The Royals and Yankees once had a great rivalry in the 70s, meeting each other in the playoffs four out of five years from 1976 to 1980, and have shared many memorable moments in that era such as the time George Brett and Graig Nettles brawled at third base, Chris Chambliss' heart-breaking walk-off home run to end the 1976 ALCS, George Brett's monster home run off Goose Gossage in 1980, and of course, the 1983 Pine Tar Game.
Then the Royals faded from relevance and the Yankees dominated the 90s in an orgy of spending and the leadership of Derek Jeter. As baseball's financial imbalances receded and Jeter regressed, the Yankees fell back to mediocrity while the Royals rose to prominence. The Yankees have missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, with the Royals topping them in wins with 351 to New York's 340. If you are sixteen years old or younger, you have seen the two organizations win the same number of championships.
But it looks like the Yankees may be on the rise again with young stars like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. They still have some high-priced players on the roster, but most are in decline, such as tonight's starter C.C. Sabathia. The lefty has dominated the Royals in his career with a 3.20 ERA and 19 wins in 37 starts, but he is definitely in the twilight of his career, with a 5.77 ERA this year and 22 runs allowed in 20 2/3 innings over his last four starts.
Jason Hammel has struggled as well for the Royals, and he will look to go deeper in tonight's game than he has so far.