Baseball

World Series sights and sounds: Not surprisingly, both managers love new wild-card format

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost watches his team before Game 6 of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost watches his team before Game 6 of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. AP

Not surprisingly,both managers lovenew wild-card format

Since the Giants and Royals reached the World Series via the one-game wild-card route, it is probably no surprise that both managers endorsed the change in the postseason format.

“I think it makes it so much more interesting,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose club came back from a 7-3, eighth-inning deficit against the A’s in the American League wild-card game. “It gives other teams hope. Even going down to the last day, we were fighting to try to win the division.

“But we all sat back and have watched teams that have gotten in on the wild card go to the World Series and be successful. What we needed to do was get past that one-game elimination, then get into a regular five-game playoff scenario, where we could hopefully advance. We’ve done that quite nicely.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who relied on Madison Bumgarner’s mastery for the victory in the National League wild-card game in Pittsburgh, was even more effusive. He volunteered his opinion about the one-game playoff even before being asked.

“I love the wild card, by the way,” he said during his pregame media session. “It’s a beautiful thing.

“How has it changed the format? Well, it gives another team a chance, another city hope that their team can get there. I think it says something about the parity in baseball. And it just goes to show you, in baseball, anything can happen. You get good pitching, timely hitting, you’re getting a good chance to keep moving, and that’s what happened to us. That’s what happened to Kansas City.”

Musical tastes

While the Giants went with a more classic rock look for the three national anthems at AT&T Park – with Huey Lewis, Carlos Santana and Aaron Lewis – the Royals again turned to a more sophisticated sound.

One night after the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra provided an instrumental rendition of the anthem, Grammy Award winner Joyce DiDonato closed out the Series. The Kansas-born Di-Donato, who won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, holds residencies this season at Carnegie Hall and the Barbican Centre in London.

Future quest?

Downtown Kansas City has been a big party the past few evenings, with the Sprint Center anchoring the Power & Light entertainment district and providing a home for most of the activity.

Thousands of fans gathered to watch the Series outdoors on a large TV, with only an overhang for protection.

The shiny exterior of the Sprint Center somewhat resembles the renderings of Sacramento’s new arena.

Signs of times

Though not quite up to the standards established by Utah Jazz fans the past two decades – they are famous for their creativity – Hunter Pence has inspired a number of clever signs. Here is a sampling:

▪ “Hunter Pence roots for hamburgers in the hot dog race”

▪ “Hunter Pence goes to the dentist every 6 months (not the barber)”

▪ “Hunter Pence prefers RBIs to Ribs”

▪ “Hunter Pence puts ketchup on his barbecue.”

Panda all smiles

Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who becomes a free agent after the World Series, was his usual jocular self Wednesday.

When asked the obvious question for what probably feels like the zillionth time – does he go or does he stay? – Sandoval smiled widely and pointed to the Giants logo on the front of his sweat jacket.

“I love the Giants,” he said. “I love the Giants.”

Ailene Voisin

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