The Kansas City Royals return home, for game 6 of the American League Championship Series. With a 3-2 edge, a little home cooking could push the Royals back to the World Series to handle unfinished business. The Blue Jays will start left-hander David Price (1-2, 7.02 ERA), while the Royals will enter battle with Yordano Ventura (0-1, 6.57).
The Royals will be looking to clinch their second straight American League Pennant, as the Blue Jays fight to stay alive. Only 11 teams have come back from a 3-1 League Championship Series deficit. The most recent was the San Francisco Giants in 2012. Before that, the Boston Red Sox did it in 2007. Both teams went on to win the World Series. There’s something to be said about momentum.
The stage is set for a great showdown. The Royals are the old sheriff trying to protect the ranch and the Blue Jays are the young gunslinger with something to prove. But the Royals have already stated they have unfinished business.
Just a few years ago, the Kansas City Royals were not considered a team that had a chance to visit the Fall Classic. They were only a few cogs away from having a team that could compete. In a small market, the Royals’ organization made a series of moves that saw the team grow faster than expected.
The Royals improved and found themselves in the World Series last year. They pushed the heavily favored Giants to a game 7 before the season was over.
Now the Royals find themselves on the brink of another World Series. Fans and baseball critics have even started to mention the Royals in dialogue about the elite teams of the league.
The Royals are special. They are a team that has a special bond with the fans. The players respect the fans and they receive that love right back. Last year, after the World Series, some of the players invited fans down to the Kansas City Power and Light District. An estimated 25,000 people showed up. The Royals picked up the tab.
In an interview found on the Kansas City Royals website, general manager Dayton Moore discussed the passion that he and George Brett share for the Royals.
“Life has been breathed back into the fan base. Being a kid born in Wichita, I know how important this team was to my family and families through the Midwest. I grew up a fan of this team in the ’70s and ’80s, but I did not know about the character of that team until I came back to Kansas City and could be around George Brett and listen to him explain his passion. Then, I realized why those Royals were so special.”
The past two seasons have been a blur, to both the Royals and their fans. But tonight may be the best chance to get that business finished. David Price is on the mound for the Blue Jays. The baseball gods must be smiling on the Royals and handing them a ticket to destiny. Price’s postseason performance has been dismal, to say the least. Price rarely throws between starts and hasn’t been on his normal routine in a month. According to Sports Illustrated, Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons has very little trust left in his bullpen.
The Royals have not one but two chances to take it to the next level. The game 5 loss may have been painful, but bringing the ALCS back to Kansas City could be sweet.
“Yeah, that is the good news,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “The good news is that we’re up in the series. We have to go back home and try to lock it up in front of the fans at the K.”
A win brings them another step closer to settling unfinished business.
[Feature Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images]