James Shields led thousands of fans in a celebratory chant. Lorenzo Cainpranced along the warning track, cradling his newborn son. Ned Yost finally allowed himself to smile.
After nearly three decades spent as one of the game’s biggest laughingstocks, the Kansas City Royals are once again baseball royalty. They are headed to their first World Series since 1985, finishing a four-game sweep in the AL Championship Series with a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Baltimore Orioles.
In a perfect postseason, the Royals are intent to relish every moment.
“It’s hard to explain,” said Cain, whose clutch hits and dramatic catches earned him the series MVP award. “We’re clicking at the right moment right now.”
When you listen to golf geeks talk about the Masters, it’s like the Masters is the SuperBowl, the World Series and the Final Four all wrapped into one. I just picked up the game of golf a couple years ago. I’m not a golf geek by any stretch of the imagination, but I have spent some time watching the top pros truly hit the ball with the grace of a ballerina. I have a couple of thoughts going into the opening round of the 77th Masters:
There is a certain amount of randomness in golf. No matter how good you are, sometimes it is the little things that really help set you apart. A perfect shot can hit a small rock or ridge which can kick your ball into the woods or a couple feet closer to the hole. There is no way to see or plan for this. It just happens. Whoever has their mojo working has a real edge.
Tiger Woods has to have a clear advantage. He has won three times already this year. If he starts out hot he could be trouble. He has to control his driver and continue to putt lights out.
Rory McIlroy – It depends. He could be great or just average.
Phil Mickelson – Who knows? Phil is either on or off. If Phil is on his game he will be hard to beat.
Brandt Snedeker – Was playing some of the best golf at the beginning of the season, but… He got hit and hasn’t played that well since his return from injury.
Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson – all have the game to win. Can they put together four strong rounds?
There is a sentiment that the Rangers are simply losers. You can feel that sentiment on twitter. I’m sorry, but I remember going to Texas Ranger games back in the mid-’70s. That’s when they were losers. They worked hard to figure out different ways to lose a baseball game. The Texas Rangers are close. They played much better this year than they did last year. Last year, they were simply outclassed by the San Francisco Giants. That did not happen this year. The Rangers just need a little bit more pitching. Our closer was shaky in every outing. I feel pretty confident that Nolan Ryan has us on the right path. I think that Ron Washington managed pretty well.
The problem was our pitching staff. There was no one we could go to who could guarantee an out. The game was lost when the Cardinals sat there in the bottom of the fifth. Theroit grounded out to start the inning. Then Feldman walked Craig. Then Feldman hit Pujols with the pitch. Lance Berkman grounded out to first, advancing the runners to second and third. We intentionally walked Freese. Molina was walked on a questionable ball for call (should’ve never been in a situation where you are hoping, praying that the umpire will call a strike). Feldman is relieved by CJ Wilson who promptly hits the first batter, scoring another run. The next batter strikes out. The Cardinals did nothing of any significance in that inning, yet Ranger pitching gave them two runs. You simply cannot play that kind of baseball in the World Series. (The Rangers gave up a World Series record 41 walks. Nothing else needs to be said.)
Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals. I look at the Texas Rangers as I did the Dallas Cowboys back in the late 1960s. The Cowboys had to knock on the door several times before they were able to kick it in and win the Super Bowl. If the Texas Rangers are able to get a real closer and a real ace pitcher who we can count on to shut down hitters, not with ground balls but with strikeouts, the Texas Rangers will win the World Series next year.