Here is a link to my column about Game 1 of the World Series. The full text runs below:
KANSAS CITY — So, these are the Kansas City Royals? Really? We’ve heard so much about this force out of the Midwest, this miracle team. They had not lost in the postseason, were 8-0. They were red hot.
Well, miracle shmiracle. The Giants cooled them down 7-1 in Game 1 of the World Series. Crushed them is more like it. The game was over in the first inning when the Giants scored three off the Royals’ best starter, James Shields. Everything after that was mere commentary.
The Giants have won the first game of every postseason series this postseason. If that double “postseason” sounds redundant it is — because the Giants are redundant. And get this: They won the first game of every series on the road.
They eliminated the Pirates in Pittsburgh in the wild-card game. The Giants immediately seized the home-field advantage from the Nationals, Cardinals and, now, the Royals in their parks. The Giants started on the road against National League teams because they were the lowest seed in the NL — imagine that. They started on the road in the Series because the American League won the All-Star Game.
Maybe it wasn’t the Royals’ fault the Giants slaughtered them. The Giants did that to everyone in the postseason. The Giants make good teams look bad. It’s that simple. The teams the Giants beat weren’t dogs — nothing against dogs. Pittsburgh and Washington and St. Louis are good clubs.
And now, true to form, the Giants made the Royals look like chumps — nothing against chumps. The Giants made the Royals look like a team that got in the Series and didn’t know what to do there. It’s like Kansas City had journeyed to a foreign land and found there was no oxygen and the law of gravity didn’t apply and everything was wrong.
The Giants are amazing. I can’t explain how they do what they do — but I know they do it.
Against Madison Bumgarner, who must be the best pitcher on Earth, the Royals couldn’t put bat on ball. Well, they got three hits off him, hardly an avalanche of offense. They seemed like little kids who brought their peewee bats to the game. And Bumgarner dominated. Just dominated.
It came out that Bumgarner does not watch video of the opponent. Pause over that. He doesn’t study the other guys, said study distracts him. He is the kid in high school chemistry who goes into the final and wings it and nails it — or maybe he was born knowing the periodic table.
When it comes to pitching — even in the World Series — Bumgarner has a game plan of sorts, and he supplements it by talking to Buster Posey. But he’s blissfully unaware of fine points, doesn’t do the grunt work like lesser talents.
Jake Peavy laughed when asked about Bumgarner, the non-studier. “I’m going to push Madison to start digging a little bit deeper and he will, and he’ll be scary if he gets any better than he already is.”
Peavy was talking about Bumgarner doing more homework. Right now, no one wants to mess with this 25 year old. Call him The Natural.
And call him something else. Unbeatable.
If there is a fifth game and if Bumgarner pitches the fifth game, the Royals are in lots of trouble. And frankly, if there is a fifth game and if Shields pitches the fifth game, the Royals are in even more trouble. Shields has been a near dud in the playoffs.
After the game, Royals manager Ned Yost came to the interview room. He was smiling. The smile indicated the loss, including the loss of home-field advantage, was no big deal. It was in the order of things. Yost put his best face on things. And what a face — strong square jaw, dark piercing eyes. He looks like Superman. You expect him to put on a cape and fly.
His entire manner was enthusiastic. He was even enthusiastic about losing.
“We knew this series was going to be a battle,” he gushed. “We didn’t expect to sweep the San Francisco Giants. We knew this was a series that was going to go deep. We know how tough they are. They swung the bats really well. Bumgarner, he was dynamite. I mean, man, was he good tonight.”
You get the feeling Ned Yost likes MadBum.
He also likes The Panda, who is on fire. Yost praised Pablo Sandoval with nonstop gusto. “You’ve got to mix your pitches. You’ve got to work inside. You’ve got to work down and away. You’ve got to work down, almost bouncing pitches. But his strike zone is so big it’s difficult.”
Gregor Blanco spoke about Sandoval after the game: “I really see where he’s calm. He don’t talk too much. I always try to push him like, ‘You’re the Panda,’ like ‘You are the guy.’ He likes that.”
People used to debate whether the Giants should re-sign Sandoval. Here’s a bulletin. Just re-sign him.
Ned Yost knows that. He is in love with MadBum and Panda and Hunter Pence and the whole crazy Giants crew. But he’d better be careful.
If Yost is Superman, as I suspect he is, the Giants could be his Kryptonite.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn firstname.lastname@example.org.