Greetings, and a special how do you do to Kansas City Royals fans, who must be feeling strange sensations throughout their bodies after the past few days. Now for some musings:
* The second catch made by Royals right fielder Nori Aoki on Thursday night – the one in which the ball hit his glove after it appeared center fielder Lorenzo Cain was going to make the play at the wall in right-center field – might be the most incredible catch I’ve ever seen. I’ve re-watched it at least a dozen times. There’s just no way Aoki makes that play. He looked to be shielded and I’m not even sure his eyes were on the baseball. Absolutely incredible.
* I love Ernie Johnson doing baseball play-by-play. He’s outstanding as TNT’s studio host during the NBA season with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and, usually, Shaquille O’Neal. But baseball play-by-play is his calling. I don’t think Johnson gets his due as one of the great broadcasters. And I’m here to create some due for the guy.
* The St. Louis Cardinals begin their NLDS tonight with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I don’t want to talk about it. But while I’m able to watch the Royals stress-free and with admiration for what they’re accomplishing, it’s nothing like that with the Cardinals. I carry weapons while watching their games. Not really, but I think I would if I had weapons. It’s Adam Wainwright against Clayton Kershaw tonight. Oh boy, I’m feeling sick.
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* Will the Cardinals hit a lick? That’s the question, really. They’ve been like the Royals for most of the season, scratching and clawing for runs while relying on pitching and defense. But not speed, like Kansas City has. The Cardinals do no running. They need some offense in this series against one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.
* I’m excited for the start of the NBA season. That’s rare. I think it’s because LeBron James is in Cleveland. What else could it be? I’m an NBA postseason fan, but the regular season doesn’t grab me. But I’m curious to see the Cavs. They’re my team now.
* Has Kansas City ever had better back-to-back nights than Monday and Tuesday of this week? Simple, no. The Chiefs buried the New England Patriots at Arrowhead on Monday and the Royals stuck with it for 12 innings to beat the Oakland A’s on Tuesday. During the Royals’ previous playoff seasons of 1985, 1984, 1981, 1980, 1978, 1977 and 1976, the Chiefs had a combined record of 42-66. And in seasons when the Chiefs have made the playoffs in the NFL – 2013, 2010, 2006, 2003, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1986, 1971, 1969 – The Royals are a combined 114 games below .500. The Royals and Chiefs have never made the postseason in the same year.
* I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Gotham on Fox. Fascinating stuff. Watching Catwoman, The Penguin and even Bruce Wayne in their developmental stages is cool. I wouldn’t say I’m a big Batman guy, but I have seen most of the movies and did enjoy the series in the 1960s. Especially Cesar Romero as The Joker and Frank Gorshin as The Riddler.
* I think we’re witnessing the deterioration of Modern Family, a once-great show that hasn’t been great for a while. Am I nuts?
* I’ve been binge-watching King of Queens for about six weeks now. It’s borderline insanity. I love Kevin James and really, really love Jerry Stiller as Arthur Spooner. But the binging has to stop. It just has to. Next up for binge watching? Probably The Big Bang Theory, which I’ve never gotten into.
* I know all of the off-the-field issues in the NFL haven’t affected most people and their football viewing habits. But it’s affected mine. I’m not watching nearly as much of the NFL as I have in the past. And I’m not really missing it. I’ll stick to college football and the baseball playoffs for now.
* Ironically, during a season in which my interest in the NFL is flat, my fantasy football team is unbeaten. Life just doesn’t make sense sometimes.
* This is pretty much a must-win game tonight for the Los Angeles Angels. If they lose, they come to Kansas City to face James Shields down 2-0 in the ALDS. And LA is sending spotty left-hander C.J. Wilson to the mound to face Shields. How well will Yordano Ventura pitch tonight for KC and how much can the Royals depend on a bullpen that was heavily used Thursday night? And what about the forearm injury to Kelvin Herrera?
* Can’t wait to see Gone Girl, hopefully sometime this weekend. The fall movie season is my favorite, hands down. The Good Lie with Reese Witherspoon is also on my list. And, of course, I’ll let my wife pick a few movies because that’s the kind of guy I am.
* Kansas State shouldn’t have any trouble at home Saturday against Texas Tech. But how will Kansas do at West Virginia under interim coach Clint Bowen? It’ll be interesting. Any other time, I’d probably say the Mountaineers would win by three or four touchdowns. But KU has a little bit of an X Factor going for it now. Trouble for the Jayhawks is that the offense just doesn’t look capable of doing much of anything, no matter the coach.
* I hope Bowen succeeds. And by succeeds, I hope he wins a couple of games and is competitive in a couple more down the stretch. That would put an interesting twist into KU’s coaching search after athletic director Sheahon Zenger fired Weis on Sunday. Bowen is a Lawrence guy and a KU guy. There are a lot of Jayhawks supporters who would love to see him get the job. But he’ll have to show something to get into the mix.
* How about Arizona last night? Do you think Michigan might be wishing it had kept Rich Rodriguez around?
* You Royals fans are sitting pretty. But the baseball postseason can turn on a dime. Just keeping it real here.
* Part of me can’t wait for the Cardinals-Dodgers tonight. Part of me wants to pretend it’ll never happen. Being a baseball fan is the worst thing I’ve ever loved.
* Have a great weekend, everyone. As always. I’m looking forward to being in Kauffman Stadium for Game 3 on Sunday evening. Will I be there for Game 4 on Monday, too? Later.