 3&2 fields, we talked baseball. One specific topic was a potential mid-season trade for an infielder – he had a name in mind (can’t remember who) and I added Ben Zobrist to the conversation. Score a small one for Grandpa.
The next step was a fall league that played at the fields at the Jewish Community Center. The kids are a joy to watch and this proud Grandpa got an iPhone video of Ian’s very first hit in little league. I sent the video to my old classmate Jay DeSimone. Jay is a former Ban Johnson player and coach, and he wrote in good baseball talk “Grandson Ian went with the pitch the other way just like a good hitter should.” Video attached – don’t miss his cool helmet and Rita’s vocal support in the background.
Ian is watching the games in both leagues and bleeds Royal Blue. He also likes the Cubs (regrets to my Cardinals friends). We text some while the games are in progress (see attached). He talked to me after Game 4, excited about the win and he commented that he really appreciated Hosmer’s homer because it got us two “insurance” runs. Baseball talk.
So, yes, I must take Ian to a playoff game, just like I did with his dad Jason 30 years ago. Tickets? StubHub to the rescue. Ian and I will be in Section 223 on Saturday afternoon for Game 2. The price was somewhat higher than the $1.25 I paid on opening day in 1955 and the $25 for an ALCS ticket in 1985.
Age 10 in 1951: That would be me. I know you are doing the math in your head (spoiler, 74). Like Ian, I was a sponge absorbing baseball info and playing shortstop in Cub Scouts. It was the year of one of the greatest comebacks in the history of baseball. The New York Giants had trailed the Brooklyn Dodgers by 10 games on August 10. They won 50 of 62 games to end the season tied with the Dodgers. The three-game playoff ended with the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” – Bobby Thomson’s 3-run walk-off homer. I would have to agree this ranks right up there with the comebacks by the Royals.
In KC, our contact with major league baseball was a little TV, Harry Caray on Cardinals radio if you could get a signal and an annual pre-season exhibition game that my Uncle Tony took me to a couple of years. My favorite player was fellow shortstop Phil Rizzuto of the Yankees. Not only was he was the MVP for the AL in 1950, he was short like me. Rizzuto’s Yankees beat Bobby Thomson’s Giants in the 1951 World Series. Most folks in KC were Yankee fans because their top farm club was the Kansas City Blues. Rizzuto and many other stars passed through KC on the way to NY, and 1951 had a very special one, a young Mickey Mantle. He played 40 games in KC that year when he was sent down from NY in a roster move. I don’t remember seeing him play then, but I have a 1951 Blues scorecard (10 cents) with the team picture and Mickey is there on the second row.
My obsession with baseball trivia was in full bloom. The “Sporting News” (the “Bible of Baseball”) put out an annual record book called “One for the Book.” I scoured the book on matters like the last .400 season (Ted Williams) and the 56-game hitting streak (Joe DiMaggio). Both occurred in 1941, but I missed all of Joe’s streak. It ran from May 15 to July 16, and I was born on August 9. Most baseball fans know that Babe Ruth hit 714 homers, but I remember being surprised to find out that he was also the career leader in strikeouts and walks. The numbers are still burned into my brain – 1,330 K’s and 2,062 W’s. My trusty fact checker Joe Downs tells me that those career marks are now held by Barry Bonds (2,558 W’s) and Reggie Jackson (2,597 K’s), but I won’t remember those numbers tomorrow.
Bishop Sullivan Center/Baseball Pancake Breakfast: Following the lead of two good friends, Albert Riederer and baseball card collector Wayne Tenenbaum, Rita and I have become supporters of Bishop Sullivan Center. Tom Turner and his dedicated staff and volunteers serve northeast and the central city with food pantries, household needs and job services. The center holds an annual pancake breakfast with the participation of Royals players who join in to sign autographs and play whiffle ball with the kids. Billy Butler was the primary sponsor for several years, but with Billy’s move to Oakland, Christian Colon stepped up to lead the event. Luke Hochever and Paulo Orlando joined in the fun on September 26. My granddaughter Emersyn attended with a posse of six other 13-year olds, as did Ian, his sister Miyo and two of his school friends (Ian is at the far right in the attached Hochever photo).
From our condo, Rita and I enjoy our view of the J.C. Nichols fountain, particularly during the playoffs when the water runs Royal Blue. We look forward to seeing “blue” through the World Series.
This concludes my primary message of the day. The 10-year old in me has added some baseball nostalgia and trivia below for those who have time to linger (waste?) as we await tonight’s first pitch.
Final Four: With the Mets win last night, only four teams are left: Three teams that won their division during the season plus the Wild Card Cubs who finished third in their division. The Vegas favorite? The Cubs in the last news I have seen. This may not sound right until you take a look at the season records. The Cubs won more games (97) than KC (95), Jays (93) and Mets (90). They happened to be in the division that had the two biggest winners: St. Louis (100) and Pittsburgh (98). The Cubs dispatched the Pirates in the Wild Card game and the Cards in the ALDS. And they have hit a lot of home runs in the playoffs.
Toronto 1985: A 2-minute video of the highlights of that series: http://www.royalsreview.com/2015/10/15/9543187/recap-of-the-1985-royals-blue-jays-alcs?utm_campaign=royalsreview&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter. This morning’s KC Star had a neat fact: half of the players on the teams playing at the K tonight were not yet born when the 1985 games were played.
Toronto 2015: The 7th inning of the Jays/Rangers Game 5 is one of the wackiest I have ever seen. Here is an excellent (long) read from Joe Posnanski breaking down the inning from the errant throw by the Jays catcher, to the three straight errors, to the already infamous bat flip by Bautista: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/blue-jays-rangers-seventh-inning-jose-bautista-bat-flip-russell-martin-throw/.
The Cubs: The seventh inning stretch with the scoreboard video of Ernie Banks leading “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was priceless. Ernie died in January and the Cubs players are wearing his #14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwNCBxUFSG0.
Wild Card One: The one-game sudden death of a team via the Wild Card is smartly treated in this short piece by Roger Angell, a 95-year old wonder still writing beautiful prose about sports: http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/gone-yankees-out-of-playoffs. An excerpt: ”This is the fourth year of the double-wild-card system, and, for the losing players and fans alike, these harsh sudden endings impose a quietus upon the pleasures and recollections of a season, and cast the winning pitchers as executioners.”
Wild Card Two: Pittsburgh has been the home team the last two years in the NL Wild Card game. They got shut out both times. Using Angell’s term, the “executioner” in 2014 was Madison Bumgarner who would later vanquish the Royals. The starting pitcher for the Pirates in that 2014 game was Edinson Volquez, the starter for the Royals in tonight’s game.
Sam’s Parking: Sam Gould died in September at the age of 98. Those attending Blues, Monarchs, Athletics or Royals games at Municipal Stadium at 22nd and Brooklyn will remember two kinds of parking: front yards and driveways of entrepreneurial home owners and Sam’s Parking (owned by Sam Gould). From inside the stadium, the huge “Sam’s Parking” sign loomed just beyond the left field fence. The lot was so close that a long homer could land on the cars. Bill Carr remembers being at a game when Vic Power of the A’s smashed a windshield with a long blast. Sam’s obituary said that Sam paid for the lights for the baseball diamonds at the Jewish Community Center – the very place Ian played in the fall league. Two of Ian’s games were at night. Under Sam’s lights. Thank you Sam. The obit also pointed out that Sam was predeceased by his wife, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. Nice touch.
Left on Base (LOB): Offhand, I only remember two playoff games where a team had no players left on base – Houston in Game 5 with Cueto and Davis pitching and the Brooklyn Dodgers in Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956. Probably been more, but Game 5 ties the record in any event.
Yogi Berra: Yogi gave me good material for my prior post, so I will thank him by linking a couple of very good articles written soon after he died. First, a Roger Angell piece, wonderfully describing Yogi as “a thinking bookend, a stump in charge .” http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/postscript-yogi-berra-1925-2015?mbid=nl_092415_Daily&CNDID=14054519&spMailingID=8097827&spUserID=MjUwMzA5MDY2ODcS1&spJobID=762621330&spReportId=NzYyNjIxMzMwS0. The other is by George Will: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/09/yogi_berra_a_winner_for_the_ag.html#incart_email.
Governor Tweeting: Without meaning to pile on Texas Governor Greg Abbott for prematurely tweeting that Houston would advance to the ALCS, I need to note that the second part of his tweet urged the Rangers to make it an all-Texas ALCS. Toronto disposed of that wish. Before Wade Davis began pitching in the ninth inning in Game 5, Royals Review sent out a cautionary tweet: “Governor Jay Nixon, please don’t tweet right now.”
From: Lonnie Shalton
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2015 4:25 PM
To: Lonnie Shalton
Subject: (Post 3) Back to the Series
Cain’s Mad Dash: Lorenzo Cain has done it again. The race from first to home on Hosmer’s single is now part of Royals postseason lore
In the immortal words of Jarrod Dyson: “That’s what speed do.” Charlie Brown agrees.
Lorenzo Cain is my favorite Royal because of plays like this. There were so many in 2014 that he was the ALCS MVP.
Alcides Escobar is my grandson Ian’s favorite Royal. Esky had a postseason from the leadoff position that has been rivaled only by Cardinals great Lou Brock who in seven games in 1968 had 13 hits, 6 runs and 5 RBIs. In six games, Eskymagic produced 11 hits, 6 runs, 5 RBIs and the 2015 ALCS MVP.
Wade Davis again did what seemed impossible. With runners at second and third and nobody out, he got two strikeouts and a final-out ground ball in a duel with Josh Donaldson, the likely MVP for the AL season. Sports drama at its best.
Thank You Zack Greinke: GM Dayton Moore gets deserved credit for his 2010 trade of Zack Greinke to Milwaukee for Cain and Escobar. Zack had won the Cy Young with the Royals, but he wanted to be traded. The multi-player trade also brought prospect Jake Odorizzi to KC and he toiled in the Royals farm system. In December of 2012, Moore made the bold trade that headlined James Shields coming to KC and Wil Myers going to Tampa. Tampa also got Odorizzi and the Royals got …… Wade Davis. Myers was Rookie of the Year and Shields would help the Royals get to the World Series in 2014. Zack remains a top pitcher and may win the Cy Young this year for the Dodgers. But I most appreciate the vital role he has played in getting the Royals to the World Series.
Back to the Series: As we watched Game 6 on TV, Rita pointed out a sign held up by a fan: “Back to the Series.” The fan meant the Royals of course, but this was a clever reference to the 1989 movie “Back to the Future Part II” which featured a prediction that the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. It looked very possible as the Cubs took on the Mets. The Cubs had played the Mets seven times in the regular season. Won every game. Played the Mets four times in the NLCS. Lost every game. Much of the damage was done by Daniel Murphy who became Babe Ruth in the postseason (7 homers so far) and was the NLCS MVP.
Murphy also supplied a memorable base running moment in the final game against the Dodgers in the ALDS. He was on first with Duda at the plate. As has become common with pull hitters at the plate, all of the infielders were shifted to the right side. Duda walked and Murphy trotted down to second and noticed that the shifted infielders had not yet moved. He dashed to the open third base and then scored on a sacrifice fly – would not have happened if he had stopped at second. The Mets won the game and the ALDS by one run (3-2). The pitcher is the player often assigned to cover third in this situation and one of the smartest and best fielding pitchers in baseball was on the mound. Zack Greinke.
The Cubs have not won a World Series since the Roosevelt administration (1908, Teddy). The streak continues, but not before seeing some of the best young talent in the majors knock out the formidable Cardinals in this year’s NLDS. Bad teams and bad luck presumably explain the results from 1909 to 1945, but legend tells us that the failure since 1945 can be attributed to the curse of the goat. The Cubs were playing the Tigers in the World Series of 1945, and fan Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, was asked to leave Wrigley Field because of the odor of his pet goat. He argued that the goat had a ticket. Sianis was so mad at being ousted that he said the Cubs would never be in another World Series. The story has many versions, but the hex remains a constant.
The name of the goat you ask? Any Cubs fan to this day can tell you: Murphy. True story: http://www.billygoattavern.com/legend/curse/
Now the Mets: The Mets are more than Daniel Murphy. Four fire-balling starting pitchers are the scary part. First baseman Duda was in a 3 for 24 slump, but woke up to get five RBIs in the final game against the Cubs. They have dependable veterans Granderson and Wright. Late season pickup Yoenis Cespedes was instrumental in the Mets overtaking the Nationals in the NL East.
This is where I have to pause for a Seinfeld story. In a memorable episode, George Costanza tells Jerry, Elaine and Kramer the details of a holiday created by his father Frank. It is called “Festivus” and is a secular holiday in response to the pressures and commercialization of Christmas. “ A Festivus for the rest of us.” It is celebrated with an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole and festivities such as the airing of grievances and feats of strength. After the Mets acquired Cespedes, Mets fan Seinfeld tweeted:
|Jerry Seinfeld (@JerrySeinfeld)|
|7/31/15, 4:22 PM
Oh my god. @Mets
Seinfeld featured the Mets’ Keith Hernandez as a guest in a 1992 episode. He and Keith became temporary friends after meeting at a health club. Kramer and Newman were unhappy with this because they hated Hernandez who they said spit at them after a Mets game. Jerry questions the validity of their story and, in an explanation worthy of the Warren Commission, shows how any spit coming from Hernandez could not have hit Kramer and Newman in the manner they claimed – there had to be a second spitter from the stadium equivalent of the grassy knoll. Very funny (3:37): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBz3PqA2Fmc&feature=youtu.be
Comedian Report: Seinfeld is not the only comedian that loves the Mets. Bill Maher is an investor in the team. Chris Rock is a fan. Jon Stewart, my Walter Cronkite of political comedy, is another. On Stewart’s penultimate episode (August 5, 2015), as he ended his tenure on the Daily Show, Stewart ran clips of prior stories mostly mocking the Mets for past mistakes. But then he joyously celebrated that they had just moved into first place. And they stayed there.
The Royals also have a special group of fans/comedians who each year lead a fund raising weekend (the “Big Slick”) for the benefit of Children’s Mercy Hospital. The weekend includes a pre-game whiffle ball game at the K, and the hosts are five celebrities raised in the Kansas City area: Paul Rudd, Eric Stonestreet, Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis and David Koechner. With the help of fellow celebrities and a local volunteer staff, the six years of the events has raised over $4,500,000 for the hospital. My son Brian has been on the volunteer staff since the inception, much to the good luck of granddaughter Emersyn who has had many good times at the K on Big Slick night (attached photo with Paul Rudd). The comedians are often seen at Kauffman rooting for the Royals. Watch for them and those Mets comedians as Fox pans the crowd in the World Series. In one of the early years, Mets fan Jon Stewart promoted the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NvV3jvTzWc&feature=youtu.be
Game 2 of the ALCS: As reported in my last post, I was headed to Game 2 with my grandson Ian. Tickets courtesy of StubHub. Then, through the kindness of a friend, I got two more tickets and Rita and son Jason also got to go. We arrived early to check out both seat locations so that Ian at his 10-year old height would get the best sight lines. I sat with Ian for the first five innings and then switched so that Jason could sit with Ian, just as I had done with 14-year old son Jason at Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Two great comeback victories are now part of Shalton family lore.
Kiss-Cam at Shea: In the 8th inning of that Game 2, the couple sitting next to Jason and Ian had left, and so Rita and I moved down to join them for the rest of the game. See the photo attached and note Rita’s hat. Like it? So does she and she wore it several years ago when we went to a Mets game at Shea Stadium (the Mets moved to Citi Field in 2009). The hat caught the attention of the Kiss-Cam cameraman and there we were, kissing on the big scoreboard screen in the Borough of Queens, New York.
Music at the K: One advantage of being at the game is that you hear the walk-up songs as each hitter comes to bat – or a reliever comes in to pitch. On TV, I either don’t notice or it gets lost in the coverage. Each player picks his own song, and these being guys in their 20’s and 30’s, I rarely recognize their choices. The one exception is the song chosen by Alex Rios – “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones. Two reasons to like Rios now. His song and his postseason hitting. Here is the full list of Royals walk-up songs plus the mostly classic rock songs played in other parts of the games: http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/fan_forum/ballpark_music.jsp?c_id=kc.
There is one big nod to folks like me who were teenagers in the 50’s. At the end of each game at the K, they play “Kansas City.” If the Royals lose, they play the 1959 version by Wilbert Harrison. It was the #1 song the week I graduated from high school. If the Royals win, we get the Beatles version which is actually a medley that adds “Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey” – a Little Richard song from 1958 (the B-side of “Good Golly Miss Molly” for those who also find such things interesting). When the Beatles were young performers and Little Richard was touring Europe, they twice opened for him and saw Little Richard combining the two songs in his performances. The Beatles liked that and did the same in their 1964 recording. Being the hoarder that you all know, the Harrison and Little Richard songs are in my 45-rpm teenage record collection, photo attached.
As always, I have added some nostalgia and trivia items below for those with nothing better to do while we wait for the opening pitch tomorrow night.
I join with the Beatles to say Go Royals!
Slaughter’s Mad Dash: One of the players I saw in 1955 during the first season of the KC A’s was Enos “Country” Slaughter, long-time all-star player for the Cardinals. Then in the twilight of his career, I’m guessing the A’s picked him up to bring in some veteran teaching, especially his highly regarded hustle. In the 7th game of the 1946 World Series (Cardinals/Red Sox), Slaughter was on first and, running with the pitch on a hit-and-run, raced all the way home on with the winning run on a hit by Harry Walker. The surprised infielder Johnny Pesky was slow on the relay to the plate. Sound familiar? The Walker hit was ruled a double, though most thought Walker would not have advanced without the throw to home. The play is considered one of baseball’s greatest moments and has its own Wikipedia page. Cain was not moving with the pitch, making his feat even more remarkable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughter%27s_Mad_Dash.
Thank You Joe Foy (and the Mets): Long before the days of the Zack Greinke trade, a similar series of trades helped build the strong Royals teams of the 70’s. Courtesy of the Mets. One of the few semi-stars on the first-year Royals roster in 1969 was third basemen Joe Foy who had been picked from the Red Sox in the expansion draft. After a very good season with the Royals, he was traded to the Mets for Amos Otis and Bob Johnson. Johnson was traded to Pittsburgh the following year for Freddie Patek. Foy was no Greinke, fading out after two mediocre years. Otis and Patek became keys to the Royals success that put them in the playoffs against the Yankees in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Probably the most famous photo from those playoff losses was of Patek: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/playoffs-kansas-city-royals-freddie-patek-upset-alone-in-news-photo/93044780.
Two Expansion Teams: This World Series will be the first featuring two expansion teams. The Royals last won it all in 1985, and the Mets last title was in 1986. As a reminder, the Mets in 1986 were down to the last out and tied in Game 6 with a man on second and Mookie Wilson at the plate. Mookie hit a bouncer to first that went through Bill Buckner’s legs and the winning run scored. The Mets then won Game 7. The Royals and Mets will not only be playing each other in their last game of the 2015, but also in the first game of 2016 – the Mets will travel back to KC next April of for Opening Day. Prescient scheduling.
Roger Angell on the Mets: After the NLCS: http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/mets-fans-wildest-dreams.
Joe Posnanski on the Royals: After the ALCS: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/the-royal-we/.
Cubs 1908: After the Mets won the NLCS, the New York Times ran a full page story that looked like it came from a 1908 newspaper – including sepia toned photos and old fashioned baseball writing. Quite well done: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/sports/baseball/the-sounds-of-1908-a-fading-whisper-at-wrigley.html?smid=tw-nytsports&smtyp=cur.
Chiefs: Before the Chiefs took the field yesterday, KC Star sportswriter Sam Mellinger tweeted “Keys today: Kansas City to establish a running game, get an early lead, and turn it over to the bullpen.” Worked like a charm. Joe Downs forwarded a good article on how a football town has fallen back in love with its baseball roots: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/oct/26/royal-resurgence-how-kansas-city-became-a-baseball-town-once-again?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Version+A&utm_term=133885&subid=14953470&CMP=ema_565a.
NY Mets Caps: You will hear this many times in the Series, but it is not true. The NY on the Mets caps does not stand for Ned Yost.
Alex Rios Music: Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuRxXRuAz-I
From: Lonnie Shalton
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2015 2:54 PM
To: Lonnie Shalton
Subject: (Post 4) World Series – Esky Magic/Johnny Be Good – Double Trouble for the Mets
Game 1: At about 6:30 on Game 1 night, I got some good news. My son Brian had snared two last-minute tickets to the game and texted a stadium photo to let me know. It turned out that he and Emersyn were in for a long night.
At about 7:00, I got some bad news. As the players were being introduced, the camera focused on catcher Travis d’Arnaud warming up Matt Harvey in the Mets bullpen. I thought they were spending too much time on him, but then figured out that the TV image was frozen. No amount of on/off or channel switching would do any good. We were caught in the Google Fiber blackout that had hit much of the city. I scrambled for a radio and at first got a poor 610 AM signal. I moved the radio closer to the window and got a signal just in time to hear the play-by-play of Escobar’s inside-the-park home run on the first pitch in the game. Did not have time to be mad about the TV – I was too happy from the Esky Magic.
My phone rang and it was my 10-year old grandson Ian who was excitedly cheering about his favorite player’s mad dash around the bases (see Cain and Slaughter in my prior post). I let Ian know that my first viewing would have to be on a replay. After an inning or so, we got our cable back. Later in the game, Fox took it a step further and the feed was knocked out for all US viewers. To the rescue came the MLB international feed. All of the TV issues seemed trivial as the Royals gave us another game to remember for the ages. Esky scored standing up for both the first and winning runs of the game. Hosmer went from potential goat to hero. What’s not to like.
As the teams started the 14th inning, Emersyn told her dad that maybe they should leave if the game was still tied after 14. After all, it was a school night. Brian had been alerted that the World Series record was 14 innings, and he said they would be staying to watch history. If needed, her high grades could take missing a couple of classes the next morning. The Royals spoiled any hopes of a new record with a walk-off win in the 14th. There were no complaints.
My favorite piece after the game came from 95-year old Roger Angell, posting in the “New Yorker” (read every word, you will be glad you did):
“…a painstakingly built 3-1 Metsian lead; a retaliatory two-run Royals sixth, which finished Harvey; another Mets run after an error by first baseman Eric Hosmer; and an astounding, one-out ninth-inning tying home run by Alex Gordon, against the near-impregnable Mets closer Jeurys Familia, who hadn’t blown a save since July 30. Three changes of lead, three retying comebacks? A lovely game, a sparkler, with plenty of fielding gems to light it up. My scorecard showed five circled plays, the best one being Mike Moustakas’ spinning grab and throw on a shot by the Mets’ Wilmer Flores, which saved another run.
A lovely thing that now drooped and yawned its way through four more scoreless innings while Eastern Daylight Time moms and dads went to bed or didn’t, and their school-night kids fell asleep beside their under-the-cover smartphones, and pitchers came and went and grew elderly. The last two verticals were the Royals’ thirty-six-year-old Chris Young and the Mets’ forty-two-year-old Bartolo Colon, with Colon the loser at last – or rather the Royals the winners – after a throwing error by David Wright, a single to right field, an intentional walk, and a cleansing, game-winning sac fly by Hosmer.”
Game 2: Johnny Cueto’s gem provided another opportunity to dig into my 45-rpm record collection. The title of Chuck Berry’s 1958 “Johnny B. Goode” nicely captures last night’s version of Cueto (if you ignore Chuck’s spelling). The “keep the line moving” hitting was great too, but this is one where I just want to sit back and soak in a pitching masterpiece.
I was pretty confident by the seventh inning and asked my grandson Ian via text if he was ready for a Game 2 win. His response was “Don’t get ahead of yourself”. Just 10, but very familiar with comebacks by watching the Royals.
My other items on Game 2 come from political commentator/comedian Bill Maher, host of “Real Time with Bill Maher” and a minority owner of the Mets. Maher was tweeting about the game and also the Republican debate that was going on at the same time. His tweets blended the two events. In the top of the 4th when Murphy raced home with the Mets first and only run:
|Bill Maher (@billmaher)|
|10/28/15, 8:08 PM
Way to score!!! No, not you Carson you crazy head case, Murphy!!
Then, during the Royals rally in the 5th:
|Bill Maher (@billmaher)|
|10/28/15, 8:47 PM
Debt relief? F— debt relief, we need long relief – get somebody up in the bullpen!
And in the top of the 6th:
|Bill Maher (@billmaher)|
|10/28/15, 8:57 PM
Christie just ate Bush’s lunch! And probably others. Now this is the inning we have to get some runs!!
World Series Trivia: The game of baseball lends itself to statistics and records, much more so than say basketball or football. Even though baseball stretches over many eras (dead ball, military years, expansion, steroids), there is a constant reference to the record book to contrast and compare, to rekindle memories of days past. Every time a hitter gets to 40 or so consecutive games with a hit, we all think of Joe DiMaggio and 56. We know that Ripken passed up Gehrig for every-game longevity. Ruth gave way to Aaron. Some comparisons are not in symmetry due to rule changes. The DH is only in one league and did not start until 1973. The sacrifice fly gives a batter an RBI and does not count as an at-bat, but notably from 1940 to 1954, the at-bat counted – if it had not, Ted Williams would have hit at least .411 in 1941 rather than .406 when he was the last player to hit over .400 in the major leagues.
With the computer age, the stats grow to include some absurd things. You can probably find out what left-handed hitter of Irish descent has the most career triples. Or what player with a last name starting with Z has the most career home runs (well, that was KC A’s slugger Gus Zernial until he was overtaken when Todd Zeile got to #238). But many are more fun than that, especially when they happen on the big stage of the World Series. Game 1 of 2015 was dripping with such trivia. In anticipation that some of you are not aficionados of such matters, I have placed the trivia in its usual place at the end of the email.
“Hi, I’m Ray Webb, perhaps you’ve heard of me”: So went one of the best greetings I have ever heard, and I think I heard it hundreds of times. It was from the late Ray Webb, an outsized personality, hilarious raconteur and one of my best friends. We knew each other in law school and became fast friends in the Young Democrats. We shared family, political, sporting and other events for almost 20 years. But today I want to fast forward to the next generation.
David and Vicki Block: Perhaps you’ve heard of them. If not, I’ll bet you have seen them during the World Series. Vicki is Ray Webb’s daughter. David is a well-known local real estate guy. When the camera is aimed at the face of a right-handed hitter, you will often see David and Vicki over the batter’s shoulders, in the front row behind the Mets dugout. David gained some notoriety last year for his shirt that celebrated that KC fans were back after 29 years in the wilderness: “29 Years, 1 Wife, 3 Kids, 9 Dogs, 0 Series.” I can vouch as to the one wife – Rita and I were at their wedding something over 30 years ago. Vicki’s style and sunglasses have also been noticed. David keeps making new shirts and the two of them have now gone viral, Vicki just recently via USA Today and David in a feature on Channel 4 with Phil Witt. Links are below.
On to New York: Will it be a sweep? One factor that may hurt the Royals is the lack of a DH in the NL park. Morales has provided a big presence in the lineup between Hosmer and Moose. The odds are on the side of the Royals, but the worry warts among us remember this:
In 1985, the Cardinals were up 2-0, and lost the Series to the Royals.
In 1986, the Red Sox were up 2-0 and lost the Series to the Mets.
The next time we see the Royals in Kansas City will be in a parade.
The next time we see the Mets at the K will be on opening day in 2016.
David and Vicki: http://m.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/world-series-fur-hat-lady-was-the-true-royal-at-game-1-memes-photos-20152810; http://fox4kc.com/2015/10/20/royals-fans-we-eat-bird-shirt-just-one-of-his-latest-creations/;
Joe Posnanski: Joe was in town this week for the Series and filed this excellent barbecue report: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/the-proper-way-to-order-bryants-burnt-ends/
Roger Angell: This is the link to the full article mentioned above. Note that the title is “Post Patsy” to honor Esky’s matching the feat of Patsy Dougherty (see below). http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/post-patsy
World Series Trivia (Continued): I’ll start with the end of the game – at 14 innings. There has never been a World Series game longer than that, but there have been two others at 14: Red Sox/Dodgers in 1916 and Astros/White Sox in 2005 (when the Astros were in the NL). Now the trivia grows. The pitcher for the Red Sox in 1916 was Babe Ruth who pitched a complete game (the Royals used 7 pitchers and the Mets 6). Even as a pitcher, the Babe was Ruthian. He won 2-1 over Sherry Smith who also pitched a complete game. The time for the game was 2:32. The Royals/Mets played 5:09.
Now back to the start of the game – that stunning first pitch inside-the-park homer by Alcides Escobar. The Kansas City Star listed 11 other inside-the-park homers before Esky (Wikipedia only has 9 others). Two were hit in the first World Series in 1903, Jimmy Sebring of Pittsburgh in the first game and Patsy Dougherty of the Boston Americans (later changed to Red Sox) in the second game. The Boston pitcher giving up the Sebring home run was Cy Young. But we’re really here to talk about Patsy because he is the ONLY player before Escobar to lead off a World Series game with an inside-the-park homer – a 112-year span.
Escobar got some help from center fielder Cespedes who looked like he was trying to catch the ball behind his back (only seen on replay by me). You may have noticed that the Mets have since moved Cespedes to left where he has done much better. As it turns out, Patsy also caught a break from what I have been able to piece together on a nominal internet search. Patsy was very fast (like Esky), hit the very first pitch (like Esky) to right-center (like Esky) and slid head-first into home (not like Esky). In those days, when there was a big crowd at Huntington Avenue Grounds, the overflow was handled by roping off some of the outfield and reducing fair territory. Under the ground rules, if you hit it into the crowd, it was deemed a triple. But rain had held down the crowd on this day, plus the damp, dead ground slowed the roll of the ball so that it remained in play, never reaching the smaller roped area. If the hit had been the prior day, it would have been a triple and Esky would be the one and only.
And get this. That 14 inning game pitched by Ruth. He won 2-1, and the run he gave up was one of the inside-the-park homers on the list (Brooklyn’s Hi Myers).
There are a couple of other fairly well-known names in the inside-the-park list. Casey Stengel did it for the New York Giants in 1923. Casey was born in Kansas City in 1890, and he also has a big Mets connection. He managed from 1962 to 1965 with a record of 175-404 for the then-hapless expansion team. They finished last in all four years and Casey said “I’ve been in this game a hundred years, but I see new ways to lose I never knew existed before”. Jimmy Breslin titled his book about the first-year Mets after an alleged Casey comment: “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?”.
Another inside-the-park homer was by Lou Gehrig who did it for the Yankees in 1928. Gehrig has another connection to 2015 Series trivia. As you know, Eric Hosmer is on a roll with RBIs. He is hitting .043 when the bases are empty and .379 with men on base. His career RBI total for postseason is now 27 (breaking Brett’s club record of 23). He has played 28 postseason games in his career and only one other player has more RBIs after 28 postseason game – Lou Gehrig had 33. Pretty good company Eric.
From: Lonnie Shalton
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2015 9:26 AM
To: Lonnie Shalton
Subject: (Post 5) 2015 World Series – The Comeback Royals
That’s What Speed Do
Before the 12th inning of Game 5, Jarrod Dyson had been to the plate three times in the World Series (0/3) and had little opportunity to personally act on his mantra: “That’s what speed do.” Christian Colon had not played at all in the postseason.
Perez led off the 12th with a hit. Cue opportunity. The fastest man on the Royals replaced the slowest and everybody at Citi Field knew that Dyson would steal second – and he did. He was moved over to third by a Gordon groundout, and Christian Colon came in to pinch hit. In a tense battle with pitcher Addison Reed, Colon delivered a solid single and Dyson coasted across the plate with the go-ahead run. The Mets were beaten by two players they had barely seen.
The Royals needed no more than that run, but I think I speak for all Royals fans, the next four runs were the sweetest of insurance. Wade Davis had been perfect in the playoffs, but even a cyborg might have a bad night. Not this night.
To briefly recap events since my last post:
Game 3 and Thor: Starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard is called “Thor” and he channeled some of that bravado with a too-high inside pitch to Escobar to start the game. Thor told the Royals that if they had a problem with inside pitches, they could meet him on the mound 60-feet, 6-inches away. After the Royals won the World Series trophy, one pundit suggested that Thor could meet the trophy 1,207 miles away. My take – the incident became overhyped. With hindsight, I am glad we lost Game 3. The Mets fans got a win at home. The loss extended the series to five games. Does anyone want to erase the memories of what became the beauty of Game 5?
Game 4 and Murphy’s Flaw: My favorite headline after this comeback victory was in the NY Post: “MURPHY’S FLAW.” Daniel Murphy had been such a star in the NLDS sweep of the Cubs and even carried the same name as the goat that has supposedly hexed the Cubs for 70 years. Now, Murphy was the goat. His error helped KC “keep the line moving” as they scored three runs to go ahead in the 8th inning. Salvy made a major move to MVP status with 3 hits.
Game 5 and The Dark Knight: The story being written by sportswriters as the 9th inning approached was that Matt Harvey (“The Dark Knight”) had pitched a gem – a shutout through the 8th with nine strikeouts. About the 6th inning, my grandson Ian texted a simple, ominous message: “Dark Knight.” Although Edison Volquez had his own quality start after returning from his father’s funeral, it was meant to be Harvey’s night – so much so that when Mets manager Terry Collins planned to go to his closer for the 9th, Harvey objected and the chanting fans were on his side. As we all watched the silent movie show in the dugout, Collins yielded to Harvey and the fans on this bit of game strategy. To disastrous results. Leadoff batter Cain worked a walk after an 0-2 count, stole 2nd base (that’s what speed do) and scored on Hosmer’s double. The “NY Daily News” headlined it as “THE DARKEST KNIGHT.”
There were many facets to the Royals victory, but there is one play that will for many years be touted as a World Series “best moment”: Eric Hosmer’s daring dash to home aided by a wild throw by a surprised Lucas Duda (the “NY Daily News” headline was “CRUEL HAND LUC”). It’s fun to listen to the play-by-play in both English and Spanish: https://twitter.com/Shauncore/status/661042747118329856/video/1. The reaction of the Mets’ fans may say it the best:
Ned Yost, Leonard Cohen and the Crack in Everything: Ned Yost explained the cardiac Royals thusly: “It’s a team that just looks for a little crack. If we find a little crack, they’re going to make something happen.” I keep hearing in my head the line from Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” To paraphrase Ned and Leonard: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the runs get in.”
Salvador Perez – MVP: Perez was also my choice, but not for a lack of other candidates. Many players had magic moments. Nine players had 6 or more RBIs in the postseason – a well balanced team. I could also have understood a group award for the bullpen, but they would not all fit in the award car. Some telling stats on the bullpens of the two teams: If the games had ended after 7 innings, the Mets would have won all three games in NY, plus they had a 4-3 lead in the 8th in first game in KC (wiped out by Alex Gordon’s money-shot). From the 7th inning on, the Mets were outscored 15-1.
Salvy is known for his free-swinging habits. The Star’s Lee Judge joked that Salvy “is the Will Rogers of hitting; he never met a pitch he didn’t like.” But Salvy hit .364 and was 6 for 12 with two strikes. In Game 5, it was his hit that initiated the Dyson/Colon heroics in the 12th inning. His infectious manner and smile play a big part of the heart and soul of the team. He plays through so many injuries that he could use a MASH unit to tend to him. Joe Posnanski compared Salvy to Wile E. Coyote – “He falls off cliffs. He has boulders land on him. Next scene, he’s back in the chase.” Sam Mellinger of the Star: “Ned Yost is asked about Sal Perez being hurt, says he’s fine. Please save this tweet for, like, every day.”
What a difference a year makes. With Gordon on third with the tying run, Salvy made the final out in the 2014 World Series. In 2015, he is the MVP.
Grandson Ian: My grandson Ian is in baseball heaven. He went to an ALCS game. His favorite player Escobar was the ALCS MVP. At a Bishop Sullivan event last month, he played whiffle ball with Christian Colon and got Luke Hochever’s autograph (to remind you, Colon got his big hit while pinch-hitting for Hochever who got the win in Game 5). Ian called us after the last out in the Series, deliriously sharing the Royals victory. It was approaching midnight, but there are no school nights in the World Series. To round out his Royals year, Ian and his dad were among the hundreds of thousands at Union Station. Not bad for a 10-year old.
Ian’s embrace of baseball is not limited to little league and the Royals. I was driving him recently to the indoor batting cages for post-season batting practice, and he brought along a book he has been reading – “Sports Illustrated Baseball’s Greatest.” He informed me that he did not agree with Sports Illustrated on its ranking of Babe Ruth over Hank Aaron. Ian is very opinionated and Hank Aaron is his favorite player. I lean toward Ruth, and so I look forward to this continuing conversation as we work through an all-time lineup. And get this nice coincidence. Hank Aaron is the featured guest this coming Saturday night at the 25th Anniversary Gala for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Rita and I, joined by son Jason and Ian, will be there.
Hot Stove League: My law partner Larry Ward emailed me after the World Series to celebrate the 2015 magic and noted that we should have the best “hot stove league” ever as we help Dayton Moore restructure the Royal’s roster and try to repeat next year. I have always liked the term hot stove league to describe the baseball off-season – sitting around a hot stove in the winter months to discuss the coming and going of free agents, trades and if anyone in the minors can fill some holes. There are not many hot stoves out there today and much of the conversation has been moved to the media and the internet. The hot stove in Kansas City will no doubt include a lot of talk about the 2015 post-season games, and for those who need some material, check out some of the links below.
Spring training starts in February in Surprise, Arizona, and opening day at the K is April 4, 2016. At that time, the championship flag will be raised and the players will get their rings. Then they take the field against…..the Mets.
Back to the Future with Joe Posnanski: As widely publicized while the Cubs remained in the playoffs, the 1989 movie “Back to the Future Part II” predicted that the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. That was wrong. Joe Posnanski was a KC Star sportswriter from 1996-2009 and then went to Sports Illustrated. He wrote an SI article in March of 2011 that predicted the Royals would win in 2015, notwithstanding they had just lost 95 games in 2010. The current Sports Illustrated issue is out with the 2015 Royals on the cover and part of the caption says “a World Series title no one saw coming.” That is wrong. Joe did. Now with NBC Sports, Joe reflects on his Nostradamus moment: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/joe-posnanski-predict-royals-win-world-series-2015/. Also note the clever alteration of the SI cover in the link.
Bill Veeck and Terry Collins: I’m not sure if the fans chanting for Matt Harvey influenced Terry Collins to leave Harvey in for the fateful 9th inning. But this incident prompts a story about Bill Veeck, one on my favorite baseball characters. My memory on this was jogged by a tweet posted by Walter Shapiro, a NY political writer (and Royals fan) who I met through Congresswoman Karen McCarthy many years ago. Walter compared Harvey being sent out for the 9th to a “Bill Veeck stunt asking SL Browns fans whether to bunt or steal.” In 1951, a few weeks before Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,”, Veeck was working on a much smaller stage as owner of the St. Louis Browns. He was trying to draw fans for his hapless team with a variety of promotions, the most well-known being his signing 3-foot-7 of Eddie Gaedel to bat in a major league game. Another memorable stunt was when Veeck allowed fans to pick the lineup and to vote during the game on strategy. “Yes” and “No” signs were handed out to fans, and a member of his staff would put up a question to the crowd for response. Not to suggest that Matt Harvey is a bum (he is not), this photo of Veeck shows him with a sign that might have been useful for Game 5. Of course, the Mets fans would have voted a resounding “No!”.
For the record, the Browns won their game. For more on Veeck’s fans-sourcing: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/page/FansourceVeeck/bill-veeck-birth-fansourcing
Yogi and Salvy: There’s always a Yogi story. Salvy has many of Yogi’s qualities – leader, tough catcher’s job, fun guy…..and swinging at bad pitches. The story is that Derek Jeter was in a slump, and Yogi told him it was because he was swinging at bad pitches. When Jeter countered that Yogi was famous for swinging at bad pitches, Yogi said “But I hit them. You don’t.” My guess is that Salvy had some Yogi in his hits in the World Series.
Celebrities: Mets fans Seinfeld, Rock and Maher were in the crowd at Citi Field. Paul Rudd was in the champagne celebration with the Royals. KCK’s Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family” posted a video of co-star Sofia Vergara reading the Royals lineup. Nobody does it better, although just like with Salvy, you have to listen closely: http://www.royalsreview.com/2015/10/30/9642774/actress-sophia-vergara-has-a-message-for-the-royals
The Fox Guys: Joe Buck had many detractors among KC fans, but did some makeup by saying that the 2015 Royals might be the best team he has covered in his 18 years of World Series play-by-play. I found it interesting that the two biggest names on the pre/post-game panel were Alex Rodriquez (one-year suspension for steroids) and Pete Rose (lifetime ban for gambling). To his credit, Rose picked the Royals in five, and he and Alex both discussed that for the Mets to win, they would have to catch the ball. The Mets did not. I wonder what Pete thought of all of the ads for DraftKings, the “Official Daily Fantasy Game” of Major League Baseball. The daily fantasy approach is (arguably) not gambling because it takes “skill” to select players from different teams who will play best on Thursday or some other day of the week. Vegas-style gambling involves picking how existing teams will play against a spread or odds. Fox and MLB both have major financial ties to DraftKings, a billion dollar business. Pete bet thousands the Vegas way. See the difference?
Commercials: Note to Ben Zobrist: do not let Buster Posey deliver your baby. Every pill, no matter what malady being treated, appears to have a risk of a gastric disorder and/or suicide. How could Peyton Manning agree to be emulate the good and bad Rob Lowe? I can’t remember what was being advertised in the ad that had the impossible yoga pose.
Sportswriters: The sportswriters at the Kansas City Star deserve a bonus. Not only was the writing excellent, but the paper was delivered to our door every morning as if the games had ended at 10:00. The national press was also smitten and chose different ways to dramatize the comebacks.
Joe Posnanski: The Royals are Bond. James Bond. http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/posnanski-royals-win-world-series/
Tom Boswell: Noting that this was the 111th World Series, he reckoned that 111 might also reflect the “number of times you have to kill the Royals to keep them dead.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/boswell-fittingly-royals-rally-for-the-clinching-world-series-win-in-game-5/2015/11/02/8a29c088-8104-11e5-8ba6-cec48b74b2a7_story.html.
Barry Svreluga: “Lock the Kansas City Royals in the garage and leave the car running. They’ll emerge tomorrow, squint into the sun and smile.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/royals-win-world-series/2015/11/02/51c69644-8104-11e5-8ba6-cec48b74b2a7_story.html
Walter Shapiro (via tweet): “Just realized the Royals are the Harry Houdini of baseball teams. All that’s missing is for KC to mount a rally while handcuffed underwater.”
Roger Angell: The 95-year old legend from the “New Yorker” wished he had no stake in the Series for his home town team because he “fell in love with these Royals in their near-thing debut in the World Series last fall…there’s a collective élan to them, a bearded joy in their work, that you want to be part of.” http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/hard-times
Nostalgia Piece: The New York Times told a nice story of the jazz greats of Kansas City who were Monarchs fans before they headed to New York. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/sports/baseball/the-mets-the-royals-and-charlie-parker-linked-by-autumn-in-new-york.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&referer=https://t.co/V0mtdXZhPK&_r=0.
From: Lonnie Shalton
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2015 11:16 AM
To: Lonnie Shalton
Subject: (Post 6) Final, Final 2015 World Series Post
Some odds and ends for a final, final post on the 2015 World Series:
Hank Aaron: On the Saturday night after the Series, we took grandson Ian to see his favorite all-time player Hank Aaron at the 25th Anniversary Gala for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. As a bonus, the panel included two other Hall of Famers: pitcher Ferguson Jenkins and slugger Dave Winfield. Ian took a ball to get autographed, but the opportunity never came up. I apologized to Ian for that, and he said he was very happy just to “be in the area” with Hank Aaron. We did get a nice shot of Ian with Hank’s poster at the event (attached).
Keep The Line Moving: This mantra from the Royals is now part of the spirit of Kansas City. Steve Roling, a good friend since his days in Senator Eagleton’s office and one of my baseball regulars, nicely captured this spirit in an excellent post:
I started playing baseball at a very early age and I have always loved the sport and the important life lessons learned by playing team sports.
So as you can imagine, these last few months for me has been like living on a cloud. Every day another exciting come from behind win or bitter disappointment. Luckily for Royals fans the wins in 2015 have far outnumbered the disappointments during this amazing year!
I was one of the folks who sat on the Liberty Memorial hill wearing a blue hat and blue clothing for several hours last week waiting to celebrate the World Series victory that people from Kansas City have been seeking for 30 years. My job was to come very early to the Liberty Memorial hill and save a place for the rest of the family to join me later in the day. So I found a nice location under a shade tree, put down the blanket and found myself with lots of time to think about what baseball has meant to me.
I thought about my mom and dad who watched me play baseball in little league, American Legion and Ban Johnson. I thought about the time in 1964 when St. Louis Cardinal catcher Tim McCarver came to my high school the day after the World Series ended to see his brother who was my high school principal. I thought about the day when I was working at the Kauffman Foundation when Mr. K asked me what I wanted to be when I was a little boy. I told him I wanted to be a major league baseball player. He smiled and said that “ship has sailed” but I know the owner of the Royals and if you want to work in the Royals organization…I can make that happen. He was serious and we had several conversations about that possibility but luckily I stayed with the foundation. I remember when Jackson County Executive Marsha Murphy called me to see if Mr. K would agree to have the stadium named after him. I thought about taking my wife, kids and now my grandkids to many baseball games and being somewhat frustrated that they seem to like the cotton candy much more than the game.
While l love the fine points of baseball, I really think baseball is much more than a game. When asked by reporters about what the Royals players owe their success to…the answer from virtually every Royals player was “to keep the line moving”. Sometimes you strike out, but you trust that the next person up will get the hit…now your job is to support and encourage the next in line. You might not be in the starting lineup, you might be a relief pitcher, or a pinch hitter but eventually your job is to be ready to go in when called upon so you can “keep the line moving”. When Royals player Christian Colon was asked how he kept his focus so that when he was called to pinch hit in game 5 after not playing in a game for several weeks…he said out of respect for his teammates he had to be ready when called upon so he could “keep the line moving”.
Frankly, at home, work or when we are volunteering at a nonprofit or in our faith community our job is “to keep the line moving” . We each have different responsibilities in each of our roles in life but when it comes down to it if we do whatever it takes to reach a goal and not worry about who gets the credit we will collectively enjoy much success. That’s what winning Royals baseball is all about. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. K for bringing baseball back to KC …the 2015 Royals have taught us the importance of “keeping the line moving”. So even if my kids and grandkids never understand the fine points of baseball, I hope they will appreciate what the 2015 Royals team has taught us…in life, we simply need “to keep the line moving”.
Spotlight/Hamilton: I will now sneak in a couple of non-baseball items. Rita and I saw “Spotlight” at the Telluride Film Festival in September and were pretty sure it would end up in Oscar contention. The film is now in theatrical release and most critics are raving. Highly recommended. Same goes for “Hamilton” on Broadway – easily one of the best musicals ever. And sold out for months. But with lessons learned from getting baseball tickets (as we did for the ALCS), we turned to StubHub and enjoyed a Sunday matinee in NY, two days before the Yankees lost their Wild Card game.
Lee Judge: After the Wild Card game with Oakland in 2014, Lee Judge of the KC Star produced a great cartoon to highlight the comeback. As you may recall from a prior post, I acquired the original cartoon last year as part of Lee’s fund raising effort for Project Warmth. The 5th game of the 2015 World Series likewise inspired Lee and there is now a 2015 bookend to his 2014 version. As soon as I saw this on the morning it ran, I emailed Lee about a new donation to Project Warmth, but I was too late – original already gone. Won’t stop me from giving to Project Warmth – be on the lookout for his fund raising effort this year.
Videos: Six plays in contention for defensive play of the year: http://www.royalsreview.com/2015/11/19/9761734/vote-for-the-royals-defensive-play-of-the-year?utm_campaign=royalsreview&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter. World Series highlights (5 minutes): http://www.royalsreview.com/2015/11/17/9750112/no-fluke-season-tribute-video
My Blue Heaven: When I hear these words, I think of Fats Domino pounding his piano and singing a New Orleans version of an American classic. But now, I also have a visual – the mass of Royals fans at Union Station.