RUSH: Please indulge me on this. This is somewhat personal to me. The Kansas City Royals, how about that, a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. Eight straight playoff wins, setting a Major League Baseball record. The extra-inning win over the Oakland A’s. Three games over the Anaheim Angels, and now over four over the Baltimore Orioles, and to the World Series. They host it, starting Tuesday night in Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium, first time in 29 years.
I was not at the Royals in 1985. I had just left town for Sacramento to set out on this journey, if you will. I worked for the Royals from ’79 through ’83, so I was there for the 1980 World Series that they lost to the Phillies. It was exciting and, you know, I had an important job there. I was director of ceremonial first pitches, and I was director of escorting national anthem singers to second base before playoff games. They sometimes even let me pick the anthem singers. It was five years I spent there. I wouldn’t trade those five years for anything. It was my first five years outside of radio, which I started at age 16.
I met people I would otherwise have not met. I learned things, experience things I never would have. And I had doors open for me simply because I could say, “Hi, Rush Limbaugh, from the Kansas City Royals.” People that wouldn’t give me the time of day, I’m talking about businesspeople, would open their doors. But it was also good for me because I found out that I’m not cut out for corporate conformity, but I wouldn’t trade those five years, and it’s so great.
Nobody in the professional baseball world, the sports media, can believe this. They’re still writing about it even today in the New York papers as though it’s a joke and it’s illegitimate. They’re making fun of the manager, Ned Yost, “Seriously, Ned Yost? What a bumbling –” All they’ve done is won eight in a row, and they’ve done it with a payroll that the New York Yankees spend on two players.
I was looking at the game last night, watching, and that stadium, they’ve done such a great job renovating it and keeping it new. The place was buzzing. It’s one of the best places in the country to watch a baseball game and be part of it. These are young players that don’t know they can’t do anything. It was great to see, and I just want to take a little brief moment here to congratulate ’em.
RUSH: One more observation about the Kansas City Royals and the American League Championship Series. I’ve done something the past couple of weeks I haven’t done in years, I have been watching baseball games on TV, and a realization hit me last night. It’s the way it used to be. I didn’t hear any talk of concussions.
I didn’t hear the play-by-play announcers or the color commentators lamenting sexual abuse. I didn’t hear about whether some player had come out and was gay. I didn’t hear about any cultural this or that. It was just baseball. It was nothing more than the sport of baseball. It was on television, it’s what was talked about, and all of that sideshow stuff the media has dragged into football (and to a certain extent basketball) wasn’t there.
It was… Well, they’re gonna frown on me for this word, but it was “pure,” and by “pure” I mean in the purest sense. It was almost a throwback. It was the way watching sports on TV used to be, long before the Sports Drive-Bys decided to go get political on everybody. It was really great. Something else I was reminded of: The Kansas City crowd is one of the best-looking crowds in baseball. Seriously.
Look, I know I’m biased here. I lived there for 10 years and I worked at that team for five years, but they’re respectful of the other team, sportsmanship and all that, some clever signs. It was all good. It was great TV, it was great baseball, and it was exciting, and as I say: I haven’t watched baseball in years. But I got the fever, and I think it’s great. Again, I just wanted to take a brief moment to congratulate everybody.
It’s so great for everybody in the organization, because nobody gave ’em a chance to do anything. I mean, here’s Buck Showalter. He’s the manager of the Orioles, and he may as well be Bill Clinton. No, no, no, no. He may as well be
Obama in terms of his brilliance. “This is the smartest guy. This is the craftiest, the smartest guy.
“Over here you got Ned Yost! A bumbling idiot, bunting, sacrificing, doesn’t know how to manage, doesn’t know how to do anything.” The sports media, even though they’ve been purists here, just can’t figure it out. Even today, it doesn’t make sense to them, and you have to love that. So congratulations to everybody. The ground crew even did a great job. That place looked immaculate last night — well, the whole series, in fact.
RUSH: Here’s Sarah in Overland Park, Kansas City. Welcome. It’s great to have you on the program, Sarah. Hi.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. I love you. You’re the man.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I’ve been trying to get through for years. I’ve been a fan forever, my family, all of us. And of all the things for me to call about, I am so happy you mentioned the Kansas City Royals. I’ve been waiting because I know about your connection, and I have to tell you, it’s just amazing in this city right now. It’s electric.
RUSH: It’s like it was, I’ll bet, back in the late seventies, early eighties, mid-eighties, when the Royals owned the town and when the Royals defined even the self-esteem of the city. I mean, they owned it. Everybody, I mean, the city was totally united based on the Royals and their fortunes, and it was a great time. It was a great period in the city’s history. And you’re saying it’s back now, huh?
CALLER: You know, I was two years out of high school in ’85, and I was a big fan, I’ve always been a baseball fan. Politics and baseball are my two favorite things, besides my daughter. So I was away at college when they won it in ’85. And, you know, baseball is just America. My family and I were at the game on Tuesday, the third game, and I’ve never seen anything like it in person. People were singing, “God Bless America” with the singer in, what, seventh or eighth inning. Nobody knows the words to that song. It was just people were crying and taking off their caps and just so into it, and I think —
RUSH: Sarah, hang on, hold your thought right there. I misread the clock when I took your call. I thought I had a minute more than I do. I’ve gotta take a break, but don’t hang up. Don’t go anywhere.
RUSH: Now, we return to Sarah in Overland Park, Kansas City. It’s great to hear you talk about this because these are exactly my memories when I was there. It’s the Midwest. It’s the Heartland of America. You’ve got decent people. I made the point, Sarah, watching these games on television it was so refreshing not to have to talk about concussions and not to have to hear about spousal abuse or suspensions or fines or, you know, whether some player came out and what does that mean, what’s going on with the commissioner.
It was just baseball. It was just the way it used to be. It’s kind of like a throwback, in a way. And the games were good. It was all good. And those players, the players on that team are all solid looking kind of guys. Everybody has their vagaries and proclivities, but I can understand everybody getting behind the team. It makes total sense. It’s the way it was last time the Royals were a dominant championship team.
CALLER: Yeah. I agree with you, and that’s just baseball to me, and, you know, I truly believe America is rooting for this team. They’ve struggled for so long, and I think Dayton Moore is a genius. I think Ned Yost has managed this team very well. And I think they’ve both been very patient, as has the owner of the Royals.
RUSH: Well, okay, we’ll grant patience. We’ll chalk it up to patience.
CALLER: Well, they’re great players, and I think it’s different than other teams, too. The Royals and the general manager want to hire players who really want to win. They have good character. They work hard. It’s been a real struggle. They just have worked so hard.
RUSH: Well, here’s what’s happened. I’ll explain it to you in a nutshell. The Royals simply can’t play players what the Yankees, the Angels, and other teams can. Well, they’re a small market. I don’t know the smallest, but they’re a small market. They don’t have local revenue like other teams do, and despite the revenue sharing tax, it doesn’t even begin to make up for it. They have, however, a great scouting department. They sign young players.
It is amazing the quality of the young players that have come up through the Kansas City system, and once they show their wares and they reach their free agency period, they’re gobbled up by other teams, and the names are legion. Carlos Beltran is one. Johnny Damon is another. These were all Royals. And, in this case, what happened is this team gelled, while it’s very young, this team came together why it’s very young before anybody had a chance to test free agency and split. It really is amazing timing when you get down to it.
There was something else that happened this year. Some fan, the Royals have a fan in South Korea that is absolutely a rabid fan and went through hell or high water to get there in Kansas City to watch a game. His story made the news and he ended up meeting some of the players, became a local celebrity while he was in town, and that almost coincides with the team’s reversal of fortunes, not entirely, but they had so many great human interest stories this year.
When I worked there, I’ll just share with you a little thing here and then, Sarah, I have to move on. But when I worked there, you know, every year you hope you make the playoffs ’cause there’s nothing better. The postseason is fun, the excitement, the place is packed, the town’s buzzing, it’s the best. During a season, you see things — I did. I saw plays, late-game heroics, home runs that made me think this is the season of destiny, turning an unlikely double play in the ninth inning in Texas, I’ll never forget one of those. I got on the phone, when I still used the phone back then, and I said, “This is the year. This is our year. We’re gonna make it. Did you see that play?”
I saw so many of those things this season with the Royals, it made me say, even during the playoffs, that this team is destined. And, so far, it’s proven out. So the World Series opens Tuesday night in Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium. The town is gonna be buzzing. There’s no question about it. It’s one of the best restaurant towns. It’s one of the best dry cleaner towns. I mean, it’s one of the best highway towns, best airport towns. It really is. So, Sarah, I’m glad you’re all jazzed about it. I’m sure the whole town is. That’s the great thing. I appreciate the call very much, and best of luck.