It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Kansas City today. And the best place to be was out at Kauffman Stadium, eating a Sheboygan brat and watching the almost first-place local nine beat the AL East’s top team, the Baltimore Orioles, 6-1.
The game was pure Royals baseball. There was a sacrifice bunt. There was aggressive base running. The other team made blunders because they knew they had to hurry if they were going to get the fellows doing what speed do on the bases. The pitching was outstanding, especially by starter Yordano Ventura who worked his way through a rocky first inning to post a fine 7-inning performance, only allowing three hits and one earned run to one of the most potent offenses in the league. The Kansas City offense used homers by Alex Gordon (a just-enough fly to the left field corner) and Eric Hosmer (in a rope to the right field seats) and one of their patented “keep-the-line-moving” innings where a single by Alex Gordon was followed by doubles by Christian Colon and Sal Butera, then singles by Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain to push the game out of reach. Butera’s double was key. After Colon’s hit, Jarrod Dyson hit a fielder’s choice grounder to first. Colon lit out for third and Chris Davis threw to Manny Machado covering. Colon was called out. The reply shown at the game looked like Colon was clearly safe. But after review, the “out” call was upheld. (They must have thought he broke contact or something.) Those kinds of plays can be momentum busters but Butera delivered when needed and the good guys kept denting the plate.
And while the weather was perfect and the game satisfying, I noticed a couple of things. First, whomever is in charge of playing that damnable “Make Some Noise” video that’s accompanied by some screeching, thumping music needs to take it down a notch. Maybe three or four. We know you are trying to whup the crowd into a cheering frenzy but when you do it every other pitch, it becomes just plain annoying. And I am pretty sure the team is using recorded crowd noise because when this vulgar cheerleading was going on and a roaring crowd could be heard, I would scan the crowd and see not a soul yelling. Hmmm. Well, even if they are not pumping in crowd noise, the in-your-face shrieking that implores you to applaud is embarrassing. It is telling the fans that they are not smart enough to figure out when to cheer.
Second, I enjoyed seeing the number of player jerseys being worn. I don’t think I have ever seen so many different ones. We saw fans in Escobar and Cain jerseys, Perez and Hosmer, Moustakas and Gordon and Dyson and Soria jerseys. And there was also a Billy Butler, a Greinke, a Zobrist and a Bo Jackson. And then there were the personalized ones. There was a Jones, which I supposed could have been a Lynn Jones but the guy didn’t look old enough to remember Lynn Jones (OF, ’84-’86.) There was also a Kirkman, “Elisa da Beast” and, simply, Cookie, who mysteriously sported #66. It was hard to tell which of the current Boys in Blue was the most popular. It was a toss up between Moose, Hos, Gordon and Perez. Which is appropriate I think, as it is hard to pick a most valuable Royal. They all contribute in different ways at different times, like a championship team should.
And they won, which makes all criticisms irrelevant. And like I said, it was a spectacular day, enjoyable and entertaining in ways expected and unexpected.