Boras: Rogers 7 yr to Leafs? Why not Jays?

 * Super agent Scott Boras wonders why Rogers Communications, part owner of the Maple Leafs, can offer seven-year deals to free agents, while it's against the policy of the Toronto Blue Jays, owned by Rogers Communications. He says if Rogers approves such contracts for hockey players, it should be good news for Jays fans. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

By Bob Elliott

SAN FRANCISCO -- Scott Boras was doing what most males watching TV do.

The super agent was flipping stations with his remote when he stumbled upon the HBO hockey series 24/7 which took viewers inside the locker room for a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That’s when Boras learned that the Leafs had given defenceman Dion Phaneuf, a seven-year $49 million CDN contract extension last season.

“First thing I thought was ... great news for Toronto Blue Jays fans,” said Boras at AT&T to watch Game 5 of the 110th World Series before Madison Bumgarner shut out the Royals 5-0.

Rogers Communications owns 37.5% of the Maple Leafs.

Rogers Communications owns 100% of the Blue Jays.

“If they can give one of their hockey players a seven-year deal, why can’t they give a seven-year deal to a baseball player?” asked Boras. “If they have the same ownership in both the hockey team and the ball club, shouldn’t it follow that the Jays should be using the free-agent market as a weapon in order to compete?

“Being in the free-agent market would allow them to fulfill their needs.”

The Leafs also signed free agent David Clarkson to a seven-year $36.75 million going into the 2013-14 season.

The last time the Jays were in the market for a prime free agent and won was after the 2005 season when general manager J.P. Ricciardi signed A.J. Burnett and reliever B.J. Ryan to five-year deals (Burnett for $55 million, Ryan for $47 million).

And in 2006 the Jays gave Vernon Wells a seven-year $126 million extension.


R.I.P. Oscar: St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic Sunday night. Taveras, 22, and his girlfriend were involved in a fatal crash driving between Sosua and his home of Puerto Plata. He spent his early teen-age years in Montreal and held a Canadian passport. The family returned to the Dominican so he could sign after his 16th birthday rather than waiting until grade 12 and the amateur draft.

The highly-respected Baseball America rated Taveras as the No. 3 prospect in the minors heading into the final two seasons. Promoted May 31 this season, he hit .239 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in 80 games.

The left-handed hitter was the final hitter in the Cardinals season, grounding back to Jeremy Affeldt to end the ninth with the score tied, before Travis Ishikawa hit a walk-off homer to send the Giants to the World Series.

Earlier, Taveras hit a pinch-hit, game-tying, homer off Giants reliever Jean Machi in Game 2.

Sympathies are extended to his father, who lives in Montreal, and all of his friends, as well as his extended family in the Dominican.


Question of the day: Since arriving on the coast we’ve been asking San Fran fans who is their favorite Giants player. We’re testing the theory how either John McDonald or Munenori Kawasaki can rival Jose Bautista in popularity in Toronto. Is it like that in other cities? Where the best player is not the clear cut No. 1 in popularity?

So far, catcher Buster Posey and right-hander Tim Lincecum, who has been dropped from the rotation, are in an 8-8 tie.

But we have a new entrant.

Joe Panik is the best,” said Saturday night’s cabbie, of the Giants second baseman, whose brother Paul Panik, an assistant coach at Canisius College in Buffalo under coach Mike McRae of Niagara Falls, Ont. The Griffs have 14 Canadians on their roster from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta.

“Mark my words, Joe Panik is going to break Joe DiMaggios consecutive-game hit streak of 56 games,” said Andrew the cabbie wearing his Giants jersey.

Remember where you read it first.


In game: Lorenzo Cain chased down a Hunter Pence drive to the right-centre field gap which would have scored a pair of runners with the Giants leading 2-0 and two out in the third ... To win the Royals have to play flawless defence. They didn’t: shortstop Alcides Escobar couldn’t make a play on a Travis Ishikawa grounder and centre fielder Jarrod Dyson charged Brandon Crawford’s bloop single allowing Pablo Sandoval to score ... And first baseman Eric Hosmer, credited with having one of the best gloves in the game had bad footwork in the second on a Brandon Belt bunt past the mound. Hosmer stretched out from the base towards second to get an angle on the throw rather than towards the mound and the throw from Escobar.


What if?: The Jason Vargas at-bat was a Saturday night funny in Game 4. Vargas took what he thought was ball four and headed to first, putting on the brakes. Plate ump Ted Barrett called him back since the count was only 3-2. Barrett then rang up Vargas for the third out on a borderline call.

Some Royals thought it was ball four.

“If the ump gets it right and it’s ball four, we’re up 5-1, bases loaded and Alcides Escobar at the plate,” said one.


Coming out of the chute No. 3: When it came time for Rene Francisco, Royals assistant GM, to sign Kelvin Herrera in 2006 the pitcher’s agent wanted $100,000 US.

Francisco said “I’m not paying $15,000 to a guy only a little bigger than a jockey.”

The two sides settled on a $27,500 bonus and the 5-foot-10 Herrera walked over to Francisco jabbed his finger in his chest and said “I’m not a jockey, it’s the size of a man’s heart, not his heighth. I will pitch in the majors.”

Oh, how Herrera has pitched.

Herrera, who eighth-inning man Wade Davis calls the best arm in the K.C. bullpen, was 4-3 with a 1.41 ERA, walking 26 and striking out 59 in 70 innings. In the post season Herrera is 1-0 with 0.79 ERA, walking six and striking out 12 in 11 1/3 innings.

Scout’s honour: Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore on one of the best lessons he ever learned in scouting from the late Bill Lajoie when both were with the Atlanta Braves.

“Bill always said ‘don’t ever take away a player’s aggressiveness or natural ability,” said Moore leaning on the railing of the first base dugout before Game 5.

“And he also used to tell us not to work so much on a player’s weaknesses that it takes away from his strengths.”

Our favorite story about Lajoie, the former Detroit Tigers general manager, comes from a Braves organizational meeting,

Frank Wren, then the Braves assistant GM, was voting one way and Lajoie disagreed.

Wren threw the hammer down saying “May I remind you I was the GM over there for 11 months.”

Lajoie hit the table and said “if I lasted less than a year as a GM, I would not be bragging about it.”


Getting there: Paul Molitor said it in 1993 (on his first trip back to the World Series since 1982). Others say it each year: how lucky they are to be in a World Series, while Ernie Banks never said it.

How ‘bout Giants manager Bruce Buchy, who is headed for the Hall of Fame likely after winning in 2010, 2012 and now two wins away from his third win?

“It is a long time between getting here from 1998 (with San Diego Padres, who be began managing in 1995) to 2010. You have to remind yourself how difficult this is. For me, it’s (GM) Brian Sabean that’s given us resources, ownership, and my staff. But at the same time you need to take it in because you know how tough it is. You don’t know when you’re coming back.

“We’re lucky, to have the players we have here to get us here three times in five years. Each time you try to take in a little bit more. I try to bring all my family out, so I can spend more time with them and spend time with people at the park. You’re caught into the game and everything that goes with it. You need to step back and appreciate everything that’s happened for you to be on this stage.”


Sandlots: Bechard, Munson, Quantrill, Anholt

 * 2B Jess Bechard (Brantford, Ont.) earned a spot on the Kent State Golden Flashes all-time team, celebrating 100 years of baseball along with the likes of major leaguers C Thurman Munson and former Cy Young award winner Steve Stone. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott Thurman Munson, Steve Stone, John Van Benschoten and Jess Bechard now all belong in the same sentence.

After all, they play for the same team.

Munson, the late New York Yankees catcher and captain during the Billy Martin/Reggie Jackson days, Van Benschoten, a former first round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001 and Bechard all most certainly belong in the same breath after being named to the Kent State Golden Flashes all-time team.

Bechard practiced for hours at Cockshutt Park in Brantford before heading off to school at Washington at Masillon, Ohio. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 41st round in 1995 and went to Kent State for his degree.

The infielder led all Kent State hitters in doubles with 83 doubles, was tied for second with 209 runs scored with 490 total bases. Kent State celebrated its 100 years of ballot based on 2,660 votes by fans.

The all-time team was honored in May and trading card sets distributed to the first 300 fans at the commemorative game.

The Kent State baseball All-Time team includes: Pitcher - Andrew Chafin (Selected 43rd over-all by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011, making three appearances with the Diamondbacks this season.

Pitcher - Andy Sonnanstine. (Chosen in the 13th round of the 2004 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, pitched five seasons with the Rays going 28-31 in 132 games, making 80 starts.)

Pitcher - David Starn (Chosen in the 7th round by the Atlanta Braves in 2012.)

Pitcher - Steve Stone (Selected in the fourth round in 1969 by the San Francisco Giants, winning 107 games in 11 years for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, the Giants and the Baltimore Orioles, where he won the 1980 Cy Young award.)

Catcher - Thurman Munson (First round pick, 4th pick over-all in 1968 by the New York Yankees, who played 11 years before his career was cut short by a place crash.)

First Base - Greg Rohan. (Chosen in 21st round in 2009 by the Chicago Cubs.)

Second Base - Jess Bechard jessbechard (Besides leading all Kent hitters in doubles, tying for second in runs and having the third most total bases, he was fourth in hits, 304; fifth in average .3698, sixth in RBIs, 181 and at-bats, 822).

Shortstop - Jimmy Rider (Chosen in the 26th round by the Pirates in 2012)

Third Base - Andrew Davis (Selected in the 12th round by the San Francisco Giants in 2007)

Infield - Rich Rollins (Signed as a free agent in 1970 by the Washington Senators, play 10 years in the majors with the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers).

Outfield - Evan Campbell (Had 52 doubles, 15 triples, 12 homers, 160 RBIs while hitting for a .313 average in four years with an .827 OPS) in four years at Kent)

Outfield - Randy Bockus (Selected in the 34th rouns by the Giants in 1984, played parts of four seasons with the Giants and Giants)

Utility - John VanBenschoten (First round pick, 8th over-all by the Pirates in 2001, played three seasons with the Pirates.)

Head Coach- Scott Stricklin (Coach 2005-2013)


More good stuff on Quantrill: Stanford Cardinal RHP Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) still doesn’t happen until June of 2016.

The Ontario Terriers grad was cal quantrill stanfordnamed the No. 1 prospect in the Coastal Plain summer college league by Baseball America and Perfect Game Scouting Service has him ranked ahead of the juniors who are eligible to be drafted next June.

And now PG has its scouting report on Quantrill, drafted in the 26th round by New York Yankees scout Denis Boucher (Laval, Que.) pitched with the Morehead City (NC) Marlins.

Quantrill walked nine and struck out 33 in 23 innings going 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts.

Perfect Game Coastal Plain prospect reports BEST TOOLS Best breaking stuff: Cal Quantrill, Morehead City Marlins

TOP 20 PROSPECTS 1. Cal Quantrill, rhp, Morehead City Marlins (Stanford/SO in 2015) After putting together an impressive freshman campaign for the Cardinal, Quantrill continued his impressive ways this summer with a strong showing for Morehead City. Quantrill, an athletic 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, tallied a 1.59 ERA in four starts and 22 2/3 innings of work, while also striking out 33 and walking just nine batters. He showed a mature approach on the mound this past summer and threw three plus pitches for strikes. Quantrill sat in the low-90s with his fastball and showed the ability to get into the mid-90s as well. His changeup was a plus offering, and his breaking ball was very impressive as well. Several coaches in the league said Quantrill clearly had the best pitchability of anyone.


HOFer Anholt: Matthew Gourlie has a real good read on Ryan Anholt (Moose, Jaw, Sask.) being inducted into the Northwestern State University Demons Hall of Fame in Natchitoches, La.ryan anholt

Anholt pulled off a rare double in his two years at NSU. A 1998 All-American shortstop (third-team, American Baseball Coaches Association), he was a 1999 Academic All-American (third team).

He was the 1998 Southland Conference Newcomer and Player of the Year under coach John Cohen, when he set a single-season school hits record (88) and batted .417 as a junior college transfer leading NSU to the Southland title. The Demons were 78-41 in his two seasons as he posted a career .368 batting average, fourth all-time in Demon history.

Anholt played with the Sask Selects, the Moose Jaw Cardinals, won the nationals in 1994, played for the Canadian national junior team, attended the National Baseball Institute and spent a year at a New Mexico JUCO.

He still holds the NSU record for hits in a season (88) and total bases (155) in 1998. He hit .417 (fourth-best all-time) and had 15 home runs (second). His 64 RBIs are the second most in a season.

The following season he hit 62 RBIs, third-most in a season.

Anholt 1998 with the Canadian national team which travelled to Nicaragua where they advanced to the world championships in Italy.

He was drafted in the 74th round by the New York Yankees in 1994 and two years later he was in the 57th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After one season of independent league with the Richmond Roosters and LondonWerewolves  in the Frontier League in 2000, he represented Canada at the Olympic qualifiers in Panama in 2000.

Also inducted were former USC head football coach Ed Orgeron, two-time Olympian triple jumper Kenta Bell, former Cincinnati Bengals corner back Adrian Hardy, plus shot put champion Peggy Lewis, and linebacker Ed Moses.


Our first meeting with Oscar Taveras

* Cards OF prospect Oscar Taveras took a .322 average with 25 doubles, 17 homers, 63 RBIs and a .968 OPS  at double-A Springfield into the Futures Game.  

(Originally published July 10, 2012)

By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY - As everyone knows, Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont, was the first European to discover the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers which became K.C.

(Okay, I looked that up, I didn't go from memory.)

Discoveries are still being made. Such as inside the World clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday before the 14th annual XM All-Star Futures Game.

“I’m Canadian, my passport is Canadian,” said centre fielder Oscar Francisco Taveras.

Discovering this city would have been Page One news had there been a local bugle, or the lead item on the website, had either existed back in 1713.

Finding out Taveras holds a Canuck passport, when it comes to Canadian baseball news would be like suddenly figuring out that high school kid Brett Lawrie, playing in a Washington state high school tournament, was from Langley, B.C.

Or, that John Axford wasn’t from the other side of Lake Erie and is actually from Port Dover, Ont.

Taveras is a stud. In its mid-season report, Baseball America rated him the 18th best prospect in the minors.

He was named to the Texas League all-star game and starred with a single, double and a homer. He also was the Cards’ organizational player of the month in April. ranks Taveras as the third-best prospect in the St. Louis system and has him ranked as the 86th-best prospect.

He is hitting .322 with 25 doubles, 17 homers, 63 RBIs and a .968 OPS in 79 games at double-A Springfield in the Cardinals system.

“Play for Canada? Why not? I have a Canadian passport,” said Taveras, who turned 20 on June 19. “I’ve never played for Canada before. It would be good for me. I work very hard at my game.”

Canada is looking for non- 40-man players for the World Baseball Classic qualifier in September at Germany when they try to qualify for the 2013 WBC, competing against Great Britain, the Czech Republic and the hosts.

Currently, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is not on the Cards’ 40-man roster, but even if he is come the fall, should Canada qualify, he would be a player Canada would want next spring.

In 2006, Adam Stern played centre field for Canada and in 2009 at the Rogers Centre it was Jason Bay, whose normal position is left field.

Stern has retired and Bay is injured. Michael Saunders of the Seattle Mariners was our choice to be in centre on our Canada Day lineup.

Now, it appears there could be some competition.

So, how did Taveras wind up with a Canadian passport?

“I lived in Montreal from the time I was 12 until I was 16,” said Taveras, who returned home to the Dominican and signed with St. Louis for a $140,000 US bonus. Had he stayed in Canada, he would have entered the draft after his high school class graduated.

Born in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic there is a crest of the Dominican flag on his uniform.

“My father, Francisco, was an outfielder in the Milwaukee system before he hurt his elbow,” said Taveras, who played for the old Marquis de Montreal Development Network Quebec midget triple-A league.

“Sorry, I don’t remember the names of my coaches or my teammates,” said Taveras, who homered knocking in four runs on Canada Day in a 7-3 win over the Frisco Rough Riders.

A power bat, quick enough to play centre with a Canadian passport.

After making a run at .400 last year at Quad Cities when he finished with a .386 average, eight home runs and a 1.062 OPS, he has shown power this season.

In the top of the first on Sunday, Taveras bounced out and was robbed by centre fielder Anthony Gose, the Jays farmhand, who made a diving catch in centre in the third. He singled to left in the fifth and flew out to centre in the seventh.

Taveras was with the rookie-class Dominican Summer League Cardinals in 2009 and split 2010 between the rookie-class Gulf Coast Cardinals and class-A Johnson City.

He has a smooth swing with outstanding bat speed. He does not walk a lot, but projects to hit for a high average. Taveras has average speed and arm, but will probably be a right fielder when he reaches Busch Stadium, according to scouts.

“I saw him two weeks ago, he’s a heck of a hitter,” said one of the many evaluators watching pre-game infield.

“He has to be from the Dominican the way he swings the bat. He hits like a left-handed hitting George Bell. No way he’s Canadian.”

And Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont thought he could find things?








Ump Joyce recalls Game 3 of 9/11 WS

* Umpire Jim Joyce remembers a memorable Game 3 from the 2001 World Series, the night baseball returned to Yankee Stadium ... 49 days after 9/11. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

SAN FRANCISCO -- Little League star Mon’ne Davis threw out the first pitch Saturday night before Game 4 of the 110th World Series.

It got the job done.

As ceremonial first pitches go it paled in comparison to Game 3 at Yankee Stadium in 2011.

That’s when President George Bush took the mound and threw a strike as Yankee Stadium 49 days after 9/11.

The story begins in the umpire’s room before Bush stood on the mound as Derek Jeter had told him “don’t stand at the base or the fans will boo,” when he saw the President warming up inside the batting tunnel.

Jim Joyce was part of the 2001 World Series umpiring crew and made his usual pre-game trek down the hallway toward the right field line.

“Secret service agents were stationed the length of the tunnel every 10 feet,” Joyce said from Beaverton, Oregon. Joyce walked in to find a CIA agent in the room.

“His name was Ray and he told us when it comes time to go onto the field, he’d dress as Mark Hirshbeck and Mark would watch from the tunnel. They didn’t want seven umpires. Everything was supposed to look normal and then after the pre-game ceremonies Mark and he would switch places.”

Dale Scott, Ed Rapuano, Dana DeMuth, Steve Rippley, Joyce and Hirschbeck sat around asking the secret agent questions.

“We were like little kids: ‘what kind of gun is that you’re wearing?’ and Ray answered ‘Glock whatever,’” said Joyce. “He was very personable stayed out of our way, saying ‘this is your domain.’

“He had smoke grenades, concussion grenades and two guns on his belt.”

The dress-up ump, who would not make either an out or safe call, wore black shoes and the grey pants like the normal umpire attire. He pulled an umpire’s wind breakers over his bullet-proof vest and ... “everything disappeared,” said an impressed Joyce.

“He told us if anything happens he will take care of it ... believe me.”

We were never aware Hirshbeck was not at home plate during the pre-game.

“Ray was an average height but slight, maybe 180 pounds ... he was too skinny for the way most umpires were back then -- we’re in better shape now. Once he put on the jacket he looked like he belonged.

“I’ve never seen the man since.”

The ump’s room is a busy place before a post-season game as a it’s where plenty of officials from Major League Baseball await the game’s first pitch.

And in walked President Bush, with his full detail, 10 secret service. Sandy Alderson of the commissioner’s office who at the time oversaw the umps was also there.

“Being an AL guy the Preident remembered me from working his games in Arlington, when he ran the Texas Rangers,” Joyce said.

“He’s very good at remembering names -- I saw him last year in Texas he tapped me on the cheek and said ‘Jimmy you’re getting to be one of the older guys.’ I said ‘thanks for remembering me Mr. President.’”

Joyce said he and the rest of the crew found it exciting to have a President in the room pre-game.

“After he shook hands with everyone, he sat down and signed three dozen balls, told us about 9/11, how the Australian Prime Minister was here,” Joyce said. “How they rushed him home in case it was a global attack ... not on a passenger jet on an F-18.”

Joyce said a Hazmat team, anti-terrorist team, an offensive terrorist team and a sniper team on the roof were all at the big ball park in the Bronx.

“That night Yankee Stadium was probably the safest place on earth to be,” said Joyce, who recalls going into the hall for a cigarette, as he was smoking in those days. bush

“I’d mess with the secret service, lighting up right beside this one guy,” said Joyce. “Finally he said “man, would I love to have one of those?’ I said go ahead, I have extras. He declined.”

Joyce was the only one who had a video camera in the room and some of his footage was used on a documentary about baseball after 9/11.

The night’s events were planned to the minute. Bush left the ump’s room for the Yankee dugout and four minutes later the umpires -- five real ones and the imposter -- headed onto the field from another entrance.

Bush was introduced, strode quickly to the rubber, past the additional rubber set at the front of the mound and headed up top as Jeter suggested. Bush gave a thumbs up to the upper deck down the third base line and threw a strike to Todd Greene.

The noise was about the same level as the next two nights when the Yanks homered off Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim with two out in the bottom of the ninth.

It was more than noise. It was a city saying ‘we’re back, we’re ok.’

“When President Bush threw that pitch, I was standing next to Dana and if one of us had something, the other wouldn’t have heard, that’s how loud it was,” said Joyce. “The place went crazy it make you proud you were there. It was like OK everything is going to be OK, baseball is back in New York.”

Joyce guesses he has worked 100 games at Yankee Stadium in his 27 years wearing blue, over 3,000 games in all. Nothing topped the emotion that night.

Not even Game 4 when Tino Martinez homered with two out in the bottom of the ninth and Jeter hit his walk off in the 10th both against Kim.

Or the next night in Game 5 when Joyce worked the plate as Scott Brosius homered with two out and the Yanks won in 11 on an Alfonso Soriano single.

“I don’t want to use the word patriotic, but that night was very comforting,” Joyce said. “That was one of the few nights I didn’t talk to Jeter, outside of ‘how’s it going?”

Usually when Jeter stepped in with Joyce working the plate the exchange unfolded like this:

bush jeterJeter: “don’t screw up tonight.”

Joyce: “don’t you be eye balling me.”

“After Jeter grounded out one game, it might have been Benito Santiago -- but it was a Toronto catcher for sure -- turned and asked ‘why not throw him out?” said Joyce. “I had to turn around, I was laughing so hard.

“Ever since he got in the league he was always so personable on the field. He was one of the special ones.”

Joyce worked a Yankee series in Baltimore before the all-star break and made a point of telling the Yankee captain “I’ve seen a lot of guys in my career it was an absolute pleasure to watch you play.”

Jeter thanked Joyce.

The day before Game 3, DeMuth and Joyce were driven to Ground Zero by a New York state trooper who told them he had arrived late in the day after the twin towers had crashed to search for survivors.

“Walking down the street he said papers were blowing in the wind, sticking to people’s leg,” Joyce said. “This piece of paper stuck to the state patrol’s leg a couple of times. It stuck again. He reached down and looked at the piece of paper. It was a Chase Manhattan bank statement. He looked at it and it had his father’s name on it.

“His father had passed away two years before.”

Joyce was on the field and behind the scenes for Game 3.

What I’ll remember is getting up from my seat in the front row to the right of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner’s box as wave after wave of applause came down from the upper deck.

Walking up the stairs standing ram rod straight were four NYPD and Fire Department of New York brass.

Each one had tears streaming down their cheeks thinking of the brave men and women lost on 9/11.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


Blanco, Panik, Sandoval lead SF

* The San Francisco Giants ralled to score the final 10 runs of Game 4 to even the 110th World Series at two games apiece at AT&T Park. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Kansas City Royals didn’t bunt when they had the chance to with the score tied in the sixth inning.

The San Francisco Giants did try -- and messed it up -- only to get another chance in the same inning.

So on a roller coast of nights when Giants fans worried in the third inning (down 4-1) that Madison Bumgarner would have to pitch and win Game 5 to stave off elimination in the 110th World Series, an hour later, well OK, maybe it was longer than that Bumgarner in Game 5 -- but with the chance to move to within one game of winning the Series.

It might be a tad simplistic to reduce a game with 28 hits, 319 pitches and took four hours and a Giants 11-4 win to two at-bats, but take a breath, give us a second and consider ...

Jarrod Dyson led off the sixth with a single against Yusmeiro Petit and Ned Yost send up pinch hitter Nori Aoki, who has 23 successful bunts the last three seasons. Dyson has 100 steals in 118 attempts (84.7%) the previous three seasons.

After a pick off attempt and ball one, Aoki bounced to Brandon Belt who started and finished a 3-5-3 double play.

No bunt to get the lead run into scoring position.

And no steal attempt.

If the Royals score there then Yost can go to his slam-the-door bullpen which closes down things the way Bruce Willis does against the bad guts.

But the lights-out bullpen of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland weren’t entering a tie game.

“My thought was Nori’s been swinging the bat pretty decent for us,” Yost told reporters. “I was going to bunt with the next hitter (Alcides Escobar). I wasn’t going to play for one, I was going for two.

“Nori can hit the ball to all fields, so we were looking for him to do that and he just hit the ball straigh to first and a double play.”

Now, Joaquin Arias came off the bench singling against lefty Brandon Finnegan. With the count 1-1, Gregor Blanco, 14 bunts the last three seasons, fouled off the pitch. Advantage Royals? Not so fast as he slapped a 1-2 single over short, Joe Panik bunted the runners over and after an intensional walk and a out, Pablo Sandoval lined a two-run single and Belt a run-scoring single.

The K.C, relievers were not going to be used in a tie game and they certainly weren’t going to be used down by three.

The Giants had 10 hits and five walks against Jason Frasor, Danny Duffy, Finnegan and Tim Collins.

The Royals bullpen was charged with eight earned runs after not allowing more than five since the 12-inning wild card game against the Oakland A’s going back 11 games.

The Giants were hitless after two innings and then 20 of the next 35 reach base.

Despite the thumping Kansas City is looking at a best-of-three series with the final two game at their home fountains and their stud relievers Herrera, Davis and Holland had the night off.

“Somewhere inside me secretly I had hopes it would go seven games for the excitement,” said Yost. “It sure looks like that way.” Wet base path: Yost was asked if wetting down the bases falls under the category of gamesmanship?

“I don’t know,” said Yost, “maybe the grounds keeper just was looking at all the Royals fans up in the corner there and forgot. I don’t know.”

Yes that was a shot at the Giants for A) the wet grounds and B) the bad tickets K.C. fans were given.

The Royals didn’t attempt a stolen base in Game 3 despite Alcides Escobar leading off the sixth with a single and Dyson singling with two out in the seventh. Alex Gordon stole in the second inning of Game 4.

In Game: Bustey Posey singled in a run in the third to cut the Royals lead to 4-2 ... Three K.C. infield hits and a walk loaded the bases with the a run in and two out in the third. Omar Infante slashed a two-run single and Sal Perez dropped a single into centre for a four-run third. Ryan Vogelsong faced 16 men and retired eight with four scoring ... With two out and the bases loaded pitcher Jason Vargas took a 2-2 pitch and head to first. Not so fast said plate ump Ted Barrett, one of the good ones, who called Vargas back. Ball. Now 3-2. Vargas struck out on the next pitch ... Giants scored in the first as Blanco worked a lead-off walk, went to second on a ball in the dirt, stole third and came across on a Hunter Pence grounder ... With Vogelsong (8-13) starting the Giants became the first team in Series history to start three pitchers with losing records. Jake Peavy (7-13 with the Boston Red Sox and the Giants) worked Game 2 Tim Hudson (9-13) started Game 3.

In again, out again Finnegan: No less than 15 teams, including the Blue Jays (who had two draft picks) passed on TCU Horned Frogs Brandon Finnegan (17th pick over-all) in this June’s draft. We pointed that out in Saturday’s after the Royals lefty had another scoreless outing and heard back from two teams. Both liked Finnegan with their first pick but had concerns about medical issues ... He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings before leaving due to a sore shoulder against Cal State Northridge April 25 and didn’t pitch again until May 9 against Oklahoma (six runs -- five earned --on five hits in 3 1/3 innings). When he returned his velocity was down from the start of the season ... Looked all better in Game 3 but in Game 4 the Giants scored five times off him as he became the fourth reliever in last 20 years to allow five or more runs in a World Series game, the first since Colorado’s Franklin Morales in 2007.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


Finnegan working in 2nd World Series of year

* Within five months, RP Brandon Finnegan has gone from pitching for the TCU Horned Frogs in the College World Series in Omaha to having a scoreless outing in Game 3 of the 110th World Series. He's greeted by teammates in the dugout here after he helped  give the Kansas City Royals a 2-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

SAN FRANCISCO -- It’s Brandon Finnegan’s world.

We’re just watching how it unfolds.

He has pitched in two World Series within 127 days of each other.

There’s another World Series?

Yep. Finnegan pitched eight innings for the TCU Horned Frogs against the No. 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha on June 17. He allowed two runs -- one earned on nine hits and five walks -- as TCU lost 3-2 in 15 innings when Toronto shortstop Daniel Pinero knocked in the winning run in the 15th.finnegan college ws

Selected in the June draft Finnegan made his debut in Game 3 of the 110th World Series Friday night at AT&T Park.

Starter Jeremy Guthrie worked into the sixth with a 3-0 lead and by the time reliever Kelvim Herrera got the third out of the inning it was a one-run game.

Royals manager Ned Yost allowed Herrera to bat in the seventh with two out and a runner on, as cries of angst went up across the mid west.

(Cito Gaston didn’t pinch hit for Tony Castillo with nine outs remaining down 13-9 in Game 4 of 1993 World Series and wound up a 15-14 winner.)

Herrera walked Hunter Pence to open the seventh and struck out the left-handed hitting Brandon Belt as lefty Finnegan warmed in the right field bullpen. Then, Yost went to Finnegan.

In Omaha it was rather a neutral crowd of 24,285 -- no horse in the race -- but at AT&T, outside of one section of blue-clad Royals fans, the 43,020 fans were booing the lefty hoping he’d give one up that plopped into McCovey Cove.

Is this any spot to put a 21-year-old who has 11 1/3 innings under his major-league belt?

finnegan wsFinnegan retired pinch hitter Juan Perez on a 1-0 93 MPH sinker to left and struck out Brandon Crawford on a 95 MPH sinker, the sixth pitch of the at-bat, giving the 3-2 lead to Wade Davis and Greg Holland.

They closed it down like a cranky bar tender at closing time with someone waiting.

The Houston Astros, Florida Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, Your Toronto Blue Jays (twice, picking 9th and 11th), New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels, the Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks all passed on Finnegan.

With 16 names off the board Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg took Finnegan 17th, gave him a $2,200,600 million US signing bonus.

He’s the first to appear in a College World Series and the World Series in the same year. After signing he made five starts at class-A Wilmington, where he made five starts, went to double-A Northwest Arkansas, where Royals GM Dayton Moore and his staff decided to use him out of the bullpen and he made eight relief appearances.

He made seven September appearances (one run in six innings) and in six games in post-season play has allowing two runs in five innings.

Just what the Giants need ... a three-headed Royals bullpen had sprung another noggin.


Lineup shuffle: With the World Series shifting west leaving the DH job behind, Ned Yost had to shuffle his every day lineup.

The Kansas City manager moved Alex Gordon from sixth to second in his lineup.

Mike Moustakas was promoted from ninth to fifth, where DH Billy Butler usually hits. Omar Infante went from eighth to sixth and Jarrod Dyson hit eighth.

At spacious AT&T Yost elected to play Cain in right and Dyson in centre. Dyson made a diving play to steal extra bases from Buster Posey and made a sliding grab off Travis Ishikawa to end the second with two runners aboard. It’s doubtful the Royals Nori Aoki makes either play.

“With this vast outfield, we knew that we had to put our best defense out there,” Yost told reporters before the game, “so that took Nori out of the No. 2 hole. We put Alex in there because of the speed of Dyson at the bottom, the speed with Alcidies Escobar at the top, Alex might get a few more fastballs to hit, and we liked Alex in that spot."

Escobar doubled on the first pitch from Tim Hudson and came around to score on two grounders.


No Madbum: There was plenty of pre-game talk that if the Giants lost they would alter their rotation and go with their ace lefty Madison Bumgarner, who even boasted pre-game he was starting and was “not taking no for an answer.” After the loss Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he was sticking with scheduled starter Ryan Volesang.


Numbers: This was the Royals 10th win of the post season and the first by a starter ... Eric Hosmer’s single on the 11 pitch of the at-bat put the Royals up 3-0 in the sixth. Earlier Gordon had doubled home Escobar ... Giants second baseman Joe Panik and right fielder Pence made fine fielding plays ... The Series debuts by Giants Tim Hudson 39 and Guthrie, 35 is historic in terms of innings worked. The pair combined to pitch 4,619 1/3 innings. The most since Game 1 of the very first World Series in 1903 when Cy Young, who began pitching in 1890 long before he had an awaard named after him, of the Boston Americans, faced against Pittsburgh Pirates Deacon Phillippe, who began twirling in 1899.


Stars come out at night: The city by the bay can bring out the Hall of Famers:

Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry were recognized before Friday’s Game 3. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa was at home plate wearing an Oakland A’s lid, along with Roger Craig in a Giants cap as they did in the 1989 World Series. And Rickey Henderson was in the house.

Strict on Strickland: Bochy said he spoke to reliever Hunter Strickland, who gave up a two-run homer to Infante, lost his composure started screaming and a fight almost resulted.

“I don’t want him to think I’ve lost confidence in him,” Bochy told reporters. “This kid has a chance to be pretty special. A late‑inning guy, he bounced back well through the one great inning in Kansas City, really got ahead of the first hitter. He yanked that slider. But you know what, I think you’ve got to stay behind these guys.”

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


Brett still has pulse of KC heart beat

 * George Brett, named the MVP of the 1985 Kansas City Royals (ALCS winners over the Toronto Blue Jays), is now a vice-president as KC returns to the World Series for the first time in 29 years. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY -- Is this the start of another long successful run by the Kansas City Royals?

When the Royals made post-season play seven of 10 seasons, capped by the 1985 comeback wins over the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series and the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series -- after being down 3-1 in each series.

“Back then the Royals could compete and keep their talent, they signed Frank White, Hal McRae, myself and others to long-term contracts,” said Brett from San Francisco Thursday afternoon.

“We’ve signed Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Sal Perez long term. Are we going be able to do keep Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer? Young pitchers like Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and Danny Duffy?

“It depends what Mr. Glass wants to do.”

David Glass owns the Royals and sets the budget, while general manager Dayton Moore decides where and on whom to spend.

“I’ll tell you one area where this year’s team is a lot like the 1985 team. We were young, athletic and fast. This team is young, athletic and fast.”

The 40,446 at Kauffman Stadium for in Game 2 made it sound as noisy as Minneapolis old MetroDome, as the Royals scored five in the sixth for a 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants evening the best-of-seven, 110th World Series. It was noisy in Game 1 too ... but for 19 pitches as the Giants had a 3-0 lead against James Shields.

Brett said that the stadium atmosphere is better now than then.

“Let’s see we lost in five to the Yankees in 1975 in the ALCS, lost in five games the next year to them and lost in four games in 1977 to New York,” said Brett as you get the impression he’s given this receital before. “Then we lost the 1980 World Series to Philadelphia, lost the division series the next year to Oakland and got beat by Detroit in 1984.

“So by the time we got to the 1985 World Series, well I don’t want to say post-season was old hat, but our fans had come to expect it.”

Kauffman Stadium has changed more than its name since 1985. Back then a green pasture, a lonely cow or two and a freeway were beyond the outfield fence. Since renovated there is an even larger scoreboard and outfield seats, so “you have crowd noise going out and coming in,” Brett says. george brett

”To wait 29 years, fans craved this. It’s louder. It’s electric. Our town is more into this team,” said Brett, now 61. “The younger generation feels real close to the team due to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter -- you know all the stuff I have no idea how to work.”

Brett cited the night the Royals rallied from a 7-3 deficit to beat the Oakland A’s in 12 innings when Hosmer tweeted he was at McFadden’s, a downtown pub, and drinks were on him for the first hour.

“I heard the bill was around $20,000, back in 1985 we probably had some guys making $50,000,” said Brett, who earned $1 million that year, after making his debut in 1973. This year the major-league minimum salary is over $500,000.

Brett watched Game 2 from a suite along with Jason Kendell and John Wathan, preferring a vantage point where he can watch live and then being able to watch TV replays.

A Hall of Famer once told me before Brett was elected to Cooperstown “he is best player I have ever seen. And you know what makes him so good? He wasn’t afraid that everybody in the park knew he was enjoying playing the game.”

Asked about the compliment, the Royals vice president, who made hustling cool the way Kirk Gibson later did, recalls the day he retired in 1993 when he said “no one had more fun on the field than I did -- and no one had more fun off the field,”

“Know how you have fun on the field? You win games,” Brett said. “Sometimes when you are losing you have to force yourself to have fun.”

Before this thought line evolves into a which came first the chicken or the egg (fun vs. winning) it makes sense if you are having fun, you are relaxed. And you have a better chance of succeeding when you are relaxed. The game is not a winger whacking someone into the boards in anger, or a border-line rough play down field tackle ... or Giants reliever Hunter Strickland angrily stomping off the mound screaming after giving up a homer ... as he did in Game 2.

K.C. in the post season has been an ex-Royals reunion, excluding Steve Balboni, now an advance scout for the Giants. Brett and Charlie Leibrandt, who won Game 7 against the Jays in 1985, spent time together after Game 1 and former Cy Young award winner

Bret Saberhagen has been at each Royals October home game.

When Brett hooked up with Leibrandt was there any talk of the lefty’s 5 1/3 innings in relief of Saberhagen at Exhibition Stadium and the K.C. come back against the Jays?

“There might have been, but I had not seen Charlie since he left the Royals in 1989, hadn’t seen his kids since they were five or six. Now, they’re bigger than me, taller than (six-foot-3) Charlie.”

The Royals continue to stage a Fantasy camp each spring for those over the age of 45, the way the Blue Jays used to in Dunedin.

Lately, they have struggled with registration. This year when instructors were named each one was a 1985 Royal.

“Amazing how fast it sold out,” said Brett.

Brett said Steve Farr, who he hadn’t seen in 10-to-15 years would be there. Farr was the winner in relief in Game 3 when Brett had one of the best Series games ever seen: solo homer off Doyle Alexander in the first, double in the fourth, two-run game tying homer in the sixth and a single off Jim Clancy and scoring the winning run in the eighth. He also back handed a Lloyd Moseby grounder behind the bag and from foul ground threw out Damo Garcia at the plate in the third.

Either 18 or 19 1985 Royals will be there, which Brett says is “the most we’ve ever had together since 1985.”

brett 2The Royals are “doing this post-season up right,” bringing in all minor league coaches, scouts and wives, including Cambridge’

Scott Thorman, who coached at rookie-class Burlington this year and will manage next summer.

“They’re all a big part of this,” Brett said.

No one enjoyed hitting more than Brett, who served briefly as a Royals hitting coach. Who does he enjoy watching hit?

“I saw Billy Butlers first pro at-bat (in 2004), I’ve known them all since they were young, I want them all to do well and represent the Royals in a good manner,” Brett said. “If we’re hitting, I’m watching.”

Brett grew up in El Segundo, Calif. when his weekly TV baseball fix was the Saturday Game of the Week, with broadcasters Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek, the only time you could see a game on TV until the post season.

“The game would come on at 10 AM west coast time, so I’m lying in bed waking up as a 10-year-old watching Joe and Tony.”

If a National League game was on he knew when he was showering for the day ... when Garagiola would say “due up this inning, the 8-9-1 hitters.

“That inning would take three minutes to get out the pitcher,” Brett said. “I don’t want to see the pitcher hit. I’d rather watch Carl Yaztremski or Paul Molitor come to the plate,

“When I got to the big leagues it was the same, I’d wake up, order room service, eat, hear ‘8-9-1 due up’ and hit the shower.”

His first roomie was Jays broadcaster, his dear friend Buck Martinez.

And now when he hear’s “due up for the Royals 8-9-1?”

“I want to see our guys hit.”

Omar Infrante, with six homers, 66 RBIs and a two-run homer off Strickland in Game 2 hits in the No. 8 spot.

Moustakas, with 15 homers and 54 RBIs bats ninth.

And Escobar, who hit .285, with 31 steals, is in the leads off spot.

Brett said he hopes the Minnesota Twins hire Molitor to manage, saying “they have to give it to Paulie.”

The Royals best-ever player had one chance to manage.

“I discussed managing the Colorado Rockies with (owner) Charles Monfort, the year they hired Buddy Bell (2000),” Brett said. “That was something that appealed to me. No one has asked since.”

He would have seen some hitting in Denver.

And now as the series moves to San Francisco -- for Game 3 Friday -- he hopes to see more from his team.

Even in a non-DH park -- where Royals pitchers have to hit.


KC Royals saved Marge, their No. 1 fan

* Marge Whetsel, 81, with grand daughter Rachael Davis, has been a Kansas City Royals fan since 1978 and says the ballclub saved her life -- after her beloved husband died in 2007. (Photos: Amanda McKie, Rachel Davis). .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

“A couple of guys in first class on a flight From New York to Los Angeles, Kinda making small talk killing time, Flirting with the flight attendants, Thirty-thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma,

-- Jason Aldeen, Fly Over States

By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY -- Marge Edwards met Ray Whetsel in seventh grade in common learning class at North East junior high in Kansas City in the 1940s.

When Marge turned 16 she was allowed to date.

And they shared a locker in senior high.

Yes, this is a love story.

Well, actually two love stories.

Marge and Ray wed June 5, 1953 in Kansas City when Ray was home on leave from serving on the destroyer USS Boyd.

They never wanted to live anywhere else but in a fly over state.

Ray was born in his parent’s house.

Marge was born at a K.C. hospital in 1933.

Ray was a member of the U.S. Naval Seebees reserves when a friend asked he and Marge to a Kansas City Royals game in summer around 1973.

For Marge it was not love at first sight with her second love.

“The only thing I remember was how it rained and how (grounds keeper) George Toma got the tarp onto the field so quickly.”

After all, Marge and Ray were football fans.

They had season’s tickets to the Kansas City Chiefs for 13 seasons.

* * * “Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms, Man, it all looks the same, Miles and miles of back roads and highways, Connecting little towns with funny names, Who’d want to live down there in the middle of nowhere?”


* * * Ray and Marge Whetsel wanted to live in Kansas City, even though people in New York or Los Angeles might think it is the middle of nowhere.

Ray had been stationed in Guam and in Charleston, S.C., but as Marge says “home is home.”

Ray worked as an assemblay-line foreman, then in the office at General Motors in Leeds for 29 years. Then he worked for eight years at Unitog Rental Services, Inc., an industrial uniform company.

Leading up to Christmas in 1977, Marge decided on the perfect gift for her husband. With four children -- Michael, Donna, Jim and Phyllis -- money wasn’t easy to come by.

Marge saved and one day went to Royals Stadium putting money down on a deposit. For Christmas, Ray opened his gift: a receipt for season’s tickets to watch the Royals play in 1978.marge as

Ray headed to the stadium to pick out his seat. He looked at the seating chart and said the magic words:

“I’ll buy another please.”

Marge bought Ray his season’s ticket.

Ray bought Marge a ticket for all 81 games.

They sat in section 108, row JJ.

Ken Wilkerson was our Royal Lancer,” said Marge.

They don’t have Royal Lancers or their counterparts at Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium or the Rogers Centre.

Marge explained after Charlie Finley moved his Kansas City Athletics franchise to Oakland in 1968 operating it in a fly over state from 1955-to-1968, Kansas City businessman Ewing Kauffman, whose wife Muriel Kauffman was from Hamilton, Ontario, wanted involvement by the local community if buying the team.

“Mr. Kauffman,” according to Marge, involved area businessmen and they sold roughly 7,000 season’s tickets. Royal Lancers wore blue blazers.

“You still see them giving out programs,” Marge says, “but they’re not as involved as before.”

Manager Whitey Herzog’s 1978 Royals won 92 games, led by Amos Otis, Hall of Famer George Brett and Darrell Porter at the plate and Dennis Leonard, Paul Splittorff and Larry Gura on the mound.

They lost to the New York Yankees in four games in the American League Championship Series.

Marge had another love in her life besides Ray and her children:

They wore blue and white: the Kansas City Royals.


* * * “They’ve never drove through Indiana, Met the men who plowed that earth, Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me, Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas, They’d understand why God made Those fly-over states,”


* * * Year after year Ray and Marge went to watch their Royals.

From opening day 1978 until the final home game of 2007, including Ray throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a 2004 game.

ray 1st p in 2004They met Betty and Mack Phillips, parents of catcher Paul Phillips from Bailey, Miss. for brunch at the Adams Mark Hotel on Sept. 30. Ray and Marge switched tickets with the catcher’s parents so they could get a closer view of their son.

Phillips caught the Royals final game, a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians finsihing with 69 wins.

Ray was gone less than six weeks later.

It was Nov. 11 ,,, Veteran’s Day.

Now suddenly, Marge was all alone ... after 54 years of marriage ... after being together since grace 7.

“Ray and I did everything together and all of a sudden he’s not here,” Marge said. “We had just moved into a new place. When you’ve been with someone for that long it’s hard.”

General manager Dayton Moore fired Buddy Bell after the 2007 season and hired Trey Hillman to manage. So, Marge went to a meet the manager get together with her son Jim.

At the reception, Curt Nelson, director of Royals Hall of Fame asked Marge if she wanted to work at the Royals Hall of Fame when it opened July 17 after the 2009 all-star game. Stadium tours would be conducted for fans as well.

Work for Royals?

My Royals?

Do they serve barbeque in K.C.?

“I knew both Ray and Marge from season ticket holders functions, uniform unvieling and fanfest,” said Nelson. “She viewed us family and we viewed her family.

“Our fans are extremely loyal and we tested their loyalties going so long between post-season appearances.”

The Royals Hall is located in left field of renovated Kauffman Stadium.

“You can spend hours there and not see everything,” Marge said. “When we didn’t have visitors I’d read and remember.

“Working there got me over the hump. It gave me something to do. I had a chance be around what I loved. Alumni players would come through, stop and reminisce.”

Marge worked there for four years.

“It’s not an exaggeration‎,” Marge said, “the Kansas City Royals saved my life,”

Marge loved the Royals.

And the Royals loved back.


* * * “I bet that mile long Santa Fe freight train engineer’s seen it all Just like that flatbed cowboy stacking US steel on a 3-day haul Roads and rails under their feet Yeah that sounds like a first class seat “


* * * Marge has been there rooting for her Royals for 36 years.

Marge saw members of the Royals Hall like Amos Otis, Steve Busby, Paul Splittorff and Dennis Leonard.

To Hal McRae, Fred Patek, Larry Gura and George Brett ...

Frank White, John Mayberry, Willie Wilson and Jeff Montgomery ...

Bret Saberhagen, Mark Gubicza and Kevin Appier.

Marge knew that the Royals would end the longest-running, post-season drought in the game this season, knew they would beat the favored Oakland A’s, knew they would knock off the favored Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and beat the favored Baltimore Orioles.

And Marge knows the outcome of this World Series,

“I knew in my heart of hearts since before the all-star game,” Marge said standing in the grandstand as ushers (“we’re going all the way Marge”) and fans “I’m so happy for you Marge”) before Game 4 against the Orioles.

For Game 4 against the Orioles her great grandson Xander McKie came with Marge, now 81 years young, to the game that put the Royals into their first World Series since 1985. He was her date for Game 1 of the World Series too. xander and m small

“Marge, you throwing out the first pitch?” asked one passer by

“Been there, done that,” Marge said her eyes twinkling.

Marge knows.

Just like she knew in 1985 when her Royals trailed the favored Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

The conversation went something like this:

Marge: “no need to worry.”

Ray: “how do you know?”

Marge: “I had a dream. We were in the car driving down this long highway, We walked into the stadium and down to our seats. That was old Busch Stadium.”

The Royals rallied from down 3-1 to beat the Jays and did the same to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I enjoy it when we wind up with Toronto players, they are always so polite,” Marge says. “Matt Stairs was great when he was here. When they come here they’re not ugly or obnoxoius.

“Those people from St. Louis, they come here and are still complaining about the umpire in the 1985. They can’t get over it. We beat them.”


* * * “On the plains of Oklahoma With a windshield sunset in your eyes Like a water-colored painted sky.


* * * And Marge also watched the likes of Luis Aquino, Paul Bako, German Barranca and Onix Concepcion ...

Warren Cromartie, Gookie Dawkins, Jorge Fabregas and Pete Filson ...

Jerry Don Gleaton, Atlee Hammaker, Tug Hulett and Kila Ka’aihue ...

Wes Obermueller, Odalis Perez, Hipolito Pichardo and Marc Pisciotta ...

Scott Podsednik, Humberto Quintero, Bombo Rivera and Rico Rossy ...

Nelson Santovenia, Shawn Sedlacek. Tony Solaita and Kanekoa Texeira.

Come game time it is time for Marge to bear down ... as the scouts say.

“I put my radio on if I get someone sits and wants to talk about something non-baseball,” Marge says, who listens to her pals Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews, Ryan Lefebvre and whomever else is on, “I’m too busy watching the game, I’d rather listen to Ryan and Denny to talk.”


* * * “On the plains of Oklahoma With a windshield sunset in your eyes Like a water-colored painted sky.”


* * * Who is the favorite player of the most loyal Royal fan?

Marge mentions second baseman Carlos Febles, catcher Mitch Maier (who caught Marge’s first pitch), Brett, Wilson and White.

“It’s hard to pick one it’s like chosing your favorite child, I quietly admire them and praise them,” says Marge who has only booed once in 36 seasons and won’t say who.

“It upsets me when over people boo,” said Marge. “I love all my Royals.”

Only once has she walked out on her team ... May 28 this year when they were swept by the Houston Astros to fall to four games below .500 K.C. They won 15 of the next 20.

Marge does have a favorite all-time non-Royal: former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Cecil Cooper. Marge made one of her 23 trips to spring training and had the chance to meet Cooper in 2003.


* * * “Take a ride across the badlands Feel that freedom on your face Breathe in all that open space And meet a girl from Amarillo You’ll understand why God made You might even wanna plant your stakes In those fly over states”


* * * Marge has planted her stakes.

Now in Independence, Mo.

And in section 130, row F seats 5-6.

Her goal is to get to row B, behind the Royals dugout.

Ray and Marge have four children, 10 grand children and four great children.

Sometimes Marge’s marge, rachelsister Carleen Dickson, comes or her grand daughter Rachael Davis, who made her first trip to the park at 15 months, knew the players names and numbers by kindergarten; learned how to score and at North Kansass City High was the scorekeeper because she was the only one who knew how to score.

Marge still has the two seats.

Marge is always in one of them.

A friend or family member is in the other.

Every game come rain, come shine.

Someone else’s presence is always there too.

“Ray is there at each game,” Marge said, “some one around us will make a remark about Ray, or tell a funny story about Ray.”

A woman’s love is still strong ...

For her late husband and for her Royals.


* * *

Have you ever been through Indiana? On the plains of Oklahoma? Take a ride.


Strickland yells, Royals celebrate, even WS

* 2B Omar Infante hit a two-run homer off Hunter Strickland and the San Francisco Giants reliever started yelling at himself because he was upset. Sal Perez, who had hit a two-run double two pitches before, wondered what went on -- as the benches emptied and the Royals evened the World Series at 1-1. ... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

By Bob vElliott

KANSAS CITY -- One, two, three, four, five, six.

It went as fast as a picking up a to go order from Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q, Kansas City’s finest.

The San Francisco Giants were losing 3-2 with one out in the bottom of the sixth when manager Bruce Bochy turned to hard-throwing, right-hander Hunter Strickland.

Strickland’s third pitch was an 0-2 curve in the dirt to Sal Perez moving runners up to second and third.

“That didn’t bother me,” said Strickland at his locker after the game. “They already had one runner in scoring position.

Pitch four was a line-drive double to centre on a 97 MPH fastball giving the Royals a 5-2 lead.

And pitch six, a 1-0, 98 MPH fastball was tagged by Omar Infante to left for a two-run homer.

And then all hell broke lose in the midst of a five-run inning as the Royals squared the best-of-seven 110th World Series at 1-1. Game 3 is Friday in San Francisco.

The light hitting Infante, his first homer in 145 post-season at-bats, tossed his bat. It wasn’t Tom Lawless flipping his bat like the night he homered off Minnesota Twins Frank Viola in the World Series and then acted as if it was his 500th ... ho hum, another no doubter.

But the bat toss was there.

Perez chugged slowly to the plate.

Strickland walked angrily toward the plate.


“I didn’t notice Perez,” said Strickland, “I was yelling, but I was yelling at myself. I was upset with my own performance.”

Strickland said he was not angry with Infante.

“Perez was yelling at me in Spanish, so I yelled back, but I don’t speak the language, I guess he heard me yelling at myself,” said Strickland. “I’m not proud of what happened. I let me emotions get the best of me.”

It’s the fifth homer Strickland has allowed this post season equaling the post-season record for a reliever set by Chris Narveson with Milwaukee Brewers in 2011.

“I have to do a better job than what I did, I have to learn how to make adjustments,” Strickland said. “I can’t let that happen.”

Plate ump Eric Cooper eventually walked Strickland back to the mound.

“I wasn’t upset at the way they celebrated, it was a matter of miscommunication,” said the reliever.

Does he think manager Bruce Bochy will go to him again?

“He just told me not to worry about it, we’ll get them when we go back to the Bay Area,” said Strickland. “I haven't given up four other post-season homers before this.”

Meanwhile, down the hall Perez was telling his version, a different version of the events.

“After I hit the double, I think maybe he liked to lose, you know the hitter like ‘I’m the man’ or something on the mound,” Perez told reporters. “After I hit the double he started looking at me. I wanted to forget about that. We were winning.

“After Omar hit the [homer] and I get to home plate and he start to look at me.”

And that may have been the first complaint about a slow home run job in Series history -- from third to home.

“I asked, ‘hey, why you look at me?” and he was telling me ‘Get out of here' or whatever. I don’t know. You don’t have to treat me like that. Look at Omar. Omar hit a bomb. I didn’t hit a bomb, I hit a double.”

Like most disputes, the answer lies somewhere in the middle and will be decided in what is now a best-of-five series with the next three games in San Francisco.

“I don’t know what happened with that guy,” Perez said. “The last thing we don’t want to fight on the field. I’m not that type of person.”

Bochy defended his reliever ... sort of.

He’s a really intense kid,” Bochy said. “That’s an area he’s going to have to keep his poise. This kid came up from double-A and he’s a tough kid. He shows his emotions, but it’s an area he has to work on because you’re going to give up a home run once in a while.”

Strickland has allowed four homers this year and last in 59 2/3 innings in 61 games at class-A San Jose and double-A Richmond.

And zero during the regular season in seven innings with the Giants.

And now five in post-season play, including Bryce Harper's monster drive.

“Hey, this is the major leagues,” said Strickland.

In Game: Brandon Belt appeared to be a graduate of the Pablo Sandoval base-running school in the fourth. He doubled to right to score Sandoval tying the game 2-2 in the fourth and could have reached third on the throw to the plate. And then the music began. Michael Morse flew to right. Belt tagged, started for third, Nori Aokis throw was off line, so Belt headed back, Akoi’s throw went off the glove of shortstop Alcides Escobar and he started out again. When he saw Yordano Ventura backing up the play he retreated but was thrown out. ... Five of the first eight Royals hitters reached against Jake Peavy -- as five of the first eight Giants hitters reached against James Shields in Game 1 ... Buster Posey cut down Escobar, which hurt the Royals, who had two hits and a walk later. Base stealers had an 81% success rate against Peavy from 2004-08, however, from 2010-14 only 56% ... Royals DH Billy Butler singled home a run in the first lifting his career average against Peavy to .441 (15-for-34) ... Gregor Blanco -- 16 home runs in previous 2,359 plate appearances (regular season and post-season combined) -- led off against Ventura with a homer to right on the eight pitch of the at-bat. He was the first to lead off a Series game with a homer since Johnny Damon with the 2004 Boston Red Sox.


Re-evaluating deal: They took one step forward when they acquired Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Jake Odorizzi from the Milwaukee Brewers for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt in December of 2010.

And then the Kansas City Royals took another leap to polishing the crown in centre when they sent Baseball America minor league player of the year Will Myers and Odorizzi to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis in a seven-player trade two years later.

Headlines of the Tampa Bay deal were not kind to the Royals:

A heist for T.B., Royals sacrifice future to be mediocre in 2013, A desperate move for a desperate team, A Royal blunder and Myers-for-Shields trade won’t be enough.

Jim Fregosi, Jr. one of Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore top sets of eyes, read the reviews at home in Marietta, Calif.

“People in the game were supportive of the trade, they liked what they saw: a good old-fashioned baseball trade,” said Fregosi, who was involved in evaluating Shields and Davis before Rays general manager Andrew Friedman and Moore shook hands.

Fregosi comes from the excellent evaluating genes. He’s the son of the late Jim Fregosi, former Blue Jays manager, an architect of the Atlanta Braves success before passing Feb. 14.

“A lot of people thought we were giving up on the future, that we were coming off our game plan,” Fregosi said. “It was unfair to Dayton. Dayton had a time line. If you want something good, you have to give something.”

The Royals parted with the best young hitter in the minors in the hope of adding two starting pitchers. Shields worked out, despite his third sub-par start this month in Game 1 of the 110th World Series. The right-hander was 27-17 with a 3.18 ERA in 68 starts, leading the AL wiith 228 2/3 innings pitched in 2013.

Davis made 24 starts going 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA last year before being bumped to the bullpen. Since pitching in relief he’s 11-3 with an 0.99 ERA in 71 outings walking 24 and striking out 116 in 82 innings as the shut-down, set-up man for closer Greg Holland.

“I’ve read we converted Davis,” said Fregosi. “He had pitched out of the pen before and he could still start if the need arose. He’s more valuable on the back end.”

We have reached the point where OPS (on-base plus slugging -- which was always Ted Williams’ best indicator of who the best was) has surpassed batting average and RBIs in the eyes of some.

And prospect currency is more valued by some than major leaguers through the excellent job by the highly-respected Baseball America and the Perfect Game scouting service.

“A lot of fans get caught up in prospects rankings, a prospect is still a prospect,” Fregosi said.

The “Who won the trade?” poll asked Dec. 9, 2012 had 83% fans picking the Rays.

This after a tweet from a popular scribe read: “My quick take: This is the worst trade in MLB history unless Davis becomes a good starter, in which case it’s only the second worst.”

Myers won the American League rookie of the year in 2013 hitting .293 with 13 homers, 53 RBIs and an .831 OPS in 88 games. This season, sidelined by injury, he hit .222 with six homers, 35 RBIs and a .614 OPS in 87 games.

Not to say Myers will not be the stud everyone thought he’d be, but at the time of the deal the Royals had stumbled and bumbled through 18 losing seasons in the previous 19.

Fregosi said the Royals thinking two years ago was “who not make the deal?”

“If this was a piece of a puzzle, we’re building and building to win ... to get to the World Series,” Fregosi said. “You can’t win if you’re not in.”

With Shields and Davis they have won 86 and 89 games and are in the Series for the first time since 1985.

It’s a good old-fashioned ball trade: good for both clubs. Like when the Blue Jays sent Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff to the San Diego Padres for Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar and Joe Carter at the winter meetings in Rosemont, Ill. in 1990.

Good for both teams: all four were in the 1992 all-star game at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.

Yet, it wound up better for one as the Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series in 1992-93 and only one went to Cooperstown.

This one will probably be the same down the road.

The Royals don’t like talking about the past, like the current Blue Jays, but the 1985 Royals lost the first two at Exhibition Stadium and rallied from being 3-1 down to beat the Jays in the ALCS.

He has the look: Hunter Pence just looks like he could star in a movie -- maybe as one of the Wet Bandits in Home Alone. Tweeted former Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jason Dickson from Chatham, N.B. “If you told me Hunter Pence has fleas, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Asked if he noticed how he quieted the crowd with his Game 1 homer, Pence answered.

“It was really loud in my head. I say this and truly mean it, sometimes my mind when I’m playing the game or our team is doing something good, it’s like an emptiness. I don’t know what’s going on around me. And a lot of times my family get mad at me. Because if I’m watching TV and really watching, I won’t hear anything that’s said around me. It’s something that I have, kind of a blessing and a curse at home. I get people really angry with me, but on the field it works out good.”

Best of luck: Outstanding ball scribe John Lowe, 55, of the Detroit Free Press has decided to retire and move to Austin, Tex. The man who had a quality career and came up with quality start stat is going out on top.

R.I.P. Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who wrote about newspapers and sources who are either informed or lie: “We don’t print the truth. We print what we know, what people tell us. So we print lies. The fact is, the truth does emerge.”


Giants alter James Shields' nickname

 * Kansas City Royals Big Game James Shields gave up three runs in the first inning on the way to a lopsided Game 1 loss in the 110th World Series. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY -- The first thing you should know is that he acquired his nickname from a minor-league teammate, who was a hoops fan.

James Shields was named or rather nicknamed after Big Game James Worthy, a star at North Carolina, a seven-time NBA all-star and playoff MVP with the Los Angeles Lakers.

And the second thing you should know is that the Royals did not turn to Shields in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles -- after Game 3 was rained out -- because Shields passed a kidney stone.

Just 19 pitches into this Big Game ... the first game of the 110th World Series, the first World Series played in K.C. since 1985 certainly gives it that status ... Big Game had allowed the horse no name out of the barn, down the road and headed towards the river.

The Royals spent the rest of Tuesday night trying to catch up.

Royals fans waited this long for a World Series game only to see their team down 3-0 five batters in?

Gregor Blanco led off by singling on a 2-2 change up and one out later Buster Posey singled Blanco to third. Pablo Sandoval doubled into the right field corner to score Blanco while Posey was thrown out at the plate.

“I left a change up to their first hitter and then a cruve up to Sandoval,” said Shields at his locker after the game.

Hunter Pence hit the seventh pitch of his at-bat 403 feet to centre where even speedy Lorenzo Cain couldn’t catch it, for a two-run homer and a 3-0 lead.

This is not what the fragile Royals psyche needed or wanted.

That vaunted Royals bullpen?

Never mind.

No leads to protect here ... nothing to see as the police say at an accident ... move along please.

Shields was making his fourth start this post-season start. He’d allowed four runs in five innings against the Oakland A’s; two runs in six innings to pick up the win in Game 1 over the Anaheim Angels and allowed four runs in five innings in Game 1 of the ALCS facing the Orioles.

He failed to retire a better in the fifth and left with his club down 5-0. So Shields has allowed 15 runs on 28 hits and six walks in 19 innings during four starts for a convenience-store ERA of 7.11.

Opponents are batting .346 against Shields this month.

“I made some bad pitches in some bad situations,” said Shields, after the Royals lost their first post-season game after eight straight wins (and first since Sept. 27 against the Chicago White Sox).

“The only difference was that we faced a good pitcher (Madison Bumgarner) tonight.

“We shouldn’t be down 3-0 off the start like that -- I threw a couple of bad pitches. I have to bear down, keep the ball down.”

Do you see any common denominator in your starts this post-season?

“Next question,” said Shields.

After a 7-1 loss to the Giants in Game 1, the Royals have to decide whether to pitch Big Game Shields.

“Hopefully I get another chance to start,” said Shields. “We have Yordano Ventura going in Game 2. I’m sure we’ll go to San Francisco tied 1-1. We’re show a resilience this season.” In Game: Game 1 starters (Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Johnny Cueto, Lance Lynn, Justin Verlander, Edinson Volquez, Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainwright and Shields) against Giants in 10 games going back to 2010 are 0-8, 7.25 ERA ... Bumgarner attempting to become the second pitcher ever to not allow a run in each of his first three career World Series starts allowed a two-out homer to Salvador Perez in the sixth. Christy Mathewson was the only man to have zeros in his first three starts ... Remember Giants Game 5 hero Travis Ishikawa who hit walk-a, walk-a, walk-off homer against Michaael Wacha? When he came to bat in the fourth with his Giants up 4-0 and men on first and second, manager Bruce Bochy sent up right-handed hitting Juan Perez, who had 17 hits this year. Bochy asked him to bunt which he did successfully. Royals reliever Danny Duffy walked the next two to force in a run.

Committed: Mississauga slugger Josh Naylor signed his letter of intent Tuesday night. He’s headed to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock, Tex. -- if he isn’t signed by a pro club next June. Naylor, along with outfielder Demi Orimoloye of Orleans, Ont., who has committed to the University of Oregon for next September, are expected to be among the top 50 high schoolers selected in the June draft. The Perfect Game Scouting Service rates Naylor 31st and Orimoloye 44th on the top 500 list. Naylor will be the first Canadian to attend Texas Tech since Windsor’s Stubby Clapp.

Hale is out: Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale is out of the running for the vacant Minnesota Twins managing job. Hale was interviewed by GM Terry Ryan.

Dot dots: Is it a coincidence or is there something there when the two general managers at the World Series have similar backgrounds: Giants boss Brian Sabean coached the University of Tampa to the NCAA Regional and was hired to scout for the New York Yankees ... Royals GM Dayton Moore coached at George Mason University and was hired by the Atlanta Braves as a scout ... One of Moore’s signs, Scott Thorman was flown in from Cambridge, Ontario to K.C. Thorman was a first round choice from Team Ontario and was signed by Paul Snyder, Brampton’s Jim Kane and Moore. This year he was a bench coach at class-A Burlington with ex-Jay infielder Nelson Liriano and will manage in the Royals system next summer.

Nice to meet you: The first time Ned Yost spoke to me was in 1992.

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, third base coach Jimy Williams and I were telling stories about the early Blue Jays days at the back of the coach’s office at old Municipal Stadium in West Palm Beach.

Either Cox or Williams told a funny story about Paul Beeston, or Pat Gillick or Cito Gaston.

I laughed.

And Yost screamed:

“WILL YOU SHUT UP! ... They’re going to decide who has the pole at Daytona.”


So, Cox, Williams and I moved into the quiet of Braves noisy clubhouse with such ground-breaking NASCAR news on the horizon to talk about the Exhibition Stadium era.

Yost and driver Dale Earnhardt were long-time pals.

And they were close until Earnhardt died when his No. 3 car crashed at the 2001 Daytona 500.


You might be a ...: Another friend of Yost’s -- farthest thing the red carpet green fly as you’ll find -- is comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Foxworthy and Yost are neighbors in Georgia.

They hunt on each other’s land. Any time Foxworthy shows in K.C., he’s wearing a Royals cap and jersey, as he was at Game 1 of the 110th World Series.

So to borrow from Foxworthy ...

All your wall decorations have horns on them ... you might be a Redneck.

Or Directions to your house include “turn off the paved road" ... you might be a Redneck.

Or for your anniversary you take your wife to dinner at the Wal-Mart snack bar ... you might be a Redneck.

Or most of your family have appeared on COPS ... you might be a Redneck.

So with that in mind and with apologies to Foxworthy ...

Ìf you got booed during the wild card game at your home park ... and you`re managing in to the World Series ... your name might be Ned Yost.

If you are about to be in uniform for your seventh World Series -- as many as Derek Jeter ... your name might be Ned Yost.

(Yost was a back-up catcher in 1982 to Ted Simmons with the Milwaukee Brewers, was a Braves coach in 1991-92, 1995-96 and 1999 as a coach with the Atlanta and now K.C.)

If you like to ask your base runners to steal the way the way you used to snatch warm cookies fresh from oven behind your momma’s back ... your name might be Ned Yost.

If your every move drives the twitter world bonkers ... your name might be Ned Yost.

If you the think that bunt sign should be flashed once an inning ... your name might be Ned Yost.

If when John Rocker showed at Lake Buena Vista in the spring of 2000 to apologize for his comments about foreigners, gays and New Yorkers in Sports Illustrated in December, you stood in the middle of the clubhouse and ripped Rocker’s butt to the point where the reliever was in tears ... your name might be Ned Yost.

If you grew up in Hayward, Calif. and by your own estimation wore out 15 San Francisco Giant hats as a kid cheering for your idol Willie Mays and now you’re taking your team -- the AL champions -- into San Fran for Game 3 on Friday ... your name might be Ned Yost.

If you snuck into the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, hopped the fence and hid in the bathroom until batting practice started and once obtained Vida Blues autograph on a dollar bill during a bullpen ... your name might be Ned Yost.

If you spent the Vida Blue autographed dollar on a Colossal Dog ... your name might be Ned Yost.

And if you have a good friend named Jeff Foxworthy, who would have written this a lot better than I did ... your name is surely Ned Yost.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


A look back at KC beating Jays in 85 ALCS

 * George Brett, on the first of his two homers, which turned Game 3 of the American League Championship Series in the Kansas City Royals' direction. KC rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win in Game 7. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY --  A look back at the 1985 American League Championship Series from the Toronto Blue Jays angle ...

Ernie Whitt knew it was over watching Jim Sundberg’s fly ball to right carry ... and carry ... and carry in Game 7.
Tom Henke thought it should have been over after Game 4.
Lloyd Moseby had an inkling after manager Bobby Cox visited the mound in Game 3.
The Kansas City Royals won the World Series 29 years ago beating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7.
To get to the Series, the Royals had to knock off the favored Toronto Blue Jays which they did in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on a Wednesday October night at Exhibition Stadium ,,, back when they first played post-season ball in the city.
The 1985 Blue Jays won 99 games for a .615 winning mark (99-62, .615) the best record in the 38-year history of the franchise.
They were led by Dave Stieb and Jimmy Key on the mound, along with Jesse Barfield and Tony Fernandez at the plate.
* * *
The Jays won the first two games at Exhibition Stadium and headed to K.C. up 2-0.
“We thought we were the best team in baseball -- like the Washington Nationals thought they were this year, believe me, I know their pain,” said Moseby from Sacramento, Calif.
The Jays had the most wins in AL and were second to only the St. Louis Cardinals who won 101 times.
“And then Skip came to the mound,” Moseby said.
Doyle Alexander was pitching.
Bobby Cox was playing the role of the Skipper.
George Brett was hitting with Willie Wilson on first, none out in the sixth and the Jays leading 5-3.
“We thought Skip came out, asked Doyle can you get him? Doyle said yes, Skip said ‘don’t let him beat you,” said Moseby. “There was something different about the series after that. I don’t know if it was momentum or what.”
Brett hit a two-run homer to left-centre and the game was tied.
The Jays won Game 4, were shut out in Game 5 and headed back to “old Exhibition Stadium” as everyone calls it now.
“We were like ghosts leaving K.C.,” Moseby said. “If you can’t win one game out three you don’t deserve to win, but there was something about Game 3 ... it’s no longer a 162-game season, it’s a series.
“Now every error, every mistake is going to be big. I think that was a mental mistake and I’m not blaming Doyle at all.”
Hal McRae doubled before the cheering died from the Brett homer and Cox was out again, this time signalling for reliever Dennis Lamp.
“That was the plan going in, we were not going to let George Brett beat us” said Whitt from Vancouver before a speaking engagement a Little League baseball banquet.
“The pitches he hit were not centre cut, George Brett hit pretty good pitches,” Whitt said. “I was very impressed with George Brett.”
It was known as the “The George Brett Game,” in Royals history for he did more than hit two homers and a double off Alexander. He led off the eighth with a single against Jim Clancy and the score tied, was bunted to second and scored on a Steve Balboni bloop single.
He also made defensive play of the game in third, as Damo Garcia doubled and reached third when left fielder Lonnie Smith mishandled the ball. Moseby hit a hard grounder down the third-base line. Brett lunged, made a backhanded play and fired a strike to catcher Sundberg from foul ground.
“George was a player you have to pitch to,” Henke said. “Doyle thought he could get him. You can’t pitch around everyone.
“When it was over we looked back on it: George Brett beat us by himself.”
Brett earned ALCS MVP honours.
* * *
The Detroit Tigers swept the Royals in the best-of-five 1984 ALCS.
And the next year the format was switched to a best-of-seven.
“And we had those dirty dawgs down 3-1,” said Tom Henke driving through Missouri on his way home from the Scott Bailes celebrity golf tournament (“I can drive and talk, I can multi-task, I’d save games and talk after the game didn’t I?”).
“We had the Royals down 3-1, they won, they were down 3-1 to St. Louis in the World Series and won. You know sometimes maybe it wasn’t meant to be. When you think about what happened with (manager) Dick Howser maybe they had a little help.”
Howser, the brilliant Royals manager, was managing the 1986 all-star in Houston when he experienced severe head aches. His players and coaches noticed he had trouble recognizing people.
He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and never managed again. Hoswer died June 18, 1987.
Said Moseby: “maybe fate was on their side ... it was their time to win.”
Asked about the change to the best-of-seven, format, Moseby jokingly said “we’re still protesting that, but I haven’t heard anything lately.”
* * *
Whitt says he’s not sure “how many opposite field homers Sundberg hit in his career, but he hit that one.”
Well, actually it was a triple off the top of the right field fence, clearing the bases giving the Royals a 6-1 lead with two out in the sixth.
Sundberg hit .167 against the Jays and managed 36 triples in his 16-year career with the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Royals.
“We were in disbelief and in shock, it wasn’t an easy pill to swallow,” Whitt said. “In the clubhouse we were in shock. We’d let something slip away.
“That was first time we’d won our division. It took a good 10 days to two weeks to snap out of it,”
About the same amount of time it took the Royals to win the Series.
“It was wind blown, basically a wind-blown fly ball,” Henke, said the 1985 Jays was “one of the best teams” he’d ever been with.
Whitt said it was the best he’d ever with crediting management for bringing in Bill Caudill and Gary Lavelle then promoting Henke.
Whitt said Bobby Cox did a “tremendous job,” and wishes “Bobby would have stayed on and kept the coaching staff as status quo.”
Two games into the World Series the Jays lost their manager as Cox headed home to Atlanta to manage the Braves.
* * *
The Jays were in good shape with George Bell on first when Cliff Johnston singled to left in Game 6 against Danny Jackson.
Bell headed for third and was thrown out. Later Bell called the umpires anti-Canadian.
“George had a way with words -- like when he told fans to kiss his purple butt -- he didn’t have a filter, didn’t always think before speaking,” Henke said. “He’s as good a teammate as I ever had. He’d be angry if he had four hits and we lost, happy if he was hitless and we won. Not all hitters are like that.”
Earlier this summer Henke staged his 20th annual celebrity golf tourney (“who won? It was rained out,”) at Eagle Knoll near Jefferson City, Mo. The charity tourney has raised over $1 million US for a special learning centre and $250,000 for diabetes research.
Ex-Jays Danny Cox, Ken Dayley and Tom Lawless, a number of Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Blues, led by Hall of Famer Bernie Federko, wrassler Handsome Harley Race and Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog been guests in the past.
“Someone asked Whitey what he thought of instant replay,” Henke said. “Whitey said ‘it’s about 30 years too damn late,’ and he might have had a few other adjectives tossed in there too.”
Down 1-0, Royal Jorge Orta ground to St. Louis first baseman who flipped to Todd Worrell covering. First base ump Don Denkinger ruled safe. Replays showed Orta was out. The Royals rallied for two runs to force Game 7.
Herzog and the rest of the Cards are still sour.
Ditto for the so close, yet so far 1985 Jays.
“You fight so hard to get to that point, through ups and downs, to come down to basically a wind-blown fly ball ... it’s tough,” Henke said. “Imagine if they had wild cards back then? We would have made it in 1984 and 1987.
“I don’t think we celebrate that era enough.”
The Blue Jays began a streak of 11-straight winning seasons in 1984. It was a good time to be a Blue Jay ... during the regular season.


And from the KC angle ...

Buddy Black thought it was a fly ball off the bat.

Frank White was hoping that the ball would be off the wall.

Buddy Biancalana knew the ball was not crushed, but was hoping it would be trouble.

It was.

The Kansas City Royals led the Blue Jays 2-1 with two out in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the 1985 American League World Series.

Royals catcher Jim Sundberg lifted a 1-0 pitch from Dave Stieb off the right field fence.

Hal McRae scored.

Pat Sheridan scored.

And Steve Balboni scored.

Or in other words, everyone but reliever Charlie Leibrandt, scored for a five-run lead, assuring K.C. of a berth in its first World Series.

“Any time you get insurance like that it’s like taking a deep breath of fresh air,” said Biancalana from San Francisco. The former shortstop now runs PMPM Sports zone training in Scottsdale, Az.

He represented lefty Aaron Laffey, who pitched for the Jays in 2013.


* * * “When Jim hit it, we thought ‘oh no, it’s going to be caught,’” said Black, the San Diego Padres manager. “The wind was really howling hard into the right field corner ... then we thought it could be trouble.

“It kept carrying and carrying and carrying, we thought it had a chance to go out, we were watching Jesse Barfield and then we worried it was might go foul.”

Black was in three games against the Blue Jays. He started Game 2 pitching seven allowing three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and a walk, worked in relief facing four hitters in Game 3 and pitched 3 1/3 scoreless in Game 6, falling an out short of the save. Lloyd Moseby singled Tony Fernandez to second. Dan Quisenberry came in to strike out Garth Iorg to force Game 7.

“Whenever you win a Game 6, it really creates some momentum,” said Biancalana, who the 1985 Jays had a solid, balanced team. And after Game 6, the two were on even footing.

“It’s a real powerful momentum shift for us,” Bianaclana said. “They were probably over there saying ‘we’ve still got one more chance.’

“We used that shift going into Game 7.”

The Jays may have been favored but they rolled to a 67-35 record (.657) against right-handed pitchers (102 homers, .272 average, .765 OPS). They were 32-27 (.542) facing lefties (56 homers, .263, .742 OPS).

The Royals featured three lefty starters in Danny Jackson, Leibrandt and Black. Manager Dick Howser used Leibrandt three times (two starts) while Black and Jackson pitched twice each (one start apiece) as the trio combined to pitch 36 of the Royals 62 2/3 innings (57.4%) and a 2.75 ERA.

“Charlie and I were similar,” said Black, “we were good at keeping it down and away from George Bell and Barfield. We could neutralize their left-handed hitters (Ernie Whitt, Willie Upshaw and Moseby) most of the time.”

Black’s father, also named Harry, was born in Calgary and raised in Edmonton, before gaining a USC hockey scholarship and playing for the Los Angeles Monarchs in the Pacific Coast League.

“Buddy and Charlie made it tough for their right-handed hitters,” said Biancalana.

Garth Iorg batted .125 (1-for-8), Bell hit .231 (3-for-13), Garcia batted .285 (4-for-14), while Barfield batted .400 (4-for-10) against Leibrandt and Black. Cliff Johnson hit .500 (6-for-12).


* * * “Right field wasn’t very far, we thought it was going off the wall,” said White. “The thing I remember about Game 7, about the eighth or ninth -- after the triple -- was an intoxicated guy falling out of the stands onto the field and it took security a while to get him off the field.

“It took so long we were worried it would break our momentum.”

With one out in the ninth, Barfield singled and Fernandez doubled to chase Leibrandt.

On came Quisenberry to get Garcia on a grounder knocking in a run and then Moseby bounced to White at second and off the Royals went to St. Louis and the World Series.

“Both teams were quick, we were turf teams,” said White. “Back then you had no idea the type of power Toronto had. What a hitter Bell was -- one the best right-handed hitters in the game. The Jays were built the right way: pitching, defence and speed. Any time you go up against a Bobby Cox team you know it’s going to be a tough series.”


* * * After Al Oliver’s second late pinch hit drove in a run to win Game 4, the Jays led the ALCS 3-1.

“If you remember that was the first year it wasn’t 3-of-5,” said White from Lee’s Summitt, Mo. “if it’s the old rules, we would have been done real quick.

“Once we got down 3-1, it was one game at a time. Toronto was favored -- they had to be favored. We knew Stieb was always tough, we felt it was going to be a knock-down drag out series. They had more power, speed was close.

“The only advantage we had was that it was seven games.”

Down 3-1, but the Royals weren’t down.

“Melancholy would have been a better word,” said Biancalana, “but we weren’t thriving either. That’s the interesting thing about sports: a state of melancholy vs. a state of excitement. Sometimes there is an advantage when you’re not expected to do anything. The Jays were up. They were expected to win.”

Stieb started Games 1, 4 and 7, while Jimmy Key and Doyle Alexander started two games each.

“We really thought we’d see Jim Clancy but he didn’t start,” said White. “He had a real good sinker and slider. He helped get them to get where they were.”

Clancy missed August, 43 days in all, and then went 2-2 with a 3.14 ERA in six September starts.

“We didn’t think we were done, at no time did we think we had it wrapped up,” said Black. “We weren’t confident but we were in a good frame of mind.”


* * * Biancalana’s favorite memory was in Game 3 when Brett came up with a man on base. He’d already homered and doubled in his first two at-bats against Doyle Alexander. K.C. trailed 5-3.

“I was in the dugout after he hit the first homer and looking out to the left field bleachers all the fans stood,” said Biancalana, almost like hit it here.

“George looked out and it was like he said ‘Ok I got you covered.’ It gave me goose bumps when it homered again ... to see an athlete respond to 40,000 people cheering.”


* * *

Bouncing back from a 3-1 deficit against the Jays, the Royals did it again to win the World Series against St. Louis.

“What happened in the ALCS was fresh in our minds,” said Black from San Diego, “but it was entirely different. We had to win Game 5 at home and then go to Toronto, while in the World Series, if we won Game 5 in St. Louis, we were going home.”

Cards lefty John Tudor pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing one run to win Game 1, pitched a complete-game shut out in Game 4 and after the Royals evened the series at 3-3, the Royals knew they’d face Tudor in Game 7.

“Some of our guys were chanting Tudor’s name, we had a groundswell of optimism,” said White.

Were players hooting Stieb’s name? “No way?” said White.

It’s very difficult for a starter to win three straight against another team. Three times in 12 days? On short rest.

Tudor lasted 2 1/3 innings allowing five runs on three hits and four walks.

The press box announced shortly after his departure that Tudor had “cut his hand on a fan.”

A few minutes later came another announcement “correction, he cut his hand on an electric fan, not a fan.”

“It was so hot that they had installed three electric fans in each dugout, one at each end, one in the middle,” said White. “He must have hit one when he headed to the clubhouse.”

After the second announcement our row in the auxiliary press box -- Mike Lupica from New York, Randy Youngmans of the Orange County Register and myself -- seated amongst the paying customers burst out laughing. Loudly.

Except unbeknownst to us, the wife of a Cardinals player was across the aisle.

A woman we’d never seen came over screaming: “you guys have always against us since spring training!”


Game by game snyopsis

Game 1 Jays 6, Royals 1 (Exhibition Stadium) Dave Stieb pitched eight scoreless -- allowing doubles to George Brett and Dane Iorg -- and a single to Brett. This despite a second-inning visit from Juanita Smith, stage name Chrissie, a Mississauga ballet dancer. Smith was on the mound almost as long as Charlie Leibrandt, who last two innings. Already up 2-0, Cliff Johnson doubled, Jesse Barfield walked and Willie Upshaw singled to chase Leibrandt. Rance Mulliniks singled in a run, Ernie Whitt walk in a run and Tony Fernandez hit a run-scoring fly ball.

George Bell, Whitt and Fernandez had two hits apiece while Barfield knocked in a pair.

Game 2 Jays 6, Royals 5 Having given up the lone run in the ninth of Game 1, Tom Henke was touched for a run in the top of the 10th -- his third inning of work -- but he wound up the winner as Fernandez led off with an infield single against Dan Quisenberry, in his third inning. Fernandez moved to second on a grounder and scored on Lloyd Moseby’s single, a dropped pick-off throw at first put Moseby on second and Al Oliver plated him with a walk-off hit.

Lefty Jimmy Key worked 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs, but Dennis Lamp pitched three scoreless. Buddy Black pitched seven innings allowing three runs -- two earned. Moseby and Johnson each had a pair of hits, while Barfield drove in a pair.

Game 3 Royals 6, Jays 5 Brett was 3-for-8 in the first two games with a double and zero RBIs. Bobby Cox’s plan was to pitch around him. Doyle Alexander’s plan was to challenge him. Brett homered in the first (after Whitt threw out Willie Wilson attempting to steal) in the first, double and scored leading off the fourth and hit a two-run homer in the sixth to tie the game 5-5. Brett singled off Jim Clancy in the eighth and scored on Steve Balboni’s two-out single. Brett finished 4-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBIs.

Down 2-0 to Bret Saberhagen in the fifth, the Jays scored five times on a Whitt single, Barfield homer, a one out double by Damo Garcia, a Moseby single and a Mulliniks homer.

Game 4 Jays 3, Royals 1 This was not a series dominated by closers as the Royals took a 1-0 lead -- Stieb walked Hal McRae with the bases loaded -- into the ninth. Leibrandt walked Garcia and allowed an RBI double to Moseby. On came Quisenberry and gave up a single to Bell and Oliver hit a two-run double.

Henke then got the save with the 1-2-3-4-5 ninth, finishing off 2 1/3 scoreless. Cox went to Henke to face Willie Wilson with two on in the seventh as Stieb pitched 6 2/3 allowing one run. Brett was held hitless, but walked twice.

Game 5 Royals 2, Jays 0 Much like Curt Schilling would do in 1993, Danny Jackson shut down the Jays pitching a complete-game shutout, scattering eight hits to avoid elimination. Key worked 5 1/3 innings allowing a run when Brett bounced out in the first and Darryl Motley hit a fly ball in the second.

The Jays best chance came in the fourth when Bell singled and Johnson followed with a single to left. Bell attempted to go to third and was thrown out on a bang-bang play by Lonnie Smith. Bell argued the call by umpire Dale Ford and accused the umpires of being “anti-Canadian.” Oh Canada George Bell stands on guard for three.

Game 6 Royals 5, Jays 3 Brett hit a solo homer off Alexander in the fifth for a 3-2 lead. Buddy Biancalana’s run-scoring double chased Alexander with one out in the sixth and Smith doubled for a 5-3 lead. Johnson singled in a run ... but that was it.

Moseby had three hits for the Jays, while Brett was 1-for-3 with his third homer of the series off Alexander.

Game 7 Royals 6, Jays 2 The Jays were down 2-0 on a Jim Sundberg single in the second and Pat Sheridan homer off Stieb in the fourth. Leibrandt took over for Saberhagen, but the reliever worked 5 1/3 innings. Willie Upshaw doubled in a cutting the lead to 2-1 in the fifth.

And then came the sixth ... Stieb walked Brett on four pitches, hit McRae with a 1-2 pitch and then walked Balboni on a 3-2 pitch. Sundberg lifted a triple off the right field fence.


Best 3 from each team Player AB R H RBI AVG OPS George Brett 23 6 8 5 .348 1.326 Rance Mulliniks 11 1 4 3 .364 1.189 Cliff Johnson 19 1 7 2 .368 .874 Jesse Barfield 25 3 7 4 .280 .797 Willie Wilson 29 5 9 1 .310 .747 Hal McRae 23 1 6 3 .261 .668

Worst three Lloyd Moseby 31 5 7 4 .226 .531 Ernie Whitt 21 1 4 2 .190 .499 Frank White 25 1 5 3 .200 .422 Garth Iorg 15 1 2 0 .133 .321 Steve Balboni 25 1 3 1 .120 .305 Buddy Biancalana 18 2 4 1 .222


Best 3 pitchers Name ERA W-L IP Ks Danny Jackson 0.00 1-0 10.0 7 Dennis Lamp 0.00 0-0 9.1 10 Jim Acker 0.00 6.0 0-0 5 Steve Farr 1.42 1-0 6.1 3 Buddy Black 1.69 0-0 10.2 8 Dave Stieb 3.10 1-1 20.1 18


Worst 3 Dan Quisenberry 3.86 0-1 4.2 3 Tom Henke 4.26 2-0 6.1 4 Jimmy Key 5.19 0-1 8.2 5 Charlie Leibrandt 5.28 1-2 15.1 6 Bret Saberhagen 6.14 0-0 7.1 6 Doyle Alexander 8.71 0-1 10.1 9


WS notes: Cain, Rasmus, Tinnell & Henke

* It wasn't so long ago that the Kansas City Royals were so worried about the development of CF Lorenzo Cain, that they were looking to add Blue Jays CF Colby Rasmus. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott KANSAS CITY -- It was only a couple of years ago that the Kansas City Royals were not happy with the play of Lorenzo Cain and their scouts were following Colby Rasmus of the Blue Jays.

Was a trade in the works?

Well, KC was looking, especially after watching Rasmus roam into the gaps in left centre and right at Kauffman Stadium to steal extra-base hits.

In the past two seasons while providing gold glove-like defence Cain has hit .278 with 50 doubles, nine homers, 99 RBIs and a .708 OPS while stealing 42 bases in 53 attempts. He struck out 198 times in 870 at-bats.

For the Jays the past two years Rasmus hit .253 with 47 doubles, 40 homers 106 RBIs and a .792 OPS, swiping four bases in five attempts. He fanned 259 times in 763 at-bats. Now Rasmus, alomg with Melky Cabrera are both free agents.


Fly-over state: Having been a bench coach three years with the Royals under managers Trey Hillman and Ned Yost (2009-2011), Jays manager John Gibbons understands the passion of KC fans.

“It’s been a long time coming, it’s a great ball town,” Gibbons said this week. “Every one talks about St. Louis and them having the best fans in baseball -- basically you’re talking about the same part of the country.”


Veteran help: Jays have hired former Pittsburgh Pirates scouting director Paul Tinnell as a cross checker on the amateur side heading into next June’s draft. Tinnell scouted alongside Dana Brown with the Washington Nationals and the Montreal Expos.

With the Nationals he scouted and signed first rounder Michael Burgess, a Tampa high schooler in 2007 and Steve Lombardozzi Jr. a 19th round pick from St. Pete’s Junior College in 2008.

Tinnell was the scouting director (1994-96) and director of player development under former general manager Cam Bonifay. He had joined the Pirates’ in 1990 as a scout after scouting for the Cleveland Indians,

With the Bucs he selected righthander Kris Benson with the first overall pick in 1996.


The way he’d call it: Kansas City is home to 100s of fountains and those owned by the city are flowing with the color of Royals blue until the World Series.

We can hear the anticipated opening of Tuesday night’s opener of the 110th World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, if Blue Jays broadcaster Jerry Howarth was working the series ...

“Welcome to Kansas City where all the fountains are blue ... except those that are not.”

Years ago Howarth once opened a game from old Tiger Stadium with “welcome to Tiger Stadium where all the seats are blue ... except those that are orange.”

Closer Tom Henke heard the opening and continually greeted Howarth with the line.

Henke's nephew Travis Henke, 25, a 22nd round pick from Arkansas-Little Rock in 2011 by the Washington Nationals, pitched at class-A Potomac this season. Henke was 5-2 with a 5.79 ERA in 36 games, walking 22 and striking out 45 in 65 1/3 innings.

"Now me -- I was a nice guy when I pitched in Toronto," said Henke from Jefferson City, Mo. "But my nephew -- he's country mean. If he gets up there with he'd straighten you Toronto writers out.

"Seriously, the best memory I have besides winning the World Series was my first game in Toronto. Bobby Cox put me into four games in Baltimore after I joined the team on the road. I came into the game and the fans gave me a standing ovation."


Lookie lookie, no rookie: The Oakland A’s became the first staff not to use a rookie pitcher since the 1981 Blue Jays led by starters Dave Stieb, Jim Clancy, Luis Leal, Jackson Todd, Mark Bomback, Juan Berenguer and closer Jerry Garvin under manager Bobby Mattick, who went (37-69, .349) in the strike-shortened season.


How far behind?: By finishing with 83 wins this year the Jays record this decade in 396-414 (.489) 60 games behind the first-place New York Yankees (456-354, .563), 17th best of the 30 teams. The St. Louis Cardinals (451-359, .557), Atlanta Braves (449-361, .554), Detroit Tigers (447-363, .552) and the Tampa Bay Rays (446-365, .550) round out the top five.


Hut-hut: No doubt Mark Buehrle has a lot to do with it, but the Blue Jays pace of game was the second quickest in the AL this season. The Seattle Mariners had an average time of inning of 19.5 minutes. The Jays were second at 19.8 minutes, up from 18.9 in 2013.

Average time of game is based on nine-inning games only, with all shortened and extra-inning games excluded. The average time of game in both leagues climbed 24 seconds from 2013 to 2014.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


110th World Series preview: Giants vs. KC

* The 110th World Series featuring the San Francisco Giants and the upstart Kansas City Royals gets underway Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Neither team won 90 games ... it’s the fewest combined wins over a full season by two World Series teams since 1973 when the Oakland A’s (94 wins played the New York Mets (82). .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

110th World Series (Best-of-seven series) (Royals won all three meetings this season) San Francisco Giants

Team payroll: $149,089,475 (7th)


Octobers: 7 World Series, 23 Pennants, and 25 post-season appearances

Post-season record: 101-89.

Last post season: Swept Detroit in 2012 World Series.

How they got here: Beat the Cards in five games on Travis Ishikawa’s three-run walk-off homer, upset favored Washington Nationals in four games in best-of-five NL Division Series, after beating Pittsburgh Pirates in NL wild-card game.

Manager: Bruce Bochy

Record: 88-74.

Run differential: Plus 51.

Stud Hosses: LF Ishikawa became the fourth player in post-season history to have his first career walk-off honer in a clincher joining Chris Burke of the 2005 Astros against the Atlanta Braves, Todd Pratt of the 1999 Mets against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Bill Mazeroski of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees.

Theme: “Welcome to the World Series. Let us show you around. You do realize that this is here every other year?”

Looking up: 3B Pablo Sandoval batted .400 (8-for-20, 3 doubles) with a 1.028 OPS against the Cards, RF Hunter Pence hit .235 (4-for-17, double, 3 RBIs) .644 OPS, 1B Brandon Belt hit .214 (3-for-14, RBI) .614 OPS.

Looking down: CF Gregor Blanco batted .227 (5-for-22, double, 2 RBIs) and a .543 OPS, C Buster Posey hit .200 (4-for-20, 3 RBIs) .461 OPS and Brandon Crawford hit .125 (2-for-16, double) .451 OPS.

Best all-time top five Giants (by the numbers): Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Mel Ott, Christy Mathewson, Amos Rusie.

J factor: INF Marco Scutaro, C Guillermo Quiroz.

Canadian content: Part owner Jeff Mallett, of Victoria, B.C. and scout Raimondo Calari from Montreal, who goes for his third Series ring which will tie Bobby Prentice (two with the Blue Jays, one with the Tigers).

Canada’s team (ranked by Canadian involvement and fan interest of the 10 post-season clubs): 9th, some support on west coast and from John Ircandia of Okotoks, Alta.

Bodog odds to win Series MVP: Sandoval 8-to-1, Posey 17-to-2, Pence 12-to-1.

Bodog longshot odds to win Series MVP: Crawford 25-to-1.

Bodog odds to win World Series: Even.

Bodog odds to win World Series (when post-season began): 12-1.


Kansas City Royals Team payroll: $92,185,521 (19th)

Octobers: 1 World Series, 3 pennants, 8 post-season appearances.

Post-season record: 26-24.

Last post season: Beat Cardinals in 1985 World Series.

How they got here: Swept the favored Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, Swept the Angels in the best-of-five division series ... after beating the Oakland A’s 9-8 in 12 in the AL wild card despite trailing 7-3 against Jon Lester.

Manager: Ned Yost.

Record: 89-73.

Run differential: Plus 27.

Stud Hosses: Bullpen has allowed two runs in 16 innings after the wild-card win against the A’s.

Theme: “You had best score early because you won’t score in the last four innings.”

Looking up: CF Lorenzo Cain hit .533 (8-for-15, RBI with 1.255 OPS against O’s pitching, LF Alex Gordon batted .250 (3-for-12, HR, 5 RBIs 1.021 OPS), 1B Eric Hosmer hit .400 (6-for-15, 3 RBIs) .871 OPS.

Looking down: C Salvador Perez batted .067 (1-for-15) 192 OPS, Nori Aoki hit .273 (3-for-11) .723 OPS, Billy Butler hit .286 (4-for-14, 3 RBIs) .723 OPS.

Best five all-time Royals (by the numbers): George Brett, Kevin Appier, Amos Otis, Willie Wilson and Bret Saberhagen.

J factor this season: RPs Jason Frasor (647 regular season appearances, gained the win first post-season appearance), C Erik Kratz, INF Jayson Nix, and RP Tim Collins on the roster and coach Don Wakamatsu, plus RP Scott Downs, RHP Liam Hendriks, plus scout Bobby Gandolfo, one of fired Jays scouts who drafted Scott Silverstein (25th) and Casey Lawrence (undrafted), two of top winners in Jays system in 2014, covers northeast for KC.

Canadian content: Cambridge`s Scott Thorman coach at class-A Burlington and will manage rookie-ball next season, Lonnie Goldberg, who lived in Guelph from 2003-07 and married a Canadian, is KC’s scouting director.

Canada’s team (ranked by Canadian involvement and fan interest of the 10 post-season clubs): No. 8 ...  underdogs for a fourth time and people love underdogs.

Bodog top odds to win World Series MVP: Cain 9-to-1, Hosmer 10-to-1, Moustakas 10-to-1.

Bodog longshot odds to win World Series MVP: Yordano Ventura 25-to-1.

Bodog odds to win World Series: 5-to-6 (closest series price in the past six years.

Bodog odds to win World Series (when post-season began): 16-1.


Scout: WS match ups, Royals in 6, or 7

* Lorenzo Cain places the American League Championship MVP trophy on home plate after the Kansas City Royals clinched a spot in the 110th World Series against the San Francisco Giants. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY -- When it comes to picking a World Series winner, we always go with experience.

Huey Alexander, signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1936, was the Sun’s original post-season prognosticator when we began this 25 year ago.

Then Jim Fregosi, signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1960, went through the exercise the previous 14 seasons.

And now Ken Bracey, who headed south in 1956 by the New York Yankees takes over breaking down the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals in the 110th World Series which begins at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday night.

Now, you might not recognize Bracey’s name.

Maybe you know some of the big leaguers Bracey pitched with during his nine seasons in the minors for the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants, breaking in with class-D McAlester:

Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, Manny Mota, Jay Alou, Bobby Bolin, Jose Tartabull, Chuck Hiller, Coco Laboy, Hal Reniff, Jay Ward, Charlie Dees, Vic Roznovsky, Jim Ray Hart, Bill Hands, Frank Linzy and Hal Lanier.

Bracey concluded his 47th season scouting when his Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated. He scouted for the San Francisco Giants (1968), San Diego Padres (1969-1986, 1991-2009), Milwaukee Brewers (1987-90) and the Dodgers (2010-14).

“The post-season series have had some one-sided results, but the games have all been close. Exciting,” Bracey said from Dunlap Ill. “The one thing so far is good pitchers are making mistakes and getting the ball in to bad left-handed hitters -- like Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter. It’s not the place to pitch them.

“Looking at the Giants and the Royals the position players are evenly split. If Kansas City ever loses a game they might lose three or four in a row, but they haven’t lost, so you have to ask wil lthey? Madison Bumgarner has to pitch the way he’s capable of for the Giants to havebumgarner a chance.”

And his pick is ...

“I give KC a bit of advantage because of the extra home game, I like the Royals in either six or seven games.”

While the Series does not come down to which first baseman gets the most hits, a position-by-position breakdown is one way of examining the two teams.

And now for our 25th annual post-season match-ups complete with players’ stats, Bracey’s comments and his ratings out of 10:


Catcher Giants: Buster Posey (22 homers, 89 RBIs, .311 batting average, .854 OPS). “The main thing is he’s a good offensive catcher and he has extra-base power. His throwing is average. Tim Hudson is quick to the plate, Madison Bumgarner is tough to run on, but if the pitchers don’t give him a chance ... He’s a good everyday catcher. Whether he’s going good or not, he’s ready to hit in his the next at-bat. He never has his head down.”

KC: Salvador Perez (17, 70, .260, .692). “He’s a good defensive catcher, but he’s not that much of an offensive threat.”

Rating: Posey 8, Perez 7.


First base: Giants: Brandon Belt (12, 27, .243, .755). “He’s been hurt a lot, but he’s a dangerous hitter. You can’t challenge Belt down and in, he’ll hit it 400 feet.”

KC: Eric Hosmer (9, 58, .270, .716). “He’s an upbeat player. You don’t see many first basemen with pep like him. No one will ever be as hosmergood as Keith Hernandez was with the glove, but he’s close. He might be there in a couple of years. Hosmer has improved with the bat. He used to get cheated. He’s their catalyst, their main guy.”

Rating: Hosmer 8, Belt 6.


Second base: Giants: Joe Panik (1, 18, .305, .711). “This bat is solid. I’d never seen him until we started following him in case we faced them in the playoffs. Like Game 5 he got a mistake inside. He’s stronger than I saw earlier.”

KC: Omar Infante (6, 66, .252, .632). “He’s a steady player, an average player. Not the offensive player the other guy is.”

Rating: Panik 7, Infante 5.


Third base: Giants: Pablo Sandoval (16, 73, .279, .739). “He doesn’t look like much but he can field his position. If they get a ball out over the player he’ll hit it foul line to foul line. He can look bad in back-to-back at-bats, but he’s always very dangerous.”

KC: Mike Moustakas (15, 54, .212, .632). “He’s the better defensive player. He can be pitched to easier than Sandoval. If you keep the ball away you can handle him. He was so bad earlier in the season they sent him to the minors. They’re making him look better by throwing where he likes it.”

Rating: Sandoval 7, Moustakas 5.


Shortstop Giants: Brandon Crawford (10, 69, .246, .713). “Good steady shortstops. He’s a dangerous hitter.”

KC: Alcides Escobar (3, 50, .285, .694, 31 steals). “I like them both. Neither are what I would call great shortstop. Escobar doesn’t have the power of the other guy. He runs real well. You can win a World Series with either one.” Rating: Crawford 6, Escobar 6.


Left field Giants: Travis Ishikawa (2, 12, .274, .731). “He’s OK for having not player out there. He’s a first baseman playing out of position.”hisikawa

KC: Alex Gordon (19, 74, .266, .783). “No doubt KC has an advantage here. He’s one of the best defensive left fielders I’ve ever seen. The guy in Cleveland Michael Brantley is pretty good. Gordon’s a good hitter. He struggles with left-handed hitters.”

Rating: Gordon 8, Ishikawa 4.


Centre field Giants: Gregor Blanco (5, 38, .260, .707, 16 steals). “He’s an enthusiastic guy, yet he’s not a good lead-off hitter -- he doesn’t take enough pitches. He can make all the plays but he’s not going to make you forget Angel Pagan.”

KC: Lorenzo Cain (5, 53, .301, .751, 28 steals). “No contest. This guy has improved more than anyone in the game. He plays right, plays centre and he can run.”

Rating: Cain 8, Blanco 5.


Right field Giants: Hunter Pence (20, 74, .332, .777). “The far superior player of the two. He’s a hell of a player. He can be 0-for-10, you can look at him and he looks like he’s 5-for-his-last-10. He’s awkward as hell throwing, although he has a strong, accurate arm.”

KC: Nori Aoki (1, 43, .285, .710). “He’s played well for them in the second half of the season.”

Rating: Pence 8, Aoki 5.


DH Giants: Mike Morse (16, 61, .279, .811). “He has big-time power and you saw it in Game 5. Morse is rusty he’s been hurt.”

KC: Billy Butler (9, 66, .271, .702). “I’m not a Billy Butler guy. He has not developed the way everyone hoped he would. He’s healthy and hit the ball better late in the season.” b butler

Rating: Butler 6, Morse 5.


Bench Giants: Juan Perez (1, 3, .170, .494), Joaquin Arias (0, 15, .254, .581), Andrew Susac (3, 19, .273, .792) Gary Brown (0, 1, .429, .857), Matt Duffy (0, 8, .267, .602). “Durry can do some things. He can bunt and run. Perez is a singles hitter. There’s no power if Morse is in the lineup. I saw Susac and he’s better than KC’s back-up.”

KC: Jarrod Dyson (1, 24, .269, .651, 36 steals), Christian Colon (0, 6, .333, .864), Erik Kratz (0, 2, .176, .808), Jayson Nix (0, 0, .000, .000), Terrance Gore (0, 0, .000, ,500, 8 steals), either Raul Ibanez (2, 5, .188, .603) or Josh Willingham (2, 6, .233, .732). “No one is going to throw Dyson or Gore out -- but they won’t run against Bumgarner. Dyson gets the best out of his speed. And Gore can fly too. Those guys will be a force.”

Rating: KC 6, Giants 3.


Rotation: Giants: Madison Bumgarner (24-18, 2.98), Jake Peavy (6-4, 2.17), Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57), Ryan Vogelsong (8-13, 4.00). “Bumgarner is the most dependable on both sides. If he pitches well in two or three games ... it’s going to be tough for KC. Don’t get me wrong Clayton Kershaw is great, but Bumgarner throws easy. Hudson was bad in September but kept the ball down the last couple of starts. Is he real dependable?”

KC: James Shields (14-8, 3.21), Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20), Jeremy Guthrie (13-11, 4.13), Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.71), “I like Shields. Ventura and Guthrie can be either good or so-so.”

Rating: Giants 7, Royals 7.


Relievers: Giants: Jeremy Affeldt (4-2, 2.28), Javier Lopez (1-1, 3.11), Jean Machi (7-1, 2.58, 2 saves), Yusmeiro Petit (5-5, 3.69), Sergio Romo (6-4, 3.72, 23 saves), Hunter Strickland (1-0, 0.00), Tim Lincecum (12-9, 4.74). “I’d be surprised it they don’t start Petit instead of Vogelsong. Petit has a heck of a back-door slider. They had a good bullpen and depth in Romo.”

KC: Wade Davis (9-2, 1.00, 3 saves), Kelvin Herrera (4-3, 1.41), Brandon Finnegan (0-1, 1.29), Jason Frasor (3-0, 1.53), Danny Duffy (9-12, 2.53), Tim Collins (0-3, 3.86). “Their bullpen is lights out, all their starters have to do it get to the sixth with the lead. You can’t hit stuff like Herrera and Davis in the sixth, seventh and eighth. Herrera has been impressive. Davis? unhittable.”

Rating: Royals 10, Giants 8.casilla


Closer Giants: Santiago Casilla (3-3, 1.70, 19 saves). “He’s had all the confidence in the world and then in Game 5 he looked like he had fear -- like before.”

KC: Greg Holland (1-3, 1.44, 46). “One of the best. He’s been consistent.”

Rating: Holland 10, Casilla 7.


Manager: Giants: Bruce Bochy. “He’ll get the most of his bullpen. A lot of guys can run a bullpen. I’ll tell you why he’s the best: he never panics and players like him. He never rips anyone. He and I were together for years in San Diego.”

KC: Ned Yost. “He’s done a heck of a job, he’s proven that he’s a good manager. There were a lot of good centre fielders, but there was only one Willie Mays -- Bochy is like Mays.”

Rating: Bochy 10, Yost 8.


Finally: When the interview was finished, Bracey asked how he did taking over for the all-knowing Fregosi, who died Feb. 14.

I said, “well, I wish I could now hang up, call him and tell him how much better you were than he ever was.”

Said Bracey: “I wish I could call him too.”

-- Follow Bob vElliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


And one more makes 8 straight for Royals

* CF Lorenzo Cain raises the ALCS MVP trophy above his head after the Kansas City Royals won their eighth straight to advance to their first World Series since 1985. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY -- Will they ever lose again?

Before they get to Surprise, Az. next March?

The Kansas City Royals haven’t lost yet.

KC made it 11 straight post-season, wins dating to Game 3 of the 1985 World Series after edging the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 Wednesday night and now the Royals will host the World Series next week. The Royals swept the Orioles in the best-of-seven, American League Championship Series.

This was a far from lopsided affair.

The regal Royals scored in the 10th to win Game 1, twice in the ninth to win Game 2 and then scored back-to-back 2-1 wins at Kauffman Stadium -- without a hit with runners in scoring position (12 at-bats).

If a team goes 0-for-12 during the season in those situations talk is how do they get out of this hitting slump.

Instead, the Royals are getting ready to meet the winner of the St. Louis Cardinals-San Francisco Giants NLCS.

“They made great plays and kept us out of big innings,” said right fielder Nick Markakis, before taking off his Orioles uniform for likely the final time.

“They say pitching and defence wins. That’s what won it for them.”

The O’s have a $17.5 million option for Markakis and won’t pick it up. Some say he’s looking for a four-year, $50 million US deal.

“They deserve to go to the World Series,” said centre fielder Adam Jones. “I’m not saying we don’t deserve it, but they played well.

“All the games were close. We hit a lot of balls really hard, but the game is called baseball ... when things are going good, they’re going real good.”

Like the first inning: KC second baseman Omar Infante ranged far to his right and threw across his body and first baseman Eric Hosmer came down on the bag, then Alex Gordon made a fine running catch off Steve Pearce.

In the Royals half they scored twice without getting the ball out of the infield.

“The way things were going for them,” said catcher Caleb Joseph, “we could have been up by four and they would have hit a bases-empty, grand slam. Every doink hit they had, seemed to fall in for them. Every rocket we hit, they made a great play.

“They are on some kind of a streak right now.”

Joseph, who gave a rare accurate assessment from the losing clubhouse (or the excuse room as Scott Young used to call it), was in the midst of the play of the game,

After lead-off man Alcides Escobar reached when his grounder kicked off second and Miguel Gonzalez hit Nori Aoki with a pitch, No. 3 hitter Lorenzo Cain bunted on his own moving the runners over. With the infield in, Hosmer bounced to Pearce at first who threw home, Joseph applied the tag, except the ball came loose with two runners scoring on the play.

“The throw was right there, I made a one-handed sweep tag -- because two weeks ago I tried to go with two hands, I was late and the runner was safe,” said Joseph. “But (Escobar’s) leg wound up in my mitt, the ball wound up in their on-deck circle.”

Jason Vargas allowed a solo homer to Ryan Flaherty in the third and the Royals shut down bullpen worked another 3 2/3 scoreless with Greg Holland getting J.J. Hardy to bounce to Mike Moustakas, whose defence was so suspect earlier this season, he sat watching Danny Valencia play third.

Moustakas threw a strike, like the Royals relievers, to Hosmer and 29 years of pent-up, mid-west frustration exploded.

It was pure joy.

As one sign read “we’re going to party like it’s 1985.”

Another read “Meet America’s Team.”

Elevator operators hugged ushers.

Fans cried along with the players celebrating down below and they cheered when George Brett was shown on the sky scraper-like scoreboard in left. An hour after the final pitch KC’s Salvatore Perez, Cain and others celebrated with roughly 10,000 fans near the two dugouts.

The last time the O’s were in KC they split a four-game series, winning 2-1 and 4-0, while losing 1-0 and 8-6.

“They put together more quality at-bats than the last time,” said O’s closer Zach Britton. “They put the ball in play. Their defence was outstanding. We pitched well this series for the most part. They pitched better.”

Buck Showalter, who will likely win his third manager of the year honours, might rank with Gene Mauch when it comes to talented managers who have not reached the Series.

“Whether’s one (run) or 100, it still has the same sting,” said Showalter when asked about the close losses. “Like Detroit felt. Like Oakland felt. There are going to be 29 disappointed teams when this is over.”

Showalter didn’t watch the KC celebrations, he heading to the clubhouse.

“I knew what it was going to be like for them to accomplish for a team, a city a group of fans and an organization’s hopes. It’s such a testament to what a group of young men can do when everyone is pulling on the same rope.

“But my support and my love for these guys is unconditional. They didn’t have to win a World Series for me to feel differently about them.”

Don’t shed tears for the O’s.

They have are the favorites to win the American League East title next year.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


Gibbons recalls his KC days

* John Gibbons was the bench coach with the Kansas City Royals for three years (2009-2011) when many of the Royals you'll see in this year's World Series against the San Francisco Giants. ....  2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Royals' No. 1 post-season fan (San Antonio chapter) watched the American League unfold from inside the Gibbons compound.

If his Blue Jays couldn’t enjoy this October, why wouldn’t manager John Gibbons, Royals bench coach from 2009-11, have a rooting interest watching KC steamroll the Oakland A’s, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Baltimore Orioles in a historic post-season run of eight consecutive wins?

Gibbons served under manager Trey Hillman for one season and part of the next year. Then he worked the remainder of the 2010 and the next year under current manager Ned Yost.

Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Greg Holland, Mike Moustakas, Jarrod Dyson, Danny Duffy, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Salvador Perez were all Royals when Gibbons was.

With the Jays, Gibbons managed current Royals Jason Frasor and Erik Kratz and had Omar Infante on the Arizona Fall League when the infielder was a teenager.

“That’s a special group over there,” Gibbons said from inside the compound. “A lot of those guys came up around the same time and won in the minors together. It’s really a unique, tight group.

It’s focussed, selfless, group, more so than I’ve ever seen.”

Is it because the team came up together as young bucks?

“Maybe, I know Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison are very similar in make up -- they’re always rooting the other guys on.”

The Royals were not big winners under Hillman or when Yost first took over: 65, 67 and 71 wins, mostly due to a lack of pitching.

“We hit well, play great defence,” Gibbons said. “What they’ve done doesn’t surprise me, they added pitching.”

KC had Jason Kendall, John Buck, Miguel Olivo, Bryan Pena, Matt Treanor and Manny Pina behind the plate until one night at Tropicana Field when Perez arrived.

“What a debut, he caught five foul pop ups -- a catcher might get three in a month -- he picked a runner off first, off third and he had the guy at second, but the ump missed the call,” said Gibbons. “He almost had the hat trick at three different bases in his first game.”

Major leaguers -- players and managers -- have special abilities but memories are not always great. We looked up Perez’s first game Aug. 10, 2011. Sure enough he picked Casey Kotchman off first, Sam Fuld off third, had nine put outs (KC pitchers fanned four and didn’t throw anyone at the plate. Perez had a single and knocked in a run with a fly ball as the Royals bullpen.

“Perez is the best catcher in the AL,” Gibbon said. “He controls the pitching staff. With that big body he has as quick as a release as any catcher I’ve seen.”

Gibbons described the post-season as a personal showcase for centre fielder Cain, the ALCS MVP winner, obtained along with Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi from the Milwaukee Brewers for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt.

“Our scouts told us not to worry watching (Cain) during batting practice because he gets jammed, pops the ball up but was a game-type player,” Gibbons said. “Sure enough in the game he’s firing rockets all over, You could tell he had all the talent in the world.”

Gibbons on a few other Royals:

Hosmer: “You look at him and think he has a chance to be MVP, he hits right-handers and left-handers, plays both sides of the ball, is well spoken. He’s the face of the franchise, an All-American boy.”

Butler: “is an old country boy from the Florida panhandle, but when you talk hitting with him he’s an Ivy Leaguer, he takes it to a new level.”

Dyson on the series not returning to Baltimore: “He didn’t mean anything bad by that. He believed it and he was right.”

Frasor: “He showed up every day to do his job, took the ball any time, any inning and never complained. He’s a pro’s pro,”

The most impressive thing Gibbons noticed during his time in KC was what transpired in the dugout. You can see it on the field when a pitcher will turn and tip his cap as Gordon, Cain, Moustakas or Dyson will make a diving catch.

“You’ll see one guy go to another and say ‘you can do this, we’re right behind you,’ and it’s genuine,” said Gibbons. “I’ve been on a lot of teams. I’ve never seen a group pull together like those guys.”

Another interview for D. Hale: The Minnesota Twins have interviewed Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale for their vacant managing position.

The Twins asked Oct. 7 for permission and had this week to interview Hale.

Hall of Famer Paul Molitor is considered the early fave. Already interviewed by general manager Terry Ryan are internal candidates Gene Glynn, Doug Mientkiewicz, Terry Steinbach and Molitor.

Ryan has also interviewed Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, Joe McEwing, Chicago White Sox third base coach, and Hale.

The other candidates are coaches Sandy Alomar Jr. (Cleveland Indians), Dave Martinez (Tampa Bay Rays), Jose Oquendo (St. Louis Cardinals) and John Russell (Baltimore Orioles.)

A year ago the Washington Nationals interviewed Hale before hiring Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams as did the Blue Jays after Cito Gaston retired. Hale was one of four finalists before Alex Anthopoulos hired John Farrell.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


Halting Royals running game a moot point

 * The Baltimore Orioles have halted the Kansas City Royals' running game in the ALCS, but that hasn't stopped Jarrod Dyson (pictured) and the surging Royals from taking a 3-0 series lead heading into action Wednesday. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

By Bob Elliott

KANSAS CITY -- The cat and mouse game at first base has worked wonders for the Baltimore Orioles.

They have basically stopped the Kansas City Royals' running game.

It’s almost as if O’s manager Buck Showalter and catcher Nick Hundley told the grounds keeper, “don’t worry about second base ... we’ll nail it in.”

And instead of 90 feet, the distance was 98.

And then when no one was watching they pulled a hose out of the dugout and wet down the base path between first and second the way opposing teams used to when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Maury Wills would come to town.

Neither was it lengthening the distance nor wetting the dirt.

The O’s did something different with first baseman Steve Pearce.

Usually Pearce, like most first basemen, is anchored to the bag.

Against the Missouri Track Club when any members of the Royals relay -- Jarrod Dyson (36 stolen bases), Alcides Escobar (31), Lorenzo Cain (28) and Terrance Gore (8-for-8) since his promotion -- reach base, the threat to steal is real.

Kansas City led all of ball in stolen bases this year and tied a post-season record with seven steals in the AL wild card game victory.

The way Showalter has positioned Pearce is a few steps into the infield, closer to the pitcher ... sometimes standing next to the runner.

And Pearce then backpedals to take a throw and apply the tag.

O‘s Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver used to ask Hall of Fame first baseman do the same. Murray was a lot smoother around the base than Pearce is.

Runners who normally only watch the pitcher for a throw to first now had to keep one eye on the mound and the other on Pearce.

Nori Aoki singled in the sixth inning of a 1-1 tie and was lifted for speedster/prognosticator Dyson, whose legs enable him to run almost as fast as he runs his mouth.

After O’s Wei-Yin Chen struck out Lorenzo Cain in a five-pitch at-bat which included three throws to first -- with Pearce shuffling in and back to the bag -- Dyson wasn’t going on the 1-0 pitch to Eric Hosmer ... seven pitches and Dyson didn’t attempt to steal.

Chen came to the set, Pearce did the Baltimore version of the Hokey Pokey:

You put your right foot in, You put your left foot in, You take your left foot out, You take your right foot out. And you shake it all about,

Hosmer hit a 1-0 pitch to right through the spot Pearce had vacated chasing Dyson to third.

While the prevent defence has kept the Royals from stealing a base, there are questions.

Does Pearce field Hosmer’s sharp grounder if he is playing a normal first base? Or if he had stayed put and not retreated to the base? Was it even a fair question ... if Pearce had been holding the runner on, he wouldn’t have been able to field the ball.

We’ll never know, as in one of those things that makes you think, 'hey-this-is-their-year.' A kind of thing you see every decade or so.

Dyson scored when Billy Butler lofted a fly ball to left for a 2-1 lead.

Asked about the situation at first, O’s manager Showalter answered: “Trying to get a little more range on a ground ball getting out there.”

Har de har har.

“That’s not being completely true,” he told reporters. “We’ve got a couple of things. You’re just trying to ... what’s the thing, that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

“It’s pretty obvious that the percentages are high in their favour, it seems like, with all their guys but five or six of them. It doesn’t preclude them from stealing a base. There’s some things you do a little differently when teams have a real strength, but it doesn’t really take that away.”

The Royals say the strategy is intended to make their runners hesitate. If Pearce retreats to the bag to take a throw, the move will make the Royals runner flinch before taking the first step in a steal attempt.

“It’s the pitcher (we watch),” Dyson said before Game 3. “(Pearce) can move in any direction, I’m not looking at him. I’m going off the pitcher.”

Showalter’s reasoning was sound, and the Royals have stolen only one base -- Cain in Game 2. They’ve been caught stealing twice, and Alex Gordon was picked off first base in Game 1.

This ALCS was supposed to be Baltimore’s power against KC’s speed.

The O’s, who finished last in stolen bases, top the Royals 2-1 in that department.

The Royals lead the O’s, who led the majors in home runs this season, 4-1 in that department. KC has hit eight in six playoff games, with Mike Moustakas hitting four.

Dyson said this series was not going back to Baltimore ... we don’t recall Darnell Coles or Turner Ward -- talking louder than Dave Winfield or Dave Stewart in 1992 or 1993.

After Dyson scored, the Royals bullpen of Jason Frasor, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland went 12 up, 12 down, and so now the Royals lead 3-0 and go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


Goldberg route to KC thru Royal city

 * Kansas City Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg, right, and assistant GM J.J. Picollo answer pre-draft questions. Goldberg lived in Guelph from 2003-07 when he was an Atlanta Braves area scout. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott KANSAS CITY -- They have worn “Royals” jerseys in Guelph going back to the 1954 Intercounty League when the Guelph-Waterloo Royals played.

Some are wearing them again with another meaning as the Kansas City Royals meet the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series.

After all, how many cities in Canada have a scouting director who lived in their city for 4 1/2 years and married a native daughter?

Lonnie Goldberg, who wed Guelph’s Blythe Colley in 2002 and lived in the Royal City from 2003 to 2007, was behind his desk at Kauffman Stadium before Game 3 was cancelled Monday afternoon talking ball and friendships, those which led him to Guelph, KC and the post season.

Goldberg grew up Fairfax, Va. where Washington D.C. traffic was heavy and when the second baseman was taken on his recruiting visit to George Mason University it was by Patriots second baseman Dayton Moore.

Moore eventually coached George Mason and is now the KC general manager.

In between he was a scout with the Atlanta Braves at the 2003 winter meetings in New Orleans when he bumped into Goldberg.

“Dayton knew I’d married a Canadian girl, the Braves had signed Scott Thorman as a first rounder and had an opening for an area scout,” said Goldberg, who moved to Guelph, scouting Canada for Atlanta replacing the late Jim Kane of Brampton.

Blythe vacationed at spring training “six or seven” years before when she met Goldberg during his three seasons as an iREDS VS DODGERSnfielder in the Texas Rangers system. He played in Taiwan and Independent ball, before managing the Yuma Bullfrogs in the Western League in 2001. Blythe visited Goldberg at Yuma.

What’s that old baseball saying? If you can survive desolate Yuma a relationship can survive anything.

They were soon married.

That first June Goldberg drafted the highest Canuck in the 2003 draft London Badgers’ Jamie Romak.

“My first year scouting in Canada I didn’t know a soul,” Goldberg said. “Jim Ridley (Minnesota Twins scout), Greg Hamilton (National Junior Team coach) and Walt Burrows (Major League Scouting Bureau) couldn’t have been nicer. I couldn’t be more proud of Jamie -- the first I ever signed.

“He’s an incredible young man from an incredible family.”

Moore left the Braves to join KC in 2006 and soon Goldberg followed.

Goldberg was in the Royals draft room when his phone rang. Not another agent.

Nope it was Romak?

“I’m thinking -- why is he calling, he knows I’m busy,” recalled Goldberg. “Then, something hit me. I answered and Jamie asked me to come to LA the next night -- he’d been called up by the Dodgers.”

Romak was promoted in his 12th year in minors. His scout didn’t make it to LA, but the Dodgers soon came to KC. Goldberg had his son Jaxon, 10, born at Guelph General, on the field for pictures. jaxson

“Jamie bought Jaxon his first Little League glove ... of course he also bought Jaxon his first hockey stick,” Goldberg said. The Romaks made a connection being from London, where Blythe attended the University of Western. And the Goldbergs were invited to Romak’s wedding last year.

Romak, an Atlanta farmhand for four years, spent almost three seasons in the Royals organization after three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was at class-A Wilmington and double-A Northwest Arkansas hitting .296 with 29 doubles, a triple, 13 homers and 64 RBIs in 127 games. The next year he hit .251 at Northwest Arkansas with 21 doubles, one triple, 23 homers and 71 RBIs in 124 games.

He was with triple-A Omaha for 11 games before moving to the St. Louis Cardinals organization. On the year at Omaha, double-A Spingfield and triple A Memphis he hit .260 with 21 doubles, three triples, 10 homers and knocked in 60 runs in 106 games.

His teammates with big-league time include the likes of position players Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Jarrod Dyson, Wil Myers, Christian Colon, Shane Costa, Josh Fields, Johnny Giavotella, Manny Pina, Clint Robinson, Derrick Robinson, Jeff Bianchi, Matt Treanor, Tony Abreu, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jason Bourgeois, Cody Clark, Terry Evans, Irving Falu, Chris Getz, Kevin Kouzmanoff, David Lough and Mitch Maier.

And pitchers Kelvin Herrera, Danny Duffy, Kevin Chapman, Aaron Crow, Ryan Dennick, Chris Dwyer, Devon Lowery, Will Smith, Louis Coleman, Blaine Hardy, Gil Meche, Everett Teaford, Bruce Chen, Kyle Davis, Jeremy Jeffress, Zach Miner, Jake Odorizzi, Max Ramirez, Nathan Adcock, Francisley Bueno, Roman Colon, Doug Davis, J.C. Gutierrez, Tommy Hottovy, Donnie Joseph, Michael Mariot, Justin Marks, Vin Mazzaro, Sean O’Sullivan, Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo.

Working Canada, as his duties expanded the next three drafts, under scouting director J.J. Picollo to cover JUCOs and the Mid-Atlantic states, he also drafted and signed Mississauga’s Jamie Richmond and drafted Toronto’s Clayton Caulfield in 2004. And in 2007, he signed lefty Scott Diamond, who went undrafted in June, impressed Braves scouts at Martinsville, Va. in summer ball and came home to Guelph.

“I was with my wife at the Guelph General for the birth of our daughter, wrote up the contract, dropped it off at his house at 4 AM, went back to the hospital, Jaden was born, met Scott and his parents at a pizza parlour behind our house,” said Goldberg, who lived on Kortright Rd. "He wasn't even drafted and he pitched in the big leagues (with the Minnesota scott diamondTwins.)"

Had Diamond not signed that day and headed off to the Binghamton University campus for his senior year, the Braves wouldn’t have been able to draft him until the next June. This winter, Diamond will pitch in the Dominican for Gigantes del Cibao, the club Royals assistant GM Rene Francisco is running.

The Royals have not drafted a Canadian since 2011 when they selected INF Nic Cuckovic (Victoria, BC) Riverside Community College in the 17th round (he signed) and INF Joey Hawkins (Whitby, Ont.) from the Ontario Blue Jays in the 42nd round. Hawkins headed for Missouri State.

Only 17 Canadians were selected in this June’s draft, the lowest since 1991 when Canadian high schoolers were eligible to be drafted.

Goldberg has hired Corey Eckstein (Abbostford, BC) and Kirk Barclay (Wyoming, Ont.) to scout Canada, replacing Jason Bryans (Windsor, Ont.), who has joined the St. Louis Cardinals, leading up to next June.

“It should be a much better year with Demi Ormiloye (Orleans, Ont.) and Josh Nayor (Mississauga, Ont.),” said Goldberg.

After three seasons as KC’s director of operations he took over as scouting director in 2010. He was on staff when first baseman Eric Hosmer in 2008 and Christian Colon in 2010 went in the first round.

Goldberg selected lefty Brandon Finnegan, with the 17th over-all pick this June (seven innings during the regular season, 4 1/3 in the post season) and speedster Terrance Gore in the 20th round in 2011.

How good is the Royals farm system?

“Pretty good,” said John Manuel of the highly-respected Baseball America. “They had a lot of prospects at high A. Probably a top-half system, has won back-to-back Triple-A titles, not many impact prospects at higher levels this year but they did have those at high A. Kyle Zimmer (injured most of year, now in Arizona Fall League) and Finnegan are close to ready for 2015 rotation. Those two are key.

Adalberto Mondesi (Raul Mondesi’s son), is an 18-year-old shortstop who is the top position player in their system. He hasn’t hit yet but scouts love him. It’s a good not great system, likely five Top 100 prospects but I don’t see a top 20 guy.

“But their goal when we did the story about them having nine Top 100 guys going into 2011 (a BA record, going back to 1990) was to have more than one wave of prospects. They said then that they knew they had to keep feeding the development pipeline, and they are doing that pretty well.”

Oakville’s Laura Frasor, who married Jason Frasor, now with KC, after graduating from Oakville Trafalgar, is another Canuck rooting for the Royals.

Now, the Guelph exports live in Overland Park, Kan. with their children.goldberf

“You know how people will meet someone from Canada and say ‘you must know ...” asked Goldberg. “One day someone phoned and said there was another mother on our kid’s team who was Canadian. The woman is married to football coach Pat Perles (a former assistant with the Hamilton Tiger Cats). Blythe knew her.

“The only two Canadians in Overland Park and they knew each other.”

Blythe’s parents, Judy and Peter, who ran the family operated Colley Insurance (est. 1934) are in KC for the playoffs and don’t miss a Royals game on TV.

“Americans love baseball, they talk averages and go back years,” said Peter. “This is all new to me. Baseball wasn’t one of my games. I grew up on football track and field.

“We’ve become interested much more in the last three or four years.”

Peter now winters in Vero Beach, Fla., telling friends what his son-in-law does made him a celebrity around the tennis club. Said Peter “they were all happy for his success. We’re very proud of him know, we how hard he works, travelling all the time.

Blythe has been receiving phone calls of congrats from Guelph and Facebook messages.

“I didn’t know if this would ever happen, Lonnie went through a lot,” said Blythe a baseball widow from February until the draft -- and then it is time for the scouting director to sign all his charges.

“Making the post season was something everyone dreams on ,,, and now we’re here,” she said.

In Guelph there has been a ball team known as the Guelph Royals for the 33 of the past 34 years beginning with the 1981 season. And they were also known as the Royals for two years, 1962-63, before they were sponsored by C-JOY radio in 1964.

One more win and the Kansas City Royals, with a key decision maker from the Royal City of Guelph, will be in the World Series for the first time since 1985.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball


Ontario Blue Jays, 4 Dawgs get Florida Ws

* Kyle Symington (Burlington, Ont) pitched five innings allowing three runs -- one earned -- on two hits and three walks as the Ontrario Blue Jays opened the Perfect Game WWBA Underclass World Championship with a 5-4 win over the Ohio Surge at Fort Myers, Fla. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott The Ontario Blue Jays knocked off the Ohio Surge in the opening game of the 13th annual Perfect Game WWBA Underclass World Championship at Fort Myers, Fla.

But that was the best that the Jays could do in round-robin play, losing the next two games.

The Surge went on to win its pool with a 2-1 record as games in the 216-team tournament were played on the spring training fields of the defending World Series Boston Red Sox -- until the end of the month -- and the Minnesota Twins, area high schools and Terry Park.

The Jays edged the Stars Baseball 16U Gold by a 7-6 score in a consolation round game.

Meanwhile, four Oktoks Daws -- RHP Zack Demchenko (Saskatoon, Sask.) OF Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.), OF-1B Justin King (Okotoks, Alta.) and C Luke Lepine (Calgary, Alta.) -- were with the Indianapolis-based Pony Express which went undefeated to win its pool before losing the first round of the playoffs.

Scout’s blogs from Perfect Game of the three Jays pool games ...


Farid collects 2 RBI in Blue Jays’ victory Gm #7 | 10/9/2014 | 4:00 PM Ontario Blue Jays vs. Ohio Surge george farid The Ontario Blue Jays defeated the Ohio Surge 5-4 in their first game of the tournament. George Farid (2016, St Aloysius Gonzaga HS, Ont.) led the way for the Jays’ offense going 1-for-2 with a run scored, 2 RBIs, one stolen base and one walk. William DaCosta (2016, St Jean Baptiste HS, Ont.) added in a 2-for-4 day with two runs scored and Troy Daring (2016, Heart Lake HS, Ont.) went 1-for-1 with an RBI, a stolen base and one walk.

Kyle Symington (2016, Corpus Christi Catholic HS, Ont) started and earned the win for the Jays going five innings allowing three runs -- one earned -- on two hits and three walks, while striking out one. Symington featured a 78-83/84 mph fastball and mixed in a 67-71 mph curve ball.

For the Surge, Brent Todys (2016, Westerville-North HS, OH) went 1-for-2 with one double, an RBI and 1 walk, while Jeremiah Clarke (2016, Westerville Central HS, OH) went 1-for-2 with three runs scored, one stolen base and a walk. Jack Griffin (2016, Bloom-Carroll HS, OH) also showed well going 1-for-3 with two RBIs.


Thompson’s bat key in Suncoast W Gm # 54 | 10/10/2014 | 8:30 AM Ontario Blue Jays vs. Suncoast Select Old Hickory 2017’s The Suncoast Select Old Hickory 2017’s defeated the Ontario Blue Jays 6-3 to pick up their first win of the tournament. Garrett Thompson (2017, Tampa Bay Technical HS, FL) led the way for the Suncoast offense going 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Mike Smith (2017, Gulf HS, FL) added in a 1-for-3 day with a double and an RBI. Christopher Williams (2017, Boca Ciega HS, FL) also impressed going 2-for-3 with a run scored and Josue Erazo (2017, Gulf HS, FL) went 1-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and a walk.

Pierce Kimbrough (2016, Hernando HS, FL) started and earned the win for Suncoast tossing all seven innings allowing three unearned runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out five. Kimbrough used a short arm action and smooth, balanced delivery with his 73-75/77 mph fastball and mixed in a 64-68 mph curve ball.

For the Blue Jays, Troy Daring (2016, Heart Lake HS, Ont.) used an aggressive approach and showed power potential going 1-for-3 with a double and 2 RBIs, while George Farid (2016, St. Aloysius Gonzaga HS, Ont) showed excellent bat speed going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.


Looney powers Canes to W Gm # 197 | 10/11/2014 | 8:30 AM SBA Canes vs. Ontario Blue Jays The SBA Canes defeated the Ontario Blue Jays 9-1 to improve their record to 2-1 in the tournament. Dean Looney (2016, David W Butler HS, NC) helped power the Canes’ offense going 1-for-3 with a three-run home run. Cross Holfert (2016, Scotland HS, NC) also impressed going 3-for-3 with a triple, a run scored, two RBIs and a walk. David Graves (2016, Homeschool, NC) added in a 2-for-2 performance with a run scored and Drew Little (2016, Piedmont HS, NC) went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Christian Carpenter (2016, Metrolina Christian Academy HS, NC) started and earned the win for the Canes tossing four strong innings allowing one unearned run on two hits and two walks, while striking out six batters. Carpenter featured a 79-83/85 mph fastball and mixed in a 66-68 mph curve ball.

For the Blue Jays, Sid Elford (2016, Lorne Park Secondary HS, Ont.) went 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.


In the consolation round ... win, Luke Van Rycheghem (2016, Bridgeton, Kent Bridge, Ont.) had three hits and three RBIs in support of Taylor Leppard (2016, Leaside, Toronto, Ont.), who pitched five innings.

Jakob Newton (2016, Oakville Trafalgar, Oakville, Ont.) had a pair hits and knocked in two.

Andrew Katz (2016, Bill Crothers, Thornhill, Ont.) and Jacob Title (2016, Vaughan Secondary School, Thornhill, Ont.), with the save, worked an inning each.


Scout’s blogs from Perfect Game of the Pony Express pool games ...

Pony Express wins 6-4 back-and-forth affair Cody Smith (2016, Avon, IN) recorded two hits and teammate Justin Reed (2016, Indianapolis, IN) drove in a pair of runs in Pony Express Baseball’s 6-4 win over IBAHS Knights 2017 Thursday night at Estero HS.

Michael Alicea (2015, Trujillo Alto, PR) led the Knights with two hits, a stolen base and two RBI from the leadoff spot, while teammate Julio Canales (2016, Trujillo Alto, PR) went 1-for-2 with a double.

RHP Tyler Blackington (2016, Camel, IN) worked 2.0 scoreless innings of relief for Pony Express. His fastball peaked at 80 mph and he also flashed an upper-60s curve.


Pony Express plated 15 in win In a very high scoring game, Pony Express Baseball came out on top of FTB Sindone 15-10. Justin King (2016, Foothills Composite, Alta.)Justin King led the attack with a triple and four RBIs. Luke Lepine (2016, Bishop Carroll, Alta,) went 2-for-4 with a triple while Jakob Shuler (2016, Apollo, KY) singled in two runs. Blake Chitwood (2016, Roncalli, IN) did his part with two hits, one being a double, and three RBI’. Zach Demchenko (2016, Foothills Composite, AB) threw two innings. He struck out three and allowed two hits.

Anthony Barone (2018, Father Lopez, FL) led Sindone with a triple that plated three runs.


Pony Express Hang On for 4-2 Win The Pony Express Baseball jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the fourth inning, but had to fend off a late push from the Rawlings Hitters National Baseball Club 2016’s to take a 4-2 win and remain undefeated in pool play. The Pony Express offense knocked in five hits with all of them coming from different players. Blake Chitwood (2016, Roncali HS, IN) led the stat book for the Pony Express with a 1-for-3 game at the plate, picking up an RBI and a run scored.

Justin Reed (2016, Lawrence North HS, IN) took home the win for the Pony Express after tossing a complete game from the mound, throw 115 pitches in his seven innings of work on the mound and allowing four hits and two runs, one earned, while walking seven and striking out none. Reed, a University of Indiana commit, showed good command and sound mechanics, staying tall on the backside of a two-pitch rotation featuring a fastball averaging 83 mph and topping out at 85 mph.


Offense explodes for Gamers BigStix Gamers 17U Cardinal offense exploded for 11 hits in their 12-4 win over Pony Express Baseball. Jacob Garner (2016, Union Grove, GA) had two of those hits and drove in two runs. Antonio Johnson (2016, Martin Luther King Jr, GA) singled twice while George Boyd (2016, Pike County, GA) had a single and a double. Auliver Astin (2016, Newton, GA) plated three runs with a double and Keith Wilson (2016, Hurricane, GA) had two singles. Connor Nalley (2016, Whitewater, GA) threw three innings. He struck out five and allowed three singles.

Jakob Shuler (2016, Apollo, KY) led the Pony Express with three singles and an RBI.KeyesPic


Observed Perfect Game veterana David Rawnsley: Center fielder Clayton Keyes (2016, Calgary, Alta.) from Pony Express Baseball hails from Canada but looked like he had a football body that belonged on the gridiron down in Texas or Florida. The 6-foot, 210-pound athlete’s best present tool, though, was his speed, which he showed off several times chasing down deep fly balls in center field.




































HOFer Brett has a handle on excitement in KC

* Hall of Famer George Brett, second from left, with son Dylan, Robin, wife Leslie and oldest son Jackson. Jackson sent his father a text the day that the Royals clinched a post-season berth calling it the "happiest day of his life." ....  2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

BALTIMORE -- How excited are people in Kansas City about the Royals being in post-season play?

“Well,” said George Brett with a laugh inside the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards the other night, “the day we clinched my son, Jackson, sent me a text.”

After the Royals edged the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Sept. 26 to assure their first post-season berth since 1985, the Hall of Famer opened a message from his eldest son which read: “Please congratulate Dayton (general manager Dayton Moore). This is the happiest day of my life.”

“I don’t know,” said Brett shrugging first his left shoulder, then his right, “I thought we’d given him a pretty good life. He’s been to Hawaii -- oh I don’t know, maybe 10 times -- he played high school ball, went to (NCAA Div. III) University of St. Thomas, played ball, his mother and father love him ...

“I thought we’d done all right.” Lorde Royals

Brett, the blue collar Hall of Famer, chuckles, smiles as his blue eyes twinkle, as he did in the National Geographic photo years before in his playing days which inspired the hit “Royals,” by New Zealander Lorde.

And the Royals clinching a playoff berth is the happiest day of Jackson Brett’s 21 years on this earth?

Such is the power of baseball.

“George hasn’t changed one bit,” said Dick Kaegel, a ball writer now of, who covered Brett from 1988 until he retired in 1993, with 3,154 career hits. After Games 1 and 2 at Camden Yards, Brett roamed the visiting clubhouse, eating a chicken wing here, dropping a “hey, good job baby,” there on a player headed to the trainer’s room and stopping another to discuss a pitch or an at-bat.

“He’s one of the guys,” said Jason Frasor of the Royals vice president. “I don’t know if all the young guys know how good he was. But I KNOW.”

Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar is often at the Rogers Centre, but in the clubhouse? Never. It was two months into last season before he was asked to work with struggling second baseman Emilio Bonifacio. Broadcaster Jim Palmer is always around the Orioles.

But Brett? He’s in the clubhouse giving advice, the way Hall of Famer Don Sutton did with the Atlanta Braves talented pitching staff.

Royals’ Raul Ibanez wanted to grow up to play the game “just like George” now shares the same clubhouse.

“That was my guy,” said Ibanez, in his 19th season, fourth with the Royals. “He’s always there to give advice. It’s a simple message usually: ‘try to hit it hard, not far,’ or when we are against a guy with a plus fastball ‘swing easy, not hard.’ He repeats a lot (hitting guru) Charlie Lau told him.”

Earlier Brett wasn’t as self-deprecating explaining his son’s greatest day. His eyes weren’t pine-tar wide, but he was tired of hearing about the Royals drought and not having won since 1985. His piercing blue

“That’s all you hear on TV, about the Royals post-season drought,” said Brett. “We haven’t played as many post-season games as say the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, but from 1976 the first year we made it, until 1985, we played 43 games. We were there seven years out of 10.”

The Jays have played 41 games and now hold the longest post-season drought.l royals pic

“It’s not fair to harp on 1985 ... not fair to Dayton or the players. Some guys weren’t even born yet. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon have been here eight seasons. OK? Those two should be asked about the past eight years.

“Baltimore hasn’t won since 1983. We played 43 playoff games, plus six this year so far, that’s 49, that’a lot.”

Brett could bring his “don’t blame these guys” speech to the next Toronto Maple Leafs or Toronto Blue Jays luncheon -- all he’d have to do was change the dates.

At East High in Shawnee Mission, Kan., Jackson Brett was the centre for the football Lancers wearing uniform No. 67. Younger brother Dylan, second of Leslie and George’s three boys wore No. 66 at right guard, Both weighed 270 lbs.

Brett’s good friend Vince Flynn, the New York Times best-selling author of political thriller novels, suggested in 2010 Jackson head to St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Flynn passed away last summer. We ran into Jackson and his Hall of Fame father the day after his St. Thomas visit as the Blue Jays finished the season out at Target Field in Minneapolis -- it was the final game Cito Gaston managed.

Last year at St. Thomas Jackson, Brett was one of the many relatively famous attending class: linebacker Anthony King-Foreman, son of Minnesota Vikings running back Chuck Foreman; hurdler Katie Ryan, daughter of Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan; hoopster Marcus Alipate, son of former NFL and Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Tuineau Alipate; goalie Michael Krieg, whose father Dave Krieg was an NFL quarterback for 17 seasons; Cory Quinlain, whose pop Tom Quinlan played for the Blue Jays and uncle Robb was with the Anaheim Angels; fullback Willie Schneider, whose uncle is Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider and lineman Ulice Payne III, son of Ulice Payne, Jr. CEO and president of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Youngest son Robin attends the University of Mississippi, which is why on Saturday, the Hall of Famer was wearing an Ole Miss t-shirt.

The Royals might beat the Baltimore Orioles.

They might win the World Series.

So happier days may lie ahead for Jackson Brett, his pop and Royals fans everywhere.

We’d suggest/offer as a nominee for one of the happiest days in the lives of Jackson, Dylan and Robin Brett a Sunday afternoon in July of 1999.

That’s when their father, batting last behind the son of the late umpire Nestor Chylak, Orlando Cepeda, Robin Yount and Nolan Ryan, gave the best speech we’ve ever heard from the stage in Cooperstown, N.Y.

-- Follow Bob Elliott on Twitter @elliottbaseball