Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Friday, October 17, 2014

Giants and Royals: More Similar than they Look

     Royals have just shown us why it's stupid to do a playoff preview by using advanced stats. Take a look at this from Grantland. Do you think they expected Mike Moustakas to hit almost a third of the homers in eight games this postseason in 432 less at bats? Or, if we're going to expand it to other series, Clayton Kershaw to implode? How about Yasiel Puig striking out eight times in 12 at bats? My point is that no matter what the stat nerds tell you, while stats explain a lot, there are some things hat they can't explain.
     The Royals are clearly an example of that. What they've done this postseason can't be described in numbers. There's no one more exciting to watch, from Jarrod Dyson and Terrence Gore stealing bases to the way Lorenzo Cain patrols center field, all watched over by the luckiest man in sports, Ned Yost.*
* The top four: Yost, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, everyone on the Phoenix Suns whose career was invigorated by Steve Nash, and Grady Little
    You could tell this team was different just by watching the extra innings of the Wild Card tiebreaker. Throughout the playoffs, Hosmer's overly excited reactions to any great play has been one of my favorite subplots to watch. Simply put, this team is more likable than any other.
    Then there's the big bad, San Francisco Giants, the team who's made the World Series for the third in the last five years and play in the sixth biggest TV market in the US, and have been the most successful team of the decade by far.
      But they don't fit the model of the classic unlikeable frontrunner. They were the second wild card team in the playoffs, and beat the most obnoxious team in the MLB, making them even less hateable. Before that three out of five streak, they hadn't won the World Series in the last 56 years.
      Going back to the point about them taking down the Cards, game five last night was one of the most emotional games of the playoffs this year, peaking with Mike Morse's reaction to tying the game in the eighth inning.
     This is going to be a fun series. No Tigers, teams from the east coast or Cardinals. As much fun as it is to hate the Giants, they've been through a lot. I can't wait.

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