As the Royals wrapped up their 44th season, there was excitement right up to the final night. And Oh what a night!
Royals fans were treated to witness the first Triple Crown that the World has seen since 1967 (2 years before the Royals played their first game.) We had more than 30,000 fans there to witness this incredible achievement by Miguel Cabrera. Kansas City has GREAT baseball fans, BY FAR the most loyal in the Major Leagues. Give St. Louis the Royals results the last 20 years and the Royals the Cardinals record the last 20 years and yes Kauffman Stadium would be packed EVERY night, but not sure St. Louis or any other city would draw 1.7 million. And I speak from experience…I remember my 1978 Cardinals from my childhood. That team was not good… but they were only 10 years removed from a World Series appearance. Total attendance? 1.3 million.
Before being removed in the bottom of the fourth inning (and being given a standing ovation and a curtain call), Cabrera’s final atbat in a magical season ended in a strikeout by Luis Mendoza, who had a fine season in the Royals rotation. Tigers manager Jim Leyland was simultaneously monitoring our game, the Angels game (Mike Trout was chasing Miggy for the batting title) and the Yankees game (Curtis Granderson was chasing him for the home run title). He said afterwards it was the most stressful game he’s EVER managed, including Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
On that final night Royals owner David Glass, a passionate baseball fan, joined Denny for an inning on our broadcast. He’s at a lot of the home games and he’s excited about the offseason moves the Royals baseball operations department will be making in the coming months.
My thanks to John Sleezer, the outstanding photographer from the Kansas City Star. He took this picture as Denny, Rex, Steve Physioc and Ryan joined me for one of the 162 roundtables we recorded for our Royals Radio Network pregame show. The hardest part about our lively discussions is getting 5 of us together in one place at the same time. Might sound easy, but it’s not. We have a bunch of social butterflies on our crew.
In September I was honored to interview Royals legendary groundskeeper George Toma, just minutes before he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame. The “God of Sod” is world renowned as the best. He not only took care of the fields for the A’s, Royals and Chiefs, but of course also oversaw the fields at the Super Bowl for many years. Congrats to a wonderful gentleman who always took tremendous pride in his work. As he told Denny many times, when trying to keep media from standing on the grass, “grass grows by inches, not by FEET!”