Two years ago today, the Royals made their first post-season appearance in 29 years, facing off against the Oakland Athleics in the Wild Card game. Royals fans watched in nervous excitement at the game, in bars around town, in the comfort of their own homes, and of course, in our virtual space here in the Royals Review Game Threads.
That gamethread, and its four overflow threads produced nearly 5,000 comments for what became one of the most epic post-season games in recent memory.
Josh Duggan set the tone.
Can you feel that? An unfamiliar, simultaneous amalgam of excitement, dread, certainty of failure, blind optimism of success, pending horror, sexual arousal, crippling impotence, realizations that this may never happen again, faint hopes that this will not recur, more sexual arousal, even more crippling impotence, glow-basking, fear-masking, and premature heart palpitations all accompanied by the malodorous combination of befouled undergarments and fear-elicited sweat pouring from every gland?
But from the outset, it was clear Royals fans were ready for victory.
Do it, Royals.
The first comment was oddly a prescient summary of things to come.
Royals fans were not accustomed to playoff baseball. But we were excited.
Even after just one pitch.
Then Brandon Moss launched a two-run home run in the first off James Shields.
But Billy Butler got a run back in the first with an RBI single.
Where was I in the game thread? Oh yea, at the game on your TVs.
It only took three innings to get the first overflow thread up. Hosmer blooped a single to put the Royals on top 3-2 in the third, and there were LOUD NOISES!
And an old friend popped by.
By the fifth we were into Overflow Thread #2. James Shields would run into trouble in the top of the sixth, leading Ned Yost to make perhaps his most puzzling decision of all-time - putting in rookie Yordano Ventura on short rest.
Sometimes you have to question and second guess some of the movements managers make. What was Yost thinking when he brought Ventura in?— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 1, 2014
He would give up a three-run home run to Brandon Moss.
By the third Overflow Thread, things were looking pretty bleak with the Royals now traling 7-3 in the sixth.
People wanted Ned Yost fired. They discussed whether the Wil Myers trade was worth it. They even began discussing the Chiefs win on Monday Night Football game against the Patriots from the previous night. Cardinals fans began to troll the gamethread. It was looking bad.
The Royals scored a run in the eighth. Fans were not impressed.
Then Billy Butler singled home a run to make it 7-5. Fans perked up.
A wild pitch from Luke Gregerson allowed Eric Hosmer to score and pushed pinch-runner Terrence Gore to third with just one out. Fans were all in.
But Salvador Perez and Omar Infante struck out to strand him at third.
The Royals entered the ninth down to their last three outs, down one, and facing A’s closer Sean Doolittle. Pinch-hitter Josh Willingham led off with a bloop single to right, to be replaced by pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson. Fans cringed as Alcides Escobar bunted him over to second, but that turned to excitement when Jarrod Dyson showed what speed do.
And Nori Aoki tied it with a sacrifice fly.
We were headed to extras, with the game tied 7-7.
Rookie Brandon Finnegan was lights out, inspiring poetry from fans.
In the top of the twelfth, an old friend, Alberto Callaspo, singled to put the A’s back on top.
In the bottom of the inning, with one out, facing A’s reliever Dan Otero, Eric Hosmer launched a drive off the top of the left-field wall for a triple.
Christian Colon chopped a ball in the infield, allowing Hosmer to score, and the game was once again tied.
But could they win it?
After a Christian Colon steal, Salvador Perez hit with two outs. He would stoop down to drill a pitch down the third base line, just past the outstretched glove of Josh Donaldson. Colon would round third and score. Royals win, 8-7.
There was much rejoicing and releasing of otters.
What an insane goddamn game.