Friday, April 1, 2016

Top Moments (#5 - #1) of the 2014-2015 Kansas City Royals.

And finally, at the end of the most ridiculous project I have ever had the temerity to attempt, the five biggest Royals Moments of the last two years. Included in this set of five are…well, see for yourself.

Moment #: 5
Date: October 12, 2015
Game: 2015 ALDS Game 4, @ Houston Astros
Score: Kansas City 4, Houston 6, Top of the 8th
Situation: No outs, bases loaded
Count: 0-1
Matchup: Kendrys Morales vs. Tony Sipp
Result: E-6, two tying runs score, go-ahead runner to third base
WPA: 31%

Summary: In the pinnacle of the Miracle at Minute Maid, Carlos Correa whiffs on Kendrys Morales’ double play ball, allowing the Royals to tie Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS and move the go-ahead run to third base with no outs.

Link to video: Here.

Be honest: what emotion do you feel when you look at this picture?

Do you feel anguish? Do you feel sympathy and compassion for the traumatic event that this poor soul is going through at the instant this picture was taken? If so, then you are a kind and considerate human being.

If, on the other hand, you feel nothing but unbridled joy, pure schadenfreude for this guy’s pain and suffering, then you are a true Royals fan. I’d like to think that I’m a true Royals fan.

If you can’t enjoy a little schadenfreude at the expense of Tony Sipp, how about this guy?

The Governor of Texas tweeted that at 3:02 PM, during the commercial break between the bottom of the 7th and the top of the 8th. Six batters and fifteen minutes later, the game was tied.

The first five of those six batters singled, and the Royals had cut the lead in two, and the bases were still loaded, and the tying run was at second base, and there were still no outs. But I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop, and with Kendrys Morales at the plate, a rally-killing double play seemed like a distinct possibility.

And sure enough, Sipp’s 0-1 pitch was a 77 mph back-door curveball that Morales reached across the plate for, and hit a grounder straight back up the middle. If Sipp fields it, it’s probably a 1-2-3 double play and the Royals are still down 6-4. Instead it tipped off his glove, which slowed it down a little and directed it towards the shortstop side of the bag, in perfect position for Carlos Correa to turn a 6-4-3 double play. The Royals would score a run to make it 6-5, but there would be two outs and the tying run would be at third. But notice how, after the ball tips off Sipp’s glove, it deflects down off the pitcher’s mound. I suspect that this is where the ball picks up its now-infamous spin.

Correa is the closest thing we’ve seen to a young Alex Rodriguez since a young Alex Rodriguez. As a 20-year-old, he was called up in early June and in just 99 games he hit 22 home runs and stole 14 bases, hit .279/.345/.512, played good defense at shortstop and won Rookie of the Year honors. I have little doubt that he will be one of the game’s best players for the next decade, and that he will torture the Royals with his greatness whenever the Royals play Houston for at least the next six years.

And I won’t care, because more than any other opponent, he is responsible for the Royals winning the World Series. The irony is that, until Morales hit this ground ball, Correa had almost single-handedly put the Royals on the precipice of elimination.

In Game 3 of the 1985 ALCS, George Brett had what is widely considered to be the individual game performance in Royals history. He homered in the 1st inning to open the scoring, doubled leading off the 3rd and scored on a pair of fly balls to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. After Toronto scored five runs in the 5th, the Royals trailed 5-3 when Brett batted with a man on board in the 6th and tied the game with a two-run homer. And then Brett led off the bottom of the 8th with a single and scored the winning run on Steve Balboni’s two-out single. Along the way he made one of the best defensive plays of his career to throw Damaso Garcia out at the plate in the 3rd inning.

In Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS, Carlos Correa basically had the George Brett game. Correa was hit by a pitch in the 1st inning but did not score. In the 3rd, with the Astros down 2-0, he homered with two outs. In the 5th, with the Astros still losing 2-1, Correa batted with a man on first and two outs and doubled into the right field corner to tie the game. In the 7th, with the Astros now holding a 3-2 lead, Correa homered with a man aboard. He even singled leading off the 9th inning with the Astros down by three runs. Like Brett, Correa went 4-for-4 with two home runs and a double. Correa’s WPA for the game was 0.497; Brett’s WPA was 0.485.

The only thing Correa was missing was the incredible defensive play. 

He didn’t even need an incredible defensive play, he just had to handle a tricky hop; with Morales running, Correa could have turned the double play if had tossed the ball underhand to first. 

And had he turned the double play, the Royals would have still been down a run; when Mike Moustakas struck out next, the inning would have been over.

“But,” you say, “Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the 9th inning anyway!”

“Yes,” I reply, “but if Morales had made two outs on that play, Hosmer never would have batted in the 9th, because Lorenzo Cain’s strikeout with Hosmer in the on-deck circle would have ended the game instead of just being the first out of the 9th inning.” (And this also ignores the fact that if Correa turns the double play, the Astros don’t have to turn to closer Luke Gregerson in the 8th inning, and he pitches the 9th instead of Josh Fields.)

In their franchise’s history, the Royals have had 57 plate appearances with the bases loaded in the postseason. This is the only time the batter reached base on an error. And fifteen minutes after the Royals’ season appeared over, the game was tied, the go-ahead run was on third base with one out, and their Win Probability stood at 75%. The Miracle at Minute Maid wasn’t complete, but the miracle part of the Miracle at Minute Maid was. And it completed the greatest tweetstorm I’ve ever had the privilege to write:

Now all the Royals had to do was hold serve, and they would live to see another day. And, as it turned out, a lot of days after that.

Memorable Broadcaster Quote: “Back up the middle…OFF CORREA, ON INTO CENTER FIELD! KANSAS CITY HAS TIED IT IN THE EIGHTH!” – Matt Vasgersian.

It’s really hard to do this quote justice with mere capital letters. The shock and wonder in Matt Vasgersian’s voice is something to behold. I should make this my ringtone.

Moment #: 4
Date: November 1, 2015
Game: 2015 World Series Game 5, @ New York Mets
Score: Kansas City 1, New York 2, Top of the 9th
Situation: One out, man on third
Count: 1-0
Matchup: Salvador Perez vs. Jeurys Familia
Result: Groundout, tying run scores
WPA: 8%/28%

Summary: Eric Hosmer makes a mad dash home – and is safe with the tying run with two outs in the 9th.

Link to video: Here.

“Gordon smoked a line drive that appeared it would fall in front of center fielder Gregor Blanco, but Blanco played it as if he had a chance to catch it until it was too late, and the ball skipped past him and headed to the wall. Gordon accelerated into a higher gear, and then Juan Perez, who was backing up Blanco, bobbled the ball at the wall, and for one glorious moment we contemplated the utterly unthinkable: a Little League inside-the-park “home run” to tie Game 7 of the World Series with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Just writing that sentence makes me tingle.” - Me, at Grantland, after Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

In 2014, Alex Gordon held at third. In 2015, Eric Hosmer didn’t.

Seriously, who writes a script like this? Who produces a screenplay in which the protagonist falls just short of the perfect ending in part one, and then finds redemption and vindication in the exact same situation in part two?

Actually, that describes most of Hollywood. Which is why the sequel is so rarely as good as the original. The 2014 Royals were Rocky; the 2015 Royals were Rocky II. And Rocky II was the more enjoyable movie to watch growing up as a kid who was always a sucker for happy endings, but Rocky was the one that won Best Picture.

The difference is that the 2014-2015 Royals weren’t fiction. They actually happened. We mock Hollywood endings in Hollywood because they’re so clearly fictional. So what do you do when a Hollywood ending happens before your eyes, and it’s 100% real?

You savor it. You appreciate it. You thank God that after a generation of watching in vain, you finally got to see the team you had been waiting your entire lifetime to see.

There’s not much I can say about this play that you don’t already know about. If you want to learn more, read Tim Kurkjian’s just-written oral history of the play – which, appropriately enough, was published almost a year to the day after his oral history of Alex Gordon holding at third. As Kurkjian pointed out, “The Hosmer dash was historic: It marked the first time since Game 7 in 1960 that the tying run scored on an infield out in the ninth inning or later of a World Series game.” And I already broke down the pros and cons of Hosmer’s decision to go vs. Gordon’s (well, Mike Jirschele’s) decision to stay here. (Quick version: I agree with both decisions.)

Hosmer’s run is only worth 8% of WPA if you look at it in the box score, where the WPA is measured from the time Salvador Perez makes contact with the pitch. But, in fact, when Hosmer took off for home, Perez’s out at first base was a foregone conclusion, and if he had held at third, the Royals’ Win Probability would have dropped from 32% before Perez batted to just 12%. Hosmer scoring raised the Royals’ Win Probability to 40%, so his WPA of 28% is one of the most valuable baserunning plays in World Series history.

If the picture of Tony Sipp’s anguish doesn’t make you smile, how about this one?

I know I should be magnanimous. I know I shouldn’t take joy in other people’s misery. But I’m sorry – this picture gets me in the funny bone every single time. And – perfect timing – the New York Times interviewed some of the principals in the picture today (including George and Leslie Brett, who you can see in the corner.)

We never did get a Little League inside-the-park “home run” to tie Game 7 of the World Series with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But a year later, we did get a runner on third going home on a routine ground ball to the third baseman, tying Game 5 of the World Series with two outs in the ninth. If that doesn’t make you tingle, well, I left out the best part: The Royals would go on to win the game, and with it, the World Series.

Memorable Broadcaster Quote: “Broken bat…cut off by Wright, out! Throw home, WILD, tie game! Unbelievable baserunning by Eric Hosmer has tied it! They keep finding ways!” – Joe Buck.

Moment #: 3
Date: October 27, 2015
Game: 2015 World Series Game 1, vs. New York Mets
Score: New York 4, Kansas City 3, Bottom of the 9th
Situation: One out, bases empty
Count: 1-1
Matchup: Alex Gordon vs. Jeurys Familia
Result: Home Run, tying run scores
WPA: 47%

Summary: Alex Gordon hits the biggest home run in Royals history, tying Game 1 of the 2015 World Series in the bottom of the 9th.

Link to video: Here.

If you’re not a Royals fan, ranking this Moment ahead of Hosmer’s Mad Dash may seem, well, mad. Hosmer’s play is the iconic moment of the 2015 World Series. It is one of the most iconic World Series moments of the last decade. I suspect it’s the Royals play most likely to end up as a regular participant in the montage of great postseason moments that MLB will use in commercials and such. Alex Gordon’s home run, while it had a huge impact on the game, wasn’t even the most iconic home run of the 2015 playoffs – that would be Jose Bautista’s tie-breaking/bat-flipping magnum opus in Toronto in Game 5 of the ALDS.

And if this ranking was of the Top Baseball Moments of 2015, then Hosmer’s Mad Dash would rank higher than Gordon’s homer. But I’m ranking the Top Royals Moments. And in terms of what it meant for the Royals, Gordon’s home run was indisputably more important.

If Hosmer didn’t try for home, the Royals lose Game 5 of the World Series. If that’s the case, then they still come home to Kansas City for Games 6 and 7, needing to win only one of the two games to win the World Series.

But if Gordon didn’t homer, well…let’s remember how we got to that situation in the first place. The Royals had tied Game 1 with two runs in the 6th inning, 3-3, and were looking good in the 8th inning when Kelvin Herrera retired the first two Mets. Then Juan Lagares singled after an impressive nine-pitch at-bat, stole second, and then Wilmer Flores hit a chopper to first base that Hosmer just whiffed on – the ball got past him and Lagares scored the go-ahead run.

The Royals tried to retaliate when Ben Zobrist led off the bottom of the inning with a double (Moment #147), but Lorenzo Cain unadvisedly tried to bunt twice and wound up striking out on three pitches. Hosmer then struck out on three pitches, and their uncharacteristic inability to make contact proved crucial when a wild pitch by Tyler Clippard moved Zobrist to third with two outs. Kendrys Morales then walked, but Jeurys Familia came in and got Mike Moustakas to ground out to end the threat. Luke Hochevar pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, but the Royals trailed by a run with three outs to go, and let’s be clear: this would have been a brutal loss. The Royals were going to lose because of bad defense and an inability to make contact, and they were going to lose the first game of the World Series at home, setting up a must-win game with Johnny Cueto on the mound. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was distraught. We couldn’t come this far again only to lose in the World Series again. But I was terrified that was exactly what was going to happen.

Salvador Perez led off the bottom of the 9th and grounded out. At this point the situation, if not the stakes, were exactly as they were in Moment #6: down a run with the bases empty and two outs left in the game. Gordon batted, with Paulo Orlando in the on-deck circle and Alcides Escobar in the hole. With all due respect to both those guys, I had no confidence in their ability to hit a guy with Familia’s stuff. It was really up to Gordon to do something dramatic.

And then Familia decided to get cute. On the 1-1 pitch to Gordon, he tried to quick-pitch him.

Fortunately, Gordon was paying attention when Familia did the same thing to Perez earlier in the inning, and he was ready. Familia unveiled a splitter mid-season and it was devastating – the hardest secondary pitch in baseball and maybe the best splitter in the game. I read this before the World Series and was terrified of the guy. But on his quick-pitch, Familia threw his 97 mph sinking fastball – still an excellent pitch! Except that, as Jeff Sullivan analyzed afterwards, the sinker didn’t sink as much as usual, possibly because in his rush to quick-pitch, Familia didn’t get full extension. So he left the fastball waist-high. And Gordon, looking for that quick-pitch, wasn’t late to catch up to the fastball. (Harold Reynolds, to his credit, gave basically this same analysis on the broadcast in real time.)

The result was a ball hit 442 feet to dead centerfield. And I mean DEAD centerfield – according to Hit Tracker Online, the “horizontal angle” of Gordon’s home run was 90.0 degrees. Gordon has only hit seven home runs farther in his major league career. Players dream their entire careers of hitting a ball that hard and that square, and Gordon hit one to tie a World Series game – a game his team would go on to win – in the bottom of the 9th.

But it’s not simply that the Royals wouldn’t have won Game 1 of the World Series without Gordon’s home run. It’s that his home run completely changed the course of the rest of the series as well.

The Royals won Game 2 handily, 7-1, but the Mets won Game 3 handily, 9-3. But for some strange reason, Mets manager Terry Collins decided to go to Familia to pitch the 9th in Game 3, despite his team leading by six runs, and despite the fact that Game 3 is the only game in the Series in which you’re scheduled to play the next two days as well. I never got a good explanation why – not that I was complaining:

But after the Series, Brian Kenny wrote about this for Sports on Earth, and pointed out that his studio colleague (and former closer) Dan Plesac liked the decision to go to Familia in Game 3 “because he believes even an elite closer needs to re-establish confidence”. I can’t say for certain that was Collins’ motivation, but I can’t think of any other reason why he would go to Familia there.

And if that’s the case – if Familia pitched a meaningless inning in Game 3 of the World Series because he gave up a home run to Gordon in Game 1 – then think of the repercussions: Collins didn’t go to Familia to start the 8th inning in Game 4, when the Mets were leading by just one run. Instead Collins let Tyler Clippard start the inning, and only after Clippard gave up back-to-back walks to Zobrist and Cain (Moments #104 and #103) did Collins finally turn to Familia, who thanks to some shoddy defense allowed three runs to score. Maybe those runs score anyway if Familia starts the inning; we’ll never know. But if Familia hadn’t pitched in Game 3, he almost certainly would have started the 8th inning in Game 4, and his arm would have been fresher. Instead, the Mets lost.

So in an alternative reality where Gordon doesn’t homer in Game 1, not only do the Mets win Game 1, they might also have won Game 4. In which case they would have led the series 3 games to 1 going to Game 5, and they would have been three outs away from a championship going to the 9th inning that night. If it plays out that way, does Collins give in to Matt Harvey wanting to throw a complete-game shutout? Or does he say, we’re three outs away from a championship, and I’m making sure my best pitcher is on the mound for that moment? In modern baseball it is basically a tradition for the team’s closer to get the final out of a clinching event – Wade Davis pitched the 9th inning in Game 5 against the Astros up five runs, Greg Holland pitched the 9th inning in Game 3 against the Angels up five runs. (Davis pitched the 9th inning with the Royals up by seven runs against the Seattle Mariners – and gave up a meaningless home run – in the game that clinched the AL Central.) I actually think that with a championship three outs away, it would have been easier for Collins to stick with his conviction and bring in Familia to start the 9th. (And if he had stuck with Harvey and the inning played out as it did? Even Hosmer himself has said that he probably wouldn’t have tried to score had the Royals been down 3 games to 1 instead of ahead. Could you imagine if he had been thrown out at the plate to end the World Series?)

In which case it would have been the Mets, not the Royals, who won the 2015 World Series in five games. Speculative? Sure. But I absolutely believe that Gordon’s home run changed the course of not only the game, but the World Series.

And then there’s this, a list of the biggest plays, as measured by WPA, of any postseason game in Royals history:

Player          Year  Game       Event  WPA

George Brett    1980 ALCS Game 3  HR   0.49
Alex Gordon     2015 WS Game 1    HR   0.47
Dane Iorg       1985 WS Game 6    1B   0.46
Eric Hosmer     2014 ALDS Game 2  HR   0.43
Willie Aikens   1980 WS Game 3    1B   0.39
Salvador Perez  2014 Wild Card    1B   0.39

(If you’re surprised that Dane Iorg’s hit isn’t in first, keep in mind that with one out and the bases loaded, the Royals were in excellent position to tie the game without benefit of a hit. By Win Probability, the Royals were actually slight favorites to win at that point.)

In terms of impact on the game, the only hit in Royals history with more impact on a playoff game was George Brett’s legendary home run – by consensus the biggest home run in franchise history before 2015 – into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium off Goose Gossage, with two outs and two on in the 7th inning of Game 3, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.

But that game came in the ALCS, and the Royals were already up 2 games to 0 – had they lost the game they still would have been favored to win the series. So if we take into account the importance of the game by combining WPA with the Championship Leverage Index of the game – as I explained here – then here’s a list of the biggest plays in Royals history, as measured by Championship Probability Added:

Player          Year  Game       Event  CPA

Dane Iorg       1985 WS Game 6    1B   0.230
Darryl Motley   1985 WS Game 7    HR   0.180
George Brett    1976 ALCS Game 5  HR   0.165
Alex Gordon     2015 WS Game 1    HR   0.147
Alex Gordon     2014 WS Game 7    2B   0.130

By one measurement, Gordon’s home run ranks second all-time, by the other, it ranks fourth, and the only other play in the top five by each measurement is Dane Iorg’s single. Iorg’s single is still, today, the biggest hit in Royals history. The second-biggest hit in Royals history comes down to Gordon’s homer off Familia vs. Brett’s homer off Gossage. And with all due respect to you old-timers out there, I’m going with Gordon’s home run. The Royals probably win the ALCS anyway in 1980 – and yes, I know about their frightening history with the Yankees – and besides, they didn’t go on to win the World Series. The 2015 Royals did. And they did it because of this guy:

So yes, Hosmer’s Mad Dash may be the one that baseball fans remember. But Gordon’s Home Run is the one that Royals fans want to see immortalized. It's just a shame that he had to leave us, but what an amazing moment for the last home run of his Royals career.

Wait, you mean he didn't leave?!

Memorable Broadcaster Quote: “Gordon in the air to center…back at the wall…THIS GAME IS TIED!” – Joe Buck.

Moment #: 2
Date: September 30, 2014
Game: 2014 Wild Card Game, vs. Oakland Athletics
Score: Oakland 8, Kansas City 8, Bottom of the 12th
Situation: Two outs, man on second
Count: 2-2 (+1 foul)
Matchup: Salvador Perez vs. Jason Hammel
Result: Single, winning run scores, game over
WPA: 39%

Summary: Salvador Perez ends the greatest game in Royals history with a walk-off single with two outs in the 12th inning.

Link to video:

There’s a reason this is my Twitter avatar, you know.

It’s possible to make too much of this play – the Royals had already tied the game, so the worst-case scenario was that they were headed to the 13th. But one thing that makes this hit so special was that it came with two outs. For all of the Royals’ postseason heroics the last two years, in fact, this is the only two-out hit to drive in the tying or go-ahead run in the 8th inning or later in a playoff game. There was no backup plan; if Salvador Perez didn’t come through here, the game was going to the 13th inning.

And there weren’t just two outs; there were two strikes. Perez had fallen behind 1-and-2 when the A’s pitched out – and Christian Colon stole second base anyway (Moment #74) – and then fouled off the first 2-and-2 pitch. The next pitch from Jason Hammel was a slider down and away. Perez had already struck out on three sliders down and away in the 8th inning, with the tying run on third and go-ahead run on second with one out: had the Royals lost the game, he would have been one of the chief scapegoats. (Along with Yordano Ventura, and Ned Yost for bringing in Yordano Ventura.) It wasn’t a great slider from Hammel – it didn’t have a ton of bite, and it stayed up at the knees. On the other hand, it was at least six inches outside, and if a right-handed hitter was going to put that ball in play for a base hit, he was almost certainly going to shoot it through the right side.

But not Perez. His swing was off-balance to the extreme – at the point of contact he was flat-footed and his right hand had almost already come off the bat – but somehow he pulled the ball. Not just pulled it, but pulled it just inside the line, pulled so far and so hard that Josh Donaldson, playing not far off the base, was unable to glove it. How close did he come? This close:

And how happy was Perez? This happy:

In Andy McCullough’s majestic report on the Wild Card Game a year later, we learned a little something extra:

“Traded to Toronto after the season, Donaldson played third base for the American League. He told Yost how he lost sleep over the Wild Card game’s last play. When Colon stole second, Donaldson moved away from the third-base line to protect the arm of Gomes. He shifted himself an inch away from preventing history.

That same week, Donaldson told Perez a similar story.

“He told me that he almost got it,” Perez said. “And you can see on the video, he touched it a little bit. So close, you know? And he thought he was going to get it.””

On such fractions of an inch is history made.

We’ll never know what would have happened had Perez made an out; maybe the Royals would have won anyway. Jason Frasor was the pitcher of record for the Royals, and Jeremy Guthrie was warming up in the pen; the only other pitcher on the roster was Danny Duffy, who we now know was limited by injury and would have only been available for an inning or two. Hammel had just come into the game to pitch to Perez, and the only pitchers left for Oakland were Ryan Cook and Drew Pomeranz, though as a starting pitcher Hammel was probably good for 2-3 innings. He was objectively a better pitcher than Guthrie in 2014, but in a sudden death situation like that, you might as well throw a dart trying to guess who would score next.

But we didn’t have to throw a dart. Perez had somehow pulled a slider well outside the strike zone down the third base line. Colon had scored the walkoff run. The most important game the Royals had played in 29 years had turned into the best game the Royals had played in 29 years.

And now, with the benefit of hindsight and the blessing of all that came after it, I can say confidently that it was, in fact, the greatest game in Royals history.

(Yes, that's my voice you hear, losing my mind and saying "Oh my God!" over and over and over again, and then something distinctly NSFW and possibly blasphemous. In my defense, I honestly have no memory of that - I must have partially blacked out.)

Memorable Broadcaster Quote: “Past third! Into left field! The Kansas City Royals are walking off into the ALDS!” – Ernie Johnson

That one will never get old.

Moment #: 1
Date: November 1, 2015
Game: 2015 World Series Game 5, @ New York Mets
Score: Kansas City 7, New York 2, Bottom of the 12th
Situation: Two outs, man on second
Count: 1-2 (+2 fouls)
Matchup: Wilmer Flores vs. Wade Davis
Result: Strikeout looking, game over
WPA: 0%

Summary: The Royals Take The Crown.

Link to video: Here.

In terms of game impact, leverage index, whatever you want to call it, this Moment ought to rank near the bottom of our list. The Royals led by five runs, and there were two outs, and a single lonely runner on base. The ballpark was probably more than half-empty at that point, as Mets fans had long before started streaming for the exits. The only concentration of fans was behind the Royals dugout, a sea of blue in a ballpark that was otherwise patchy orange. There was no real drama about what was about to happen. Wade Davis overmatched an average major league hitter who probably wanted to be anywhere but standing at the plate at that very moment. He got ahead of Wilmer Flores 1-and-2, then slipped a 95 mph fastball by him on the inside corner. It was a borderline strike call, to be honest, but it’s telling of just how little was at stake that afterwards there wasn’t a hint of controversy over the call.

And if you believe that’s all this moment was about, you probably think that Neil Armstrong really did just take one small step for a man, and what’s the fuss all about? 

Memorable Broadcaster Quote: "The 1-2 again...INSIDE CORNER! THE ROYALS, 2015 WORLD CHAMPIONS!" - Joe Buck.

This was the Moment that every other Moment on this list was in service towards. This was the Moment we had been waiting for since Darryl Motley caught a fly ball at Kauffman Stadium 30 years before. This was probably the closest I’ve ever come to an out-of-body experience, standing with a few thousand other Royals fans down the third-base line, already in celebration mode, waiting for the party to start.

This was a nothing moment. This was an everything Moment. This was the final step in a generation-long journey. This was one giant leap for an organization, a fan base, and a city that 15 months before was the most downtrodden franchise in American sports. This was validation. This was a line on my bucket list being checked off. This was the Moment I had waited my entire adult life and much of my childhood for. This was the Moment that, in an instant, paid me back for a lifetime of devotion.

To David and Dan Glass; to Dayton Moore and the front office that put together the team and dealt with the frustration and anger of their fan base for nearly a decade; to Ned Yost and the coaching staff; to the support staff and trainers and scouts and all the unsung heroes in the organization; to all the players who weren’t on the playoff roster but made their contributions throughout the season; to Raul Mondesi; and to The 25, the guys who, if I were granted absolute power, all Royals fans would be forced to give a standing ovation for the first time their name was mentioned over the PA system in a game, from now until the ends of their careers, even if it meant 40,000 fans rising as one to salute them when they entered a game in 2029 as a pinch-hitter for the opponent:

Drew Butera, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Colon, Johnny Cueto, Wade Davis, Danny Duffy, Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, Terrance Gore, Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar, Eric Hosmer, Ryan Madson, Kris Medlen, Franklin Morales, Kendrys Morales, Mike Moustakas, Paulo Orlando, Salvador Perez, Alex Rios, Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, and Ben Zobrist.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


I began this project three months ago as a way to pay tribute to the best sports team I will probably ever have the privilege of rooting for, and perhaps as a way to make penance for all the doubts and criticisms and insults pointed at the players, managers, and front office over the years.

In the 1986 Bill James Baseball Abstract, Bill James writes a 35-page essay – I’m pretty sure it’s the longest essay in any of his Abstracts – entitled “A History Of Being A Kansas City Baseball Fan”. In the 1990s and early 2000s it was almost an annual tradition for me to re-read the essay around Opening Day. And at some point I promised myself that if the Royals ever somehow won another championship, that I would do my best to write Part 2.

I’d like to think that this project was the 21st-century, multimedia-saturated, HTML-coded version of that essay. I hope I lived up to James’ legacy. I hope I did you all proud.

But about halfway through the project, I realized I was also doing something else with this project: I was saying goodbye.

I was 20 years old when we started Baseball Prospectus. I turned 40 last summer. Two decades and half my lifetime have been spent writing about baseball and the Royals in my free time, generally for little or no pay, for the pure pleasure of having my opinion heard. My devotion to baseball has been returned in kind, and I am so very grateful for that. But I don’t know what else I can accomplish as a part-time, multi-tasking, perennially distracted writer.

I've seen the baseball industry completely accept the ideas I so strongly believed in when we started Baseball Prospectus. I've written for ESPN, and appeared on MLB Network, and somehow got in on Grantland almost from the ground floor, and I'll forever have “Grantland Writer” on my résumé. I've sat on discussion panels with major league GMs. I've interviewed for a position inside a front office. And I just watched the team I've rooted for since childhood follow up one of the most magical seasons in history that didn't end in a championship with one of the most magical seasons in history that did. I'm at peace that the game I've loved all my life has returned the favor to me in spades.

So it feels like the right time to say goodbye. I know I’ve said goodbye before; I’ve retired more times than Sugar Ray Leonard. But this goodbye feels more complete, and more permanent. The unfortunate demise of Grantland means that I currently have no other venue to write about baseball, so I don’t have anywhere else to retire from. And I’m leaving, if not on top, then at least with the Royals on top. Whatever debt they owed to me has been paid back with interest. I can walk away now with something I’ve never had before: closure.

And so I’m walking away. I’ll still be a Royals fan. I’ll still watch their games, though perhaps not as obsessively. But I don’t want my life to be consumed by them anymore. My oldest daughter is supposed to leave for high school in five years, and I need to spend more time with my kids while I still have the chance. I need to spend more time with my family and with my patients and less time staring at the Twitter app on my phone.

Thank you all for everything. Writing for all of you has been one of the great joys of my life. But all good things must come to an end before they go bad. I hope this final project will stand as a monument to these Royals for decades to come, and that you all come back every now and then and relive the magic one more time.

Take care, everyone.


Karim Mourad said...

Not gonna lie, I got misty-eyed reading the last paragraph...

65 Toss Power Trap said...

Thank you, Rany.

Matt S said...

I've watched the Sal hit approximately 100 times. Every single time w/o fail - both arms go up in the air. I'm not sure I could stop them if I tried.

names said...

Guess I'm not as nostalgic about 2014 as most people.

I appreciate Perez's hit, but when I think about the Royal's last two years it isn't the first thing to come to mind, or the second...or third.

Hosmer coming home is the most iconic play Kansas City has seen since...well, who knows.

Whereas the 2014 Royals were playing with the weight of the franchises 28 years of buffoonery, the 2015 Royals were carrying that same weight in addition to the heart-breaking season that ended with Gordon on third.

I've rewatched 2015 WS games 1,2,3, and 4 multiple times. I've even rewatched ALCS game 6 and the Miracle at Minute Maid.

Sure, I've rewatched the wild card game since, but it has never captured the same emotions as what happened this year because this year I had last years sadness to help springboard my emotions.

Sal's hit last year did make me feel excited at the time. I remember. Oh yes, I remember. The emotions felt at the time of Gordon's Home run, and Hosmer's mad dash brought about a greater happiness than anything in 2014. I continue to find new ways to appreciate Gordon's home run and I will for years to come.

This might be because the Royals were losing in the ninth inning for both of those plays. While Gordon's home run and Hosmer's dash were both for the tie, they essentially felt like they were the winning run even though there would be a few more innings to play. Our win expecteancy had to have been in the single digits for both of those, whereas I'm sure salvy's at bat came with an expected win of greater than 50 percent.

I know neither happened in an elimination game, but I don't count that against anything. To me winning game one of the 2015 world series won the World Series for us. I have no evidence to support this and I can't argue beyond my feelings, but I'm not sure we go on to win if we lose game one on a Hosmer error.

I'm happy 2014 happened. It doesn't do it for me anymore though. I basically cry every time I'm listening to the radio and they replay Gordon's homerun, hosmer's run, or the final strikeout. That never happened with Salvy's hit.

Anyway, these are the good arguments. The kind of bickering I could do all day because it's we won the world series and I love talking about the Royals. Excellent work on these. I'm sad to see them end because it has been a lot of fun to read. Thank you.

Lank said...

Wonderful stuff and thanks Rany.

Please figure out a way to publish this so I can give you my money.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Wade Davis needs a statue, too, like Gordon, and Salvy, and ...

It should be of his arms thrust upwards on the called third strike with the glove thrown 20 feet above him. Not sure how you suspend the glove in the air.

He'll look great in metal... on the outside... just like his insides.

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Rany, your series is a treasure.

Lee Leslie said...

Thank you so much Rany. I've reading you since the Rob and Rany days, I you always made the losing a little more bearable, and now the winning that much more sweet.

JRCIII said...

Thanks, Rany. This was a great project, and a fitting farewell.

Three more fan views of some of these plays from Youtube:

The first is Hosmer's mad dash, filmed by a fan from way in the upper deck in the outfield. It's not a good view of the play itself, but you can feel the tension in the crowd, who can barely muster a "Let's go Mets" chant. As Hosmer breaks for home, someone starts frantically saying "He's going!" Bad throw, safe, and you can feel the life sucked out of the stadium, perhaps as badly as it was from Tony Sipp and Astros fans in the ALDS game four.

The second two are fan views of the last out. One from just behind the Royals dugout, the other from the upper deck on the Mets sides. They're wonderful, just because seeing the team spill out of the dugout and on to the field feels so. damn. good.

And why not: Salvador Perez wins the wild card!

Hector Savage said...


Very simply, thank you for your thoughtful passion over the years. It was a beacon of hope in the darkest hours of this organization to know that no matter how bad it got, Kansas City Royals baseball was still something worth caring about.

all the best to you and you family,


Mac said...

You'll be back. There will be plenty to cover in 2020 when we're all discussing how this thing went to hell in just 5 short years :)

Take it easy, Rany.

Anonymous said...

First, a final thank you for all the effort you put into this series, I've looked forward to every installment. It makes sense that it would take a dermatologist to figure out the answer to my off-season itch for Royals baseball!

Second, I certainly hope you un-retire a little next off-season to rank moments in the Royals' 2016 World Championship run in their proper places in this list!

Finally, I have to disagree about the choice of # 1 - I realize that actually winning the championship is obviously a big moment, but the Perez Wild Card walk-off was not only the end of the most exciting game in Royals history (possibly even baseball history!), but was extremely important as the moment without which so much of the rest of this does not happen. In all honesty, I have to say that Wade Davis going through the formality of putting down three Mets pales in its sense of "winning the World Series" next to the Colon single that drove in the winning run, which you didn't even have in the top 10. did a hell of a job here, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion.

Unknown said...

To my favorite blogger the internet has ever known, thank you for all of the time and energy you have poured into writing about the Royals. Your intelligence, charm, emotion, and dedication made every word of your posts enjoyable. We love the Royals, you love the Royals, and therefor we love you. I feel like I just finished a good book, there will be a void every time I wonder what your newest update says.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Unknown said...

First and foremost, thank you Rany for putting this list together. It is quite simply amazing! Like others have said, it made this winter awesome waiting for new updates to the list. Wherever life takes you now, I have no doubt you will be successful.

Now, As for the numero uno spot... I understand having Wade finishing off Flores, however, if this is #1, then imo, Colon's base hit HAS to be 1A.

Other than that, any other movement in picks I would have made would be nitpicking. And seeing how I didn't put the list together, and you did... You're rules, and I completely respect that.

Although it would be interesting to put up a poll of where a person would rank each moment in say the top 20 and see how things ended up then... Just something to think about.

Unknown said...

Oh, also... Anybody got any decent fan video's of Alex's home run? I've only found 1 on the net, and while it was fun hearing the reaction, it really didn't track the ball at all. So if anyone could help out with that, it would be awesome! Thanks.

jeking35 said...

Rany, I wish to echo the sentiments of all the others, Thank You so much for your time and effort over the years. It has been my pleasure to read your blogs as well as your Tweets. Enjoy your time with your children and hopefully someday you will be back.

Probably no better time to officially "retire." Here is to hoping you will still go on 810 with Petro so I can get my fix.

Lucas said...

Rany, thank you.

I don't know if you remember, but I lived in Chicago and was sitting next to you when we clinched that postseason berth (first in my lifetime!) in 2014. You were very kind and friendly to a stranger who read your blog, and it made one of the best sports nights of my life even better.

As fate would have it, I moved to New York in 2015 and was able to attend Game 5. Didn't see you at that game, but glad that in a way we were both able to be there for both ends of an incredible journey. Best to you and your family. I hope you'll at least indulge us with a thought or two on Twitter this summer.

Brett said...

Thanks again for all your work on this series. It was a fun way to relive the past two seasons, and I had a perpetual smile on my face while reading the last few entries.

While I'm sad to see you go, I totally understand, and this is a fitting way to leave things. It's been a pleasure reading your work over the years. Best of luck in everything your future holds.

15WSChamps said...

Rany, Thank you, thank you, thank you! It's been such a pleasure reliving all these moments. Bless you for all your hard work and dedication.

BMJ said...

Rany, quite simply you are the George Brett of Royals bloggers. Just do us all a favor and keep this website open so we can always have this - and like others have said, have this published somehow. You may be able to have some college tuition paid for your children because of this amazing, mythical Magnus Opus.

Jonny Gomes should be here to say:



Unknown said...

Oh, Rany. I skipped the last paragraph because I'm 99% certain it contains something I don't want to read. (That or perhaps you're a sick person who thinks that's a funny April Fool's joke?)

I was crushed by the Game 7 loss. (I realize that does not make me unique.) Your article "Pain Demands to be Felt" helped me express to myself why I felt that way, and to know I wasn't alone.

But still, how that winter sucked. I kept telling myself that winning wouldn't have matter that much. The joy would fade, it was just a game, blah blah blah.

Wow, was I wrong. I think a little moment of every day since November 1st has been brighter. Beyond the big stuff like the parade, I loved seeing Royals shirts everywhere, flags flying, license plates on cars. Christmas ornaments, jackets, billboards. It was a joyous off-season!

And then along came your 218 Moments. You have a gift for finding the right words to give the context and meaning for each of these moments, and you somehow found the astonishing amount of time it took to make the list, put it in order, write about each one, link the videos, tweets, and newspaper articles, and publish it. As a parent of kids around the same age as yours, I'm humbled! (Perhaps you don't require sleep?)

Anyway, the joy of this win was magnified by your 218 Moments project. This was a gift from you to every Royals fan now and forever. Thank you!

I will steal your own tweet from above and close by saying "Rany Jazayerli is a beautiful human being and we love him very very much".

Best always, and thank you!

BMJ said...

FINAL Tally As We Go From Top "George Brett" Moments (5) To Top "Jarrod Dyson" Moments (1) - or is it "Terrance Gore" Moments (0)

By Category:

2014 Regular Season (9)
Wild Card Game (21) - WOW!
ALDS Game 1 Angels (7)
ALDS Game 2 Angels (7)
ALDS Game 3 Angels (7)
ALCS Game 1 Orioles (8)
ALCS Game 2 Orioles (9)
ALCS Game 3 Orioles (4)
ALCS Game 4 Orioles (5)
World Series Game 1 Giants (0)
World Series Game 2 Giants (6)
World Series Game 3 Giants (6)
World Series Game 4 Giants (5)
World Series Game 5 Giants (1)
World Series Game 6 Giants (7)
World Series Game 7 Giants (4)
2014 Entries Overall (106)

2015 Regular Season (3)
ALDS Game 1 Astros (1)
ALDS Game 2 Astros (8)
ALDS Game 3 Astros (2)
ALDS Game 4 Astros (10)
ALDS Game 5 Astros (8)
ALCS Game 1 Blue Jays (6)
ALCS Game 2 Blue Jays (11)
ALCS Game 3 Blue Jays (2)
ALCS Game 4 Blue Jays (5)
ALCS Game 5 Blue Jays (1)
ALCS Game 6 Blue Jays (11)
World Series Game 1 Mets (13)
World Series Game 2 Mets (5)
World Series Game 3 Mets (5)
World Series Game 4 Mets (10)
World Series Game 5 Mets (12)
2015 Entries Overall (113)

By Player In Correct Order
Hosmer (28)
Cain (24)
Escobar (24) - biggest surprise
Moustakas (20)
Gordon (19)
Perez (16)
Zobrist (12)
Butler (10) - who knew?
Dyson (9)
Infante (6) - who really knew?
Rios (5)
Aoki (5)
Morales (4)
Colon (4)
Gore (3)
Butera (2)
Orlando (1)
Willingham (1)

Davis (10)
Holland (8)
Ventura (4)
Finnegan (4)!!
Herrera (4)
Cueto (2)
Hochevar (2)
Young (1)
Volquez (1)
Vargas (1)
Madson (1)
Guthrie (0)
Shields (0)
Duffy (0)
Medlen (0)
Frasor (0)
Collins (0)
Morales (0)

OTHER (20)

Charles Winters said...

There were tears in my eyes reading that goodbye, Rany.

Love you, man.

Unknown said...

Please tell me that your "retirement" is some kind of April Fools joke. You have been the silent soundtrack to the last couple of years, and forever a part of the memories for me. If, indeed, you have decided to hang 'em up, then your parting gift to us is a priceless treasure that we get to share with our own young Royals fans when they look to their parents during a losing streak and say "Why are they so bad?" We can pull up the laptop, set them down and tell them. "Trust the process. I felt like this once, but it will all work out." Click the mouse and let them see. I, truly, will miss your work, as there is no reasonable facsimile. Good luck to you and many blessings to you and your family.


Unknown said...

As everyone else has said, it has been a pleasure and an honor. Not just these 218, but the whole thing. I had 2 writers that I considered essential to my life: you and Roger Ebert. I cried real tears the day Roger died (the only time I have ever shed tears over the passing of a celebrity). I got emotional reading your final words today. A part of my life will be empty now. But I also want to say that I 100% support your decision. I get it all the way.

And, finally, as far as the list is concerned, #3 is my personal #1. And #34 is my favorite commentary. I think a book could be written about the Moose/Price connection.

stevo! said...

#18 is my #1. I sat with you and Rob on that insanely hot August day in 2003, as Darrell May beating the Twins to move our Boyz N Blue two clear with six weeks to play was as good as it gets.

Then came #18 on your incredible list. I have NEVER cried over a moment in sports, like I did at Kendrys taking Keuchel yard.

And I mean CRIED.

The girl that sits next to me (huge Cardinals fan) at work actually was concerned as I read and watched #18. She actually thought something horrible had happened to me, I was crying so uncontrollably re-watching and re-living that magical night.

All the best to you. This series validated 39 years of my life. I'm guessing I'm not the only one who can say that.

dorita said...

Rany --- thank you for every moment of your 20 years of commentary, insight, love of baseball and of course, of our beloved Royals. This last project is quite a crown on that legacy. I hope to have someone read it to me and play it for me decades from now when I am old and grey. I will still cry. And i will still be grateful.

Shannon Vaughan said...

Thank you. So many thanks.

Matt S said...

JRCIII love love love the alternate views. How far back did you start posting them?

Jodee said...

Cannot adequately express how grateful I am for this 218 series. But beyond this, i am also so thankful to have found your blog ten years ago. You are a master of your craft, and we are the lucky ones who got to come along for the ride. THANK YOU RANY!!

Unknown said...


Many thanks to you for taking the time away from your other life to blog for all of us Royals fans over the years. This countdown was a perfect exclamation point to all of it.

Like some others, I hope the farewell is one laced with April foolery, but if not, then I wish you all the best. Thanks again.

PS - I would have flipped #1 and #2. Winning the World Series was amazing (and it makes sense why you have it #1) and I admit I did still cry when that final out was recorded but with a 5 run lead and Davis on the bump, the party had already started with campaign flowing. But when Perez hit that ball and it snuck by Donaldson's glove, I don't think I've ever been so instantly elated/happy/exhausted/unable to think straight/etc. The storyline of that game set me up perfectly for that final moment...which as these 218 moments showed, was just the beginning.

Matt S said...

You'll be back Rany. In the immortal words of Michael Corleone: They always come pull me back in!

Also one thing overlooked in all this. We dodged a huge bullet not beating the Cubs 4-1 (assuming everything plays out the same). We'd be villains in our greatest moment in 30 years. And this win would be annoyingly tainted in public perception just like '85 was by Denkinger's call. Thank you Cubs for not being our fodder.

Matt S said...

I feel pretty lucky to have been at 2014 WS game 2, 2014 ALDS game 2, and 2015 ALDS game 5. That's like 20+ of the top 218 moments, and I've never seen the Royals lose in the postseason.

But I will always regret not flying back to KC for the WC game. When I talk about the game to my buddy, who kept imploring me to come back, he just gets all misty-eyed with a lump in his throat and can't really verbalize how awesome it was. Argh.

JRCIII said...

@Matt S -

Just in the top 10. Perhaps some day on a sick day I'll work my way back and see if I can dig out some more fan clips and add them. No reason this shouldn't be a living memorial to two of the greatest sports years I've had the pleasure to see.

Most of the clips I added were Youtube videos I bookmarked a few months ago from my personal top 5, and I thought as this project developed they would be fun footnotes to Rany's hard work.

Also, lots of props to BMJ for his running tallies. Zobrist had 12 highlights in half the time of almost every hitter except Butler.

Two more videos that I think get at the essence of, as Rany has put it, THIS TEAM!

1) Johnny Gomes, who is the 2015 version of the best bench character guy ever. I'm not sure if there is a sabremetric to determine whether he or Raul Ibanez truly wins the category for the Royals in this era.

2) Salvador Perez's Instagram highlights. He's known around town as being as genuinely fun, totally human and thoroughly awesome as these highlights would make you hope he would be. Lorenzo Cain makes the perfect foil. Seriously, this is 21st century baseball Abbott and Costello.

JRCIII said...

One more - my image to sum up the playoffs where this team came back from the dead like a horror movie villain over and over and over again. This fan had, for one night, the best costume imaginable for a Royals fan in a World Series Game on Halloween in the 2015 playoffs - Michael Myers as Royals Fan. This will be one of the most memorable and defining moments of the playoffs for me.

That horrified look on Tony Sipp's face in game four of the ALDS? Here's what he saw...

Unknown said...


Thank you. You sustained a community in the valley, and helped maintain our spirits during the long journey to the mountaintop. Your efforts over the years have benefited so many. Now is the time to let us all go forward, confident that your work will forever chronicle our wonderful, shared memories.

Before you sign off, though, a special note: thank you for coordinating a Royals' fans get together at the Cell in the summer of '08. There were only 5 of us (including yourself), and we got razzed pretty hard by a chap sitting a row behind. Nevertheless, we talked trivia and enjoyed a day in the sun, unaware of the majesty yet to come. It was a great day, in an otherwise forgettable baseball summer.


Matt Rowland said...

Great project. But you've walked away 3 times at least in the past several years. You'll be back.

Jeremy Burrows said...

Rany, thanks so much for doing all the hard work in putting this together! Wow. So emotional and so overwhelming and so amazing to end on top! Stories from Royals fans will forever be impactful to me after so many years of suffering were wiped away in moment #1!

i can only hope my story blog project is 1/10 as impactful to others as your blog has been to me.

blessings brother!


Unknown said...


With all due respect to a young-timer, the Brett HR is bigger than Gordon's. The numbers tell you that, but so do the emotions. You say you are aware of the Royals' history vs. the Yankees, but you didn't LIVE it. If you did, you would be able to experience Brett's HR in the moment and understand -- FEEL -- what that meant. The ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1977 ALCS is still the worst sports memory of my life (and I'm a Chiefs and Mizzou fan, too). And without Brett's HR there is NO guarantee the Royals still win that series with all the games remaining at Yankee Stadium. Brett himself has said he feared if they didn't sweep the Yankees they would've blown the series. His homer was pure catharsis, in its breadth and scope, what it meant in that game, in that series, and in the history of the franchise. And that is why it is still the best sports moment of my life (although the 2014-15 Royals have given it a run for its money).

Anyway, thank you so, so much for this project. It's just the best.

Kansas City said...


Thank you. Perfect touch. You brought a lot of fun, information, and joy to me and many others. Now, you have gifted us with even more. Enjoyed every moment of your work. May you and your family enjoy wonderful lives.

tookee said...

Rany, been a fan since the 70's and cried with Freddie Patek when Chris Chambliss destroyed by little kid heart. I'm so glad to have come across your writing, but more importantly, your enthusiasm. I, too, have kids, and I'm drawn further into their ever-expanding lives, making baseball games and hometown teams less of a heartache/grind. But this moment does, in fact, cap something not just for the franchise, but for me as well. I'll always keep my eye open for you. You've given me and the image of a teary Freddie Patek in the dugout something better - a rousing finale.

Unknown said...

There's a "Moment 1A" for me, almost as sweet as Davis's clinching strikeout, that you have failed to include. It's when I read that you were going to give us the best offseason in any fan's history with this "mini" project. Thank you, thank you, thank you Rany, for this and everything over the years.

Alex said...

Thank you so much, Rany. I hope I'll still be able to hear from you in some venue in the not-too-distant future.

formerbagger said...

Your unique perspective regarding the blue behemoth we call the Royals is tremendously appreciated. It really is not the same without you lending your wisdom and wit to the discussion. Now if the truly improbable occurs and the Royals somehow win a second straight WS, can you really stay away form the celebration in print? Retirement from anything at your age is so overrated. Happy trails...until we meet again.

gwalter said...

Rany you've been incredible these past years, glad I got the chance to read your work and enjoy this ride alongside you. Enjoy your time with your family, and Let's go Royals!

KHAZAD said...

This has been an incredible project, this list. You should make it into a book, or even better, (considering the multimedia aspect) a DVD. I will buy it, and I am sure others would as well. As someone who has also read that 1986 abstract article many times to kick off my season, this could certainly take it's place.

Stephen said...

As a maniac Royals (and Rany) fan, I got excited when I happened to walk past your office in St, Charles last summer and had my picture taken there. Thank you for this project and your entire blog history.

Sarah said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. These 218 moments are an incredible finale to your years of bringing happiness to Royals fans. Baseball season won't be the same without you, but I respect and understand your decision. Enjoy your family! (And please don't leave Twitter forever! The Opening Night game was great, but I missed your comments!)

Unknown said...

I haven't even finished reading the whole thing, but had to scurry down here to write (even though you already wrote it, but I have been trying to do this since last October):
...that, "KANSAS CITY HAS TIED IT IN THE EIGHTH!!" (you're right: it needs to be bolded & italicized & bedazzled)
-- my dream ring tone.

2nd place: "It's over! they've done it!"
3rd place: "To Motley...for the Title." (which still makes me tear up every time I hear it. Goosebumps, baby.)

Unknown said... I'm done.

To paraphrase a Victorian MP (who was speaking of Disraeli's promotion to the House of Lords from the Commons):
You have made someunnamedChicago-areahighschool far too rich, and left Royals' fans, far too poor, with your departure.

As we Persians would say: Merci, Rany-joon.

David said...

I'm re-reading the late April 2012 "Time Out" column -- an epic rant from a franchise low point -- as an interesting contrast to the Top Moments series. In doing so, I ran across the following passage:

"Bourgeois and Quintero, by the way, cost the Royals a legitimate left-handed relief prospect in Kevin Chapman, and another prospect who has yet to be named, but is most likely either D’Andre Toney or Terrence Gore, both young outfielders with the tools to be interesting if they figure it all out someday."

How fortunate that it wasn't Gore, and that we didn't miss out on his three Moments!

kcghost said...

Rany, I have been a Royals fan since they were founded in 1969. Thanks for wrting this column. It had been a joy to read. I have tears in my eyes.

The Boyles said...

Thanks Rany. Really enjoyed reading your work.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Rany. I was fortunately able to attend three Royals games during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. One was a regular season game in 2014. The others were the 2014 Wild Card game and Game 1 of the 2015 World Series - both on a last minute whim. Both with my brother and the latter with my father as well. Words cannot explain how blessed we were to witness such moments of utter magic and pure boyish enthusiasm. Before, during, and after the games we were all quick to check Twitter and "see what Rany said". Thank you for driving the bandwagon...or bus, as it were.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Rany. I was fortunately able to attend three Royals games during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. One was a regular season game in 2014. The others were the 2014 Wild Card game and Game 1 of the 2015 World Series - both on a last minute whim. Both with my brother and the latter with my father as well. Words cannot explain how blessed we were to witness such moments of utter magic and pure boyish enthusiasm. Before, during, and after the games we were all quick to check Twitter and "see what Rany said". Thank you for driving the bandwagon...or bus, as it were.

Tampa Mike said...

Thank you Rany! I'll really miss reading this blog, but I certainly understand the need to step away. Onward and Upwards...

Mehdi said...

A spectacular column.

J. Jack said...

It is November 17, 2016, and I did just return to relive the Top 5. I will always be grateful to you for doing this project and letting me relive the magic. Thank you.

Tom said...

Whenever I feel down on the Royals, I swing by here. This is my happy place.