Thursday, March 14, 2013

Time Passages

The ESPN Classic network this afternoon showed the 1985 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. I, like many people, remember most strongly first-base umpire Don Denkinger's blown call in the 9th inning of Game 6 that let Royals pinch-hitter Jorge Orta on base and set up the eventual winning bloop single by Dane Iorg.

I'd forgotten Royals third-baseman George Brett's slide into the dugout when chasing a foul ball and the twin blowups in Game 7 of Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar and manager Whitey Herzog. I'd forgotten just how bad it looked for the Royals right before that blown call, when Cardinals reliever Todd Worrell came to the mound, having struck out 6 Royals the night previously. Down 1-0, I figured this was another loss for my preferred team, although as a Missouri native I would have been OK with a Cards win.

Seen in hindsight, Denkinger's call was of course an important factor in the Series outcome -- though the below-.200 team batting average for St. Louis probably played a bigger role. So it's odd how little was made of it at the time. Herzog came out to protest, but he didn't rant much, and neither did anyone else. Especially in comparison with the tantrum Whitey would throw in Game 7.

Royals ace Bret Saberhagen pitched in Game 7 (an 11-0 win for Kansas City), the night after he became the father of Drew William Saberhagen at 21. This year, Drew -- an assistant coach for the Newberry College Wolves in Newberry, South Carolina -- will turn 27. 

So, probably, will the Royals' streak of postseason non-appearance. Although I hope not.

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