October’s Dance or the “Royal Ball”?
One thing is for sure, October baseball is very unpredictable. You may remember my rather bold postseason predictions last month, and while I did come up a bit short; who would have guessed that the Kansas City Royals would sweep through all of the American League playoff games? Who though the Giants would oust the NL’s two top, much favored teams on their way to another World Series berth?With the way the Royals ended the regular season should have been an indication to everybody that this Cinderella team was not going to be stopped on their mission to the “Royal Ball”After nearly 30 years of frustration in accumulating losing season after losing season, and disappointment after disappointment; the Royals and their fans finally got to taste October again. They most certainly deserved the celebrations that ensued. Baseball was alive and well again in Kansas City. Coming back from behind in the A.L Wildcard game, the Royals shocked the world with their stunning defeat of the Oakland A’s Kaufman Stadium would go wild in immense joy and celebration. Magic was in the air in western Missouri.That magic continued into the ALDS where they swept the LA Angels . Eric Hosmer’s bat and glove helped pave the way for a ‘Royal sweep’. Complimented by phenomenal pitching from their strong -James Shields- led rotation and proven bullpen. Of course, you can’t forget about the excellent play from players like Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. When it came down to throws, having one of the best closers in baseball helped see the deal.Despite Nelson Cruz tearing it up against the Tigers in a three game sweep; the American League playoffs turned out to belong to Lorenzo Cain. The dynamic outfielder rang in a .500 plus batting average and got on base close to 60% of the time. The speedster also scored five runs and played incredible defense in the four game sweep of Oakland en route to becoming the ALCS MVP. Dating back to the 1985 World Series, the Royals were on an 11 playoff game winning streak going into this year’s Fall Classic. Having won the first seven of the postseason; they just needed four more to celebrate like it was 1985 all over again.San-Fran should never be taken lightly in the playoffs. In the last five years; they’ve reached their third World Series They outplayed the National League’s best regular season team, the Washington Nationals, in four games behind solid pitching from Madison Bumgarner and a very battle tested group of relievers. . Buster Posey was the man at the plate; hitting nearly .400 and with a .450 on base percentage, while leading his pitching staff through every inning.The NLCS was predicted by many to be a dog fight. The Cardinals made it to their fourth straight NLCS by taking down a Dodgers team that just can’t seem to figure them out in October.The two teams met up in the 2012 and 2002 NLCS. Just like those two previous showdowns: the Giants came out on top. It just took five games this time Bumgarner won the NLCS MVP with a dominant effort. Interestingly: since 2010, every other year either the Cardinals or the Giants have been the National League representative in The Fall Classic. That’s good trivia for a rainy day. You’re welcome.Who would have guessed Royals vs Giants World Series at the beginning of the season though? Or even at the start of the postseason? I’m not afraid to admit that I wouldn’t have. These two teams met up back in August, and the Royals swept them. Is it a possible sign of things to come? Quite possibly it is.According to Sports Illustrated, there have been four other regular season match-ups between the two eventual World Series teams. Every squad to prevail in the regular season meetings went on to lose in “October’s Dance. “It’s very possible that the series played back in August may coincidentally allude to this year’s champion. As of press-time, the series is tied at two games apiece. Kansas City ended San Francisco’s seven game World Series winning streak that dated back to Game 4 of the 2010 WS San-Fran also ended the Royals postseason win- streak.October baseball is our “National Past Time’s exclamation mark. The buzz and excitement in the brisk fall air are punctuated with every hit and pitch while a new champion is crowned.A championship well-earned!Follow West Texas Tribune Associate Sports- Writer, Matt R. Acly on Twitter @mattracly