Weird Baseball in the Royals and Cardinals Series


May 30, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals ground crew puts the tarp on the field during the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

When you consider that the Royals and Cardinals history starts with the controversial call in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, you’re starting off with an in-state rivalry that’s a little weird anyway.

With the advent of interleague play, the matchup is now annual so it’s not as much of a novelty, but now and again, weird things happen in this game. That happened in this series for the Royals.

Already in the middle of a brutal stretch of losing, the Royals really needed a win on Thursday night, especially after the dramatic announcement that George Brett would now be the interim hitting coach earlier in the day. The Royals started the road part of the series by having mechanical problems with the plane and had to take a bus to St. Louis from Kansas City. Jeremy Guthrie added some levity by saying that the team was actually headed to Omaha.

Then, Thursday night (after rain delayed the game’s start by an hour already), the Royals gave up two runs in the first inning and made it through eight full innings with the Royals down 2-1. Mitchell Boggs came in to start the ninth inning, gave up a game-tying homer to Jeff Francoeur, then walked Alex Gordon. Victor Marte came in and hit Alcides Escobar on the wrist and David Lough reached on an error after Marte misfired to third and Matt Carpenter couldn’t secure the ball.

With the bases loaded and the infield in, Eric Hosmer hit a high bouncer over Allen Craig at first, scoring two runs on a double. Chris Getz pinch hit and was intentionally walked to load the bases and nobody out.

Nature didn’t approve of this, however, and the skies opened up. Heavy rain poured down. The grounds crew put the tarp on the field and everyone had to wait. And wait.

Jeremy Guthre, Kansas City’s starting pitcher on Thursday, starts things off by carrying a bag of drying agent onto the field. (screen shot of FSKC broadcast)

In the meantime, Twitter came up with ideas of what might be going on in the Royals clubhouse during the delay. Ideas ranged from Nerf gun fights to hair care tips. Some speculated that they were playing a marathon game of Truth or Dare. The tarp finally came off the field as the weather system left St. Louis shortly after 2 a.m. The grounds crew seemed to be going a bit slow, so Jeremy Guthrie and Alex Gordon even helped out.

The urgency stemmed from a rarely necessary rule that said that if a game was called and it was the final meeting of the season between two teams (as it was in this case), and a new inning had started but wasn’t completed, then the game would revert to the last completed inning – meaning the Royals would have lost since the score after eight was 2-1.

Alex Godon carries drying agent to the field during a rain delay. (screenshot from FSKC)

Understandably, the Royals wanted the game to get moving. The Cardinals didn’t come out to the field until half an hour after the Royals had. Mike Moustakas tossed sunflower seeds to remaining Royals fans behind the dugout. Eric Hosmer made sure everyone wearing blue got a baseball. Joel Goldberg of Fox Sports Kansas City simultaneously reported from the field and took over some camera work during the delay (which lasted four and a half hours).

The Cardinals didn’t seem too eager to resume the game but Joe West went out of his way to get the game back underway. Play finally resumed at 3:05 a.m.

Miguel Tejada grounded into a 1-2-3 double play on the first pitch from Joe Kelly, then Elliot Johnson was walked for Adam Moore, who flew out to right. Greg Holland entered to secure a two run lead – his first save opportunity since May 6, when he relieved James Shields up 1-0 (yes, THAT game).

Holland retired Shane Robinson for the first out on a comebacker to the mound. Carpenter grounded out to Alcides Escobar and a grounder to first ended the game and the Royals eight game losing streak. Final time? 3:14 am.

The Royals now have to travel to Texas and play the first game of the series in less than 16 hours. But at least they can rest easy after a win.