KC Royals: The Anatomy of an Epic Comeback
By Bryce Jones
The KC Royals were down 6-2. The end of the season seemed inevitable, a merciless death at the hands of the Houston Astros. Ned Yost was looking forward to the solace of his tractor, as only his tractor would console him.
The Royals bat boys start to pack. The season is over. Ned had a good year. In baseball lingo, there is always next year. Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer blossomed. We can always remember the good times.
Then Ned waved his almost magic wand. We always knew he was Harry Potter, or the baseball equivalent. He had been lying in the weeds, the old rascal. He comes from the dugout and screams toward his Southern farm, “You’ll have to wait, tractor!!! You will have to wait.”
The Boys in Blue saw that scary look in Ned’s eyes. They have seen that look in his eyes before. Not the bored Ned. But the “untractored, unfettered ” Ned. The fearful Ned. The clever Ned. The Warlock Ned. The Ned of the movies. The wand waves. Electricity pours out of the wand. The sky darkens.
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The heavens open. The sky rains singles. The baseballs gods say, “You can’t steal first.” But why would you need to. Rios singled. Escobar. Zobrist, Cain, Hoz singled. The slowest guy on the planet Morales hit the ball up the middle. At this point the Royals were still two runs down. Even with the barrage, one still thought that there was no way can they could back, especailly since Morales appeared to have hit a tailor made double play ball. End of story. But wait; Ned sees all. Wand in hand and wizard hat taking the place of his ballcap, Ned waved his sparkly wand.
The ball hit the mound and jumps over it toward short. The wand didn’t work. Correa will still get it.
But wait. Look in the dugout. Ned smiles. He still has the wand. Waves it again. The Houston crowd’s mood has turned from laughter to worry to pained grief. The ball skipped and went off Correa’s glove. Fielder’s choice and an error. But Ned knows. He has waved the wand. The baseball Zeus has come to favor his home town boys. Tied at 6.
The Drew “Butan”e Butera came up, hitting below the Mendoza line at .198 on the year. Surely, Ned would pinch hit for him. Butera somehow got a walk. General disbelief spread throughout the baseball world.
At that point the end becomes too obvious. Gordon got the run home on a ground out. The Royals, fully risen from the dead, snatched victory from the Astros’ astoundingly bad bullpen. Ned appeared to smile. 7 -6 KC Royals lead. The tractor will again have to wait. Double elimination has become best of one with the kings of Kauffman at home.
Hoz’ 2 run homer in the 9th made it 9-6.
The word is that the Royals flew back to Kansas City right after the game. The charter aircraft was not needed. When you get this kind of win, you don’t need an airplane.
The KC Royals have one more game to win to advance to the ALCS. With Ned Yost and his magic wand, anything is possible.