Look at all that long hair. Those San Francisco elitists. Long hair, quiche Lorraine, fancy neck mufflers. Kansas City may not have Lombard Street but the fountains, parks and gardens can match anything those supercilious West Coasters indulge themselves with.
Bring ‘em on. It’s World Series time.
San Francisco vs. Cowtown, USA. The blue collar Royals vs. the hip Giants. Two wildcard teams going at it.
Some of the TV big shots are already griping about the small market syndrome — where will all the viewers come from now that KC represents the American League in the Series and it’s neither Boston nor New York nor Detroit. So sad, too bad.
The first pitch is scheduled for 7:07 tonight. A bonkers crowd awaits with glee. It has been 29 years since the Royals last played in a World Series when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Some fans were looking for another Interstate 70 matchup but the Giants took care of that by flipping the Cards 4 games to 1 in the NCLS.
The Royals have won eight post-season games without a loss, sending the Orioles home with an ALCS sweep. Of course, pitching and defense carried the Royals.
So what about the Giants? Well, the Royals swept them in three games during an early August series.
- August 8. The Royals won 4-2 with Billy Butler slamming a two-run homer in the first inning. The Giants had 12 hits but scored only twice; right fielder Nori Aoki threw out Hunter Pence and Joaquin Arias at the plate, both in the third inning.
- August 9. The Royals won 5-0 with James Shields, the Game1 starter in the Series, throwing a four-hitter. The Royals scored four runs in the seventh.
- August 10. The Royals won 7-4 with the help of a four-run first inning. KC stole seven bases in the game, including three each by Aoki and Jarrod Dyson.
What a difference in the KC atmosphere today than it was, say, midway through the season. Winning can do wonders for the psyche. Ned Yost couldn’t manage. Clutch hitters were strangers in the lineup. Grousing replaced cheering. But down the stretch they came. What a run! Instead of roses, the players celebrated with champagne sprays. It really is amazing how the attitude reversed into this euphoria.
You gotta be light in the head to pay for these Series tickets. The average price on the secondary market for a Game One ticket is costing around $1,500. Just getting in the door for Game One with a standing-room-only ticket is averaging $895 on the secondary market. If you’re on a budget, the cheapest tickets listed are going for about $645. If you want to sit a few rows behind the Royals dugout, well, that will cost you, are you ready, $4,500.
Of course, as the game draws closer, you may see wildly fluctuating prices. But just know that the tickets are very costly.
Some folks say they just like to go to the parking lot and tailgate — simply be close to the action. Fine. Prime parking lot M could cost you $800 in the secondary market. In outlying areas, you can pay anywhere from $70 to $200. And, of course, the cost goes up the nearer you park to the stadium. Face value? Today’s KC Star story said you could park for $25.
I got a call from a guy who asked if he could borrow a few bucks to go to the game. He was kidding, I think. It certainly is a rich man’s Series.
Season ticket holders and those who bought package deals for next season have been able to buy tickets at face value. Some examples of one seat costs: Crown Club $420, field box $225, outfield box $275, loge $200 and HyVee area $100.
I’ll watch the games on television — the fridge is close for a cold one. I will turn the sound way down, depending on the announcers. Oh, the heck with that. You gotta go with the crowd noise to get into the game.
What a Series this should be. Pay very little attention to what happened in early August. Pay very little attention to what happened in the ALCS. New parameters. New outlooks. New situations. Can just pitching and defense carry the Royals?
How will Butler handle sitting out a game when the Royals head to the National League venue? How will the Royals adapt to an unfamiliar stadium? They will play at AT&T Park in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. The Giants have played there since 2000.
Secondary tickets there for the Series are costing 30 percent less than in KC.
So, how does the Series shape up? Many similarities, like terrific bullpens, lack of power hitting, good fielding.
When analyzing the matchups, baseball insiders are focusing on the pitchers, Giant Madison Bumgarner vs. Shields. They’re scheduled to face each other tonight.
Bumgarner, named the NLCS MVP, has allowed only five earned runs in 31⅔ innings and could pitch in two, possibly three games, this Series. A big plus for Bumgarner is his strong showing on the road. He went 26⅔ consecutive scoreless innings on the road during the NLCS against St. Louis. The Giants will need him to be strong because the Royals have home-field advantage.
Shields hasn’t fared so well in the post season, posting ERAs of 7.20 vs. Oakland, 3.00 vs. Los Angeles and 7.20 vs. Baltimore.
The emphasis may be on the starters but the bullpens may actually be the keys. KC’s bullpen has recorded a 0.96 ERA since the start of the ALDS. The Giants bullpen has posted a 2.00 ERA in the postseason, but they don’t have the caliber of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Those three helped the Royals go 65-4 in the regular season with the lead after the sixth inning.
Geez, the city is just wild and crazy about all this.