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World Series: Small Market Steal
October 21, 2014  | By Gerald Jordan  | 3 comments

Here comes a World Series that television executives dread: small-market Kansas City, versus West Coast San Francisco. When the Giants take the diamond at Kauffman Stadium in the No. 31-sized U.S. TV market, there’s a good chance that many of the casual baseball fans – count them by the millions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – might opt out. And when the action shifts to Baghdad by the Bay, East Coast baseball devotees face having to stay awake until the wee hours, given the three-hour time difference and the Royals’ propensity for extra innings.

But this Series should be hard to ignore. The Kansas City Royals have summoned to mind every Cinderella, storybook cliché imaginable. The team that had not played in the post-season since 1985 has been just stunning over the last three weeks. What began as a desperation one-game playoff that turned on a five-run rally has spanned eight games. That run of eight wins against no losses has put the Royals in the record books, pushing Kansas City manager Ned Yost as the only skipper to win his first eight post-season games.

The Giants aren’t playoff novices. They have been to the World Series three times in the last five years. Conversely, the Royals’ roster is weighted toward players who were not even born the last time that Kansas City played in the Series.

Both teams played close and come-from-behind games to get to the Series. That alone could make for an entertaining championship series.

The Giants have tradition and Hall of Fame luster. Remember Willie Mays? He’s only the greatest player of all time. Even Barry Bonds’ alleged shenanigans couldn’t eclipse the Say Hey Kid. And oddly enough, the fleet-footed centerfielder whose capacity to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples will be mimicked more by speedsters on the Royals’ roster. Seriously, Kansas City has an entertaining squad. The Royals are a mixture of excellent pitching and opportunistic hitting/base running. They used extra innings to win the wild-card playoff, then used three more extra-inning games on the way to sweeping the Los Angeles and sometimes Anaheim Angels, who, by the way, had the best record in baseball, then the Baltimore Orioles, who left the New York Yankees in the dust of the American League East race.

This series is bound to be entertaining. Bruce Bochy’s Giants won games without hitting home runs. The Royals have about a half-dozen players who have the green light to steal bases when they see opportunities. Giants’ catcher Buster Posey probably isn’t seeing speedsters in his sleep, but good money bets that he’s watching a lot of tape. So, too, is Royals catcher Salvador Perez (left), who at 6-foot-5 behind the plate looks more like he should be across the stadium parking lot and wearing a No. 88 for the Chiefs.

In their three interleague games this season, the Royals swept the Giants. The post-season begins competition anew. Still, the Royals have to feel good about that.

The broadcast is 8 p.m. EDT on Fox. First pitch is scheduled around the time Bay area drivers will be negotiating rush-hour traffic, East Coast baseball aficionados will be home and Kansas Citians will be settling into a plate of ribs.

The Series should be fun. Tune in, even if you watch baseball only a few times a year.        

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Really nice piece, Gerald. Hope the Royals return to form in game 2.
Oct 22, 2014   |  Reply
Lee Harrison
Games will start 8:00 Eastern time and Joe Buck will complian about the shadows caused by 5:00 local time start. Go Giants!!
Oct 21, 2014   |  Reply
If anyone missed the wild card game that started the Royals win streak,let's hope it's complete on the DVD package that follows every World Series.It was easily the most entertaining game I've seen in recent memory,but I'm a Phillies fan and,outside of Doc Halliday's perfect game in 2010 and a healthy Cliff Lee,I haven't seen too much truly entertaining baseball for a while.But these Royals are so much fun to watch,especially Lorenzo Cain.
Oct 21, 2014   |  Reply
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