Jeremy Affeldt was drafted by the Royals in 1997 and got his first major-league experience in Kansas City from 2002 to 2006.
With the Royals in the World Series for the first time since 1985, Affeldt on Thursday likened the effect on the Kansas City area to that of the Giants bringing their first World Series title to San Francisco in 2010.
“There’s a lot of people that have been fans for a long time in that area and been waiting to see this since 1985,” the Giants’ reliever said before Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. “When I played there, I think they thought they were overdue then – and that was seven, eight years ago.”
Affeldt still has friends in the Kansas City area who gave him a glimpse of the scene Wednesday after the Royals finalized their sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS.
“They were texting me saying there were fireworks going on all over the neighborhood and all that stuff,” Affeldt said. “The city is definitely excited.”
Thanks to the American League’s victory in the All-Star Game, the World Series opener is scheduled for Tuesday at the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium. Affeldt said he’s certain that, “There’s going to be some energy in that stadium. … It’s pretty impressive to see the amount of blue in the seats during those games and the energy level.”
Dayton Moore had just become the Royals’ general manager when Kansas City traded Affeldt to the Colorado Rockies in July 2006. Affeldt said he still has “a lot of respect” for Moore for the manner in which the new Royals boss handled that situation.
“(Moore) just wanted to give me a fresh start when I left there,” Affeldt said. “He contacted me a little bit after and told me why he did what he did.
“I have a high respect for Dayton, and it’s pretty cool to see the moves he made and the players he signed and developed. It’s starting to work out for him.”
Slow start in Sacramento – Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans said the organization’s new partnership with the Triple-A River Cats is crawling along because of the major-league club’s postseason run.
The River Cats, who are owned by Susan Savage and operated by her son, Jeff, had been affiliated with the A’s since relocating from Vancouver to Sacramento before the 2000 season. The Giants and River Cats recently agreed to a two-year deal.
“We’ll have further discussions with them and get our operation more together later,” Evans said. “Right now, it’s all about this.”
Big shoes to fill – Former Jesuit High School standout Andrew Susac popped out of the clubhouse about 90 minutes before the game and tossed a pair of shoes to his 13-year-old brother, Daniel, who was standing in the hallway with other family members.
It seems the size 11 cleats – the Nike Mike Trout brand – were too small for the Giants rookie.
Though Susac has only two at-bats during the postseason because Brandon Belt’s return moved Buster Posey back behind the plate, Evans said team officials remain pleased with Susac’s development and are interested in seeing more.
“He’s learning on the big stage,” Evans said. “It’s a great opportunity for him. He was impressive when he came up, contributed and got a chance once or twice a week. He showed us a lot about how far he’s come in a little bit of time.
“Initially, it was about giving him experience and helping him adjust to the pace of the game and the type of pitching he was going to face, offensively, along with being a guy the pitchers are comfortable pitching to. He’s been able to do that in a short period of time.”
Strickland tipping pitches? – Giants manager Bruce Bochy said reliever Hunter Strickland threw a bullpen session Monday partly to determine whether the right-hander might be tipping pitches. Strickland allowed four home runs in his first four playoff outings, all on fastballs to left-handers.
“We took a look at it,” Bochy said. “We had him throw on the mound, we had some hitters look at it, but we’re comfortable with where he is now.
“We tweaked him a little bit. I don’t want to go into what all Dave (Righetti) did, but you know, that was part of it, along with a couple other little things.”