Tom Buttry: Rooting for the Kansas City Royals in New York

7 11 2015
Citi Field last week from Tom's seat in New York

Citi Field last week from Tom’s seat in New York

We’re not done with posts about the Kansas City Royals. I have a few more posts coming myself, but I’ve been too busy to finish them. I asked my sons if they wanted to weigh in. Oldest son Mike will have a post coming tomorrow. Today’s guest post is from youngest son Tom (with editing, links and some visuals added by Dad): 

Tom Buttry

Tom Buttry

As Mike Moustakas drove in the game-winning run in the eighth inning of Game Four, I stood the upper deck of the left field corner in my Moustakas jersey at Citi Field, profoundly happy, but limiting my visible celebration to a brief fist pump and giving a fellow Royals fan two seats over a bit of dap. I had endured trash talk, getting roundly booed when I walked down through the stands to go the restroom, and had someone shout at me “Moustakas, make me a gyro!” But with the Wade Davis Experience looming for the Mets, I felt pretty good that I was bringing home a winner. And I wasn’t about to antagonize these folks into moving beyond their vocal, but good-natured ribbing.

Perhaps, I should take a step back, though. Since 2005, when my family moved away from the Midwest, the vast majority of the games I’ve caught of the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs have been when we’re the visitors. While I had been to opposing gyms as a high school sports fan, the close proximity of the schools and the large visiting student section always gave me strength in numbers. Being a fan of a Kansas City sports team on the East Coast can be a lonely experience.

The first time I truly went into opponent territory was on December 17, 2005, when my Dad and I went to the old Meadowlands to watch our Chiefs take on the New York Giants. It was a big game between two teams with strong playoff aspirations. I was feeling confident, though, because no one in our family had ever seen the Chiefs lose in person before.

As Dad and I walked into the upper reaches of Giants Stadium (we were in the second-to-last row by one of the end zones, but that may just be my memory exaggerating it), there was some trash talk, but nothing too bad. In the second quarter when the Giants took the lead on a long Tiki Barber touchdown run, there was some ribbing from the folks next to us, but nothing too bad. Then, early in the third quarter, Chiefs running back Larry Johnson broke off a long touchdown run of his own to tie the score, prompting my dad and me to give each other a high five.

At that point, the only guy behind us in the stadium gave us a true New York welcome with a loud thickly New York-accented, “Sit down, ya assholes!” Read the rest of this entry »

In late and extra innings, the Royals win again and again

28 10 2015

The Royals’ Game One win in 14 innings, after coming from behind on Alex Gordon‘s ninth-inning homer, was special. But not really. Coming back, scoring in late innings and prevailing in extra innings are what these Kansas City Royals do in the post-season.

Starting with last Sept. 30’s wild card game, the Royals have:

  • Come from behind 7-3 after seven innings and 8-7 in the bottom of the 12th to beat the Oakland A’s.
  • Beat the Los Angeles Angels, 3-2, in 11 innings in Game One of the 2014 Division Series.
  • Beat the Angels 4-1 in 11 innings in Game Two.
  • Beat the Orioles 8-6 in 10 innings in Game One of the 2014 American League Championship Series.
  • Scored two runs in the ninth inning to beat the Orioles 6-4 in Game Two of the ALCS.
  • Trailed the Orioles 1-0, but scored in the fourth and sixth innings for a 2-1 win in Game Three of the ALCS.
  • The Royals took and kept leads in all three of their wins and didn’t play any extra innings in the 2014 World Series, which they lost to the Giants. They came tantalizingly close, though, with Gordon reaching third base with the potential tying run in Game Seven. In the context of this outstanding run, Madison Bumgarner‘s ability to shut the Royals down in the late innings truly stands out.
  • Fell behind the Houston Astros 4-2, then scored two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to win 5-4 in Game Two of the 2015 Division Series.
  • Trailed the Astros 6-2 after seven innings, then scored five runs in the eighth inning and two in the ninth to win 9-6 in Game Four.
  • Trailed the Astros 2-0 after three innings before winning 7-2 in the deciding Game Five.
  • Trailed the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 before scoring five runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth to win 6-3 in Game Two of the 2015 ALCS.
  • Blew a 3-1 lead to enter the eighth inning tied, then scored the winning run in the eighth after a rain delay to clinch the ALCS in Game Six.
  • Tied Game One of the 2015 World Series on Gordon’s ninth-inning homer, then beat the New York Mets 5-4 in the 14th.

The Royals’ bullpen has won 13 games in this amazing run, not just because of excellent late pitching but because the offense never gives up.

If this isn’t the best stretch of comebacks and late-inning and extra-inning heroics in post-season history, I’d like to know what is.

And don’t forget: This builds on a strong, but distant, tradition of late-inning excellence from a generation ago that includes the Game Six comeback in the 1985 World Series and George Brett’s memorable 1980 homer against Goose Gossage, trailing 2-1 and giving the Royals a 4-2 win and a series sweep.

When it comes to the Royals, opponents better heed the advice of Yankee legend (and former Met manager) Yogi Berra: It ain’t over till it’s over.

Comparing Yankees to other teams in starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame

20 10 2015

This continues my series on Yankee starting pitchers.

Six pitchers might seem like a lot of Hall of Famers, and it is.

The Yankees have six starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame who pitched primarily for New York. But if great pitching wins championships, a team with 27 champions ought to have more than six pitchers in the Hall of Fame who primarily pitched for that team (keep in mind that Jack Chesbro, one of the six, pitched for the New York Highlanders before any of the Yankee championships).

Though I’m focused on starters here and only counting them, I also should note that the Yankees were the primary team of Hall of Fame reliever Goose Gossage. And Mariano Rivera is a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, presuming his reputation remains unscathed the next few years.

But the starting pitcher is the most important player in every game and a team can’t win a championship without solid starting pitching. And you can’t win a bunch of championships without a bunch of great starting pitchers.

Let’s see how other teams stack up: Read the rest of this entry »