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Hall of Classics>***OFFICIAL Kansas City Royals Vs. Oakland A's Post Season Wild Card Thread 9/30***
gblowfish 11:01 PM 09-29-2014
Let me start by saying,
I ****ING hate Oakland.
I especially despise the Oakland Raiders, Oakland Fans, and today I especially despise their weak ass, carpetbagging "Oakland "A's" baseball team.
Glad you asked.
I'll tell you why:
Because I'm old enough to remember what happened here, and what has been stolen from us as a city.

Let me tell you a story from a long time ago:

BigRock 10:40 AM 09-30-2014

Prison Bitch 10:40 AM 09-30-2014
Originally Posted by RockChalk:
You are one pathetic, sad individual.
Anyong Bluth 10:41 AM 09-30-2014
Pretty good read from Passan in his feature for today... .

29 years in making, Royals desperate to shine on playoff stage as nervous K.C. braces itself

Yahoo Sports By Jeff Passan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – George Brett, skin forever bronzed, teeth whiter than a Phish concert, eternally the face of the Kansas City Royals, turned 61 this year, which, depending on the perspective, serves as a wonderful affirmation that heroes can age gracefully or a depressing reminder that the star of this tortured city's last playoff baseball team can collect Social Security next year.

In 1985, when Brett led the Royals to their only World Series championship, he was 32, still in the prime of his glorious Hall of Fame career, and coming off a spectacular decade in which Kansas City served as the archetypal baseball franchise. Consider that for a moment. The only other time Kansas City has played archetype for anything involves meat and smoke, and yet the Royals – the Royals more than a generation of people know only through stories – were the model.

Please understand, then, how odd this feels to those who live here, those conditioned, so sadly, to expect the worst from their local sports teams. If winning is like a drug, so is losing, a barbiturate to the mind and soul, one that fosters a permanent numbing that can be allayed only by what's happening Tuesday.

A playoff game. A home playoff game. An honest-to-God playoff game with more meaning than many of the past because it's a win-or-go-home affair. And contrived though the wild-card format may be, a city trying to awaken itself from a three-decades-long stupor could use a little defibrillation in its efforts.

At 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Kansas City Royals will host the Oakland A's for the privilege of facing the team with baseball's best record, the Los Angeles Angels, in the American League Division Series. The Royals' ace, James Shields, for whom they traded a top hitting prospect, will oppose the A's ace, Jon Lester, for whom they traded a top hitter. Both teams catch the ball very well, feature lockdown bullpens and struggle at scoring runs. It is the sort of game that could go 0-0 into the 12th inning. Of course, it being the first time the Royals have played a postseason game in 29 years, the expected script is finding itself rewritten a fair bit this year.

When the Royals clinched their postseason spot, Brett sat in a luxury suite, surrounded by Dayton Moore, the general manager who built this team, and his coterie of lieutenants. The camera focused on Brett, of course, for what he represented. All those years of losing. All those reasons to distance himself, a winner, from a team that had become synonymous with misery. All the Royals Moments, unique slices of sporting incompetence. All of that, and still George Brett was there, representative of everyone who saw these last 29 years not as a reason to give up but one to believe.


Inside a vaulted-ceilinged lobby at Kauffman Stadium, the one through which the bourgeois Diamond Club ticket holders enter, Art Stewart greeted passersby and friends with their names, a nod and, occasionally, a wink. A man named Dave Wickersham stopped by to pay his regards.

Wickersham was a pitcher for the 1969 Royals, an expansion team jammed into existence after Charlie Finley in 1961 bought the Kansas City A's, over the next seven years shopped them to more than a half-dozen cities and eventually moved them to Oakland. Stewart was a scout for those '69 Royals, too, he and Wickersham two of the few remaining ties to the team that has packed an excessive amount of ineptitude into less than half a century's worth of existence.

"It's been generations since the only championship we've ever had," Wickersham said. "So many people have grown up, gotten married, had kids, and I don't know if there are any grandparents from then."

"I had my daughter here," Stewart said, "and now I've got two grandsons."

"It's a whole new group," Wickersham said, "and they've suffered through some pretty bad teams here. A first baseman that gets hit in the back with a relay throw."

"Yeah," Stewart said. "He's talking about Ken Harvey. He also got trapped under the tarp! Remember that?"

"Yes he did!" Wickersham said.

Stewart cackled. He's 87 years old now, his head still covered with white hair and his shoulders ensconced in a sport coat. Stewart was the scouting director who drafted Bo Jackson, the voice behind so many of the right decisions the Royals made during their glory years – and, admittedly, some of the wrong ones during the down times. He now can laugh, a decade removed from the time when Harvey, the Royals' excuse for an All-Star in 2004 and out of the big leagues forever following 12 games in 2005, found himself in the middle of awful situations from which manager Tony Pena needed to rescue him.

"Tony had to come get him out," Stewart said.

"That's just one example, isn't it, Art?" Wickersham said.

"Well, we did have some great players," Stewart said.

"Now you look at this team on the field," Wickersham said, "and you see some great players. I mean, I would've loved to have pitched for this team. Anyone who pitches would love to."

"The outfielders can get to anything," Stewart said.

"I love [Lorenzo] Cain," Wickersham said. "I think he's really going to be a leader of this team."

Wickersham considered what he said. He lives in the suburbs here now, watches the games in person and on TV, follows the Royals like good fans should. Even so, there's an inherent defensiveness here, borne of the losing, of the disappointment, one that shows itself through qualifiers and caveats. Lorenzo Cain, the Royals' center fielder, could be a leader …

"If his legs stay healthy," Wickersham said. "There's always an if, isn't there?"



Here is why there is always an if.

Baseball in Kansas City since 1985 has seen Ken Harvey get hit by a relay and swallowed by a tarp. It has seen Eduardo Villacis, a 24-year-old non-prospect who had pitched 30 Double-A innings, get called up for his first and only major league start at Yankee Stadium and end his career with a 13.50 ERA. It has seen the Royals spend 14 consecutive first-round picks, between Johnny Damon in 1992 and Zack Greinke in 2002, on players who easily could wear a bust label. It has seen the Royals, at the same time, refuse to spend more than $1,000 on players drafted after the fifth round. It has seen the beloved die (owner Ewing Kauffman, manager Dick Howser, closer Dan Quisenberry). It has seen the Fountain Mom.

It has seen trades. It has seen lots of trades. It has seen Greinke and Damon and Carlos Beltran and David Cone and Bret Saberhagen and Jermaine Dye and so many others traded. It has seen Yuniesky Betancourt for 1,079 plate appearances, which is 1,079 plate appearances too many. It has seen Luke Hochevar taken No. 1 overall in the draft, six picks ahead of Clayton Kershaw, nine before Tim Lincecum, 10 prior to Max Scherzer. It has seen a manager walk fully uniformed into a shower to motivate his team (Pena), another manager's most memorable moment come from throwing a phone when phones could leave a mark (Hal McRae) and another manager deliver a quote that best encapsulates the Royals experience ("I never say it can't get worse." – Buddy Bell).

It has seen this.


Now, baseball in Kansas City sees something worth watching. For their staggering inability to hit for power – over 6,058 regular-season plate appearances, the Royals hit 95 home runs, or 22 more than Barry Bonds in 2001 had by himself over 664 plate appearances – they struck out 119 times fewer than the next most-disciplined team: Oakland. The Royals stole 15 more bases than any team and did so at an 81 percent clip, the highest success rate in the big leagues. They fielded the ball with brilliance, from an impermeable outfield to an infield that hoovered ground balls. Moore built these Royals on the tenets of pitching and defense, with power the sort of commodity too expensive for a low-revenue team like the Royals to buy and the lone elusive flaw of a tremendous development system.

At the forefront is Ned Yost, the manager who Milwaukee fired in the midst of a pennant drive because of his tactical mismanagement. Yost's misdeeds crop up far too often, and may have cost the Royals the AL Central title that would have saved them from the wild card's virtual coin flip, but Moore's most evident quality is loyalty, and Yost is his greatest beneficiary. He's been the Royals' manager since 2010, which makes him the sixth most-tenured in baseball, and wears criticisms with the understanding of someone who recognizes what Tuesday means.

"I've taken piles of abuse over the years because they want a playoff-caliber team," Yost said. "To be able to play a homefield-advantage playoff game for them means as much to me as making the playoffs."

Alex Gordon grew up going to Royals games. He wasn't the greatest fan, by any means, not having to truck in from Nebraska, but like plenty of kids in the Midwest, his attention gravitated to Kansas City. The Royals aren't the Cardinals, all regal with their championship banners and air of self-importance, nor are they the Cubs, the team with the history and the aura and the drought that makes Kansas City's 29 years look like a movie trailer. The Royals are the team that frightens parents. Because to let a kid grow up a Royals fan is to let a kid know, learn and experience heartbreak long before he or she can fully comprehend it.

"I haven't gone through what some people have gone through, so I can only imagine how difficult it's been over the last 29 years," Gordon said. "I think Shields said it: Hopefully, we've made this fan base and town proud and, hopefully, we can make something special happen here. We all want it here. I know the town, the city does, too."

Shields. The fulcrum of this whole thing. Moore was drawn and quartered by the establishment for dealing Wil Myers to get two years of Shields. Maybe this is vindication, or maybe that's five years from now, when Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura are leading a staff with Sean Manaea and Kyle Zimmer and Brandon Finnegan, the first-round pick this season who's going to be the Royals' main left-hander out of the bullpen. If it's not them, perhaps Christian Binford or Miguel Almonte or another of the hard-throwing prospects they've got. That's how it worked in Tampa Bay, from whence Shields came: When one guy left, another stepped in, and the lessons passed down by the elders were repeated and instilled.

And Shields does that here. He explains to Duffy how to bundle his nerves and channel them into a positive force, one that turns his arm into the weapon it always portended. He leads the silly nonsense in the clubhouse, from the pregame "We Ready" chants to the postgame smoke-machine celebrations. And intangible though that may be, the Royals believe it matters, and belief, similarly unquantifiable, nevertheless remains a currency in which even the most analytical inside the game will trade.

The Royals did so to get Shields, who sat on the same dais as Yost and Gordon, looking far more relaxed. A skull cap covered his head. White headphones hung around his neck, which looked like an overgrown thatch. He's done this before, six postseason games total, and even then wasn't as good a pitcher as he is now, 32, on the brink of free agency.

"I don't care what anybody thinks about the trade, to be honest with you," Shields said. "I got brought over here to do a job, and that's to win games every five days for my ballclub. Hopefully, I've done a great job thus far. We've got a long way to go, especially to get to the prize where we want to go."

It's the prize everyone wants, even Art Stewart, who every day wears his '85 championship ring on his right hand.

"When you're here so many years, and you start getting up in years, your dream is always to see another big pennant fly out there for the Royals, like we were consistently putting up in the '70s and '80s," he said. "My dream is to replace this world championship ring with his new 2014 ring."

He smiled again and walked through the exit of the stadium, back home for the last day before the Royals try to make some more history. They're back in the playoffs, no ands or buts. Not even any ifs.

Archie F. Swin 10:45 AM 09-30-2014
How freaking terrific will it be to send the A's home with sad clown faces and their filthy homeless beards.

Big Smoke 10:49 AM 09-30-2014
A little over 7 hours away.

PackerinMo 10:53 AM 09-30-2014
Good luck tonight.
WilliamTheIrish 10:54 AM 09-30-2014
I love Art Stewart. Love him.
Hootie 10:54 AM 09-30-2014
Originally Posted by penbook:
Finally Yost has learned
Because he has the luxury of using three starters out of the pen?
Anyong Bluth 10:56 AM 09-30-2014
Oh, by the way, gblowfish, I don't think that OP for this game given the circumstances could be topped.

Fantastic way to get everyone together and even more fired up for the game!
siberian khatru 10:56 AM 09-30-2014
Everybody expect the crowd to chant "LESSSSS-ter! LESSSSS-ter!" tonight the way the Pirates' fans did to Johnny Cueto?
BWillie 11:10 AM 09-30-2014
What is the line up!??!
Anyong Bluth 11:20 AM 09-30-2014
I recently read a feature piece on the back-stories on 20 of the more odd / puzzling American Professional Sports Franchise Logos.

By far the coolest explanation and the logo's meaning was the Trailblazers, but it also detailed the A's White Elephant logo.

For anyone who is a fan of amusing trivia and whatnot, and interested, it's here below.

John McGraw & the White Elephants
[IMG] [/IMG]

When the A’s joined the American League in its first year of existence in 1901, team owner Benjamin Shibe wasted little time in offering exorbitant contracts to star National Leaguers, in effect raiding them of their talent.

John McGraw, who had managed the Orioles in the AL but flipped over to the Giants of the National League, was disgusted by Shibe’s actions, but thought that spending so much money was going to tank the team.

And so, while speaking to a reporter in 1902, McGraw stated that Shibe had a “big white elephant” on his hands. The term, popular back then, described something that looked nice but whose upkeep made it impossible to take care of.

Connie Mack heard what McGraw had said and showing that he had an outstanding sense of humor, ordered all Athletic’s gear to carry a white elephant on it. (You can see it below on Chief Bender’s sweater. He’s talking to the Giants Chief Meyer earlier in the 1911 Series.)

By the time the 1905 World Series came around, it was obvious that the A’s were a profitable franchise. And so, in playing a practical joke on McGraw, before Game 1 of the Series, McGraw was given a statue of a white elephant (above) at Columbia Park in Philadelphia (The Park was located at 29th and Cecil B. Moore).

According to the book John McGraw, the surly manager hammed it up this time, as he “doffed his cap and made a deep bow to the hooting spectators


wazu 11:24 AM 09-30-2014
Originally Posted by siberian khatru:
Everybody expect the crowd to chant "LESSSSS-ter! LESSSSS-ter!" tonight the way the Pirates' fans did to Johnny Cueto?
There will be at least one guy doing it.
teedubya 11:24 AM 09-30-2014
I can't fucking concentrate on work today...
CaliforniaChief 11:25 AM 09-30-2014
Originally Posted by teedubya:
I can't fucking concentrate on work today...
Welcome to my last month, brother.
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