RUSH: I have to give kudos to the Kansas City Royals and their five-game World Series victory over the New York Mets. And what a series it was. The Kansas City Royals came from behind in three of these five games to win. And during the entire playoff run, I think it was 13 games they came from behind to win, it might be eight. The numbers, I get ’em jumbled and run together. But regardless, it’s a phenomenal feat, a phenomenal way to play baseball.
But I have to tell you some observations. Sports has always been culturally an escape. It has been a way for people to escape the humdrum of the everyday life that they have. It’s a three hour, depending on the game you watch, three and a half hour escape from reality. But in recent times sports has really not offered a full escape because we’ve had to sit through lectures from sports commentators on gun control and gay marriage and civil rights and all that. But this World Series, I have to tell you, from top to bottom was a wonderful escape just like sports should be.
There were no lectures between innings or in the pregame or postgame by vaunted sports commentators lecturing Americans on how they were misbehaving or not thinking the right way. Barack Obama was nowhere to be seen. Unlike the Super Bowl, there wasn’t a pre-series interview with Obama. He didn’t put on a pair of mom jeans, go out there and throw out the first pitch looking like a girl. He wasn’t anywhere near it. It was baseball. And it was incredibly exciting baseball.
And, look, I don’t want to put too much into this. I mean, it’s sports, as I say. It’s an escape from reality. And I don’t want to attach too much to this. But, you know, I am an observer, a quite keen observer of things cultural and social and political. The Royals won this World Series because they trust their players. You know Ned Yost never changed the lineup, from the first day of the playoffs, ’til last night, the lineup, other than the pitcher and designated hitter, the pitcher had to hit in the National League park, but the lineup was the same. The players were the same. Bullpen was the same.
The catcher, Salvador Perez, MVP, calls his own game with the pitchers. You don’t see him looking to the dugout much for each pitch sign. He calls it. As a general rule — it’s not always the case — the Royals don’t get bunt signs. They do that on their own. And, as a general rule, they don’t get steal signs. They steal bases on their own based on their feel for the game and based on scouting reports. Brian, you’ll be interested in this. One of the major lines of emphasis in the scouting report the Royals got before the World Series: make Lucas Duda throw the ball. Lucas Duda is the Mets first baseman who threw the ball away as Eric Hosmer attempts to score from third on a routine ground ball to third base, the tying run. Scouting, it’s right there, make Lucas Duda throw the ball. Then the next one is make the catcher Travis D’Arnaud throw the ball.
So they’re well-schooled and then they’re trusted to play the game with what they know, and their instincts. Hosmer went home on his own last night. It was his decision to make about two-thirds down the line. They’ve learned how to play the game. I mentioned last week that the Royals — you know, for the longest time they were not even a professional baseball team, payroll was so low following the 1985 World Series, the death of Mr. Kauffman who owned the team, it totally changed the structure and the budget, everything about the way the team operated. You could really honestly say it wasn’t a professional baseball team. It was AAA with a couple of major league players in the roster and those always ended up leaving in free agency. They had some financial concerns at the time, just not gonna pay them.
But Dayton Moore arrives from Atlanta in 2006 and everything changes. They reinstill the development league, they reinstall the department, create it back up, minor league system, create their own players and it just paid off. Got a winning team without an authoritarian manager, without the benefit of a universally acclaimed superstar. Well, Wade Davis is a superstar, but the Royals as a team are better than the individual parts. George Brett said after the game last night that he thinks this team’s better than the 1985 team. He thinks this team, because of bullpen depth and speed and the way they play the game would have beaten the last Royals World Series team, which was 1985. Their payroll was about $115 million, versus the Los Angeles Dodgers payroll of $300 million. And the Dodgers were eliminated in the first round by the Mets.
Now, there was a controversial decision last night for a Mets fan and that was Matt Harvey, known as The Dark Knight. This is a long involved story. To understand everything about what happened last night, you have to know a little bit about the history of Matt Harvey and Tommy John’s surgery and his agent Scott Boras and trying to put a limit of 180 innings pitched on the entire season. Here’s the bottom line. Harvey was unhittable. Harvey owned the Royals through eight innings. Fox’s cameras, instead of lecturing the country or gun control, Fox’s cameras were pointed at the Mets dugout while the Royals were hitting going into the top of the ninth.
Matt Harvey is sitting on the bench and the pitching coach walked over and told him he was done. And you could read Matt Harvey’s lips, “No way. No way.” Got up, he walked over to the manager, Terry Collins, “I’m not coming out. I’m not coming out.” And the manager, 40 plus years of experience in baseball, Terry Collins, 26-year-old young man, impetuous, just riding a high, and talked his way into staying in the game when the manager wanted to pull him. They’ve got an ace in the bullpen, a guy named Familia. And Harvey talked his way into staying in the game, and we know what happened. Those of you watching it, the Royals tied it in the top of the ninth and Harvey had to come out.
And the debate throughout New York today is gee whiz, what was Collins thinking? This was a no-win situation. If Harvey gets side out, it’s the greatest managerial move in the world, investing in his player, leaving the player in, player wanted to stay in, but given what happened, the naysayers, “What’s this guy doing? You never listen to a 26-year-old kid. Of course the 26-year-old kid wants to stay in the game. You gotta follow the book. You gotta follow your instincts. You got a bullpen ace, you gotta go to the bullpen.” It was unfortunate because it was such — the situation was no matter what happened there was gonna be, at some point, a no-win.
But at any rate it’s a great World Series, and I tip my hat to the Royals, both teams, for making it entertaining and good. This is the first time — you know, I worked for the Royals for five years, and when you work for a sports team you lose some of the ingredients necessary to be a fan because it’s your job. And like any other job, there are parts of it you don’t like and you just want to get out of there. My last year or so I was praying they wouldn’t make the playoffs just so I could have a normal day start in October rather than November. I mean, home stands are 18 to 20 hour days.
Any rate, last year and this, but really this year, was the first year since 1983 that I have really been following baseball and been into it. And I tell you something else. I went and played golf yesterday afternoon while the Steelers were on. That hasn’t happened in I don’t know, 30 years. Steelers on Sunday and if I’m able I’m parked in front of a TV. Yesterday, ah, screw it. Went out and played golf. So we all undergo transformations of some kind.
I had to kick off today with congratulating everybody involved and sharing with you my observations about what a fun sporting event it was to watch, and I would have felt that way no matter who won. I would have been disappointed had the Royals not won, but I was secretly hoping the Mets would win yesterday and take it back to Kansas City so the Royals could win it in front of home fans. But I said, no, no, you win it when you can. And they did. And the way they did it, I mean, there’s nothing new in baseball. Everything that happens today has happened before in baseball, but there are stages, and these come-from-behind wins which seem so common and part of the Royals recipe is unique to me.
I have not seen a team this adept at rallying in the late innings after being totally dominated. Had four hits going into the ninth inning last night. They looked horrible against Harvey. And then the top of the ninth here’s Matt Harvey, owns it and walks the first hitter and then gives up.
What happened? What happened between the end of the eighth and the top of the ninth to Matt Harvey? Maybe nothing. But the manager yanked him. Should have yanked him after the walk instead of leaving Hosmer in. But that’s what great about baseball. You talk about all this stuff and at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is Obama signed this two-year budget deal and once again Republican voters have been mocked and laughed at and made fun of after two consecutive elections, 2010 midterms and 2014 midterms. And you might even say the 2012 presidential race.
RUSH: We’re gonna start Kansas City. This is Lisa. Great to have you on the program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I just wanted to call in and thank you so much for all the comments and your coverage of the Royals while they’ve been going through the end of their season and their playoffs. We are just absolutely thrilled here to have them the world champions, and just like you, and I’ve listened to you forever, and the quality programming you do, the Royals organization, they’re more than world championships, they are quality from the top to the very bottom, and we’re just absolutely thrilled here. The city is on fire today. I’ve been out shopping and every single place is, everybody’s dressed in blue, and we have schools that are canceled for tomorrow. The whole city’s gonna be at the parade tomorrow. So I just thank you so much.
RUSH: Lisa, confirm something for me, if you will, since you are there. You actually live in Kansas City?
CALLER: Yes. I grew up here.
RUSH: Okay. I have a news story that quotes the police, that there have been no riots, there have been no arrests, there have been no bombings, no fires set. Basically no public unrest, no crimes committed, no destruction of property. It’s been thoroughly clean and wholesome. Is that still true?
CALLER: Oh, yes. I think there are people who have not been to sleep very much all weekend long from the continual partying, but, no, this is just great. We’re so happy for them. And the whole city is just enjoying this like we haven’t enjoyed something since 1985. It’s fabulous.
RUSH: Yeah. I’ll tell, to help people understand this, you go back to 1975, really, 1975 through, well, let’s go through ’85, those 10 or 11 years, the Royals were a contender every year. They were drawing two million people. And for three or four of those years, they had a rivalry with the New York Yankees that sustained everybody, ’76, ’77, ’78, the three years in a row, then a year off, and then finally beat the Royals in 1980 and went to their first World Series and lost to the Phillies.
But back then the Royals owned Kansas City. I lived there for ten years and it’s kind of like Pittsburgh in the sense that when the sports teams are doing well, there is a unity. I mean, the way I phrased it, it was amazing how a community can derive so much of its self-esteem — and I mean this in a good way — from the performance of these sports teams. The teams winning made everybody feel like they were part of it. It’s a small enough community that everybody really felt like they had a hand in it. It was an amazing thing to be a part of.