Small-ball Royals ready for experienced Giants in World Series

Michael Conroy/AP file photoLorenzo Cain and the Royals have been sizzling in the playoffs

Michael Conroy/AP file photoLorenzo Cain and the Royals have been sizzling in the playoffs

Lorenzo Cain gearing up to run on Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval trying to launch long balls, Alex Gordon banging into walls chasing them. Madison Bumgarner and James Shields starting big games, with lights-out bullpens poised to close 'em.

The playoff-perfect Kansas City Royals. The tried-and-tested San Francisco Giants.

A pair of wild cards, set to open Tuesday night in a World Series offering most everything a fan would want to watch.

Great gloves, tremendous speed, ace pitching, clutch hitting and a bit of power. Probably room for some second-guessing, too.

And, a tasty matchup. Let the foodies start debating: The vaunted Kansas City BBQ vs. all-world flavors by the Bay.

Plus, throw in a few celebrity rooters. Jeff Foxworthy cheering for his good pal/Royals manager Ned Yost. Former Journey frontman Steve Perry in the stands at AT&T Park, leading the crowd in singing “Don't Stop Believin'” during the seventh-inning stretch.

A surprising meeting? Maybe, although both teams had high expectations when they met in Surprise — that's in Arizona, where Hunter Pence homered as the Giants beat the Royals early in spring training.

By August, the Royals were rolling. They swept the visiting Giants in a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium, beating Bumgarner, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum, and stealing seven bases in the finale.

Now, they meet again.

The Royals, after going 8-0 in the AL playoffs, back in the World Series for the first time since beating the Cardinals in 1985. That's 29 years — the average age on the Royals' postseason roster is 28.

Cain, the AL Championship Series MVP, and Kansas City will have had five days off before Game 1. In the past, long layoffs in October have often meant rust more than rest.

The Giants, trying to extend their every-other-year success after winning crowns in 2010 and 2012. Sandoval, the popular Kung Fu Panda and a former World Series MVP, and his pals also have a lengthy break after finishing off St. Louis in the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

This will be the first time that a pair of wild cards have played in the Series since a seven-game thriller between the Angels and Giants in 2002.

And this meeting has a fair amount of mystery to it, pitting clubs that don't share a ton of history. They've played 12 times since interleague play began, with Kansas City winning nine.

Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt pitched for the Royals the last time they visited San Francisco — that was in 2005, when Barry Bonds was still the giant name in orange and black.

Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry also pitched for both teams. He earned his first career win in 1962 with the Giants when their biggest star was Willie Mays. Perry posted his 314th and final victory in 1983 with the Royals, helped by a home run from Willie Mays Aikens.

Chances are, both teams will bring out their greats starting next week.

Mays and Bonds figure to be on the field in San Francisco, with McCovey Cove barely beyond the right-field wall. George Brett has been hollering from a stadium suite in KC, with the dancing water fountains just past the center-field fence.

Kansas City RoyalsLorenzo CainMLBSan Francisco Giants

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

ose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014. 
Rose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014.
Willie and Rose: An alliance for the ages

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims. (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)
COVID deaths approach a grim milestone

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read