(USA Today)

Amid speculation that the Chicago Cubs already have agreed to bring Joe Maddon aboard as their new manager, the team announced Friday afternoon it has fired Rick Renteria from the position he held for one season. Cubs team president Theo Epstein even said in a statement that Renteria "deserved" to stay on as manager — he was under contract for 2015 and 2016 — but that's not what is happening.

 

Interesting #Cubs title press release: "CUBS FIRE MANAGER RICK RENTERIA" Usually teams use softer language.

— Chris De Luca (@ChrisDeLuca) October 31, 2014

 

The Cubs went 73-89 in Renteria's first season, using mostly a roster of untested young players and medicore veterans.

 

"We offered Rick a choice of other positions with the Cubs, but he is of course free to leave the org. and pursue opportunities elsewhere."

— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) October 31, 2014

 

Renteria has, in fact, declined the offer.

Maddon announced Oct. 24 he was exercising an option in his contract that allowed him to leave the Tampa Bay Rays. Earlier in the month, Andrew Friedman announced he was leaving the Rays for the Los Angeles Dodgers in order to run their baseball operations, which triggered Maddon's opt-out clause after nine seasons in Tampa Bay.

Not long before Game 7 of the World Series, reporter Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote that the Cubs had hired Maddon  — though the team denied a deal was finalized. Maddon would be the Cubs' third manager in as many seasons, and fourth since 2011. Mike Quade and Dale Sveum also have been fired by the Epstein regime.

Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown wrote that the Cubs' pursuit of Maddon was cold with Renteria still in good standing, but it's the cost of doing business sometimes if you want to win — which the Cubs haven't done in more than 100 years.

Here is Epstein's full statement on the changes:

(AP)

 

Today we made the difficult decision to replace Rick Renteria as manager of the Chicago Cubs. On behalf of Tom Ricketts and Jed Hoyer, I thank Rick for his dedication and commitment, and for making the Cubs a better organization.

Rick's sterling reputation should only be enhanced by his season as Cubs manager. We challenged Rick to create an environment in which our young players could develop and thrive at the big league level, and he succeeded. Working with the youngest team in the league and an imperfect roster, Rick had the club playing hard and improving throughout the season. His passion, character, optimism and work ethic showed up every single day.

Rick deserved to come back for another season as Cubs manager, and we said as much when we announced that he would be returning in 2015. We met with Rick two weeks ago for a long end-of-season evaluation and discussed plans for next season. We praised Rick to the media and to our season ticket holders. These actions were made in good faith.

(AP)

 

Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon —  who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us — had become a free agent. We confirmed the news with Major League Baseball, and it became public knowledge the next day. We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe. 

While there was no clear playbook for how to handle this type of situation, we knew we had to be transparent with Rick before engaging with Joe. Jed flew to San Diego last Friday and told Rick in person of our intention to talk to Joe about the managerial job. Subsequently, Jed and I provided updates to Rick via telephone and today informed him that we will indeed make a change.

We offered Rick a choice of other positions with the Cubs, but he is of course free to leave the organization and pursue opportunities elsewhere. Armed with the experience of a successful season and all the qualities that made him our choice a year ago, Rick will no doubt make an excellent major league manager when given his next chance.

Rick often said he was the beneficiary of the hard work of others who came before him. Now, in the young players he helped, we reap the benefits of his hard work as we move forward. He deserved better and we wish him nothing but the best.

We have clung to two important ideals during our three years in Chicago. The first is to always be loyal to our mission of building the Cubs into a championship organization that can sustain success. The second is to be transparent with our fans. As painful as the last week was at times, we believe we stayed true to these two ideals in handling a sensitive situation. To our fans: we hope you understand, and we appreciate your continued support of the Cubs.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 31, 2014, 7:01 pm
(USA TODAY Sports)

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who pitched his team to victory in Games 2 and 5 of the World Series, apparently wasn't done playing ball just yet.

A night after the Royals lost Game 7 to the San Francisco Giants, Ventura hit a local softball field in K.C. for another game with slightly lower stakes. He wore his Royals cap and everything. The Twitter chatter — most of it running through @TheFakeNed — indicated that Ventura and his 100-mph fastball didn't take the mound Thursday night. Rather, he manned centerfield and took his turn at the plate. 

The 23-year-old Royals ace of the future also posed for pictures with softball players and groups of kids. 

I am literally playing softball against Yordano Ventura. #royals #beroyal bout to get this win @YordanoVentura pic.twitter.com/jfIxK1auhR

— Tyler Hill (@T_Hill816_KC) October 31, 2014

@TheFakeNed here ya go. pic.twitter.com/VQ8myGNQdz

— Manny J (@FakeMannyJ) October 31, 2014

@ebelden @TheFakeNed friend posted pics on fb. Here's one pic.twitter.com/merxJSTcq3

— Evan Cline (@5joeclines) October 31, 2014

Ventura came & hung @ my cousins softball game last night, say what you want the @Royals have the coolest lineup #kc pic.twitter.com/QoyfTlPo7U

— Katie Maloney (@katiemall) October 31, 2014

If Coach let us out 5 min earlier we would've got a picture with Ventura Who was playing softball during my practice pic.twitter.com/WMvFZPpB6z

— Warren Lewis (@LewisWarren18) October 31, 2014

Hanging out with fans? Meeting some kids? Playing a chill game of softball? There are definitely worse ways a guy could cope with his team losing the World Series.

BLS H/N: Deadspin

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 31, 2014, 5:28 pm

The luster wore off Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara a bit in 2014, but the team still likes Uehara enough to extend him for two more seasons. The team announced Thursday a new two-year contract for Uehara, who will bypass free agency and make $18M over the next two seasons.

Uehara was lights-out in 2013, saving 21 games with a minuscule 1.09 ERA. He also saved seven games in the postseason and allowed just one run as the Red Sox won the World Series. This season wasn't as kind. Uehara had 26 saves and a 2.52 ERA — which isn't bad, just not as great as 2013.

Koji: "Good morning everybody! You might have heard through media, I signed with Red Sox for 2 years. I am looking forward to seeing you!" 🙌

— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) October 30, 2014

Two years, $18M for Koji Uehara.

— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 30, 2014

Alex Speier of WEEI in Boston was first to report how much the Red Sox were paying Uehara. That leaves David Robertson, Casey Janssen and Francisco Rodriguez among the top closers on the free-agent market. Other top free-agent relievers include Pat Neshek, Andrew Miller and Luke Gregerson.

As for Uehara, he'll turn 40 on April 3, so the Red Sox are committing a considerable amount of money to a pitcher in the twilight of his career. But, it's not like Uehara is a mystery for Boston GM Ben Cherington. The Red Sox know exactly who they're getting. 

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 30, 2014, 10:37 pm

Well, distraught Los Angeles Dodgers fans, here's something that might cheer you up a tad bit after watching your bitter rivals win the World Series — the Dodgers are the early favorites to win the 2015 World Series, according to online sportsbook Bovada.

The Washington Nationals share that honor with the Dodgers. Both teams, which were knocked out in the NLDS this season, are listed at 15/2 odds. The San Francisco Giants, whose World Series win hasn't even dried yet, ranked fifth at 12/1. The Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels are just ahead of the Giants, both carrying 10/1 odds.

Here's Bovada's complete rundown:

Los Angeles Dodgers 15/2

Washington Nationals 15/2

Detroit Tigers 10/1

Los Angeles Angels 10/1

San Francisco Giants 12/1

St. Louis Cardinals 12/1

Kansas City Royals 16/1

Seattle Mariners 18/1

Baltimore Orioles 20/1

Oakland Athletics 20/1

Pittsburgh Pirates 20/1

Atlanta Braves 22/1

Boston Red Sox 22/1

New York Yankees 22/1

Cleveland Indians 25/1

Cincinnati Reds 33/1

Tampa Bay Rays 33/1

Texas Rangers 33/1

Toronto Blue Jays 33/1

Chicago White Sox 40/1

Milwaukee Brewers 40/1

New York Mets 40/1

Chicago Cubs 50/1

Miami Marlins 50/1

San Diego Padres 66/1

Philadelphia Phillies 75/1

Arizona Diamondbacks 100/1

Colorado Rockies 100/1

Houston Astros 100/1

Minnesota Twins 100/1

For context's sake, we'll point out that the Dodgers topped the list when Bovada released its day-after-the-World Series odds last year too. There were listed at 7/1. The Giants were 18/1. We all know how both of those worked out.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 30, 2014, 6:44 pm

Forget the big contracts, free pick-up trucks, prime-time TV ratings and the rest. Baseball, at its essence, will always be a game of fathers and sons. It's why the Ripkens are royalty, why we rooted for the Griffeys and why "Dad, do you wanna have a catch?" tugs at our hearts all these years later.

It's also why you should read Michael Powell's piece from Thursday's New York Times. Powell journeyed to Hudson, N.C., to visit Madison Bumgarner's father, Kevin, and watch Game 6 of the World Series with him. Powell returned Wednesday night after the Giants won Game 7 to talk to Kevin some more about his son's gutsy relief performance that helped earn him the series MVP.

(AP)It's a great piece, with wonderful quotes from Kevin Bumgarner, including this one that we all know to be true now:

“I didn’t know if he had enough left tonight,” Kevin said of Madison. “But I did know that boy would try to steal a steak off the devil’s plate.”

The absolute best part of the story, though, is down at the end. The elder Bumgarner shares the text he sent his son after the eighth inning: 

“OMG. You’re so much more than awesome. To see you work on the mound reminds me of watching you in high school. You are willing yourself to perfection and dragging the team along with you. I couldn’t be more proud of your baseball accomplishments.”

Free trucks are nice and World Series rings are nicer, but making your daddy proud is a whole different kind of nice.

“I knew he wouldn’t read that text before the game was over,” Kevin Bumgarner told the Times, “but I wanted him to know this was what his daddy thought of him.”

Awww, man. Right in the feels. 

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 30, 2014, 5:43 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As it relates to sport, a dynasty is supposed to be a sequence of champions. A sequence is supposed to be a continuously connected series of occurrences. The championships must connect, and not merely in a figurative sense.

And yet, it's tempting to bend the definition of dynasty so that it might fit what the San Francisco Giants have accomplished three times, though not in a row, since 2010. The Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 on Wednesday night in Game 7 of the World Series, giving manager Bruce Bochy, general manager Brian Sabean and many others connected to the team a third championship ring. For those men, along with many of Bochy's coaches and Sabean's lieutenants, and eight of the players who span all three championship rosters, winning certainly has become a habit. 

"In today’s game, if it’s not, it’s as close as you’re gonna get," said catcher Buster Posey, a rookie in 2010 and one of nine players with three rings.

But is it a dynasty? The most recent MLB team to win three straight was the New York Yankees from 1998-2000. The Oakland Athletics did the same from 1972-1974. Three in a row; that's a dynasty.

[Yahoo Sports Shop: Buy San Francisco Giants World Series title gear right here]

Pitching coach Dave Righetti's presence on the Giants spans 15 years, two managers and two different sets of World Series appearances. The Giants also made it in 2002. Now, nobody would say that season could be used to say the Giants are a dynasty, even though most other teams in the majors would envy an organization that's been to the Series four times in 13 years.

Righetti doesn't think the current Giants run equals a dynasty.

(EFE)

 

“Nah," he said. "Well, I’m not saying it’s not, but I grew up with the Celtics and UCLA. What did UCLA [men's basketball] win under John Wooden?"

They won 10 NCAA titles from 1964-1975, including seven straight at one point. The Celtics won 11 NBA titles over 13 seasons, including eight in a row from 1959-1966.

"If you're a real sports fan, that's what a dynasty is," Righetti said. "I hope this is the start of something big. It’s fun though, and maybe it’s coming."

Perhaps the question of dynasty is a red herring because, like Posey said, the Giants are the closest thing MLB has to one. The Boston Red Sox finished last in their division twice with a World Series in 2013 sandwiched between. The New York Yankees can't get back to the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals put themselves on the verge of winning frequently — but they win it all too infrequently. Bochy appreciates how he has it.

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"I'm numb, really, through all of this," said Bochy, one of 10 managers with at least three World Series titles. "You're so blessed to get just one. It just doesn't happen that often."

Not unless you work for the San Francisco Giants.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 30, 2014, 10:41 am

There was a day near the end of June on which a San Francisco Giants fan would have told you the boys in orange and black had no chance to be World Series champs again.

The Giants had surrendered a 10-game lead in the NL West in an epic midsummer collapse, frankly the type of collapse that you don't expect a team to rebound from.

The Giants were nearly no-hit on June 29. It was a Sunday. The Los Angeles Dodgers tied them in the standings. Surrendering first place was bad. Surrendering it to the Dodgers was like your wife leaving you for the guy you hate the most in the world.

I remember this day well because I was driving for three hours, listening to San Francisco-based radio station KNBR the entire time. Giants fans were calling in, acting like they'd reached doomsday. One caller even suggested the Giants should fire manager Bruce Bochy.

(AP)Caller after caller, and the general message was the same: the Giants were screwed. The more optimistic callers thought that if the Giants could make a big trade and get someone like Chase Utley, maybe their season could be salvaged.

On Oct. 29, exactly four months later, the Giants won the World Series. They didn't need Utley, they just needed to give their rookie second baseman a chance. They didn't need to fire Bochy, no way they'd have won a third World Series in five years if they had. They didn't even need to worry about the Dodgers too much, either. They would get into the postseason, hand the ball to Madison Bumgarner and let their workhorse do his thing.

As I'd watched the Giants play October baseball these past few weeks, I thought a lot about their life cycle. They were unseated as champions last October after a disappointing season. They were great in the early going of 2014. Then they were horrible. Then they were pretty good again. Then they barely made into the playoffs and finished with 88 wins. But the did make the postseason, and often that's all that counts. Case in point: the Giants got hot again and here we are.

It's been quite a year for the Giants — 365 days of ups and downs that their 2014 roster and the fans who followed it will never forget. It beckons a timeline.

* * *

OCT. 30, 2013: The Boston Red Sox defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, dethroning the Giants as World Series champions. The Giants, after a particularly disappointing season, had finished in third place in the NL West and 10 games under .500. They were 76-86.

(USA TODAY Sports)

NOV. 18: The Giants sign free-agent pitcher Tim Hudson to a two-year contract. The move gives the Giants another veteran arm, but it's somewhat risky too, as Hudson would turn 39 in 2014 and was coming off a season-ending ankle injury.

DEC. 17: After a couple seasons of needing a big power bat in their lineup, the Giants sign Michael Morse to a one-year contract. Morse isn't the big splash that many power-hungry Giants fans are hoping for. He's damaged goods, driving in just 27 runs in 2013 while hitting .215. His power is scary, but so is his injury history.

MARCH 31, 2014: The season starts. Most pundits expect the Dodgers to win the NL West. Many think they'll be playing in the World Series come October.

APRIL 5: The Giants start hot, winning five of their first six games.

APRIL 25: After he's released by the Pirates, the Giants sign Travis Ishikawa to a minor-league deal and send him to Triple-A.

(AP)

MAY 5: After winning 10 of 11 games, the Giants are 10 games over .500 at 21-11. They have a two-game lead in the NL West and own the third-best record in baseball. They have a +25 run differential, second best in the NL.

JUNE 8: The red-hot Giants have a season-high 10-game lead in the NL West over the Dodgers. They're 43-21, the best record in baseball.

JUNE 22: Not happy with their second-base options, the Giants call up rookie Joe Panik from Triple-A Fresno. He's a former first-round pick. He doesn't, however, immediately get the starting job.

JUNE 25: Tim Lincecum, the Giants' up and down ex-Cy Young winner, throws his second career no-hitter, dominating the San Diego Padres.

JUNE 29: The Dodgers had gotten hot. The Giants had gotten cold. That 10-game lead had disappeared. After losing four straight games to the Reds, the Giants had allowed themselves to fall into a tie with the Dodgers. They were almost no-hit in a 4-0 loss, a day after they blew a lead and lost in 11 innings.

JUNE 30: The Giants demote Sergio Romo from the closer role, saying they'll close by committee instead. However, Santiago Casilla eventually assumes the closer role.

JULY 21: Rather than trying to find a suitable second baseman on the trade market, the Giants sign Braves castoff Dan Uggla to a minor-league contract. Things don't work out all that well. He ends up playing four games with the Giants and doesn't get a hit.

JULY 26: The Giants, needing both a spark and another starting pitcher, trade two pitching prospects to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Jake Peavy. The response is so-so.

(AP)

JULY 27: The Dodgers sweep a three-game series at AT&T park. It's part of a six-game losing streak. The Giants had reclaimed first place before the start of the Dodgers series, but lost in the sweep.

AUG. 4: The Peavy acquisition proves important, as Matt Cain is officially lost for the season. He needs surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow.

AUG. 6: Joe Panik records three hits, making eight in his previous three games while starting at second. He soon becomes the Giants starting second baseman.

AUG. 12: After five straight losses — coincidentally, three of them coming against the Royals in Kansas City — the Giants are 5 1/2 games back in the NL West. They're 63-57, not the same team that was 22 games over .500 two months earlier.

(Getty Images)AUG. 28: Yusmeiro Petit, the Giants sometimes-starter, sets an MLB record as he retires 46 straight batters, a streak that had been going for more than a month.

SEPT. 6: The Giants have turned it around and are contending again. Buster Posey is killing the ball. The Giants become a postseason threat again.

SEPT. 12: Hey now! The Giants beat the Dodgers 9-0 and they're just one game behind in the NL West. They've won six out of seven games.

SEPT. 14: Catching the Dodgers wasn't meant to be, though. The Giants lost 9-1 to them in L.A., thus allowing the Dodgers to clinch the NL West.

SEPT. 15: It wasn't the most glamorous postseason clincher, but the Giants locked down an NL wild-card berth. They backed into the playoffs, actually, sealing their spot after an afternoon Brewers loss. The Giants played that night and won, thus getting to celebrate their playoff spot on a positive note.

OCT. 1: Madison Bumgarner throws his first postseason shutout of 2014, Brandon Crawford hits a grand slam and the Giants easily dispatch of the Pirates in the NL wild-card game.

OCT. 4: Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer gives the Giants a win in Game 2 of the NLDS, the longest postseason game in history.

OCT. 7: The Giants advance to the NLCS after beating the top-seeded Washington Nationals 3-1 in the NLDS.

OCT. 16: Travis Ishikawa's three-run walk-off homer gives the Giants the NL pennant and sends them to the World Series.

OCT. 29: The Giants reclaim the World Series trophy, beating the Royals 3-2 in Game 7 in Kansas City, completing a wonderful turnaround from a season earlier and rebounding from their midseason doldrums.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 30, 2014, 10:02 am

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before MadBum's triumphant finishing number in the World Series, there was Jeremy Affeldt's effective warm-up performance that put the San Francisco Giants in a position to win another championship.

When starting pitcher Tim Hudson couldn't get the Giants all of the way through the second inning of Game 7 on Wednesday night, manager Bruce Bochy called on Affeldt to keep the Kansas City Royals off the scoreboard until Bumgarner could enter and possibly finish. Affeldt responded with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball, a beautiful bridge to Bumgarner, who took over in the fifth and didn't leave Kauffman Stadium without the Series MVP award and a new pickup truck.

Affeldt did some heavy lifting, too, as the middle man, getting two ground balls for double plays that stymied the Royals offense, which had scored twice in the second inning against Hudson. One of the double plays, turned by Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, was one of the key plays of Game 7.

Affeldt said he figured to be ready for anything considering it was the deciding game, but the quickness of his appearance against the Royals caught him a little by surprise.

"I don’t remember the last time I warmed up in the second inning let alone pitched in it," Affeldt said.

Affeldt has averaged just under one inning per appearance as a reliever, though he did two-inning stints three times during the regular season, plus another two-inning stint in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. He said he was game for another inning against the Royals, but Bochy went with Bumgarner instead.

Affeldt also pitched with a knee brace in Game 7, something Bochy required because of the planned length of his outing. Affeldt began the season recovering from a right knee sprain, and sometimes he wears a brace when he pitches as a precaution. 

(AP)

The entire experience left Affeldt with a cracking voice and glistening eyes, considering his major league career began with the Royals in 2002. The rest of Affeldt's career has worked out much better than the K.C. part, though he returns to Kauffman Stadium with no hard feelings about not fully succeeding with the Royals.

The best part of the World Series experience for Affeldt is winning another ring he can give to one of his sons. Two of them have a ring from the 2010 and 2012 seasons.

"I started with the Royals and it was a tough time for me," Affeldt said. "So to come back here and feel this… all three of my boys have championship rings to wear now. It means a lot to me."

The official scorer originally gave Bumgarner the victory because he pitched five innings — he also happened to finish, and was in the game when it became official — but that decision was reversed afterward. The rules state that, because Affeldt pitched effectively and was the Giants pitcher when they took the lead on Mike Morse's RBI single in the fourth, that he should get the decision.

Bumgarner gets a save. Affeldt gets the win. It was not important to him that he did.

“He deserves it," Affeldt said of Bumgarner. "In that situation, he had to pitch so long into the game. He sealed it up. The longer you pitch into that game, and the less outs there are, the more the pressure increased to make pitches. So he deserves it."

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 30, 2014, 8:30 am

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pablo Sandoval put the souvenir in his back pocket, the baseball used in the commission of his 26th postseason hit Wednesday night during Game 7 of the World Series. He put the costume panda head over his own head, a symbol of Sandoval going with the flow after the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 and won the World Series for the third time in five years.

Sandoval's double to left in the eighth inning did not figure in the scoring, nor did it make a difference in Series MVP voting for Sandoval or Hunter Pence, who both hit prolifically but couldn't match the contribution of left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

"If not for them, my teammates, we wouldn't be here," Sandoval said. "We've put in a lot of work together."

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Sandoval kept the baseball because it signifies a personal milestone, but it also might be his final hit in a Giants uniform. Sandoval has put in six-plus seasons with San Francisco, and he's hitting the free-agent market at any moment. The Boston Red Sox are said to be interested, but the Giants are, too. It's just a matter of general manager Brian Sabean finding the will and the money to compete with the other suitors.

Giants' chief executive officer Larry Baer indicated Sandoval would be a priority.

"We'll do the best we can, and up till now, the best we can has been to secure our guys," Baer said. "The guys we've really wanted to re-sign, we have."

(AP)

Sandoval's fitness has been a recurring issue, though he manages to play third base effectively, and he played in 157 games during the regular season. His slugging percentage the past two seasons comes out to .416, some of which is a product of playing at AT&T Park. Still, finding another third baseman this winter with an adjusted OPS of 123 for his career won't be easy, or perhaps even possible.

It's up to Baer and the Bear (Panda).

@JeffPassan 💯 4 panda heads love the Giants leading !!!!❤️⚾️❤️⚾️ http://t.co/XuVEXhAnUX

— GIO (@RaysFanGio) October 30, 2014

 

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 30, 2014, 7:57 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Not long after the last out of Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night, Gregor Blanco joked about the play before the last out. It might have stopped Blanco's heart.

Alex Gordon hit a ball into the gap in left-center field for a single, which Blanco misplayed for an error, helping to place the potential tying run on third base with two outs. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner responded to retire Salvador Perez on a pop up, which stranded Gordon and gave the San Francisco Giants a 3-2 victory against the Kansas City Royals, along with their third World Series title since 2010.

But before the elation, there was terror. And gallows humor.

"I just wanted to make the end of the World Series interesting," Blanco said with a smile.

And his misfortune did make it interesting for the Royals, at least momentarily.

Gordon later said that he had stumbled around second base, and added that third-base coach Mike Jirschele did the right thing by holding him at third — even though outfielder Juan Perez had bobbled and kicked the ball on the warning track, and infielder Brandon Crawford had to short-hop Perez's throw in relatively deep left field before a potential relay throw. Gordon probably wouldn't have made it home in time.

But as the play was unfolding, Blanco didn't know that.

"It was a tough one, man — last out of the World Series," Blanco said. "As soon as he hit that ball, I said to myself, ‘Just go for it.’ And then I said to myself, ‘Take half a step back and keep the guy on first base.’ But I was too late. And the ball gave me a real hard hop and I couldn’t handle it."

[Yahoo Sports Shop: Buy San Francisco Giants title merchandise]

With Gordon pumping his legs around the bases, and Juan Perez pursuing the ball at the farthest reaches of the Kauffman Stadium outfield, Blanco thought his mistake might have started a chain reaction that ruined the game for the Giants.

"Especially after Juan bobbled it, I was, like, ‘Nooooo!' " Blanco said.

Meanwhile at home, catcher Buster Posey was preparing for a play at the plate. Of course, it would have to be a play at the plate.

"I was kind of going out there, like, ‘He might catch it — we’re going to win!’ to, ‘Oh, shoot, that’s to the wall. There could be a play here,' " Posey said. "But by the time Crawford threw it in, I figured they weren't going to send him."

Once the runner was stopped at third base, Blanco chilled out.

(AP)

"And after that all happened, I said to myself, ‘OK, it happened. We just need to get one more out. Don’t worry about it,' " Blanco said.

The rest was in Bumgarner's hands. And he ended the game. But not without a scare being put into the Giants.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 30, 2014, 7:11 am

The San Francisco Giants are back on top of the mountain in Major League Baseball. With a 3-2 victory against the Kansas City Royals in World Series Game 7, they earned their third World Series championship in five seasons and their eighth in franchise history. 

For the Giants, it was their toughest postseason road during this recent stretch of success. As the National League's second wild-card team, they had to go through the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road just to make the NLDS. Once in the tournament, they eliminated the NL's top two seeds, the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals, before running into baseball's hottest team and best story, the Kansas City Royals, in the World Series.  

The Giants won eight of nine World Series games in 2010 and 2012 but were pushed to the limit by this resilient Royals squad. In fact, if not for a remarkable and gutty Series performance by Madison Bumgarner, it's possible the championship flag would be flying in Kansas City for the first time since 1985.

As it is, it's time for Giants fans to celebrate again, while also reflecting on the many memorable moments and performances their champions provided along the way. And it's with that in mind that we present the most important, interesting or just plain fun moments from another Giant October. 

MADISON BUMGARNER'S POSTSEASON DOMINANCE
San Francisco's run through October literally begins and ends with Madison Bumgarner. In the win-or-go-home NL wild-card game, he limited the Pirates to four hits in a complete game shutout. In World Series Game 7, he took the ball two days after pitching another complete game shutout in Game 5 and delivered five scoreless innings of relief. Bumgarner finishes this postseason with an MLB-record 52 2/3 innings pitched and a 0.43 ERA in the World Series, and he was quite rightly named World Series MVP.

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BRANDON BELT'S 18TH INNING HOMER IN NLDS GAME 2
No game personified San Francisco's resilience better than Game 2 against the Washington Nationals. Down 1-0 with two outs and nobody on base in the ninth inning, the Giants pushed across the tying run on Pablo Sandoval's double. What would have been among the fastest games in this postseason ended up as the longest postseason game in history at six hours, 23 minutes. Finally, in the 18th inning, Brandon Belt came through with the go-ahead homer that eventually gave San Francisco a 2-0 series lead. 

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WILD PITCH GIVES GIANTS EDGE IN NLDS GAME 4
The Washington Nationals were a tough out even after dropping two at home. However, sloppy play in Game 4 opened the door and the Giants walked through to punch their NLCS ticket. After Bryce Harper tied the game with a seventh-inning homer off Hunter Strickland, San Francisco loaded the bases in the bottom half and scored the game-winner on Aaron Barrett's wild pitch.

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HUNTER PENCE'S SPEECHES
Hunter Pence's motivational speeches after each round have become a postseason staple in San Francisco. Not always suitable for young audiences, Pence gets in the moment and says what's on his mind, as random as it may be. Pence himself doesn't always know what the intended message was, but his teammates love it and the Giants can't lose in October. Why change now?

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GIANTS WALK OFF ON ERROR IN NLCS GAME 3
In a pivotal Game 3, the Giants blew an early four-run lead before pulling out a 5-4 victory in the 10th inning. St. Louis Cardinals reliever Randy Choate fielded a sacrifice bunt attempt by Gregor Blanco and threw it down the right-field line, allowing Brandon Crawford to score the winner.

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YUSMEIRO PETIT PROVIDES RELIEF
Aside from a hiccup in World Series Game 6, Petit was lights out in important innings for Bruce Bochy. Petit logged six scoreless frames during extra innings in NLDS Game 2. He returned with a three-inning scoreless stint in NLCS Game 4, which allowed San Francisco to rally and win, and then three most spotless inning in their World Series Game 4 victory, running his scoreless streak to 12 innings. There was no single moment, but every out recorded by Petit was a big one.

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TRAVIS ISHIKAWA'S PENNANT-CLINCHING HOMER
A historic moment that paralleled perhaps the most famous moment in Giants franchise history. That being Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round The World" in 1951. Ishikawa's ninth-inning, three-run homer off Michael Wacha secured a 6-3 victory and made him the fourth player in MLB history to deliver a postseason pennant-clinching homer.

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HUNTER PENCE STARTS WORLD SERIES WITH HOME RUN
Hunter Pence hadn't homered in the 2014 postseason, but he quickly changed that in Game 1 of the World Series, taking James Shields deep in the first inning. Pence's two-run homer put the Giants up 3-0, a lead they would never relinquish. Pence went on to record a hit in all seven World Series games and finished the postseason hitting .333.

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PABLO SANDOVAL MAKES POSTSEASON HISTORY
Sandoval reached base in 16 out of 17 postseason games, including four times in World Series Game 7. Sandoval actually started both of their run-scoring rallies in the clincher. He was nicked on the elbow starting the second inning and later scored on Michael Morse's sacrifice fly. He reached on an infield single to start the fourth and scored what would prove to be the difference-making run on Morse's single. He added an opposite-field single against Kelvin Herrera in the sixth and a double off Wade Davis in the eighth, giving him an MLB-record 26 hits this postseason.

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THE FINAL OUT
There's no more satisfying feeling than recording a World Series-clinching out, especially in a winner-take-all Game 7. Fittingly for San Francisco, World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner was the man who threw the decisive pitch, and postseason legend Pablo Sandoval was the man who gloved Salvador Perez's popup.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 30, 2014, 6:59 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the key relievers of the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants all rested and available for Game 7 of the World Series, it was widely anticipated the bullpens would figure prominently.

And they did. Really prominently.

Game 7 starting pitchers Jeremy Guthrie and Tim Hudson combined to pitch just five innings in the Giants' series-clinching 3-2 victory Wednesday night. The 15 outs tied the mark of fewest outs by Game 7 starters and meant the teams' bullpens – including that guy Madison Bumgarner – had to combine for 13 innings.

Though he got a no-decision, Hudson was the first pitcher to exit. After the Giants' offense gave him a two-run lead in the top of the second, the 39-year-old and oldest pitcher to start a Game 7 of the World Series didn't make it through the bottom half of the frame.

Royals designated hitter Billy Butler led off the inning with a single. Then left fielder Alex Gordon doubled him home. After Gordon, Hudson's next pitch hit Salvador Perez in the knee.

[Photos: Giants celebrate third World Series title since 2010]

Those events got the San Francisco bullpen stirring and while Hudson got the next two batters to fly out, Gordon scored to tie the game. Following shortstop Alcides Escobar's single, Hudson was out of the game and Jeremy Affeldt was in. Hudson's final line was 1 2/3 innings, three hits, two runs, a walk and a strikeout.

The short stint meant Hudson became another trivia answer. His start was the shortest outing from a Game 7 starter since 1960. But thanks to the stellar relief outings from Affeldt and Bumgarner, who combined for 7 1/3 shutout innings, Hudson was able to celebrate his first World Series title.

Guthrie's trouble in the second came when he loaded the bases with no one out. Guthrie led off the inning by hitting third baseman Pablo Sandoval and gave up singles to right fielder Hunter Pence and first baseman Brandon Belt. Guthrie got the next three batters in order, but two sacrifice flies scored Sandoval and Pence.

After striking out two batters in the third, Guthrie gave up singles to Sandoval and Pence to lead off the fourth and was pulled for Kelvin Herrera after he got Belt to fly out.

"It's very different," Guthrie said of the mindset of Game 7. "I'm a pitcher that often gives up a number of base runners and my focus tonight was to try to do what I was able to do in Game 3 which was keep people off base and keep them from scoring early. It didn't work out that way. They got a couple of big hits there in the second inning and sac flies to score those runs."

Sandoval was on third when Herrera entered the game and scored after Mike Morse, the first batter Herrera faced, dropped a broken-bat single into right field on an 0-2 pitch.

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Herrera said the target was set outside.

"Outside, and I leave it in the middle and broken-bat base hit," Herrera said.

Guthrie finished with 3 1/3 innings, four hits, three runs and three strikeouts.

Herrera (2 2/3 innings), Wade Davis (two innings) and Greg Holland (one inning) gave up four hits in 5 2/3 total innings of work and struck out nine batters. However, Sandoval's run turned out to be the winning margin after the Royals' offense couldn't crack the Giants.

While Bumgarner, the World Series MVP, is rightfully hailed for his five shutout innings in relief of Affeldt, Affeldt's 2 1/3 innings were critical in bridging the Giants from Hudson to Bumgarner. And added to his stellar World Series statistics. In four World Series (one with the Colorado Rockies and three with the Giants), Affeldt has given up just one run in 11 2/3 innings.

"But Affeldt, this guy he's like Bumgarner or Pablo in postseason," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's incredible on what he did. We talked to Jeremy about his role today. These guys are so unselfish. They don't care. They'll pitch anytime. He was all in on how we were going to use him and pretty amazing numbers that he has throughout this postseason. Because of him, he's played a critical role in these three championships."

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: October 30, 2014, 6:16 am

Barry Bonds just showed up outside AT&T Park to celebrate #SFGIANTS #WorldSeriesChampions @kron4news pic.twitter.com/6Hp2dpCc7M

— Chuck Clifford (@chuckclifford) October 30, 2014

As usually happens when a pro sports team wins a championship, San Francisco Giants fans spilled into the streets of their city to celebrate the 2014 World Series win.

They were joined by a face that everybody in orange and black recognizes: Barry Bonds, the ex-Giants slugger. He showed up shortly after the Giants' clinched their 3-2 victory Wednesday night and made his way through a throng of Giants fans near AT&T Park.

Bonds has gotten closer to the Giants again this season. He was a special hitting instructor for the team in spring training, he came back to the throw out the first pitch during the NLCS, and he's also been cheering on the team via social media throughout its October run.

What else was going on around San Francisco? Here are some pics and videos from the scene:

A large crowd has gathered at 3rd St & King in front of AT&T Park. #SFGiants #WorldSeries @kron4news pic.twitter.com/LFskOf24qd

— Chuck Clifford (@chuckclifford) October 30, 2014





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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 30, 2014, 5:55 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler has become synonymous with Royals baseball.Billy Butler reacts after hitting a RBI double against the  Giants in game six. (USAT)

The longest-tenured member of the Royals – a man who even has his own brand of barbecue sauce – lunched at Oklahoma Joe's BBQ in a Kansas City suburb for a second-straight day before Wednesday's Game 7 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

Trust us, there's nothing more Kansas City than eating barbecue before one of the city's biggest moments in the last quarter century.

However, it's hard not to wonder if Butler and the city will be separating after the season. Was his foul pop-up to first baseman Brandon Belt in the ninth inning of the Royals' 3-2 loss to the Giants his last at-bat in a Kansas City uniform?

[Photos: Royals react to World Series Game 7 defeat]

The Royals hold a $12.5 million option on Butler's contract for the 2015 season and it's hard to envision the team picking it up. Butler's OPS has declined each of the last two seasons and he plays first base, a position occupied by Eric Hosmer, a superior defender.

"Even if they decline it, you can still talk and that kind of stuff," Butler said after the World Series loss. "I don't – there's nothing been said. I've been told nothing, nor should I. We were focused on the World Series. And the only thing I know is I've been a Royal my whole life, well since I was 18 years old, my whole professional career. I bleed Royal blue."

"And I'm a proven major league player and if it's not here it's somewhere else, but I'd rather it just be here. And that's just the way it is. We're a small market, business is business but I feel like it's a little more than that here."

When Butler arrived in Kansas City in 2007 after he was drafted out of high school in 2004, the team was on the way to a 69-93 season. Outfielder Emil Brown was the team leader in RBI with 62. Zack Greinke was pitching out of the bullpen; a Cy Young was but a twinkle in his eye.

But as the Royals' won-loss record has improved over the last three seasons, Butler's statistics have dropped. In 2012, as a 26-year-old, Butler hit 29 home runs and had an OPS of .882. Last year, the home run total dropped to 15 and the OPS fell to .787. This season, Butler hit nine home runs. His OPS was .702, fifth on the team.

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In the playoffs, he knocked in eight runs but his OPS was even lower than the regular season at .675. While his popularity, especially after stealing a base against the Angels in the American League Division Series, may still be at its peak in Kansas City, his production isn't.Billy Butler scores a run against the Giants during game seven. (USAT)

Butler understands that the Royals have a business decision to make. However, he may not have much of a market. Unless a National League team takes a chance on him full-time at first baseman, Butler's suitors are all American League teams. The Royals will likely not be re-signing starting pitcher James Shields and right fielder Nori Aoki.

There will be money available to sign Butler if the team so chooses. But those chances, at least publicly, don't seem very high, as the key phrase for the Royals moving forward has been "lineup flexibility."

"My dad's always told me good things come to an end but I hope this isn't one of those times," Butler said. "This isn't one of those things that has to end. But I'd like to see if we can build on this next year with this squad and if I'm in part of those plans. I sure hope I am. if I'm in those plans I'll be here. If I'm not, then there's nothing I can do about it."

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: October 30, 2014, 5:26 am

After World Series Game 7, we'll never question the composure of Madison Bumgarner, who threw five scoreless innings after throwing a shutout just three days ago. Bumgarner earned a save and World Series MVP honors. With that MVP award came a free truck from Chevrolet.

The TV award ceremony for said truck and said MVP trophy, however, definitely made us question the composure of Rikk Wilde, the guy Chevy sent to Kansas City to present the award. It got awkward quick, as Wilde lost his train of thought, pausing a few times to look down at his notecards and at one point said the truck featured "technology and stuff." Oof.

Even Bug Selig seemed befuddled with what was going on.

Dozed off. Why is Saturday Night Live on? pic.twitter.com/EPYt35dEc2

— Matt Sebek (@MattSebek) October 30, 2014

The Internet, of course, mocked Wilde incessantly. He was trending on Twitter as "Chevy Guy." He was compared to trainwreck Toronto mayor Rob Ford and Chris Farley's "Tommy Boy" character.

Here's a perfect mash-up Vine:

Chevy, to its credit, isn't running from this. It has fully embraced the moment, adding a "technology and stuff" tagline to its website and tweeting about it.

Truck yeah the 2015 #ChevyColorado has awesome #TechnologyAndStuff! You know you want a truck: http://t.co/0NcEoDRSUZ pic.twitter.com/RMiRic8ATF

— Chevy Trucks (@ChevyTrucks) October 30, 2014

In a 2014 world, this might actually be the best bang for their sponsorship buck.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 30, 2014, 5:19 am

The San Francisco Giants clinched their third World Series championship in five years with a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals in Game 7.

The winner-take-all battle was every bit as dramatic as one would anticipate from these two teams. The Giants weren't intimidated by the moment or the raucous crowd at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals proved resilient again, battling until the final out with the tying run at third, but fell short of winning their first championship since 1985.

The game also played out as expected from a strategic standpoint. Both managers wasted little time pulling struggling starting pitchers, and both were willing to exhaust their best available options. In the end, San Francisco emerged thanks in large part to the five-inning relief outing from World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner.

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Drama. Strategy. A legendary performance. It was a Game 7 with everything, but we can't write the full story without the five key moments. 

MADISON BUMGARNER PROVIDES RELIEF
We knew Madison Bumgarner was available in Game 7. We just didn't know what to expect. Somehow, he still had five amazing innings left in his left arm after throwing a complete game shutout in Sunday's Game 5. Bumgarner took over in the fifth inning and carried San Francisco to the finish line, allowing two hits while striking out four. Bumgarner finished with an MLB record 52 2/3 innings during the postseason and a 0.43 World Series ERA.

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MICHAEL MORSE'S BROKEN BAT SINGLE GIVES GIANTS LEAD
Making only his fourth start of the postseason, Michael Morse provided the key hit of the game in a tough spot. With runners at first and third and one out in the fourth, Morse was the first batter to face a fresh Kelvin Herrera out of the Royals bullpen. After quickly falling behind 0-2, he fought off a tough pitch, breaking his bat, but dropped it in right field for a go-ahead RBI single. That hit made it 3-2.

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PABLO SANDOVAL KEEPS RAKING
Sandoval was on base all four times in Game 7 and was right in the middle of both run-scoring rallies. He was nicked on the elbow starting the second inning and later scored on Morse's sacrifice fly. He reached on an infield single to start the fourth, and later scored on Morse's single. He added an opposite-field single against Kelvin Herrera in the sixth and a double off Wade Davis in the eighth, giving him an MLB-record 26 hits this postseason.

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Joe Panik's glove flip started a nice double play for the Giants in the third. (AP)

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JOE PANIK STARTS RIDICULOUS DOUBLE PLAY WITH DIVING STOP
With the game tied 2-2 in the third inning, Lorenzo Cain started the Royals inning with a single. Eric Hosmer immediately followed with a hard grounder that seemed ticketed for center field, but the Giants rookie second baseman cut it off with a terrific diving backhand stop. From the ground, Panik flipped the ball directly from his glove to shortstop Brandon Crawford to force Cain out at second. Crawford's relay throw beat a head-first sliding Hosmer at first, though it required a two minute, 57 second review to get the call right.

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BACK-TO-BACK SACRIFICE FLIES IN SECOND INNING
San Francisco wasted some good scoring chances in Game 6, but took advantage of their first in Game 7. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the second inning, Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford both got the ball in the air for a sacrifice fly, making it 2-0 Giants early.

 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 30, 2014, 3:29 am
(AP)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Handed a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday night, Madison Bumgarner made his grand re-entrance to the World Series in relief, pitching on two days of rest, in Game 7.

Bumgarner threw 117 pitches in a four-hit shutout in Game 5, and took no time at all to begin lobbying San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy to pitch again in the Series. He previously appeared in relief during Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in 2010, and three times as a rookie in 2009 during the regular season.

This postseason, Bumgarner came in with 0.56 ERA in two World Series starts, and a 1.13 ERA in 47 2/3 innings over six starts in the playoffs. He's a likely choice for Series MVP — along with Hunter Pence — if the Giants beat the Kansas City Royals.

Bumgarner began Game 7 by watching from the bullpen in right field, and he was warming up by the bottom of the fourth inning. The Giants took the lead on an RBI single by Mike Morse in the top half of the inning.

Bumgarner allowed a sharp leadoff single to Omar Infante, but after Alcides Escobar moved the runner to second with a sacrifice bunt, Nori Aoki lined to left for the second out. Lorenzo Cain fell behind in the count quickly and struck out to end Kansas City's threat.

During the regular season, Bumgarner was most vulnerable early — as a lot of power-pitching starters seem to be — but the Royals could only lament not being able to tie the score in their first opportunity. 

Kansas City went down 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh. Bumgarner needed 36 pitches — throwing 28 for strikes — over his first 10 batters faced.

The starting pitchers pitchers for both teams were done by fourth inning; Jeremy Guthrie went 3 1/3 innings for the Royals and Tim Hudson went 1 2/3 innings for the Giants. Jeremy Affeldt bridged the gap to Bumgarner with 2 1/3 one-hit innings.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 30, 2014, 2:35 am

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Thanks to a snazzy diving stop and flip by Joe Panik and a questionable head-first slide by Eric Hosmer, the San Francisco Giants turned a gorgeous double play in Game 7 that also became the first World Series play overturned by video replay.

By the time the Giants had won the game — by only one run — players were looking back at this double play as one of the key moments that helped S.F. wrap up the series.

It came in the bottom of the third inning with the score tied 2-2. Lorenzo Cain singled to lead off the inning for the Kansas City Royals. Eric Hosmer hit one hard up the middle, but Panik, the Giants' rookie second baseman, ranged to his right and made a great diving stop. He flipped the ball directly from his glove to shortstop Brandon Crawford to force Cain out at the second. Panik's portion of the play was pretty enough in its own right.

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"Instinct — that’s what it was," Panik said after the game. "Instinct told me to try and dive and knock it down to prevent a first-and-third. But I was able to get to it, catch and use the glove to flip it to Brandon. That was all instinct. Not a thing was pre-determined in my mind. [My] first thought was, ‘dive.’ And once I got to it, it was like, ‘Get it out. We have a chance here.' "

Joe Panik's glove flip started a nice double play for the Giants in the third. (AP)

Then Crawford whipped the ball to first. Hosmer made the risky decision to slide headfirst into first base (we've seen a few thumb injuries this year because of head-first slides). Umpire Eric Cooper called Hosmer safe, but slow-motion replays proved that the ball beat Hosmer there by a knuckle.

The Giants challenged, as is their right, since video replay was introduced this season. We'd seen a call challenge in the World Series previously, but the umpire's call in Game 4 was upheld by replay. The watching-at-home TV audience saw half a dozen times that Hosmer was out, but the umps in Kansas City remained huddled waiting for their special replay counterparts in New York City to make the definitive call.

[Photos: Giants celebrate third World Series title since 2010]

It took two minutes and 57 seconds to decide the call on the field was wrong. But the correct call was ultimately made, so the system triumphed. It also was beneficial for the Giants, who turned a leadoff single into two outs. When Billy Butler grounded out afterward, it ended the inning — the potential threat — for the Royals.

Hosmer said after the game, he thought he had a hit before Panik's diving stop. 

"Yeah I definitely did," Hosmer said. "It was hit hard. He made a great play, that's what guys have to do to win championships. You make big plays like that and he's a big part of their team. The whole series, he was taking hits away and obviously that was a big hit. Would have had first and third with no outs and Billy Butler coming up. But that was definitely a crucial play."

There was some debate about whether Hosmer should have dove into first base. Even Bill Nye "The Science Guy" weighed in and said it's a slower way to get to first. And he obviously knows science.

World Series Science: don't dive into 1st base. Instant a runner leaves his feet, he slows down. May have cost Royals a run and the game.

— Bill Nye (@TheScienceGuy) October 30, 2014

But Hosmer knows his body, and says he made the right call.

"I feel that's quicker for me," he said. "I've got a long wingspan. Instead of using two more strides I could reach for the bag, and I stole a couple hits like that this year so I felt that was the quickest way to get there."

Jeremy Affeldt, who was eventually the winning pitcher for the Giants in Game 7, knew how much Panik's play and the correct replay ruling mattered.

"That was a big deal," Affeldt said. "For me, that probably was the biggest play of the night."

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 30, 2014, 2:00 am

Yordano Ventura and Christian Colon discuss the Royals' 10-0 victory in Game 6. (Getty)
So much for organizational camaraderie or human compassion.

After Yordano Ventura's gem of a pitching performance in World Series Game 6, which the Kansas City Royals won 10-0 to force a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday, a Royals minor leaguer named Zeb Sneed took to Twitter to criticize Ventura for wearing and displaying the Dominican flag over his back during postgame interviews.

Get that Dominican flag off your back Ventura, this is america! #america #royals

— Sneeder (@zeb_sneed) October 29, 2014

As most of the viewers were aware, Ventura dedicated his Game 6 performance to Oscar Taveras, who was killed along with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, in an automobile crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Taveras, 22, was a blooming star out of the Dominican just like Ventura. 

During the game, Ventura also wrote Taveras' name, initials and uniform number on his shoes, glove and cap in tribute. This wasn't a case of Ventura shoving his patriotism down the throats of viewers, but rather honoring a friend who he'd never see or compete against again.

This was apparently lost on Sneed at first. However, the self-described "hardcore American" either on his own or with some assistance became aware of the jingoistic silliness and lack of sensitivity reflected in his original tweet. He returned to Twitter on Wednesday morning to attempt an apology.

I sincerely apologize if my tweet last night came off as racist. I support Ventura honoring Oscar, and I simply didn't think of the

— Sneeder (@zeb_sneed) October 29, 2014

ramifications of a statement I made from a patriot mindset. I will be more considerate of my wording in the future.

— Sneeder (@zeb_sneed) October 29, 2014

The wording and the thought behind it was painfully clear. That was not the issue in the original tweet. Ignorance and lousy judgment are what stand out here.

Yes, Sneed is allowed to feel however he wants about this or any other topic, but this was clearly not the proper time, place or circumstance to make a stand. That it also involved a pitcher attempting to keep the same organization he plays for alive in the World Series only makes it look worse. Let's just say it won't endear him to the organization or future teammates, which could still include Ventura somewhere down the road.

With that in mind, Sneed is not exactly on the fast track. As the Royals’ 11th-round draft pick in 2012, he posted a 5-3 record with a 2.71 ERA this past season at advanced Class-A Wilmington. At this point, it's just as likely Sneed will be viewed as "not worth the trouble" as he will a potential major leaguer, and no one could blame the Royals if it's the former.  

BLS H/N: Kansas City Star 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 29, 2014, 11:52 pm

So, what's it going to be? The Kansas City Royals winning their first World Series in 29 years? Or the San Francisco Giants capturing their third in five years?

Six games haven't been enough to finish this World Series, so Game 7 will decide it. In a rematch of Game 3, the Giants will send Tim Hudson to the mound while the Royals counter with Jeremy Guthrie. The Royals won that game 3-2, but things are a bit different this time around — the bullpens are ready, with big arms like Madison Bumgarner and James Shields looming.

As we find out which team will capture the trophy, the Yahoo Sports MLB crew — columnists Tim Brown and Jeff Passan, plus the bloggers from Big League Stew — will be serving up commentary from start to finish.

Use this handy Twitter tracker to follow the game with live commentary from our writers and other MLB experts.

MORE WORLD SERIES READING FROM THE STEW
Three keys for the Giants and Royals in World Series Game 7
Royals are slight favorites in Game 7, according to oddsmaker
Ned Yost's Game 7 has come
Seven of the most memorable World Series Game 7s in baseball history
Pablo Sandoval wonders if Yordano Ventura is 'jealous' of his Series rings

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 11:23 pm

It didn't matter that the Chicago Cubs already had a manager in place, when Joe Maddon hit the open market, it got their attention.

And now, just like that, Rick Renteria's tenure as Cubs skipper is apparently over after just one season. The Cubs have upgraded, agreeing to make Maddon their new manager, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

Maddon and the Cubs are on the verge of agreeing to a mega deal, according to people familiar with the situation. The Cubs deny that a deal is done, but people familiar with the dealings say that it is certain to be completed in coming days, and that Maddon would indeed be the next Cubs manager.

The contract, once finalized, is expected to make Maddon one of the highest-paid managers in baseball and quite likely the best-paid in the National League. Mike Scioscia's Angels deal pays him $5 million annually, so he sets the standard.

We may not get official confirmation of this immediately, because MLB frowns upon teams making news on the day of a World Series game. That's led to other MLB reporters saying the deal isn't yet done. But that could just be because the Cubs are waiting for the World Series to end before confirming the story.

Cubs' source calls Maddon report "inaccurate." No word from Cubs or Maddon's agent.

— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) October 29, 2014

That doesn't mean it's not happening.

— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) October 29, 2014

Maddon opted out of his deal with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, saying he wanted to explore the open market. His free agency, as it were, shook up the managerial ranks to where otherwise employed gents like Renteria started to fear for their jobs.

The Rays were 754-705 under Maddon since 2006. He took over in rough times and turned a 100-loss team into a contender in the AL East, going to the World Series once and the postseason four times.

The Cubs are hoping for the same turnaround. They were 73-89 in 2014, seven games improved from 2013. There's a lot of young talent coming up in Chicago, though, so the Cubs are hoping for much more success in the coming years. They brought up Javier Baez and Jorge Soler this summer, and still have slugger Kris Bryant waiting in the wings. 

The Cubs are expected to be big players in the free-agent market too, as they have money to spend. They're considered as a possible destination for Jon Lester and possibly another well-known arm.

Now, they've made their first big move, and it's not even technically the offseason yet.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 9:49 pm

After accidentally shooting off his own finger Tuesday while cleaning his gun, Jose Canseco was well enough Wednesday to return to Twitter. Canseco, the former MLB slugger whose post-baseball life has been something of a sideshow, tweeted a photo of himself, his huge cast and his fiancée, Leila Knight.

Canseco, 50, reiterated what TMZ Sports reported after the shooting — he's hoping to keep his middle finger after surgeons in Las Vegas worked to reattach it Tuesday night.

Got no sleep. Hope I can keep my finger but grateful it wasn't something worse @ModelLeila my nurse taking good care pic.twitter.com/TR78fmru8d

— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) October 29, 2014

While Canseco hasn't played in MLB since 2011, he's still made use of his hands on a baseball field in recent years. He went on a summer tour a couple months back, trying to break the record for the longest baseball and softball home runs. Last year, he spent a week as a player/coach for the United Baseball League team in Fort Worth.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 8:56 pm

(AP)Anything can happen in a World Series Game 7, particularly one between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals like we'll see Wednesday night.

They're two evenly matched teams, neither of whom has an ace on the mound. The unpredictability is everywhere. 

But for the sake of gamblers, there has to be a favorite. Bovada, a leading online sports book, has made the Royals the home team, a slight favorite at 7/5. According to Bovada, the betting public agrees.

"Even though the public was backing the Giants early on in the series, there has been some recent support for the Royals who just seem to win when they need to," says Kevin Bradley, Bovada's sports book manager. "Early on money is pretty split tonight, but the Royals are taking in slightly more and I expect us to need the Giants tonight."

The most intriguing storyline for Game 7 is how much we'll see Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, who has shut down the Royals in Games 1 and 5. The Giants are starting 16-year veteran Tim Hudson, but Bumgarner will most likely get some work out of the bullpen.

Bovada put the over/under on Bumgarner's pitching at an inning and a third. Here's that and a couple other Game 7 odds per Bovada: 

SPECIAL (SF @ KC) - How many innings will Madison Bumgarner (SF) pitch in the game?
Over 1.1: -140, (5/7)
Under 1.1: EVEN, (1/1)

World Series MVP - Odds to Win
Madison Bumgarner, 1/1
Lorenzo Cain, 8/5
Field, 2/1

MLB SERIES SPECIAL - (SF vs KC) - Will game 7 go to extra innings?
Yes: +600, (6/1)
No: -1000, (1/10)

MLB SERIES SPECIAL - (SF vs KC) - Will game 7 end on a Walkoff hit?
Yes: +550, (11/2)
No: -900, (1/9)

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 5:40 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This is how Ned Yost wanted it all along. And how he said it would be.

After the Kansas City Royals fell in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night, their manager shared a hope — a gut feeling — that his team and its opponent, the San Francisco Giants, would be playing a seven-game Series.

Well, after the Royals clobbered the Giants 10-0 on Tuesday night, here we are — for the 37th time in major league history under the best-of-seven format, for the second time in four years and for just the sixth time in 26 years. What a fitting end to the Yostseason, unexplored territory for Yost as a manager, and the Royals as a franchise — at least over the past 29 years.

"This is totally different than anything I've ever done," said Yost, who's been to World Series as a player and coach.

And K.C.'s run to the ultimate moment in sports already has changed how the Royals are looked at in town. A year ago, general manager Dayton Moore was lambasted for regrettably saying that the Royals winning 86 games and hanging around in the American League Central race made him feel like they "won the World Series."

Even if the Royals lose to the Giants, something definite has changed about them, Yost said.

"The difference is night and day," Yost said. "It's just been this month. "They really started to believe, I think, a little bit in September. But even in September, I could go anywhere in this town and maybe get recognized by about one out of 30 people. I can't go anywhere in this town now without being recognized by everybody, which is kind of strange and different for me."

"But our fans, it's been so long. They're just so excited that we're here. They've waited a long, long time for this opportunity and to enjoy this type of playoff atmosphere with this organization, and they're taking full advantage of it."

Yost reiterated, after Yordano Ventura tossed three-hit ball over seven innings, and the Royals offense scored seven times in the second inning, that he was certain of victory in Game 6.

"I've never been so convicted about a game in my life, seriously," Yost said. "I've never felt more strongly about us winning a ballgame in my life than I did yesterday on this game. I don't know why. It's just the confidence I have in these guys, because when you go in that locker room, you see the confidence they have in themselves. I just felt that we were going to win this game and get to Game 7 and see where that takes us.

"It's a good feeling. I didn't expect to win the game 10‑0. I thought we'd squeak it out, but we're going to Game 7. That's all that matters."

That, and winning Game 7. The Giants would seem to have a pitching advantage, with Tim Hudson starting, and Madison Bumgarner waiting in the wings.

"Bumgarner's a great starting pitcher," Yost said. "We'll see what kind of reliever he is."

Jeremy Guthrie starts for the Royals, though Danny Duffy and James Shields are said to be available to relieve immediately. And the big three in the bullpen, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, could pitch multiple innings, Yost said.

"We feel like we hopefully have all the scenarios covered," Yost said. "Hooks are going to be quick on a night like tonight when you've got that much quality pitching."

"When you start sniffing something," Yost added with a finger snap, "you got to make a move."

The Royals having home-field for Game 7, historically, isn't any kind of statistical advantage. Over the 36 Game sevens in history, the home club is 18-18. Yost still likes the comforts of Kauffman Stadium.

(AP)

And he's just as "convicted" about winning Game 7 as he was Game 6.

"You know, when we battled in Game 4 and ended up losing, I knew we'd have a heck of a time in Game 5, with Bumgarner as special as he was," Yost said. "But in my mind, I knew — at least I had a very, very strong feeling — that whoever won Game 6 was going to win Game 7. And if the Giants would have won tonight, they would have proven me right.

"But we have to wait to see if my theory's correct."

Will the Yostseason end how Yost said it would. The man hasn't made a mistake in two months*. There's no reason to doubt him now.

*denotes likely exaggeration

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 29, 2014, 11:22 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Grieving the loss of friend Oscar Taveras and trying to help save his team's season in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, right-hander Yordano Ventura emerged from the Kansas City Royals bullpen with a plan.

When he ascended the pitcher's mound for warm-up tosses before the first inning began, Ventura appeared anything but ready for the San Francisco Giants. He misfired several times at catcher Salvador Perez, throwing several balls in the dirt and, at least twice, sending them to the backstop. 

Ventura looked overwhelmed. Faced with his team's elimination, and trying to keep his mind on his work despite Taveras's body being buried back home in the Dominican Republic earlier in the day, the 23-year-old with bottomless composure was cracking. It was not going to be his night.

Would you believe that was Ventura's idea? That's what he said, with the help of translator and teammate Christian Colon, after Kansas City's 10-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium that forced Game 7 on Wednesday.

"I came from the bullpen with that plan," Ventura said. "I throw a lot of fastballs and [the Giants] are looking for fastballs. So I just came in and started throwing a bunch of balls everywhere. I was trying to trick them a little bit and make them think I was kind of rattled."

This is some kind of tale of Yor. It sounds like the scene from "Bull Durham" when Kevin Costner told Tim Robbins to hit the mascot with a wild pitch.

 

Thankfully, Ventura never plunked Sluggerrr.

And, just after the umpire shouted, "Play ball!" Ventura was able to turn off the act and throw strikes. Pretty much.

"After the first hitter, I settled in," Ventura said.

He did, tossing three-hit ball over seven innings. He also walked five (including three straight in the third inning) and stuck out four, so Ventura's command of his stuff wasn't perfect. But manager Ned Yost appreciated the other kind of command Ventura showed.

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"I mean, you've got a 23-year-old kid pitching the biggest game that this stadium has seen in 29 years, with our backs against the wall, and he goes out there in complete command of his emotions with great stuff and throws seven shutout innings," Yost said. "We've talked all along about how special he is, but this shows you can't be on a bigger stage than he was tonight. And to perform the way he did was special."

Ventura had a couple of other odd moments, such as staring down Pablo Sandoval for reasons neither player revealed (although Sandoval joked that Ventura was "jealous" of his World Series rings).

And there also was the Michael Jackson kick on the Hunter Pence comebacker. It was an active night for Ventura, but his mind was racing about his friend.

Ventura dedicated the game to Taveras, who was killed in an auto wreck along with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo. Ventura wrote Taveras's initials, first name and uniform number in various places on his uniform. Taveras was never far away from his mind or heart, Ventura said.

"If he was here, I would for sure be talking to him," Ventura said. "And Oscar would be happy for me and proud. Oscar was a very humble guy and very likable, and I'm going to miss him a lot."

Perhaps, in some kind of combination of grief and worry, Ventura decided he needed to try something out there. Collectively, the Giants didn't seem to realize any kind of ruse was happening before the first pitch, and even if they did, it's hard to say that it had any effect on how they approached Ventura.

It was one of those things that, if it worked for Ventura, that was good enough.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 29, 2014, 10:48 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals had Game 6 of the World Series well under their control by the time Hunter Pence came to bat in the sixth inning Tuesday night. The Royals led by nine runs, and Ventura was two outs through the inning when Pence hit a sharp comebacker on the first pitch he saw.

Ventura reached back and snared the ball before it could bounce up the middle for a hit. Pence already had a double in Game 6 after coming in 9 for 19 with three walks and a 1.282 on-base plus slugging percentage. Keeping him off base is cause for at least minor celebration, which Ventura appeared to do by kicking his leg like Michael Jackson would have done in a music video. (Or, perhaps in life.)

It was a funky end to the sixth, and the Royals continued to dominate in a 10-0 victory that ensured a deciding Game 7 would happen Wednesday night.

Ventura was feeling all kinds of emotions given the predicament his team faced — elimination — but also because his friend Oscar Taveras was buried earlier in the day after dying in an automobile crash, along with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, which happened over the weekend in the Dominican Republic. Ventura dedicated Game 6 to Taveras, a slugger with the St. Louis Cardinals, who was just 22 years old.

Ventura, a 23-year-old in his first full major league season, did not want his reactions against the Giants to be misunderstood.

Your browser does not support iframes.

"I didn't have any bad intentions toward Pence, or the Giants or anybody," he told Big League Stew. "It was just the emotions of the game. I play with heart. I caught the ball and was happy, and that's how I play. Dominicans have that swagger, you know? It's nothing against the Giants or Pence."

In addition to fielding his position well, Ventura appears to have the makings of a good dancer.

"I'm a good dancer, but I don't like to dance," Ventura said.

What's wrong with dancing?

"I sweat too much on the baseball field, so I don't want to sweat off the baseball field," Ventura said.

Ah, don't sweat it.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 29, 2014, 7:38 am

Now that we're preparing for a World Series Game 7, now that the 2014 World Series has been pushed to its limit, things make a lot more sense.

All along, the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals seemed like two teams that were very evenly matched. Plus, they both have a notable history in Game 7s. The Royals won a Game 7 in 1985 to capture their first, last and only World Series (they won Games 6 and 7 at home too).

The Giants, meanwhile, will be playing in their fifth Game 7. They're 0-4 in those previous games, dating back to their first Game 7 in 1912. Their most recent loss was 2002 against the Angels. That's not the only way history is against the Giants. A road team hasn't won a World Series Game 7 since 1979 when the Pittsburgh Pirates did it.

Past Game 7 performances, though, aren't a valid indication of anything that will happen during Wednesday's contest. They're just fun to examine. So if we're going to talk Game 7 history, we figured we should also look back at some of the most memorable Game 7s throughout history.

This will be the 37th World Series Game 7 in MLB history and the first since 2011 when the Cardinals beat the Rangers. There have been a number of great ones over the years, but we picked memorable ones. This isn't a ranked list. Just seven that we remind you about as the Royals and Giants prepare to tussle one last time.

(Getty Images)

LUIS GONZALEZ DELIVERS D-BACKS' CHAMPIONSHIP
In what was certainly the most memorable Game 7 of this century, Luis Gonzalez cemented his status as an Arizona icon by giving the Diamondbacks their first and only World Series title in 2001. It was 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth and Gonzalez dug in against famous New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera (who wasn't quite as immortal then). Gonzalez singled over Derek Jeter's head and Jay Bell rushed home as the winning run.

* * *

BILL MAZEROSKI'S WALK-OFF HOMER
Again, we're not ranking these, but many people consider the 1960 contest between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees the best World Series Game 7. The Pirates won 10-9 after Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski launched a game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth. His remains the only walk-off homer in World Series Game 7 history.

* * *

JACK MORRIS GOES 10, TWINS WIN
You don't know the name Jack Morris and not know this story. In 1991, Morris, the Minnesota Twins ace, was matched up with John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves. Morris had already started Games 1 and 4 in the series, but came back with his gutsiest performance in Game 7. He pitched a 10-inning shutout and the Twins won on a pinch-hit, walk-off single by Gene Larkin.

* * *

(Getty Images)

DIZZY DEAN THROWS A SHUTOUT ON ONE DAY'S REST
We've heard lots of talk about how much rest Madison Bumgarner will get in this series for the Giants. With MadBum in mind, consider Dizzy Dean in 1934. Pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dean pitched a six-hit shutout on one day's rest. The Cardinals won 11-0. It was Dean's third start of the series. Baseball is a much different game now, so we're not saying Bumgarner should be starting Game 7 because Dean did 80 years ago, but we found this worthwhile for historical context.

* * *

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SANDY KOUFAX STRIKES OUT 10, THROWS SHUTOUT
One more gutsy pitching performance: Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax, in his second-to-last season, struck out 10 in a 2-0 shutout of the Minnesota Twins in the 1965 series. It was Koufax's third start of the series. He returned for Game 7 after pitching six innings in Game 2 and a shutout in Game 5. After winning Game 7 on two day's rest, Koufax was named the World Series MVP.

* * *

THE MARLINS WIN IN A WILD WALK-OFF
Whichever team wins the 2014 World Series will be following in the footsteps of the 1997 Florida Marlins, in more ways than one. The Marlins were the first wild-card team to win the series when they beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games. In the decisive game, the Marlins tied it in the ninth, then Edgar Renteria won it in the 11th with a walk-off single. Fun fact: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer was at this game as a kid.

* * *

The Washington Senators beat the Giants in Game 7 in 1924. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON SENATORS BEAT THE GIANTS IN 12
As we said previously, the Giants have never won a World Series Game 7. Their closest was all the way back in 1924, when the Washington Senators beat them in 12 innings. The Giants — playing out of New York at the time — had a 3-1 lead entering the eighth inning. But the Senators scored twice to tie it, then untied it in the bottom of the 12th when Earl McNeely's grounder took a bad hop and allowed Muddy Ruel to score the game-winning run. Walter Johnson pitched four scoreless innings in relief for Washington.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

 

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 7:38 am

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Neither player would say why Yordano Ventura stared down Pablo Sandoval at least twice during Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night. Ventura didn't even admit to staring at Sandoval, saying there was nothing out of the ordinary about any of their confrontations during a 10-0 victory for the Kansas City Royals against the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium.

Sandoval had a theory, though.

(EFE)

 

Sandoval on Ventura staring him down: "It's part of the game. Probably, he's jealous that I've got two World Series."

— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) October 29, 2014

 

Ventura, with the help of teammate and translator Christian Colon, played ignorant.

"I was pitching normal to him," Ventura said. "Pablo didn't say anything to me, and I didn't say anything to Pablo. I was just looking at his shoes, watching him run down to first base. There was nothing behind it."

His shoes? Sandoval, who walked in three plate appearances against Ventura, said he didn't really care anyway.

"I play my game, I don't care what they do," Sandoval said. "I don't even think about it."

Ventura allowed three hits over seven innings, helping the Royals survive and reach Game 7 on Wednesday night. If he does happen to be jealous (or envious) of Sandoval's rings, Ventura could make progress toward squaring the personal championship score by the Royals winning their first Commissioner's Trophy since 1985. He probably won't be pitching, though.

Not sure what he can do about coveting Panda's shoes, either.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 29, 2014, 7:09 am

It seemed inevitable the moment we knew the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals would meet in the World Series. Now it's a reality. With the Royals' 10-0 victory in Game 6, one of the most exciting single games possible in sports is set up for Wednesday night in Kansas City: Game 7 of the World Series.

It has been a rare event recently. This will be the first World Series Game 7 since 2011, and only the second since 2002. Yet it felt inevitable because the two teams involved were playing so well coming in. The Giants entered winners of nine straight postseason series dating back to 2010, including this season's NL wild-card game. The Royals set an MLB record winning their first eight postseason games, sweeping through the AL wild-card game, ALDS and ALCS. 

Whether you believe in momentum in baseball or not, it was difficult to dismiss what both teams had established. It was just as difficult to imagine either losing four games. On Wednesday, one of them will, and that team will have come as close to winning a World Series as possible without actually crossing the finish line. 

Game 7 starters Tim Hudson (left) and Jeremy Guthrie (right). (USA TODAY Sports)

Tim Hudson, 39, will get the start for San Francisco, making him the oldest pitcher to start a World Series Game 7. He took the loss in Game 3, his World Series debut, after allowing three runs in five and two-thirds innings. He'll be opposed by Jeremy Guthrie, who won Game 3 by allowing two runs in five innings.  

They're the starting pitchers, but unless they're great or terrible, they'll likely be footnotes in an all-hands-on-deck, winner-take-all Game 7. There are so many ins and outs that go into these games, because there are more options available to the managers. And even with all of the strategy involved, it's just as likely a bad bounce will decide it as a good decision or superstar performance. 

With that in mind, though, we're still digging a little deeper to uncover potential keys that could lay the groundwork for a Game 7 victory. 

Three keys for the San Francisco Giants 

Madison Bumgarner after his Game 5 shutout. (USA TODAY Sports)

The availability of Madison Bumgarner
Games 1 and 5 starter Madison Bumgarner was reportedly available if needed to record a critical out in Game 6. He wasn't needed, which means his availability could expand to an inning or two in Game 7. Bumgarner has far and away been the most dominant starting pitcher during the postseason, posting a 1.13 in 47 2/3 innings. He's 2-0 against Kansas City in the World Series with a 0.56 ERA. Perhaps more important than that, he has experience throwing in relief during the postseason. He pitched two scoreless innings in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS. He's a lethal Game 7 weapon. 

A more composed start
According to Bruce Bochy, the only good thing about the Game 6 blowout is having an opportunity to wash it off in Game 7. Among the issues Tuesday were sloppiness on defense, particularly in the second inning, and several missed opportunities offensively that would have closed the gap. Obviously, cleaning up the defense is vital. However, not allowing that first scoring opportunity to slip away may be just as important. San Francisco isn't an easy team to rattle, but the sooner it can wash that stink off, the better. 

Contain Alcides Escobar
Escobar ambushed Tim Hudson in Game 3 with a first-pitch double and later scored the game's first run. He later added a single, and scored the game's second run, giving him seven hits in 14 career at-bats against the Giants starter. It's a battle Hudson needs to win on Wednesday. If Escobar is on base, it gives Kansas City an opportunity to be aggressive and create a quick scoring chance. 

Three keys for the Kansas City Royals

Greg Holland has notched seven postseason saves for Kansas City. (USA TODAY Sports)
Rested bullpen
Lockdown relievers Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis were both touched up in Game 5, but along with closer Greg Holland weren't needed in Game 6. The rest will do them some good, especially in Herrera's case. He has tossed 9 2/3 innings over seven outings since ALCS Game 1 on Oct.10. Holland hasn't pitched since closing World Series Game 3. All three will be rested and perhaps ready to throw two innings each if needed.

Break out the running game
One stolen base on two attempts is all we've seen from the Royals' running game during the World Series. Game flow has had a lot to do with that. The watered down track in San Francisco seemingly had little effect. But if there was ever a game for the 2014 Royals to return to their roots, Game 7 is it. Giants starter Tim Hudson has allowed 22 steals in 26 attempts over the last two seasons.

Last at-bats
Recent history is certainly on the Royals' side on Wednesday night. In the last nine World Series Game 7s, the home team has won each time. That includes the 1985 Royals squad, who won both Games 6 and 7 at home against the St. Louis Cardinals to notch their only championship. Looking even deeper, three of the last five Game 7 winners have done so in walkoff fashion. It's a difficult circumstance for the visiting team to get the final three World Series outs on the road. Ned Yost's main focus should be keeping the game close at any cost so his team stays within striking distance.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 29, 2014, 6:43 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former Journey lead singer and monster San Francisco Giants fan Steve Perry traveled to Kansas City Tuesday night in the hopes of seeing his team clinch the World Series.

The clinching didn't happen as the Giants lost 10-0 to the Royals to force Game 7 on Wednesday night. But Perry was more than happy to pose for pictures – sans the eyeblack he wears while singing "Don't Stop Believin'" at AT&T Park – with Royals fans.

So @Karin_Clements got a pic with Steve Perry. Really nice guy pic.twitter.com/vJXfLSbsvI

— Brent Fry (@brentfry) October 29, 2014

I MET STEVE PERRY FROM JOURNEY!!! pic.twitter.com/t2ztBgF8U8

— Zach George (@ZachGeorgeUSA) October 28, 2014

Where can we get a Royals Christmas sweater like that?

Oh, Steve Perry is in KC. Maybe the Giants can have him lip sync "Who's Crying Now" #WorldSeries (pic: @Soonereyedoc) pic.twitter.com/MW9QmwIUvv

— Ghost of Ray Kroc (@GhostofRAK) October 29, 2014

While we appreciate the other Journey song reference, the best thing that happened between Royals fans and Perry came from some fans a section over from him.

Steve Perry. Not pleased. #WorldSeries http://t.co/6JYAYGJy0b

— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 29, 2014

If you don't get it, we'll explain.

Brooks' "Friends in Low Places" had been played in the middle of the sixth inning at Kauffman Stadium since 2008. But after some fan backlash, possibly because of the perceived connection of low places equaling the basement of the American League Central, the Royals held a contest at the beginning of the 2014 season for a new sixth inning song.

"Friends in Low Places" was included in the bracket but was matched up against "Don't Stop Believin'" in the first round. Journey and Perry won. In fact, the song won the whole contest and the anthem became the Royals' new sixth-inning song, dispatching the country drinking tune.

However, Perry's voice has disappeared at Kauffman Stadium for the World Series since the Giants have been utilizing the song too and Perry is such a big fan.

“We thought: They’ve got Steve Perry, let them do it,” Royals vice president of community affairs and publicity Toby Cook told the New York Times.

Therefore, the Royals haven't played the song in the three games the Giants have played at Kauffman Stadium in the postseason. Tuesday night's sixth inning song was Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Night."

And given that the Royals had a big lead when Kiss was played, you can probably expect it to be played Wednesday night too. While Perry may be at Kauffman Stadium cheering for the Giants, you won't hear him over the stadium's speakers.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: October 29, 2014, 6:13 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As Alcides Escobar's ground ball came toward him in the second inning of in Game 6 of the World Series, San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt knew he needed to keep an eye on Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez on third base.

With one out and runners on second and third, the Giants had drawn the infield in to prevent Perez from taking off toward home and potentially scoring another run as the ball left Escobar's bat. In theory, the ground ball to Belt should have frozen Perez and allowed the Giants to get the Royals shortstop at first base for the second out, potentially blunting a game-changing rally on Tuesday night. Jake Peavy had an incredibly short outing in Game 6 of the World Series. (AP)

In reality, Perez stayed put. But Escobar made it to first safely and the Royals scored seven runs in the inning and chased starting pitcher Jake Peavy en route to a 10-0 win that forces a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

"Belt was checking the runner at third, but there wasn't a lot of speed there ... he waited just a hair too long," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You've got a pretty fast runner going down the line. I thought that changed the inning. Peavy was throwing the ball well. The hitter before him, made great pitches on. And if he gets an out there, I think it does change the inning and he's got a better chance of getting out of it."

Escobar swung at a pitch off the plate and didn't make solid contact as the ball rolled toward the left of first base. Belt fielded the ball as he was charging toward home plate. As he looked toward Perez, who deked homeward, his momentum was still carrying him toward the plate.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw him start to break towards home so that's when my first move was," Belt said. "And he didn't do it and so then the pitcher can't get to the bag. At that point it's my job to get the runner out myself."

If Belt isn't positioned in and moving forward for the ball, Peavy has an opportunity to get to first base and cover the bag. Instead, he was caught helpless to the play between the pitcher's mound and Belt.

"I wanted him to check [Perez] and I can't see the runner so I couldn't cross him right there if that runner was going because we would have obviously had to throw the ball to home plate," Peavy said. "That led to me not being able to cover the bag."

Because Belt was on the infield grass, his angle to beat Escobar to the base for the force out was impossible. His only option was to go for the tag, which he missed as Escobar slid feet-first into the outside of the base.

Since he was also playing in, second baseman Joe Panik had dashed to cover first as Escobar charged down the line. While he was waiting for a potential toss from Belt, Panik was yelling at Belt. But Belt didn't hear him or even have time to look back toward the base to see if Panik was there.

"No, that's usually not how the play ends up," Belt said of Panik covering. "I wish I would have looked back, but like I said, we've done that – we've practiced that play so many times and Joe is usually not there. It just so happened that he could make it over there that time and I have to make a pretty quick decision back there whether I'm going to look back and try to throw to somebody or go get him myself so I decided to get him myself."

Belt said he could have dived at Escobar or the base but made the decision to stay on his feet to help prevent the second run of the inning from scoring. The pragmatism didn't pay off.

"It's one of those things where I might could have dove for him and got him but then you risk the runner being able to go home from third right there," Belt said. "So it was just kind of – I couldn't – Joe said he was yelling at me, I couldn't see him, I couldn't hear him, so I did what I could to get over there."

It wasn't enough. Nori Aoki followed with a single to score Perez and Peavy's night was through after he had gotten just four outs. Had Escobar been a fifth out, Peavy might have been in the game longer.

"Just a combination of everything. Joe got there, Belter couldn't see him, I couldn't get there because I didn't know if Perez was going to try to go," Peavy said. "Just crappy, crappy luck."

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: October 29, 2014, 5:33 am

The Kansas City Royals have pushed the World Series to a Game 7 after giving the San Francisco Giants a sound 10-0 beating Tuesday night in Game 6.

While we'll give you five key moments like we normally do, the Royals' win really revolves around one inning, the bottom of the second, in which they pounded the Giants for seven runs on eight hits, sending starter Jake Peavy to the showers quicker than anybody in black and orange hoped. That whole series of events ended the game when it had barely even started.

That said, let’s cue five key moments:

(USA TODAY Sports)

1. MOUSTAKAS STARTS THE SCORING WITH A DOUBLE
Royals' third baseman Mike Moustakas, who was 1-for-10 in the three games in San Francisco, found his groove immediately upon returning to Kauffman Stadium. He got the Royals on the board in the second inning with an RBI double after Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez started off the inning with consecutive singles.

* * *

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2. GIANTS GOOF ON ESCOBAR'S GROUNDER
This was a sign the Giants were off their game: Alcides Escobar turned a grounder to Brandon Belt into an infield single. There was confusion in the infield, as Belt didn't flip the ball to Joe Panik, who was trying to cover first. It could have been the second out of the inning when the score was still 1-0. Instead, it was a precursor for problems to come.

* * *

(USA TODAY Sports)

3. GIANTS PULL JAKE PEAVY, ROYALS SCORE RIGHT AWAY
When they pulled Jake Peavy and brought in their super reliever Yusmeiro Petit, the Giants had to be hoping that would stop the bleeding. Petit hadn't given up a run so far in the postseason and has been called upon in crucial moments. Hope was zapped when Lorenzo Cain immediately doubled off Petit to turn a 2-0 game into a 4-0 game.

* * *

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4. ROYALS PILE ON WITH TWO GROUND-RULE DOUBLES
For good measure, the Royals scored again in the third inning after two ground-rule doubles by Omar Infante and Lorenzo Cain. That made the score 8-0. Cain deep fly to center bouncing over the fence may have actually helped the Giants, though. If it hadn't, Nori Aoki would have scored too.

* * *

(AP)

5. VENTURA HITS 100 PITCHES
The game was pretty much a done deal by the time Yordano Ventura hit pitch No. 100 — a pop out that ended the top of the seventh inning, and ended his night — but it was a testament to his stellar performance that he lasted that long. The Royals needed a long, strong outing from their starter after all the use they've given their bullpen lately. He gave up just three hits and struck out four.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 3:32 am

This had to hurt considerably more than the time a fly ball bounced off his head for a home run.

Jose Canseco reportedly shot off his middle finger — accidentally — Tuesday at his home in Las Vegas, according to TMZ Sports and local news reports. The ex-MLB slugger, who has a knack for continuing to make headlines all these years later, was cleaning his gun when he accidentally shot himself. 

TMZ Sports says surgeons are trying to save Canseco's finger. 

Jose's fiancée Leila Knight tells TMZ Sports ... he was sitting at a table in their home cleaning the gun when it went off. She says he didn't know it was loaded -- and the shot ripped through the middle finger on his left hand.

Leila tells us 50-year-old Canseco is in surgery right now as doctors desperately try to save what's left of the finger. She says the bullet tore through the bottom part of the finger and doctors have already said he'll never have full use of it again ... even under the best of circumstances.

Canseco's fiancee Leila Knight sent out this update Tuesday night from his Twitter account:

This is Leila . Thank you all for the kind words and prayers . Jose is in still surgery and will be ok. Please pray for his finger !! 🙏🙏🙏🙏

— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) October 29, 2014

You have to wonder how this is going to affect Canseco's Twitter game.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 2:32 am

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Kauffman Stadium was so loud during the second inning of World Series Game 6, the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants could barely hear themselves think on the field, let alone hear calls and orders barked out by the umpires.

That led to some confusion and an unusual scene playing out as Eric Hosmer actually took a swing at a pitch after asking for and being granted timeout at home plate. He made solid contact, too, driving what would have been a run-scoring single to center field. 

Here's how it played out. 

With four Royals runs already scored in the inning and Giants starter Jake Peavy recently knocked out of the game, the crowd was at a fever pitch as Hosmer stepped in with runners at first and third and one out against reliever Yusmeiro Petit. Another hit there, and the fans sensed Game 6 would already be put safely out of reach. The players sensed it, too, which is why there was laser sharp focus at the plate. 

As the at-bat played out, Hosmer quickly fell behind in the count 0-2. Then, as Petit rocked and prepared to fire again, Hosmer asked for a late timeout, which was granted by home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg. Already well into his windup, Petit followed through with the pitch rather than stopping awkwardly and risking injury, which is not an uncommon practice under those circumstances. 

(MLB)
Typically, the batter will have already bailed from the plate in case of a misfire. In this bizarre case, Hosmer obviously didn't hear Kellogg's call or sense him bailing from behind the plate, so he stayed locked in on the pitch and roped it into center field. 

Naturally, the crowd was too fired up to understand what had happened. They exploded again upon contact and the apparent result, but the play didn't count. A would-be RBI single was wiped away, and the at-bat continued. 

Of course, given how things were working for Kansas City on Tuesday, this too would be turned into a positive. On the very next pitch, Lorenzo Cain was wild pitched to second base. The next pitch after that, Hosmer delivered a two-run double that did in fact blow the game open. Hosmer later came around to score on Billy Butler's double, giving Kansas City a seven-run inning.

They're currently leading 9-0 in the eighth inning as they look to force a decisive Game 7.  

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 29, 2014, 2:24 am
(USA Today)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The best hope for the Kansas City Royals to win Game 6 of the World Series probably was to succeed quickly against starter Jake Peavy, because scoring on the San Francisco Giants bullpen has been a tough proposition in the postseason.

After the Royals threatened in the first inning but didn't score, they crossed home plate seven times in the second, knocking out Peavy after he retired just four batters, and giving Kansas City big lead in a game they needed to extend the season.

The Royals lead 10-0 in the eighth, having compiled 15 hits overall. Here's a quick video rundown of the Royals scoring in the second.

Mike Moustakas hit a sharp two-run double down the line to get the Royals on the board and, after Yusmeiro Petit relieved, Billy Butler capped the scoring in the second with a double to right-center. Aside from the Moustakas and Butler hits, the Royals ruined Peavy's night with well-placed grounders and bloops that confounded the Giants on defense. 

Another key moment: an infield single to the right side by Alcides Escobar that Peavy let go, and which first baseman Brandon Belt didn't flip to second baseman Joe Panik, who appeared to have covered first in time. That could have been the second out, with the score still 1-0 at the time.

(AP)

The most gosh-darned hit came three batters later, by Eric Hosmer, who hit the ball literally right in front of home plate — bouncing it so high over the drawn-in infield into no-man's land that he reached second base for an improbable two-run double and a six-run lead.

Peavy, who allowed five runs and six hits with a walk and two strikeouts, has a 7.98 ERA in 38 1/3 innings over nine starts. In two World Series starts against the Royals, his ERA is 12.79. 

The Giants bullpen came in with a 1.84 ERA in 14 2/3 innings in the Series, and a 1.80 ERA in 50 postseason innings overall. Giants manager Bruce Bochi used Petit for two-thirds of an inning, and Jean Machi for three innings before putting in Hunter Strickland in the sixth.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 29, 2014, 2:18 am
Rapper E-40, second from right, with Strange Music's Travis O'Guin, far right, and others. (@SFGiants)

It wouldn't exactly be a surprise to see rapper E-40 show up in the stands to cheer on the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. In San Francisco, at least. He's a devoted Giants fan who hails from Vallejo, about 30 miles away.

It is a bit of a surprise, though, to see E-40 sitting behind home plate at World Series Game 6 in Kansas City. But look at your TV. He's right there. He's dressed in black with a black-and-orange Giants cap twisted sideways. 

[Photos: Best of Giants-Royals in World Series Game 6]

E-40's Bay Area love can never be questioned, he's a pillar of the rap scene there who's taken its signature sound national with hits such as "Tell Me When to Go" and "Sprinkle Me."

Did @E40 replace Marlins Man behind home plate? #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/0ZoOkCsOJE

— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) October 29, 2014

You'll recall that Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne was sitting behind home plate during Game 1 of the series and said his ticket cost $6,000. He was accompanied by Travis O'Guin. The two of them are business partners in K.C.-based Strange Music, Tech N9ne's record label.

Well, O'Guin and two pals were sitting next to E-40 during Game 6, wearing "Take the Crown" T-shirts with the Strange Music logo on them. No doubt, they were giving 40 the business as the Royals jumped out to a big early lead.

Where was Tech N9ne? Well, he's on tour in Oregon, otherwise his friend E-40 might not have a seat. Marlins Man, the other behind-home-plate World Series fixture, was a few seats over, if you're wondering.

Yep. @StrangeMusicCEO and @E40 behind home plate #worldseriesgame6 #worldseries #royals #strangemusic pic.twitter.com/VAgHtKI1cU

— Strange Music Inc (@StrangeMusicInc) October 29, 2014

We can only hope this somehow marks the beginning of Marlins Man's rap career.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 29, 2014, 1:26 am
(Getty)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dedicating his start Tuesday night in Game 6 of the World Series to his friend, Yordano Ventura wrote the name, initials and uniform number of Oscar Taveras on his shoes, glove and cap. Ventura has been devastated by the death of Taveras, a slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals, in an automobile crash in the Dominican Republic over the weekend that also took the life of Taveras's girlfriend. Taveras was just 22 years old, and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, was only 18.

Ventura's cap was marked on the front panel with the message, "RIP O.T. #18," large enough to be seen easily.

Handling not only the sorrow of his loss, but also enormity of the situation his team was in, Ventura pitched three-hit ball over seven innings in a 10-0 victory against the San Francisco Giants that set up a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night.

(Getty)

On the field after the final out, Ventura wore a Dominican flag draped over his back. He also placed a flag at the table where he sat for a press conference with teammate and translator Christian Colon.

"If he was still here, I would for sure be talking to him, and Oscar would be very happy for me and very proud," Ventura said. "Oscar was a very humble guy and very likeable, and I'm going to miss him a lot."

[Photos: Best of Giants-Royals in World Series Game 6]

Ventura and Taveras lived parallel lives in the minor leagues on their way to the majors, Ventura said Monday night before a workout at Kauffman Stadium. They stayed at each other's houses and knew each other's families. Ventura was somber, respectful and brief — and not overly emotional — when describing his friendship with Taveras on Monday. But his death apparently hit Ventura harder than he let on.

Yordano Ventura (left) and Christian Colon discuss the Royals' 10-0 victory.

 

"From the minute that I found out about Oscar, I said this game was going to be dedicated to him," Ventura said.

Here's a look at all of the equipment Ventura dedicated to Taveras:

 

RESPECT: Guante, gorra y zapatos que usará Yordano Ventura, honrando la memoria de Oscar Taveras. #Royals #MLB pic.twitter.com/Jv6Sp9dB7M

— Marino Pepén (@Marino_Pepen) October 29, 2014

 

Ventura wasn't subtle about it — despite risking a fine — and good for him. Using Twitter, reporter Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com got a little more information from Ventura, who posted messages in Spanish on Tuesday — including one of incredible sorrow.

 

Todo por ti mi hermano donde quiera que estes siempre te recordare mi bro no sabes el dolor que dejaste en mi 💔💔🙏🙏😭😭 pic.twitter.com/c5eGqUZEeJ

— Yordano ACE Ventura (@YordanoVentura) October 28, 2014

 

Roughly, he said: 

"It's all for you, my brother, wherever you are, I'll always remember you. You have no idea the pain I'm in."

 

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 29, 2014, 12:23 am

(USA TODAY Sports)
As thousands gathered in the Dominican Republic for the funeral services of Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident on Sunday along with his girlfriend Edilia Arvelo, the St. Louis Cardinals paid a very special tribute to their fallen player on Tuesday.

A lone light in right paying tribute to Oscar. #RIPOscarTaveras pic.twitter.com/jVMSqgvwah

— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 28, 2014

The lone light shines in right field, a position Taveras played in 62 games during the 2014 season and was expected to compete for in spring training. Recognized as the No. 3 prospect in MLB by Baseball America, it was viewed as only a matter of time before Taveras grabbed the position full time. And once seized, he was expected to be there for many years while wearing a Cardinals uniform. 

Another angle of the right field lights for Taveras at Busch Stadium via @Bommaritoauto SkyFOX helicopter pic.twitter.com/Nh23f1O8Vl

— FOX2now (@FOX2now) October 28, 2014

It's a simple, yet powerful tribute to a life lost too soon and a star whose light was just beginning to shine. 

Taveras, 22, signed with the Cardinals as a 16-year-old and essentially grew up with the organization over the past six years. General manager John Mozeliak, manager Mike Matheny and longtime team leader Yadier Molina were among those representing the team at Tuesday's services.

Outside Busch Stadium, Cardinals fans have been gathering at a makeshift memorial over the past 48 hours to pay their respects as well. 

Outside Busch Stadium, people continue to remember Oscar Taveras. pic.twitter.com/beay0ftD2y

— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) October 28, 2014

Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals also held a moment of silence for Taveras and his girlfriend prior to Game 6 of the World Series. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 28, 2014, 11:50 pm

Will the San Francisco Giants claim their third World Series trophy in five seasons? Or will the Kansas City Royals stay alive and push this World Series to a Game 7? 

The Royals and Giants are back in Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium for Game 6, where the hometown fans are hoping their Royals rebound after two straight losses in San Francisco. There's no wiggle room, though, for the Royals. They lose and this thing is over. They're sending their fireballing rookie Yordano Ventura to the mound to face Giants veteran Jake Peavy.

It's the same pitching matchup from Game 2, which the Royals won. We'll find out shortly if they can repeat that. As we do, the Yahoo Sports MLB crew — columnists Tim Brown and Jeff Passan, plus the bloggers from Big League Stew — will be serving up commentary from start to finish.

Use this handy Twitter tracker to follow the game with live commentary from our writers and other MLB experts.

MORE WORLD SERIES READING FROM THE STEW
Jake Peavy says swollen right thumb 'a non-issue'
Yordano Ventura grieves for Oscar Taveras amid preparation
Madison Bumgarner plans to lurk in Giants bullpen in Game 6
Jake Peavy's son spills beans on plans to buy cable car if Giants win Series
Keeping Giants' Hunter Pence off base would help Royals reach Game 7
Young fan turns pile of leaves into wonderful Kansas City Royals crown

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 28, 2014, 11:27 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jake Peavy tried to catch a foul ball hit into the San Francisco Giants dugout on Saturday night, and sustained an injury to his right thumb that almost knocked him out of his scheduled start in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night. Almost. Peavy told USA Today that he's good to go, saying the swelling has gone done after getting several treatments, and what remains of the injury is a "non-issue" at this point.

A few days ago, he was worried. Brace yourself for graphic details of the ickiness:

The ball skipped off his right thumb, bending it all the way back and tearing off skin. Peavy has been undergoing treatment, wrapping his thumb in ice each day to calm the swelling

Peavy already can find himself, a couple of times, on a running list of unusual injuries. Missing a World Series start, with the Giants on the verge of knocking out the Kansas City Royals and winning a championship for the third time in five years, would have been "devastating," he said.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy couldn't believe the bad luck (or lack of thinking on Peavy's part):

Bochy told USA TODAY Sports: "I couldn't believe it. Of all things, come on. But, I keep checking with him, and he tells me he's fine."

Bochy knows he would have to rip off Peavy's arm to keep him from starting Tuesday night's Game 6.

Hey, don't give Peavy any ideas. He cut his left index finger with a fishing knife during spring training with the Boston Red Sox this past March. USA Today's Bob Nightengale referred to an older injury Peavy sustained when opening a can of cat food. He also underwent unprecedented surgery to fix his lat muscle after severing it.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 28, 2014, 9:35 pm
(Via Fox 4 TV Kansas City)

People who live in houses with property lined with trees realize (at least) two things about October:

1) It's World Series time.

2) Somebody's got to pick up all of those darned leaves. Ugh.

Why not combine the two into fantastic art? That's what a young Kansas City Royals fan in Merriam, Kan., has done. "Sophia," who is 12 years old, noticed an undistinguished pile of leaves in her grandfather's yard and thought it could be something more.

Via Fox 4 TV in Kansas City:

(Via Fox 4 TV in Kansas City)

 

“My grandpa would bring me piles of leaves and I did the art work, it took me a couple of hours but it was fun and was time shared with my grandpa,” Sophia said. “It stayed on his lawn for a few hours. Hope this is a small piece of inspiration for the Royals…!”

What a great idea and a lovely story about a kid sharing Major League Baseball with her grandfather. 

(Via Fox 4 TV in Kansas City)

The "Royals" part of her project, while not the precise cursive font the team uses on its uniforms, actually is more impressive than the crown. Letters would seem especially tough to make legible using piles of leaves. This kid has a real future in the lawn arts.

There's only only problem: Keeping the leaves in place, and from being blown to the four corners of the yard (unless it's already too late). She could spray glue them in place. Emptying nine of 10 bottles of hairspray on the leaves might give the leaves a permanent hold, but she'd also be ruining the ozone layer over the Kansas City area in the process. She's probably going to have to clean up grandpa's yard regardless, once they've transformed back into a shapeless mass.

It's OK, considering the Royals haven't been in a World Series in 29 years. Say, imagine how many leaves would have piled up, and how big of a Royals message you could make, if someone waited that long to clean up their yard?

Oh, well. The very best art is temporary anyway (no one has said, but should). 

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 28, 2014, 9:05 pm

 

The people of Kansas City want to be optimistic about the Kansas City Royals beating the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night in Game 6 of the World Series, a feat which is required to force Game 7. Still, many TV viewers watching Game 5 on Sunday probably were caught off guard by an advertisement from Dick's Sporting Goods that congratulated the Royals on being the "2014 World Series champions!" and urged fans to buy the same kind of apparel players probably were soaking with celebratory Champagne and beer at that very moment.

Holy "Dewey Defeats Truman!" Good omen? Or just bad timing?

The commercial was more than just a few hours premature; even if the Royals had won Game 5, they still would have been one victory short of their first championship in 29 years.

 

Apparel companies have to manufacture a lot of their "championship" stuff ahead of time so it's ready to go the moment of the final out — so the players can wear it, and the people can buy it. The same thing goes for marketers who produce commercials. The danger, obviously, is somebody putting in the wrong video and pressing "play" prematurely. (Unless the mistake was on purpose, which, it could have been, for publicity. Curses, Dick's Sports!)

Of course, we always have thousands of leftover T-shirts after every World Series or Super Bowl that have the wrong team winning and get shipped to an impoverished or calamity stricken land. Hey, if the Giants win tonight or tomorrow, TV officials could send a video of the Dick's commercial with the "wrong team" winning, right along with the T-shirts.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 28, 2014, 6:05 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yordano Ventura said he knew Oscar Taveras, the young slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals who died, along with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, in a car crash Sunday night in the Dominican Republic. Ventura and Taveras were friends who hung out at each other's home during those frequent times in the minors when they played on opposing teams in the same league.

Before a team workout for the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Monday afternoon, Ventura said Taveras has been on his mind as he prepared for Game 6 of the World Series. Sometime before Ventura throws the first pitch against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night, the body of Taveras will be buried in their home country.

About a year older at 23, Ventura was born in Semana, D.R., a seaside town smaller than Puerto Plata, a resort area where Taveras was from. Both players began with their respective organizations in 2009 when they were in their late teens. Ventura reached the majors in 2013; Taveras this past May. Both players — Ventura with a 100 mph-plus fastball, and Taveras with hitting talent that's been compared to Albert Pujols — have been considered to be on parallel tracks to stardom in the majors.

[RELATED: Yahoo Sports' own Jeff Passan on Juan Perez of the Giants, who considered Taveras a good friend.]

Ventura's eyes glazed as he talked about Taveras, but he kept his composure.

(Getty)

 

"I consider myself a friend of his, and my thoughts are with the family and of all of those who know him," Ventura said with the help of teammate Jeremy Guthrie translating. "It's a very difficult time. And such is life — things like this happen."

Life also goes on, and with it, Ventura's work. With the Giants leading the best-of-seven Series 3-2, the Royals are facing elimination. The emotions that can accompany such a scenario might clutter the mind of another player, but Royals manager Ned Yost expects Ventura to continue to pitch with focus beyond his years.

"You worry about … young pitchers, [that] they're going to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation," Yost said. "I've got absolutely no concern that that's going to happen with him. We know what kind of stuff he has. We know his ability to compete. We know his athleticism on the mound. His confidence is just staggering. I mean, you walk in that clubhouse, and he looks you square in the eye with that glint that says, ‘I’m ready for this.’ "

Ventura said he appreciates Yost's faith in him, and the faith teammates say they have in him, though he wouldn't go as far as Yost, who predicted the Royals would make it to Game 7.

"You never know what's going to happen tomorrow, but everybody is going to give everything they have, go out there and fight, knowing that we're a good team with confidence," Ventura said. "The biggest goal is to not leave anything behind, to give everything you have, knowing that it could be the last game. We have all the confidence that we can go out there and win."

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 28, 2014, 8:21 am

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bruce Bochy mentioned, for the second straight day, how left-hander Madison Bumgarner planned to make himself available out of the San Francisco Giants' bullpen for Game 6 of the World Series.

The premise sounds unrealistic, given that Bumgarner threw 117 pitches in the four-hit shutout he tossed in Game 5, and would be working on one day of rest Tuesday night — even if it's briefly in relief, and even if it lines up (sometimes) with Bumgarner's bullpen day.

"I doubt I would do that," Bochy said Sunday. "But you never know." 

After a team workout at Kauffman Stadium on Monday night, Bumgarner told San Francisco media he's going to pester Bochy about pitching in Game 6. Via CSN Bay Area:

(AP)

 

“Well, I expect Jake Peavy to throw a shutout,” Bumgarner said. “That’s what I expect. But we’ll be ready for anything.”

Yes, but where does Bumgarner plan to watch this Game 6? The dugout or the bullpen?

“Probably a little of both,” he said. “I mean, I’d like to watch some of it from the bullpen.”

It might be tempting for Bochy, given that Bumgarner's career World Series ERA is 0.29, and that he's the likely MVP if San Francisco wins the Series. But the Giants' bullpen has been humming along just fine without help from Bumgarner, posting a 1.80 ERA with 32 hits allowed in 50 innings, along with a 45-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio, this postseason.

Adding Bumgarner to the relief corps might not be necessary, or even advisable, before a potential Game 7. 

"It's all hands on deck these next two games," Bochy said. "But ideally, sure, you'd like to give him a couple days."

That way, Bumgarner might be good for more than a batter, or an inning, which would be the likely workload in Game 6.

Checking back with Bochy on Monday, he seemed to soften on the idea of Bumgarner in Game 6, as much as Bochy can soften:

"He's going to say, 'Hey, if you need me at any point tomorrow, please use me.' He's done that before," Bochy said. "He really bounces back well, and we wouldn't ask him to do a lot, but if I needed to get an out or something, I'm sure he'll say he's available."

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 28, 2014, 5:41 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Though he didn't have to, Jake Peavy apologized for bringing his two youngest sons to a press conference Monday after the San Francisco Giants arrived for a workout at Kauffman Stadium. They all flew together on a team charter from the Bay Area following Game 5 of the World Series, so Peavy had nowhere else for the kids to go. He brought Wyatt Peavy, a fifth-grader, and Judson Peavy, a kindergartener, to the dais to help him field questions.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times asked a good one: What have the Peavys done with the duck boat Peavy bought after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, and does the family have a line on any cable cars?

Jake Peavy on the right. (AP)

 

"Wyatt, you want to?" Peavy said, and his son gave a good answer about how the boat needed to be painted, and how it was covered in mildew back in Alabama, where it was parked near a baseball field on Peavy's property. The elder Peavy went into a longer spiel about his future plans for the old duck boat when Wyatt interjected:

WYATT PEAVY:  "[Whispers]. We picked out a trolley car."
JAKE PEAVY:  "[Laughs]. I'll get into that if and when this thing happens."
WYATT PEAVY:  "I think we already picked out our trolley car."
JAKE PEAVY:  "Hey, hey, hey, hey [laughing]."

Of course, picking out a trolley — the signature vehicle of San Francisco — as a prize for winning the World Series is kind of putting the cart before the horse. Or the duck before the boat. Peavy's kids bantering about cable cars was fun, but it might be something their dad regrets, especially if the Kansas City Royals win two more games. Or even one more.

Dad Peavy is scheduled to start Game 6 on Tuesday night, so he's in position to help the Giants win their third World Series since 2010. He posted a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts during the regular season after coming over from the Red Sox in late July before the trade deadline, but Peavy has up and down in the playoffs. And his 7.05 ERA in the postseason is kind of alarming.

There's going to be a lot on the line for Peavy — not just saving face over the leak of a planned trolley purchase.

"You try not to because you want things to be as normal as they are," Peavy said. "But at the end of the day this is the start that you play your whole career wanting. It's hard to get away from that fact. That this is the opportunity that I would hope just about anybody in baseball would want.

"To be the guy that gets the ball with that opportunity... it's a special opportunity; I understand that," Peavy said. "I've just got to do all I can do to be in the moment, to think about executing pitches, to find any way, anyhow for the San Francisco Giants to win this game, and I promise you, I'm going to exhaust every option."

(AP)

What does a new trolley cost, by the way? At Trolley Brokers, the California Street model (with wheels) start at $159,000. If Peavy wants one that rides on tracks, he's going to have to invest a lot more, along with some infrastructure. That would be cool, though, like having a life-size train set.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 28, 2014, 3:48 am

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Citing his confidence in right-hander Yordano Ventura, manager Ned Yost repeatedly expressed optimism about the Kansas City Royals extending their season beyond Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The San Francisco Giants lead the Series three games to two after beating the Royals 5-0 on Sunday, and need to win only once in two games to take their third championship in five seasons.

"I think we're going to win," Yost said Monday before a team workout at Kauffman Stadium. "I mean, that's the way I feel. I've got that much confidence in our team. I've got that much confidence in Ventura. I just think we're going to go to Game 7."

One area where Yost might lack some confidence: What to do about Giants slugger Hunter Pence. No matter what the Royals have tried, Pence has found a way to solve their pitchers in the World Series. He's batting .474 with a .545 on-base percentage and a .737 slugging percentage in 22 plate appearances. Pence has nine hits, six runs scored, 14 total bases and five RBIs. Pence and Pablo Sandoval have combined for 17 of San Francisco's 52 hits.

The problem with confronting Pence: His approach is so unconventional, it's hard to know how to stop him. Using several colorful words and phrases, Yost explained why Royals pitchers haven't been able to slow him down yet:

(AP)

 

"You know what?" Yost said. "He is so funky with his swing that he's a guy — like last night [against James] Shields, that ball that he hit in the first inning, that ball was a perfectly executed changeup, down and away, maybe on the corner or a little bit off the corner. [Pence] throws his butt out, and all of a sudden the bat head whips through like it's a hurricane, and hits the ball so hard it shoots right by [Alcides] Escobar."

Down in the zone hasn't worked — so what about up?

"You get a ball up, and he slashes the ball into the right‑center field gap as viciously as anybody in the major leagues can do it," Yost said.

So far, Yost's descriptors for Pence are: Funky, butt, sudden, whips (v), hurricane, hard, shoots, slashes, and viciously. He also used: Unique, phenomenal, ability, strong, gap, hoping and threat.

Sounds like a nightmare.

"He's just got a very unique swing, [and] his hand‑eye coordination is phenomenal," Yost said. "His ability to hit pitches that aren't strikes is way above average, and he puts the bat head on the ball. He's tremendously strong, he's got really good hands.

"You sure wouldn't teach anybody his swing."

Pence was good during the regular season, even very good at times, given an adjustment for pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. But a guy with a 130-52 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .332 on-base percentage can be pitched to. So what can the Royals do? Is it just a matter of hoping he gets himself out? And crossing your fingers?

Well, yeah, Yost said.

"This guy, every time he walks up, I'm just hoping that we can get him out and he can go sit down for another eight guys," Yost said. "He's a threat."

Probably the biggest threat the Royals face to reaching Game 7.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 28, 2014, 2:51 am

(Big League Stew)SAN FRANCISCO — In the hour before the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals would start Game 4 of the World Series, Pete Seat walked the concourse at AT&T Park in a Chicago Cubs T-shirt.

And you thought Marlins Man's bright orange outfit was out of the place at the World Series.

Seat is a Cubs fan, born and raised on the western side of Indiana in a city of 30,000 called Schererville. He'd really like to watch the Cubs play in the World Series, but since that hasn't happened since 1945, Seat devised a plan that he thinks is a good runner-up. He goes to one World Series game each year. The 2014 series makes his ninth consecutive.

"I figure they'll never make it in my lifetime," says Seat, 31, of his beloved Cubs. "If I amass 50 of these in a row, that'll probably equal the joy of a single Cubs World Series."

So he puts on his Cubs T-shirt and his World Series cap from the previous year and takes in a ballgame.

"I love going there and not having an emotional connection to anything and just taking it all in," Seat says. "You’ve got to love how excited everybody is to be here and be a part of it."

He's like a lo-fi version of Marlins Man. Seat doesn't have the celebrity, the disposable income, the free time or the sweet ride, but his dedication to the streak is admirable. Marlins Man, for instance, will pay $8,000 for a behind-home-plate World Series ticket. Pete Seat gets in however he can. Sometimes, he hasn't actually had a seat (besides his surname).

Initially, this started with a friend. Seat was working in Washington D.C. at the time. He and a buddy decided it would fun to head to Detroit to see the Tigers play in the 2006 World Series. By the end, Seat decided it should be an annual thing. Since then, he's had friends tag along, but usually it's just him. He's been to Texas, Philadelphia, Colorado and St. Louis to name a few. He was at Kenny Rogers' controversial pine tar game during that first trip in 2006.

(Big League Stew)

Planning a one-day World Series vacation isn't the easiest thing. He starts in August, narrowing down which teams have a legitimate shot to play in October. He starts scouting flights and hotels. Then he enters ticket lotteries, hoping he might be able to score a face-value ticket. If he does, life is good. He did this year, sitting up in section 305. Last year, he attended during St. Louis Cardinals' portion of the series and just had a standing-room-only ticket. Often he turns to StubHub, like he did in 2008 in Philadelphia, paying about $800 for a ticket.

"Usually I spend more money than humanly possible," he says.

This year's was a there-and-back trip, because sometimes you have to keep the streak alive. He flew out of Indianapolis at 6 a.m. ET, arrived in San Francisco in time for a friend to give him a quick tour of the city. He'd never been before. Seat wanted what the called the "Full House" tour — if it was in the show's intro, he wanted to see it. Then it was off to the ballpark. Afterward, he'd head to the airport and depart from San Francisco at 12:20 a.m. local time.

"I’ve got to work Monday," says Seat, who is a communications consultant in Indiana these days. He has a background in politics, having worked in the White House from 2005-2009. He also previously worked as a strategist for a U.S. Senator. So as you can imagine, October isn't necessarily his downtime.

Ask Seat about his favorite World Series game, and it's actually outside of his streak. The first time he went to the World Series was in Arizona in 2001. He attended Games 2 and 7. He was up in the highest possible row when Luis Gonzalez hit the walk-off single to beat the New York Yankees.

"Nothing can top Game 7 of 2001, for it to end the way it did," Seat says. "I've never seen a World Series win since then, just because I can't gamble with a Game 5 or Game 6, because I may not end up going."

When he's at the game, inevitably, the hometown fans see him in the stands — the Cubs T-shirt, a hat from a season ago and a World Series jacket he got in 2010 — and get confused.

"They're like, 'Wait, who are you rooting for? I don't under this,' " Seat says, then he explains to them his October ritual.

"That's the greatest thing I've ever heard. How do you do that?" someone will respond.

"I buy a ticket, I buy a flight, I go to a game,” he says. “It's not that hard.”

Hard? Maybe a little. Expensive? Sure.

Something for baseball fans everywhere to envy?You're darned right.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 27, 2014, 8:25 pm

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Since news of young St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras' death — in a car accident at age 22 — started to spread Sunday evening, we've seen it resonate a number of ways across the baseball community.

San Francisco Giants outfielder Juan Perez, heart heavy because Taveras was a good friend of his, had a big hit in World Series Game 5. Cardinals players, meanwhile, remembered his youthful energy and looming potential.

Oscar Taveras (18) shakes hands with Mike Matheny after a Cardinals win in July. (Getty Images)We did not, however, hear from Mike Matheny, the Cardinals' manager, until Monday morning. There's a reason for that. Matheny says he wasn't composed enough to say anything after hearing the news. But he's released a statement now and it's a must-read.

"I was asked last night to give some words regarding the tragic death of Oscar Taveras, but I just simply couldn't.

"First of all, it felt like a bad dream that could not be real, and when reality kicked in, my words didn't even seem to make sense. To say this is a horrible loss of a life ended too soon would be an understatement. To talk about the potential of his abilities seemed to be untimely. All I wanted to do was get the guys together and be with our baseball family. I know the hurt that comes along with buying into the brotherhood of a baseball team. That hurt is just as powerful as the joys that come with this life. Not to say it is even close to the depth of pain his true family is going through, but the pain itself is just as real. The ache is deep because the relationships were deep, and forged through time and trials.

"To the many fans who have already reached out with condolences, and to the many more who are in mourning, thank you for taking these players in, like they are one of your own. This level of care is what sets our fans apart.

"In my opinion, the word 'love' is the most misused, and misunderstood word in the English language. It is not popular for men to use this word, and even less popular for athletes. But, there is not a more accurate word for how a group of men share a deep and genuine concern for each other. We loved Oscar, and he loved us. That is what a team does, that is what a family does. You will be missed, Oscar."

Matheny and Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak traveled Monday to the Dominican Republic to attend Taveras' memorial service.

Obviously, Taveras' death is jarring and will stay with the Cardinals for some time. As they move toward the 2015 season, they'll need a strong leader. It sounds like they have one.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 27, 2014, 5:48 pm

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Kansas City Royals wanted out of AT&T Park on Sunday night, out of Giants country, out of a place where they had to adhere to National League rules and where they'd just lost again. They suited up in their fancy travel clothes, grumbled around the visitors' clubhouse and bolted for the exits as quickly as they could.

Next stop: Kansas City — and they couldn't be happier.

"Going back to the K, with those fans and that electricity," said third baseman Mike Moustakas, 1-for-10 in the three World Series games in San Francisco. "We're excited."

The Royals arrived in the Bay Area, changed up their lineup, then went out and won Game 3. Manager Ned Yost looked like a smarty pants again. They jumped out to a 4-1 lead in Game 4, scoring four runs in the third inning. The Royals were rolling. And then they smacked face-first into a wall. Their offense vanished and so did their series lead.

(USA TODAY Sports)

In essence, that wall was a 6-foot-5 lefty from Hickory, N.C., whose prowess for postseason shutouts is nearing his prowess for snot rockets. The Royals haven't scored in their last 15 innings, nine coming in Madison Bumgarner's Game 5 shutout, a 5-0 Giants win. The way he's pitching, you can't give the Royals too much grief for not being able to hit Bumgarner. They had four hits, actually, but never more than one in any given inning.

After that third-inning rally in Game 4, the Royals didn't plate another run. The Giants threw up 10 unanswered runs — sort of literally — and won 11-4. The Royals scored in just three of the 27 innings they played in San Francisco. Don't matter if you're facing Madison Bumgarner or Billy Madison, that's not how you win a World Series. 

Kansas City, though, offers renewed hope. Things can be normal again. Billy Butler can return as their designated hitter. Nori Aoki, displaced by Jarrod Dyson for defensive purposes in San Francisco, can return to right field. That's a more potent lineup for Ned Yost to trot out in a must-win game.

"We're going back to our home crowd," Yost said. "The place is going to be absolutely crazy. We feel good about our matchups. We've got to walk the tightrope now without a net, but our guys aren't afraid of walking the tightrope without a net. We fall off and we're dead. But we win Tuesday, nobody's got a net." 

(AP)

The Royals face Jake Peavy in Game 6, who they tagged for six hits and four runs in their Game 2 win. Facing him again, that's something to which they can look forward. If the Royals hold on for a Game 7, they'd face Tim Hudson — unless the Giants change their mind.

"We just gotta worry about Peavy and Game 6 right now," said first baseman Eric Hosmer, who had five hits in San Francisco, most of anybody on his team.

And while they prep for Peavy, the Royals need to get on their plane, fly 1,800 miles, forget the last 15 innings and be thankful they're still alive to play again in front of the Kansas City fans.

"They give us a lot of energy," Hosmer says. "We feed off them."

Here's something to digest: The last time the hometown fans watched a Kansas City team in the World Series, those 1985 Royals returned home down three games to two, then won two straight and hoisted the trophy.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 27, 2014, 9:28 am

It forever will be known as the "Stain'd Mangled Banner."

Singer Aaron Lewis took to Facebook on Sunday night to apologize for messing up the national anthem before Game 5 of the World Series. Lewis's big mistake — aside from getting a neck tattoo at one point in his life — came in the song's second line:

O say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed were so gallantly streaming?

Nope, that's not it. He left out "at the twilight's last gleaming." The "gallantly streaming" was to come two lines later. The unfortunate gaffe created some responses from the players standing at attention, notably Tim Lincecum, who appeared to say something like, "He forgot the words. Yep."

'He forgot the words. Yep.'

 

Though it's been a while, you might remember Lewis as the lead singer of the rock band Staind. This was a different kind of blemish.

To his credit, Lewis circled back and got on track with the rest of the 200-year-old tune, not botching any more lyrics, but also not really showing off much range, either. He probably felt relief at the end of two minutes when the song was over.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is one of the harder songs to sing well. Adding to the degree of difficulty, it's often played before 40,000 quiet people in a giant stadium on live television when millions more are watching at home. Sometimes, the singer has to coordinate with planes flying overhead, or skydivers parachuting into the stadium. Even without the bells and whistles, it's easy to see how the song gets messed up, and it happens to the best of 'em.

Regardless, he's already received criticism for his performance, some of it playfully harsh, so in response Lewis wrote a note on Facebook to assure everyone that's he's not only sorry, but also patriotic:

 

(AP)

 

All I can say is I'm sorry and ask for the Nation's forgiveness. My nerves got the best of me and I am completely torn up about what happened. America is the greatest country in the world. The Star-Spangled Banner means so much to so many, including myself. I hope everyone can understand the intensity of the situation and my true intent of this performance. I hope that the Nation, Major League Baseball and the many fans of our national pastime can forgive me.

What a strange note, and not only because he seems to be apologizing to the Nation, a political magazine. It's just an odd reaction to think that people will think you are unpatriotic because you messed up the words. As if Lewis were some kind of musical double agent, sent by our enemies — the same people who ripped the flag before Game 3 — to make us disloyal to the United States through badly performed music.

It's not like Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, or Jose Feliciano at the '68 Series, when they famously performed their own "take" on "The Star-Spangled Banner" and people got mad (and still get mad). Lewis' performance and his Facebook note are ironic, though, because he's been critical of how others have performed the anthem:

 

 

He's referring to Aguilera at the Super Bowl in 2011, a performance for which she also apologized, also theming her contrition on love of country.

 

So Lewis comes to AT&T Park, just tries to get through the performance without much personal styling (unless his style was to have no style), and he misplaces the words anyway. And later he starts talking as if he's in fear of being deported. Hey, Lewis already was on record having sung the song with the words in the right order at the Indianapolis 500 in 2006. That should keep him in good standing with Homeland Security.

 

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It should be noted that MLB tried doing Lewis a solid by editing around his mistake in a video they published of his performance, adding interview footage in which he expressed an intention to wear his Red Sox cap to sing — until officials "frowned on it a little bit."

Hey, no style means no style.

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 27, 2014, 9:12 am
(AP)

SAN FRANCISCO — Here's the thing about these San Francisco Giants, on any given night, in any given postseason game, someone else seems to step up. 

On Sunday night, in Game 5 of the World Series, it was shortstop Brandon Crawford. He had an RBI in each of his first two at-bats, giving the Giants an early 2-0 lead. Neither was particularly pretty, but when it's the World Series, the teams are tied 2-2, and the best pitchers are on the mound, you take the runs how you can get them.

After the Giants scored two more runs in the eighth — more than enough at that point for a cruising Madison Bumgarner — Crawford came up to face Wade Davis with Juan Perez on third. That's when Crawford laced his second hit of the night to make the score 5-0.

"Crawford had quite a game," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

"I'm just trying to put the bat on the ball," Crawford said, "and hope something good happens. With Madison on the mound, two runs early is definitely big."

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Crawford came up in the second inning with one out and runners at second and third. A deep Travis Ishikawa fly out and smart Giants base running had put Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt both in scoring position. Crawford grounded out to second base, good enough for Pence to run home.

In the fourth, Pablo Sandoval and Ishikawa singled, and Crawford came to the plate with two outs. Crawford reached for one of James Shields' pitches and looped a ball into center field that Jarrod Dyson couldn't get to. When Dyson bobbled the ball, Sandoval raced home to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. 

Crawford's had a solid postseason — he's hitting .250 and he's had a hit in each World Series game. But Crawford hadn't driven in a run since Game 3 of the National League Division Series. His biggest postseason moment remains his grand slam in the NL wild-card game.

Given the Giants' someone-new-steps-up nature, it was bound to be Crawford's turn again eventually. 

"It just shows how deep our lineup is," Crawford said. "That anybody at anytime can contribute."

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 27, 2014, 6:20 am

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SAN FRANCISCO — It was bound to happen eventually. Relief pitchers aren't perfect, you know. Not even the Kansas City Royals' highly touted HDH bullpen that's helped them get this far in the postseason.

That's Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and closer Greg Holland, the lockdown trio that, if things are going right, if the Royals are winning, Ned Yost calls out for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Combined they'd given up three runs the entire postseason — one in the AL wild-card game, one in the ALDS and one in the ALCS.

Things weren't going right Sunday night in Game 5 of the World Series, but Yost called them anyway. He had no choice. He couldn't let the Giants get further ahead. But they did — because for the first time this postseason, HDH cracked. Well, Herrera and Davis did. They let in three runs (two earned) in the eighth inning, letting a 2-0 Giants lead become a 5-0 Royals loss.

(USA TODAY Sports)"We know sometimes we're going to give up runs," Herrera said, though he'd gone the longest. He last allowed a run on Sept. 30 in the wild-game game against the A's.

Herrera had pitched 9 2/3 scoreless innings since then, allowing just two hits. There had been some concern that Herrera was being overworked. He'd pitched more than an inning in this last three appearances, and Yost asked him to do that again Sunday.

Despite a walk in the seventh, Herrera did fine, getting three outs in three batters after Buster Posey hit into a double play. When Herrera came back out for the eighth, though, he gave up back-to-back singles to Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence to start the inning.

He was pulled for Davis, who struck out the first batter he faced, but then allowed a deep double to center to light-hitting Juan Perez. That brought two runs home and Perez advanced to third on a throwing error by Alcides Escobar. Then Brandon Crawford — him again — singled off Davis to bring home Perez. 

These things happen in eighth innings. But they don't usually happen to the 2014 Royals. Herrera, Davis and Holland each had an ERA under 1.50 this season, they were historically stingy. They were the best bullpen in baseball, and rarely did they show weakness.

The question is inevitable now: They cracked in Game 5, will HDH crack again? How crucial can that be now that the Royals have to play must-win baseball? Is their confidence shaken? 

"No, no, no," Herrera said. "Tuesday, I'm going to go with full confidence." 

For the Royals' sake, maybe this was the bound-to-happen flub and now it's out of their system.

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 27, 2014, 5:57 am

After news broke that St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend were killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, a stunned baseball community immediately reached out via social media to pay its respects and express its sadness.

Among the many were Taveras' Cardinal teammates, who just 10 days ago were battling alongside him against the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series.

So sad to hear about Oscar. My prayers go out to his family. In complete shock.. So sad.. Life isn't fair

— Randal Grichuk (@RGrich15) October 27, 2014

Absolute Tragedy.. My prayers go out to Oscar Taveras family.

— Matt Carpenter (@MattCarp13) October 27, 2014

Wow! My heart truly hurts to hear the passing of Oscar! I've played with him every year and we truly lost a great person! #RIPOscarTaveras

— Kolten Wong (@KoltenWong) October 27, 2014

Last 30 minutes I've been sick to my stomach. Keep thinking about Oscar's big smile in the dugout whenever we made a big play/got a big hit

— Pat Neshek (@PatNeshek) October 27, 2014

Oscar was the last teammate I saw in St. L.

— Pat Neshek (@PatNeshek) October 27, 2014

I joked with him since our apartments were next to each other about how he could fit nearly 12 dozen bats in his car.

— Pat Neshek (@PatNeshek) October 27, 2014

Yahoo baseball reporter Jeff Passan confirmed the news as Game 5 of the World Series began in San Francisco. He was able to get a word with Matt Holliday, who was likely to share outfield space with Taveras for several years to come.

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday on the late Oscar Taveras: “It’s a young man that had a chance to be a huge, bright star.”

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 27, 2014

Fox viewers were informed in a short message by Ken Rosenthal before the top of the fourth inning. It didn't take long for the sad news to reach the players involved. 

Several Giants players have come over to my TV in dugout when heard news abt Taveras..Juan Perez in tears in dugout..

— Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) October 27, 2014

In the Dominican Republic, rivals Licey and Aguilas came together on the field to pay tribute to Taveras.

Cuando la rivalidad se pone a un lado.. Jugadores de Licey y Aguilas se abrazan en oración por Oscar Taveras pic.twitter.com/ekm6LpAHUm

— LigaDom.com (@LigaDomcom) October 27, 2014

Taveras had been scheduled to play for Águilas in this year's winter league. His jersey, bat, and batting helmet were seen hanging in the dugout.

Cardinals fans have also started a memorial for Taveras at the foot of Stan Musial's statue outside Busch Stadium. 

People starting to pay respects to Oscar Taveras at the foot of the Musial statue. Sad day in #CardinalNation pic.twitter.com/bHvBGHJVKi

— Ashley Green (@ashnicole83) October 27, 2014

"All of us throughout Major League Baseball are in mourning this evening, shocked by the heartbreaking news of the accident involving Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend in the Dominican Republic, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement on Sunday night. 

“With heavy hearts, tonight we play Game Five of the 2014 World Series in the memory of these two young people.”

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark also released a statement.

"We are very saddened to learned of the news that a car accident has claimed the life of Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend in the Dominican Republic. Oscar had a very promising future, on and off the field, and this news is heartbreaking on many levels. It's never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and to lose one so young is devastating news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of both, as well as to the St. Louis Cardinals organization and Oscar's many fans in the United States and Dominican Republic."

Taveras had already made many fans and many friends in baseball. It's heartbreaking to think about the many more he would have made in the years to come.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 27, 2014, 3:28 am

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Thanks to another marvelous effort by left-hander Madison Bumgarner, a few timely hits and sloppy play and/or thinking by the opponent, the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 of the World Series 5-0 on Sunday night.

Bumgarner pitched a four-hitter, throwing 117 pitches in what's likely to be his final appearance of the 2014 season. Would he be available in a Game 7 in relief?

"You know it," Bumgarner told Fox TV's Ken Rosenthal after the game.

With the Giants leading 3 games to 2, the Series returns to Kansas City on Tuesday night. Forty-two times out of 63 (67 percent), the winner of Game 5 has won the Series.

Here are the top five moments from Game 5:

WRITING MADISON BUMGARNER'S NAME IN GIANTS' LINEUP CARD
For the third time in four career World Series starts, Bumgarner pitched at least seven innings without allowing a run. His career ERA in the Fall Classic is a record 0.29 — one earned run allowed in 31 innings. He struck out eight, but it seemed like more.

"For some reason, I keep getting real lucky this time of year," Bumgarner said.

BRANDON CRAWFORD STEPS UP WHEN ROYALS STEP BACK

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The Giants' No. 8 hitter put his team on the board with a one-out RBI grounder to the right side in the second inning — with the Kansas City infield curiously playing back. Any kind of run for Bumgarner had the potential to be huge. Crawford added an RBI single in the fourth.

ROYALS 'D' NOT SO TIGHT

 

The Royals made no errors until the eighth, but shortstop Alcides Escobar failed to field a grounder hit in the hole by Travis Ishikawa in the fourth. It went under his glove for a single — and he might have nicked it — but he should have made the play. Coming with two outs, it moved Pablo Sandoval to second base and helped set up Crawford's second RBI.

YOST LACKS AGGRESSION WITH PINCH HITTING IN FIFTH
It would have been unconventional to pinch-hit for pitcher James Shields in the top of the fifth, but certainly Royals manager Ned Yost should have used Billy Butler or even Nori Aoki (stronger against lefties, oddly) to bat for Jarrod Dyson with one out and Omar Infante on second base. Bumgarner was vulnerable there and it doesn't happen often. Kansas City didn't get a better chance to change the game's trajectory. Yost also picked a curious time to pull a double-switch later on, so that Jayson Nix could get an at-bat in the eighth inning.

JUAN PEREZ ADDS INSURANCE

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Several Giants players have come over to my TV in dugout when heard news abt Taveras..Juan Perez in tears in dugout..

— Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) October 27, 2014

Crying in the dugout earlier in the game when news came of the death of countryman Oscar Taveras in the Dominican Republic, Perez put his grief on hold for a moment and hit a two-run double to extend San Francisco's lead in the eighth inning (he advanced to third on an error). His emotions must have been hard to bear.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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Author: David Brown
Posted: October 27, 2014, 3:19 am

SAN FRANCISCO — The portions of the Giants' postseason that's been played at AT&T Park has seen no shortage of famous folks. Carlos Santana and Mo'ne Davis were at Game 4. Huey Lewis was at Game 3. WWE star Daniel Bryan was here for the NLDS

Sunday's Game 5 of the World Series has a number of familiar faces in attendance. In the stands, you'd find actors Rob Lowe and Benjamin Bratt and NFL legend Joe Montana. Comedian Billy Crystal caught the first pitch, which was thrown out by Robin Williams' son. None of this even counts the numerous baseball legends hanging around.

But the most star power of the night was up in one of the AT&T Park suites, where ex-Giants slugger Barry Bonds was hanging out with rapper Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian. If you need proof, just look to Twitter and Instagram.

Hanging With @kanyewest @KimKardashian @SFGiants Game time Yes Yes Yes⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️@BondsPat pic.twitter.com/82xaSl9Hlb

— Barry L Bonds (@BarryBonds) October 27, 2014

Bonds, apparently, was the life of the party during Game 5. Here he is with ex-Journey lead singer Steve Perry, whose been cheerleading at AT&T Park throughout the postseason.

@SFGiants #StevePerry YES YES YES pic.twitter.com/XqqKiMYomC

— Barry L Bonds (@BarryBonds) October 27, 2014

Kanye and Kim, meanwhile, probably aren't Giants fans. He's from Chicago. She's from SoCal and has thrown out the first pitch at a Dodgers game. But a World Series hang session with Bonds makes sense for a couple reasons. Kanye made a song called "Barry Bonds" and he spent $3 million to rent out AT&T Park when he proposed marriage to Kim.

It goes without saying, that the Internet in turn produced this:

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian along with Barry Bonds watching Game 5 of the #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/7KwcP7uKYy

— Heavens (@HeavensHawkeye) October 27, 2014

The only person missing from Bonds' party, apparently, was Marlins Man.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 27, 2014, 3:06 am
(AP)

The St. Louis Cardinals hoped slugger Oscar Taveras would become a star in Major League Baseball. Instead, at age 22, his light has gone out forever. Taveras died after a car wreck in his native Dominican Republic, a report confirmed Sunday night by Yahoo Sports' reporter Jeff Passan. 

Several outlets in the Dominican, notably El Nuevo Diario, reported the news.

 

Muere en accidente de tránsito el pelotero Óscar Taveras pic.twitter.com/pqDth6b6kK

— El Nuevo Diario (@elnuevodiariord) October 27, 2014

 

Details of the crash are still coming in, but Taveras's girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, also died. This, reportedly, is a photo of their car:

This is the car that Oscar Taveras was driving at high speed 2014 Camaro. pic.twitter.com/aZ2IntT8Mq

— LigaDom.com (@LigaDomcom) October 27, 2014

 

Fox's Ken Rosenthal reported that Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has expressed his condolences to the Taveras family. MLB acknowledged his death, too:

 

We mourn the passing of Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras. http://t.co/fCuSK3nB9n pic.twitter.com/0USk5vzaXF

— MLB (@MLB) October 27, 2014

And his teammates are finding out as well:

 

Absolute Tragedy.. My prayers go out to Oscar Taveras family.

— Matt Carpenter (@MattCarp13) October 27, 2014

Taveras, rated the No. 3 prospect in the majors before the season, was said to have hitting talent comparable to that of Albert Pujols — but he had a rocky rookie experience with the Cardinals in 2014. Struggling at times with the demands of the major leagues, Taveras batted .239 with a .278 on-base percentage and a .312 slugging percentage after making his major league debut May 31. 

A positive lasting memory of Taveras will be the home run he hit in Game 2 recent National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants.

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His tying blast helped the Cardinals rally to win. He went 3 for 7 in the playoffs, a tiny sample but a promising one for the future. 

Taveras is the third active Cardinals player to have died since Darryl Kile in 2002. Josh Hancock was legally drunk when he crashed his car into a tow truck in 2007. Greg Hallman of the Mariners in 2011, and Nick Adenhart in 2009 — killed by a drunken driver — are the most recent major leaguers to die.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote Friday about how the Cardinals were disappointed in Taveras' overall results, but excited he would get better this offseason:

“Frankly, the last two months for Oscar were probably his best two months,” Mozeliak said. “And, now, I know he didn’t play a lot. But I think he learned a lot. I think he now understands the ownership he needs to take moving forward. The game is pretty simple. You either do or you don’t. When we get to Jupiter (Fla.) next year, we’re going to know what he did and we’ll know if we can count on him or not.”

Chances were, he was going to get better, and maybe become an All-Star-caliber player. All we know for sure: He seemed to have a significant major league career ahead of him. And now it's all gone.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

Follow @AnswerDave 

 

Author: David Brown
Posted: October 27, 2014, 1:00 am

SAN FRANCISCO — A crowd had gathered near the Willie Mays statue outside AT&T Park in the hours before Sunday's Game 5 of the World Series. They were snapping pictures with their phone, in awe of what they saw.

At the center of the crowd wasn't Mays or any other famous baseball player. It was a guy named Donnie Robinson, sitting atop his awesome Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Robinson, who lives in San Francisco, has spent the last seven years morphing his Harley into his personal tribute to the Giants.

"This thing was done in '07," Robinson said. "Which was when Barry Bonds was hitting all the home runs."

Giants fan Donnie Robinson's custom Harley. (Big League Stew)

He's referring to Bonds' chase of Hank Aaron's home-run record. Since then, Robinson has had a lot more Giants history to add.

"As they were winning World Series, we just started adding things," Robinson said.

As it stands today, his Harley has paintings of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Kevin Mitchell. The handlebars are shaped like baseball bats. There's orange and black everywhere. It's been signed by Bonds, Tim Lincecum, Kevin Mitchell, Brian Wilson and ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker.

(Big League Stew)

Now, the thousand-dollar question: How much has it cost to build this one-of-a-kind Giants chopper?

"Price is kind of endless," Robinson said. "When you're doing this sort of thing, you don't ask price, you just tell 'em to do it."

Sounds like he has no problem adding more should the Giants win a third World Series in five years. 

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 27, 2014, 12:43 am

 

Fox TV gave right-hander Luke Hochevar a really expensive video camera to film his teammates on the Kansas City Royals during workouts before Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday, and comedy happened. Hochevar is recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and had nothing better to do, so he made like a paparazzi getting into the business of his pals. He just got a little too close for comfort with Billy Butler, "accidentally" knocking into him as he played catch down the right-field line.

Butler really got spooked, and if you read lips you can see him saying something to the effect of, "I thought I was getting hit with a ball," dang it. And he stormed off, much to the delight of teammates Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain, who — like most guys — think other people bumping into stuff and being shocked about it is hilarious.

It's a good thing Butler isn't in the starting lineup against Madison Bumgarner, because he'd be spending all of the remaining time before the first pitch just calming down from the camera bumping into his head.

Game 5 is otherwise ready to go. 

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

Follow @AnswerDave 

Author: David Brown
Posted: October 27, 2014, 12:06 am

Once again, the World Series is tied. The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in Game 4 to even the series at two games apiece.

In Sunday night's Game 5, things are going to swing one way or the other. The Giants send their ace Madison Bumgarner, the postseason's best starting pitcher, to the mound to face James Shields in a rematch of Game 1. Will Shields fare better this time? Or will Bumgarner confound the Royals again? 

We'll find out shortly, and the Yahoo Sports MLB crew — columnists Tim Brown and Jeff Passan, plus the bloggers from Big League Stew — will be serving up commentary from start to finish.

Use this handy Twitter tracker to follow the game with live commentary from our writers and other MLB experts.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: October 26, 2014, 11:22 pm

The Baltimore and Kansas City police departments weren't the only ones with a friendly bet riding on the American League Championship Series. It turns out the mayors of both cities, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore and Sly James of Kansas City, had a bet of their own that was a little more intricate.

As we all know, the Royals went on to sweep that series 4-0, and now are two wins away from winning the whole thing with Game 5 of the World Series approaching on Sunday night. That result meant Rawlings-Blake was forced to produce a video of her singing John Long's parody of Lorde's hit song "Royals."

With assistance from the Baltimore School for the Arts, which produced the video and provided two very worthy backup singers, Rawlings-Blake took her shot this past week.

Here's the finsihed video with the performance beginning at the 1:05 mark.

Hey, she admitted she's no Lorde. We must say she's no John Long either, but she's a good sport and that was a respectable effort under the circumstances.

As for the other details of the bet, Baltimore's blue crabcakes have been renamed "Royal blue crabcakes" until the end of the World Series. Rawlings-Blake will also be traveling to Kansas City to read to local students. 

Had the Orioles won, Rawlings-Blake wanted James to record a video in full Orioles gear with a personal congratulations to the city of Baltimore. She also called for Kansas City to light its city hall in orange, rename its Baltimore Avenue to "Baltimore Orioles Avenue" and donate fitness equipment to Baltimore recreation centers.

All very worthy conditions, but the kicker was Rawlings-Blake's "Royal" performance. We take our hat off to her for playing along, and once again we tip our caps to Long and lyric writer Aaron Lage for creating a parody worth parodying.

By the way, John Long's version is now available on iTunes.  

BLS H/N: Aaron Lage

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: October 26, 2014, 10:53 pm

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