Back in the training room, Danny Duffy is fixated on the television as a ninth inning that feels more important than most begins. The Royals need two runs to win. They have scored two runs in their last 28 innings. The Twins have called on their All-Star closer, the one with a biting fastball and diving slider. These are the times when only the invested believe. “How about a bloop and a blast?” one of the trainers asks Duffy. Out in the dugout, the manager and a coach are talking strategy. There are far too many games left for anyone to freak out one way or the other, but this is starting to have the familiar feel of one of those monsters coming out from around the corner. The Royals worked so hard to get here, first place, playoff dreams coming into focus. Alcides Escobar digs in. Alex Gordon stands in the on-deck circle. The bat boy — a high school kid who hardly ever says a word — turns around to the coaches. “Esky’s going to get a hit and Gordo’s taking him into the fountains,” he says. The best thing about the best moment in baseball is that, sometimes, it really does happen like in the movies. Escobar bloops a single. Gordon blasts a slider over the right field wall. The Royals win 2-1, this increasingly sepia season taking its first real slow-motion, grab-your-buddy-and-kiss-his-cheek moment with a walk-off home run. The Royals remain in first place. It might be the best moment of Gordon’s All-Star career. Afterward, he’ll do an interview on national TV and then spread his arms and smile as Sal Perez dumps yellow Gatorade over his head. “I was waiting for him,” Gordon says. “I figured, why not?” It’s the most dramatic win of a spectacular-so-far season, the kind of moment we’ll remember in five weeks if this thing heads into the playoffs — and then, dang-it if manager Ned Yost didn’t take away from the whole thing with a clumsy, misguided, insulting and out-of-touch whine about only 13,847 people showing up on a school and work night with temperatures into the 90s. First came the sarcasm. “I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?” he said in his post-game news conference.
On a glorious night for the Royals, Ned Yost manages to dump on the fans
Kansas City Star | Aug 27