What a fun win for the Royals last night! It would have been sweeter if the Twins had also pulled out a win to help stomp on the Stupid PoopySox™’s playoff hopes, but I really can’t complain about a game that included a first ML home run, an inside-the-parker, Kyle Davies in Cy Young form (or, at least, pretty darn good), and a Mexicution.
First off, congratulations to Kila Ka’aihue for his first Major League home run. In an earlier at-bat, he had sent an absolute bomb to right field, but it was just foul. So when he hit one later that stayed fair – and MAN, there was no question that it was long gone – it was quite a thrill. He got one heck of an ovation from the 23k at The K, and was mobbed in the dugout by his teammates. It was a thrill for sure, but I still feel like he’s not quite ready for the Majors. He still looks good, but like he could benefit from a little more time at Omaha next April. Still no doubt that he belongs on the 40-man before the Rule V deadline.
And how about that David DeJesus inside-the-park homer? That was the first one I’ve ever seen in person, and in fact I’ve only seen them “live” on TV two times. What happened to Jermaine Dye out there? I couldn't quite see the whole right-field corner when people were standing up, so I saw Dye rush into the corner, then I saw the ball bounce out back into the field (while Griffey didn't move an inch), then I saw Dye kind of stagger back out of the corner. Meanwhile, I was ready to be thrilled if DeJesus had come away with a triple, so my elation when he slid into home was beyond words. I was also severely dehydrated and overtired at the time (long day at Worlds of Fun), so I’m amazed I didn’t black out and tumble into the row in front of me. But if I have to expire at a ballgame, it may as well happen after something like that. Note to self: Drink more water next time. ANYWAY, it was awesome. Times a billion.
Kyle Davies continued to show more velocity, and that curveball that seemed to come out of nowhere last week is back at well. He has abandoned the concept of “nibbling” and embraced manly, straightforward pitching. So far, so good. Can he keep this up into next season? Have these last two starts been a fluke, or has this flash of awesomeness been some kind of indication that the still-young Davies has figured himself out?
Side note: The worst part of my game experience was waiting in line for TWO INNINGS for some nachos. If I hadn't been in dire medical need of food, I would have given up. It's not that the line was long at all; it just Did. Not. Move. I didn't miss a whole lot on the field, but I did miss the condiment race. (Go Mustard!)
While John Bale was pitching in the 8th, I did see that Joakim Soria was warming up. I knew he was there; I knew he’d be come in for the 9th, and yet…when the opening strains of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ blasted through The K, and Jack’s face flashed up 100 feet tall on Crown Vision...I lost it, like I do every time. It’s fun to have a player about whom to get THAT excited. I really wanted to trash-talk my friend Ben, a White Sox fan who came along for the game. I wanted to tell him that the game was over before Soria threw a pitch. Given the walk and hit he gave up, I’m glad I didn’t trash talk.
Then when Dye hit that deeeeeeeeeeep fly ball that could have tied the game, I was on the verge of breaking down into sobs, while Ben was ready to go crazy with joy a few seats away. If someone had taken a series of photos from the moment the ball hit the bat until it finally dropped into Teahen’s glove at the fence, they would have seen the most heart-pounding shift in emotions as I went from crestfallen to elated and Ben went from suddenly hopeful to heartbroken. And when Soria got Thome to strike out, oh man! I had been so afraid Thome would do what Dye almost did, so when he got Mexicutioned, it only heightened my elation.
Then I noticed how sad Ben was. I’ve gone to games and watched my Royals lose, so I know how it feels to go all those miles for naught. But he looked genuinely heartbroken, and that is the difference between a “lowly” team like KC and one that’s trying to cling to a division lead in late September. Someday, I will know what it’s like to be totally crushed by a September loss rather than feel like it’s more of the same.
Pics to come later (hopefully), but for now I shall return to my quest for re-hydration. One quick, unrelated note: the ORoyals' Ty Cobb Night will be featured in ESPN the Magazine.
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