It’s time for Friday musings, World Series edition, a little later in the day than normal. Let’s just say the World Series has been keeping me up late.
▪ I had never been to a World Series before this year. Why? Because when the St. Louis Cardinals are playing in the World Series, I would rather watch on the big television in my basement, where I can throw things and say things and do things that probably wouldn’t be acceptable in the ballpark.
▪ I was at Games 1 and 2 in Kansas City on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and I’ll be returning for Games 6 and 7, if necessary. I hope they’re necessary. First, I’d like to get back up to KC for more baseball. Second, it’ll be a better World Series if it goes six or seven games. The Giants are a really dangerous team at home, though. After splitting the first two games of the NLCS against St. Louis at Busch Stadium, San Francisco returned home to AT&T Park and beat the Cardinals three in a row.
▪ The Cardinals, though, don’t have this Kansas City bullpen. What team does? So, essentially, the Royals are playing to be tied or ahead in the middle innings. So far in this postseason, games like that have turned into Kansas City wins. There’s no reason to think it stops now. Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland are as dominant now, in late October, as they have been at any time during the season.
▪ It’ll be interesting to see how the Royals’ lineup produces without Billy Butler as their designated-hitter. Butler is starting to look really locked in at the plate and his presence will be missed, especially because he’s a right-handed bat in the between Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon in the KC lineup.
▪ The combined age of tonight’s starting pitchers for Game 3 – Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthrie and San Francisco’s Tim Hudson – is 74. Guthrie, the pup of the two at 35, spent a little time in the National League with the Colorado Rockies and faced the Giants three times, all starts. In those games, he was 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA and allowed 29 base runners in 14.2 innings. Hudson, meanwhile, spent several seasons with the Oakland A’s in the American League and was 3-4 against Kansas City with a 4.12 ERA. There could be some offense tonight.
▪ I’ve had a great seat for the World Series in the .390 Club down the left-field line. Kauffman Stadium is a beautiful place and I’ve really enjoyed writing about this World Series and about the Royals.
▪ That offends some of my fellow St. Louis Cardinals fans, who just can’t believe I’m writing positive things about the Royals. Hey, I’m a columnist. I write opinion pieces, mostly, and how can anyone not be caught up in what the Royals are doing? It’s a great story and I love being in the midst of great stories. It’s kind of why I chose this field; it certainly wasn’t the money. Writing about the Royals doesn’t detract from my love for the Cardinals. Nothing ever will. But I’m not so entrenched in being a Cardinals fan that I can’t appreciate a great baseball story. And the Royals are a great baseball story.
▪ That said, television ratings for Game 1 on Tuesday night were the lowest in World Series history. The ratings grew by eight percent for Game 2, but it’s clear that neither the Royals nor Giants, wild-card teams, have captured the imagination of the country. If the World Series goes six or seven games, I expect ratings to increase and interest to grow. But the games have to be good, too. There has to be drama.
▪ My son and daughter-in-law are looking for a dog and it’s making me want a dog, too. Man’s best friend and all that. I yearn for unconditional love because loving me is such a conditional thing. In other words, it’s not easy to love me. But surely a dog would.
▪ I arrive at Kauffman Stadium about six hours before game time for these World Series games. I’m notoriously early and really gave some thought as to why that is this week. I think it has to do with newspaper deadlines. I’ve been writing under deadlines for more than 40 years and the goal in those situations, obviously, is to be as early as possible. So I think I picked up this habit of being really early for sports events because of deadlines. I’ve grown used to being early. It’s as good of an explanation as I can come up with.
▪ It’s becoming harder and harder to enjoy Homeland, the Showtime series that got off to such a compelling start three seasons ago. And I think the reason is because Claire Danes’ character, Carrie Mathison, is just so hard to like. She abandoned her infant daughter this season to return to Pakistan and I think that was the last straw. I know she’s meant to be a complex character, but I’m not seeing the complexity. I’m just seeing a pretty bad person.
▪ Trusting that a movie with Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts cannot go wrong, I’m hoping to see St. Vincent this weekend. Movie-going is one of my favorite things to do during the fall and winter months.
▪ For those of you who like to stay up to date on League 42, the youth baseball league I’m involved with, we have nearly 200 kids enrolled for our 2015 season and are planning on between 300 and 350 for next spring and summer. It’s so much fun working with League 42. Some of our volunteers took some kids to WWE Smackdown on Tuesday night at Intrust Bank Arena. We’re always looking for fun things to do with these kids.
▪ Kansas State-Texas could be interesting Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. It looks like Texas hired the right guy in Charlie Strong and the Longhorns are getting better week by week. But the Wildcats will be tough for UT to handle in Manhattan. I’m picking a 34-21 Kansas State win.
Have a great, warm weekend everyone. Thanks for reading, as always.