The Kansas City Royals will be doing something they haven't done in a long time this Sunday night. They will be playing a Sunday Night game at home. Sure, they played on Sunday night in Boston last week, they play on Sunday nights in Arlington on occasion, but the last time they played on Sunday Night in Kansas City? 2001 (or 2007, if we include 6:10 starts). It was a different time, before ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball realized they could only schedule themselves to appear at 8 stadiums a year instead of all 30.
The following is a summary of the Sunday Night Baseball experience in Kansas City Royals history. For the purposes of reference, games found to have started at 7:00pm or later will be included on this list. Games close to 6 will be noted at the end on a brief list.
Some games are listed as night games by Baseball-Reference/Retrosheet, but which were scheduled and played in the afternoon. Baseball-Reference also lists August 17th, 1980 (when Brett finished the day over .400 for the first time) as a 7:30pm night game but from checking gameday newspaper sources, the game was an afternoon game.
Game held close to Sunday Night: September 13th, 1970: Game time 5:47pm. Game two of a twi-night doubleheader. Went 12 innings and ended at 9:42pm with a Royals victory. Attendance 9824. Newspaper headline: "A's will long remember Kirkpatrick and Piniella"
And July 18th, 2004, the Royals and Twins played a game starting at 6:10. But doing lots of recaps of 2000/2001 Royals games tired me out plus nobody really remember much about 2004 between the Beltran trade/Harvey ASG and the acquisition of Abraham Nunez. The Royals won in 10 with a Dee Brown bases loaded hit.
Also a August 8th, 2004 6:10 start v. the Angels. The Royals brought Nate Field in for a save, Jose Guillen hit a home run, David Eckstein's bunt and Alberto Castillo's error knocked in two runs. Read about it. How is David Eckstein not on this 2013 team?
And a five-inning game held on July 3rd, 2005 where Greinke gave up 5 to the Angels
The first documented Sunday night home game was held on August 1st, 1976 with the Texas Rangers finishing a series with the Royals. The Rangers/Royals game was scheduled for a 7:30pm start with Andy Hassler starting for the 61-39 Royals and Gaylord Perry starting for the 48-52 Rangers. The Royals had a 9 game lead going over the Oakland A's going into the game, while the Royals starter Andy Hassler hadn't won a game since April 1975 with losses in his last 17 decisions.
As for the actual game? The Royals scored twice in the first (Brett and Cowens RBIs), the Rangers scored 3 in the 2nd (Sundberg bases loaded walk, Clines bases loaded single which knocked in 2). The Royals scored a 3rd in the 2nd (DH Ruppert Jones knocked in an unearned run). Hassler was pulled in the 3rd after giving up an RBI double to Len Randle and Tom Bruno came into the game for the Royals. Bruno let Randle score on a Juan Beniquez RBI. Bruno pitched until the 6th. Doug Bird came in for the 7th and gave up 3 runs (Sundberg bases loaded groundout and Clines singled to Bird to drive in another run. Tom Poquette drove in Freddie Patek in the 9th but Perry got Ruppert Jones to make the 3rd out, holding an 8-4 win. Perry pitched a complete game, giving up 10 hits and 4 runs. Hassler got the loss. Hassler snapped his decision streak in his next start and went on to start for the Royals in the ALCS.
Attendance: 24732, Time of game: 3:15, Temperature: 80 degrees. Newspaper headline: "Lucchesi confident Rangers can snap out of tailspin".
The 2nd Sunday night game at Royals Stadium was held on July 22nd, 1990 on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. The 42-50 Royals hosted the 50-43 Red Sox. The Red Sox starter was Tom Bolton, the Royals started Storm Davis.
The fun began in the bottom of the 3rd. Steve Jeltz walked, Kevin Seitzer struck out, Bill Pecota grounded Jeltz to 2nd, then DH Gerald Perry doubled and knocked in Jeltz, and George Brett doubled to knock in Perry. Bolton intentionally walked Pat Tabler and got the 3rd out from Jim Eisenreich.
Jody Reid sacrifice-flyed Marty Barrett across in the top of the 6th. But the Royals went to Steve Crawford to pitch the 7th and 8th. Jeff Montgomery got the save, striking out 3 swinging and allowing a single to Mike Greenwell. Storm Davis got the win, Bolton got the complete game loss.
Attendance 33,255. Time of game: 2:21. Temperature: 73 degrees. Newspaper headline: "Sox tumble again. Bolton's strong game can't top KC"
The 3rd game was held in April 28th, 1991. The 9-7 Red Sox played the 8-8 Royals. The Red Sox started Dana Kiecker, the Royals started Storm Davis.
The Red Sox struck first in the 1st as Wade Boggs singled and Jody Reed reached on an error by Bill Pecota. Mike Greenwell drove Wade Boggs across. The Royals got a run in the 1st as well as Jim Eisenreich singled, stole second, moved to 3rd on a Pecota groundout and scored on a Tartabull double. But Kirk Gibson and Warren Cromartie grounded out to end the inning.
A two hour long rain delay occurred around the 2nd inning. At the end of the rain delay, the Royals opted to bring Tom Gordon into the game. Gordon gave up another RBI to Mike Greenwell in the 4th, but struck out 7 in 7 innings of relief. The Royals got men in scoring position in the 6th with singles by Eisenreich and Pecota. The runners moved over to 2nd and 3rd on a Kirk Gibson groundout. Russ Morman pinch hit for Warren Cromartie v. Tony Fossas but flied out to center field. The Royals would get a man to 2nd two more times in the game, but wouldn't be able to move him any further. Kiecker got the win, Gordon got the loss and Jeff Reardon got the save.
Attendance 21,426. Time of game: 2:57 (rain delays extended the game so that it ended at 12:07am). Temperature: 75 degrees. Newspaper headline: "Royals wait, then lose Two-hour rain delay is followed by 2-1 loss to Red Sox"
The 4th game was held on August 2nd, 1992. The 60-43 Oakland A's played the 46-57 Royals. The A's started Bob Welch, the Royals started Dennis Moeller.
The Royals struck first as Kevin Koslofski drove in Curt Wilkerson in the bottom of the 2nd. Then Brent Mayne drove in Wally Joyner in the bottom of the 3rd. Dennis Moeller left after 5 scoreless innings to be replaced by Juan Berenguer. Mark McGwire singled, Terry Steinbach fielders choiced McGwire, Harold Baines pinch hit for Randy Ready and singled Steinbach to 3rd, Willie Wilson singled in Steinbach for a run, Mike Bordick walked to load the bases, Walt Weiss then singled in two more runs, putting Oakland ahead. Rusty Meacham came in to replace Juan Berenguer. Rickey Henderson promptly sacrifice flied Bordick across. Carney Lansford hit a two run home run. Then Jose Canseco grounded out to end the inning. The A's led 6-2.
Eric Fox, who came in to play left field (replacing Baines and Ready) homered off of Steve Shifflett. Willie Wilson knocked Canseco across in the 9th off of Shifflett as well. The score was 8-2 and Jim Corsi entered the game for the A's. David Howard reached on an infield single, Gregg Jefferies knocked Howard in with a double and reached 3rd on a Canseco error. Wally Joyner grounded Jefferies across. Then Brett and Eisenreich closed the game with outs and the A's won 8-4.
Attendance 34,139. Time of game: 2:46. Temperature: 80 degrees. Newspaper Headline: "Rally salvages crucial triumph A's Weiss delivers in big inning, helps team avert damaging sweep"
The first of two 1993 Sunday Night games matched the 20-23 Mariners v. the 20-20 Royals on May 23rd, 1993. The Mariners started Dave Fleming, the Royals started Mark Gardner. The Royals inducted Ewing Kauffman into the team Hall of Fame before the game.
The Mariners struck first in the 2nd as Fernando Vina got a bases loaded single, scoring Mackey Sasser and Pete O'Brien. Then they struck second in the 3rd, as 3B Edgar Martinez doubled in Ken Griffey Jr, then Sasser singled in Martinez.
The Royals cut the margin to 4-2 in the 3rd when Brian McRae singled in Greg Gagne and Jose Chico Lind. Wally Joyner hit a two-run home run to tie the game. Greg Gagne singled in Phil Hiatt to take a 5-4 lead. The Mariners tied the game in the 5th when leadoff hitter Mike Felder singled in O'Brien. Gardner was relieved and replaced by Mark Gubicza in that inning. Brian McRae singled in Keith Miller to reclaim the lead later in the 5th.
Gubicza put Griffey and Edgar Martinez on in the 8th (Martinez was pinch-ran for by Henry Cotto). So the Royals went to the pen and brought out Jeff Montgomery. Montgomery gave up a single to Tino Martinez and both runners scored. But the Royals responded in the bottom of the 8th with a Mike MacFarlane home run to tie the game again.
The Mariners broke through in the 9th. As Rich Amaral singled Omar Vizquel across. Then with two men abroad, Griffey hit a triple and the Mariners led by a 10-7 margin. Tom Gordon relieved Jeff Montgomery to get Henry Cotto out on a popout to end the inning. The Royals went down 1-2-3 in the 9th and lost the game by a 10-7 margin.
Attendance: 17,935. Time of game: 2:49. Temperature: 80 degrees. Headline: "M's Avoid Sweep, beat Royals 10-7"
The second of the two games was held on July 4th, 1993. Royals Stadium had been renamed Kauffman Stadium two days earlier. The Royals were tied for first place. The 40-38 Royals faced the 48-33 Blue Jays. The Royals sent Chris Haney to defend America against Todd Stottlemyre's Canadian Horde on the 4th.
As for the actual game: It was scoreless until the bottom of the 4th when Gary Gaetti doubled in George Brett, and Greg Gagne singled in Gary Gaetti. The Blue Jays intentionally walked Brent Mayne with first base open for some reason but Phil Hiatt ended the inning.
John Olerud (who was hitting over .400 at the time) grounded out in the top of the 6th to drive Paul Molitor across. But American Hero Rico Rossy knocked Phil Hiatt across to make the game 3-1. Billy Brewer showed up for two hitters, letting one on, and then Jeff Montgomery recorded a 5-out save to seal the game up.
Attendance 40,329. Time of game: 2:29. Temperature: 85 degrees. Newspaper Headline: "Royals keep Blue Jays skidding"
The Royals went up 2-0 on a Felix Jose RBI single in the 1st. They added the 3rd and 4th runs in the 3rd on a Greg Gagne double. Kirk Gibson hit a home run to make it 4-1. The Royals held the lead, and Montgomery got a save. A few days later, the Royals would begin their last great streak as they won 13 in a row and were on the verge of the playoffs until the expletive deleted strike occurred.
Attendance 21,757. Time of game: 2:46. Temperature: Not mentioned. Newspaper Headline: "Cone's pitching keys Royals past Tigers"
The Orioles went up 2-0 on a Rafael Palmeiro double in the 3rd. Gregg Zaun added two more runs in the 4th. Bret Barbarie drew a bases loaded walk to make it 5-0. Bob Hamelin put the Royals on the board with an RBI groundout. Then Harold Baines hit a home run off of Mike Magnante. David Howard knocked in a run off of a single but the game ended 6-2.
Attendance 21,657. Time of game: 2:43. Temperature: 88 degrees. Newspaper Headline: "Mussina latest pitcher to shut down Royals".
And the last Sunday Night ESPN Game was held on June 16th, 1996. The 35-29 Orioles started Rocky Coppinger and the 30-38 Royals started Tim Belcher.
Brady Anderson led the game off with a home run. But the Royals struck back in the 2nd. Mike MacFarlane knocked in Joe Randa and Craig Paquette with a triple. David Howard bunted Mike MacFarlane across to build a 3-1 lead. Keith Lockhart singled Tom Goodwin across to score a 4th run in the 5th.
Then hilarity ensued. Ripken, Surhoff, and Zaun singled. Jeffrey Hammonds struckout looking with the bases loaded. Bob Boone decided that now was the time to bring in Jason Jacome. Brady Anderson singled in two runs, Luis Polonia singled in Zaun, and Roberto Alomar reached on a David Howard error as another run scored. The game was now 5-4 Orioles.
The game got out of hand in the 8th, as Bobby Bonilla's bases loaded single scored two off of Hipolito Pichardo. Then BJ Surhoff singled in two with the bases loaded off of Tim Pugh. Then Gregg Zaun tripled and two more runs scored. Then Brady Anderson hit another home run and the game was 13-4.
Mike MacFarlane scored when Johnny Damon reached on a BJ Surhoff error. The Orioles won 13-5. Coppinger got the win, Jacome got the loss.
Attendance: 19,437. Time of game: 3:08. Temperature: 85 degrees. Newspaper headline: "Orioles' Anderson tears Royals and AL Pitchers"
But the Royals did play in KC on Sunday Night in this century! as they hosted the Cubs on July 16th, 2000. For some reason this series STARTED on a Sunday probably due to a Bud Selig peyote-influenced dream. The 40-48 Royals started Dan Reichert and the 37-52 Cubs started Kerry Wood.
Sammy Sosa hit a two-run home run in the 1st. Then Royals scored 4 off of Wood in the first off of RBI singles by Mike Sweeney, Mark Quinn and Todd Dunwoody. The Royals scored a 5th run in the 2nd on a Ricky Gutierrez error. Sammy Sosa hit a second two-run home run in the 3rd. Joe Randa hit a home run in the 3rd. The Royals led 6-4.
Then in the 5th. Mark Grace and Sammy Sosa walked. Oh Henry Rodriguez singled Mark Grace across. Glenallen Spiderman Hill singled Sosa across and the game was tied. Tony Muser decided this was enough Dan Reichert and he brought in Jay Witasick. Witasick gave up a triple to Willie Greene, then Joe Girardi singled Greene in and the score was 9-6. Typical 2000 Royals.
Todd Dunwoody singled another run across in the 5th. Ricky Gutierrez singled a 10th run across and that was the final score.
Attendance: 36,855. Time of game: 3:26. Temperature: 88 degrees. Newspaper headline: "Cubs, Sosa rip Royals".
The Royals kept another Sunday Night Game in 2001: They hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 10th, 2001 for one of the 900 times that the Diamondbacks have ventured to Kansas City in this century. The 37-25 Diamondbacks started Robert Ellis. The 22-39 Royals started Dan Reichert.
In the 4th, Chad Moeller singled and Craig Counsell singled. Tony Muser, the worst manager in Royals history, emerged from his tequila-soaked lair to bring in Mac Suzuki. Suzuki walked Junior Spivey. Mark Grace hit a bases loaded single scoring two. Luis Gonzalez hit a 3 run home run. Jay Bell grounded out. Durazo singled. Danny Bautista walked. Steve Finley doubled in Durazo and Bautista. Then with the score 11-1, Muser reemerged to pull Suzuki and bring in Kris Wilson. Wilson got the 2nd out of the inning as Moeller popped out. Craig Counsell singled in Finley. Then Junior Spivey grounded out. The score was 12-1. Typical 2001 Royals.
Mike Sweeney grounded an RBI through in the 4th. Endy Chavez knocked in Carlos Febles. Carlos Beltran singled in Chavez. Mike Sweeney doubled in Rey Sanchez. The score was still 12-5 and that's how it ended.
Attendance 16,573. Time of game: 2:50. Temperature: 84 degrees. Newspaper headline: "Arizona uses eight-run fourth to pound Royals".
In the 2nd inning, Miguel Tejada (who you might see on Sunday night) singled Jason Giambi (who you might see on Sunday night) across to put the A's up 1-0. The Royals would score some runs as Rey Sanchez singled in Donnie Sadler (before being out at first on a 7-5-3 putout). Mike Sweeney hit a home run. Rey Sanchez singled in Joe Randa (Hector Ortiz out at home). Joe Randa singled Mike Sweeney in. The score was 4-1.
Greg Myers homered for the A's in the 8th. Then in the 9th, it was proven closer Roberto Hernandez time. Hernandez walked Jeremy Giambi, then Jason doubled Jeremy across, then Tejada doubled Giambi in and the game was tied. Because Roberto Hernandez.
The Royals struck back in the 9th as Brent Mayne pinch hit (!!!) for Hector Ortiz, then Mayne tripled (!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Luis Alicea flied out. Raul Ibanez walked. Then Rey Sanchez singled and Brent Mayne scored for the walk off victory.
Attendance: 17,252. Time of game: 3:00. Temperature: 94 degrees. Newspaper headline: "Crazy night in KC ends with save by Sanchez's bat".
Then there's some 2004/2005/2007 games that I included above. Recapping 2000/2001 Royals is exhausting considering every game involved the same general storyline of runs scoring and bullpen implosions.
So there you have it. A history, mainly made up of the 90s and 2000s Royals.
A Day/Night doubleheader is historic enough for Sunday Night. So have fun finding some place to go for a few hours if they seriously try kicking people out of the parking lot at 4pm on Sunday.
The weather will be gorgeous anyways and a Sunday Night game with temperatures in the 70s seems like a pretty good time.
No word on if Storm Davis will start the Sunday Night game.