The Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 and with that victory will make their first post-season appearance in 29 years. It is the longest such drought in any of the four major professional sports.
Their last post-season appearance occurred when they won the World Series in 1985. That year the Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
Like the 1985 Royals, the 2014 edition have strong pitching and defense with an anemic offense. Their ace is James Shields and their bullpen is anchored by the one two punch of Wade Davis and Greg Holland. However, their best offensive player is Alex Gordon who hit a modest .265 with 19 HR and 74 RBI this season.
Despite their lack of offense, the Royals are only a game back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central and could still win the division. If not, the Royals will either face the Oakland A’s or the Seattle Mariners in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday.
After the Royals clinched, the TV cameras turned to a smiling George Brett.
It’s been so long since the Royals have been a championship team, it is easy to forget how good the Royals were. Between 1976 and 1985, the Royals won seven AL West titles, two AL pennants and a World Series championship. Along with George Brett there were the likes of Hal McRae, Willie Wilson, Willie Mays Aikens, Frank White, Amos Otis, Dennis Leonard, Paul Splittorff, Dan Quisenberry and Bret Saberhagen. Then there was U.L. Washington who went to the plate with a toothpick in his mouth. During those years, the Royals were managed by Whitey Herzog, Jim Frey and Dick Howser.
Speaking of managers, surely the happiest man in Kansas City is Ned Yost. I remember in 2008 when Yost was abruptly fired as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers with two weeks left in the season. Yost was replaced by Dale Sveum who led the Brew Crew to the NL Wild Card. This time around Yost doesn’t get left high and dry.
Now I have an excuse to post the best song ever written about Kansas City as sung by Wilbert Harrison.