Kansas City - A World Series Connection?
October 26, 2012
Ah, Fall. The leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and brown, the days are cooler, but not so cool that you can’t enjoy a Saturday afternoon at a college football game, and of course, the Fall Classic, better known as the World Series. The 108th World Series featured the NL West Division winner San Francisco Giants against the AL Central Division winner Detroit Tigers. Whether you realize it or not, this World Series has a strong Kansas City connection.
In July, you may have noticed a few extra hundred thousand people in Kansas City. Of course I’m talking about the Mid-Summer Classic All-Star game. The All-Star Game determines which league gets home field advantage during the World Series. 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of that rule thanks to a tie in the 2002 All-Star Game, when the game went into extra innings and both teams ran out of pitchers. By the 11th inning, both Joe Torre (AL) and Bob Brenly (NL) had played their last available pitchers. After meeting with Commissioner Bud Selig in the middle of the 11th about the situation, it was decided that if the National League did not score in the bottom of the 11th, the game would end in a tie.
Back to the 2012 All-Star Game. Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington chose Detroit Tiger Justin Verlander to start the game. Kauffman Stadium was like a second home to Verlander. Going into the game, he had a 9-2 record with a 1.83 E.R.A. at the "K." National League Manager Tony LaRussa (who retired after winning the 2011 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals) chose San Francisco Giant Matt Cain. Unbeknownst to both Verlander and Cain, their pitching performance would help decide which of their teams would have home field advantage in the World Series.
As comfortable as Verlander is pitching at Kauffman Stadium, July 10th was not his night. He pitched one inning and gave up five runs. While Cain pitched two scoreless innings. The National League would end up winning 8-0, but it was the Giants bats that were the story. Melky Cabrera (who is a whole other story) had 2 hits, a homerun, and won the MVP; Pablo Sandoval had a triple, 3 RBI, and scored a run; and Buster Posey had a walk and scored a run. The Giants helped themselves to home field advantage in the World Series.
Wild Cards: The St. Louis Cardinals’ Stunning 2011 Championship Season by Rob Rains
Glory in the Fall: The Greatest Moments in World Series History by Peter Golenbock
Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime by Mark Frost
Perfect: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men who Made it Happen by Lewis Paper
The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants, and the Cast of Players, Pugs, and Politicos who Reinvented the World Series in 1912 by Mike Vaccaro