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Great moments in taunting: Kansas City vs. St. Louis edition

May 20, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT

Don Denkinger call

OK, there’s one more fun interleague rivalry: Cardinals vs. Royals. And actually, it’s less fun for the baseball than it is for the wonderful St. Louis-baiting done by Sam Mellinger today in the pages of the Kansas City Star. Makes my Philly-baiting look like child’s play:

Crime

•Kansas City: Was a well-known mafia hub and hometown of Jesse James a long time ago.

•St. Louis: Passed Camden, N.J., as the most dangerous city in America last year.

Fans

•Kansas City: Complained as Billy Butler led the league by grounding into 32 double plays last year.

•St. Louis: Pretending that Albert Pujols isn’t on pace to hit into almost 50 double plays this year.

And there’s a Cedric the Entertainer reference. Oh, snap. Snap, I say.

  1. kcroyal - May 20, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Safe by a mile.

    Get over yourself St. Louis.

    • cintiphil - May 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      This is the problem with KC fans. I lived in KC in 1967-1969. I couldn’t believe the nonsense of these fans. I was invited to my first game with the KC A’s in 67, by a great fan of the A’s and Charley O’. Of course later, he was driven out of town, but I digress. I was hammered by this “fan” and several of his associates by the foolish comment on KC. Remember, at the time, they stunk up the AL. However the comment was how much better their grass was than ours in Cinti, but especially how much better the grass was than St. Louis’ field. this went on for most of the game. Finally I made the comment, that “now you need a team that deserves the grass”. That ended the comments. But I did recall that these fans were completely jealous of St. Louis and their team, which in my opinion was second to none in all of the majors that year and in 68. I was amused at the comparison to other teams which had better players and records than the A’s but were still not as good because of their Grass! Can you believe it? Also, I saw the play in question on T-V, and the runner was clearly out, and the ump who made the call later apologized, admitting that he mad a wrong call. But the foolish KC fans still insist he was safe. I would say to KC fans,it is over and get over it. You may have won, but it was an umpire error that gave you the victory. Oh, your grass is very nice.

      • kcroyal - May 20, 2011 at 12:42 PM

        Look at the photo, you can’t argue with such compelling evidence.

        It’s not even close…safe by a mile.

    • sportsdrenched - May 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      And even if he was out…there was still that whole Game 7 everyone forgets about.

  2. yankeesfanlen - May 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    For your listening pleasure:

    Has Hosmer come to his senses yet?

  3. paperlions - May 20, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    That’s kind of cute. Being taunted by someone you feel sorry for (i.e. Royals fans/media) just isn’t effective…must be like Yankees fans being taunted by Mets fans.

  4. spudchukar - May 20, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    There is an old adage about the two cities. St. Louis is the westernmost eastern city and Kansas City is the easternmost western city. Whether that is true or not is debatable, however there are some stark differences.

    St. Louis-Liberal K.C.-Conservative
    St. Louis-Intelligent/Cultural (Washington U., St. Louis U, Lindenwood etc.) K.C.-So freakin’ dumb they named the city after the adjoining state and their only institute of higher learning is the equivalent to a AA franchise, University of Missouri at K.C. (Once again brilliantly named the Kangaroos?)

    Then there is baseball. It is always easy to look up historical Kansas City stats, just start at the bottom. Outside of a brief period of time in the latter ’70s and early 80’s the baseball history of K.C. can best be studied at the Negro League Hall of Fame, which would be the only redeeming quality of the once and future cow town, except they cannot run that either, and there is serious talk of moving it St. Louis. I never truely believed the rumor, that the Royal’s moniker was thought to be changed to Cellar-Dwellers, but it would be apt.

    As to the supposed rivalry. It isn’t that the Cards overlook the Royals. But references to “insignificant drivel” only enable them. Like a chore that must be undertaken once a year, such as cleaning out the garage, we wander westward to the barren wastes, lay the fields asunder, and return to Xanadu, unscathed, unbeaten, the trip a dim memory, comparable to a drunken foray into a den of eniquity. Then the Royals, visit St. Louis. You would think it was a Hajj. The one glorious moment, a trip to Mecca. The results are the same, but the Royals hardly care, the yellow-brick road took them to Oz. Yes, the Starstruck Strawmen soon sojourn home once we point them in the correct direction. We offer them a brain as parting gifts, but they trade it for miniture arch replicas, and trips to the Bowling Hall of Fame.

    Yes, it is true that Cedric did hail from here, but then so did Redd Foxx.

  5. indyralph - May 20, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    I realize this is all in good fun, so hopefully I don’t come off as one of those whiny Cardinal fans. But three points for the national audience: 1) I think we are all acutely aware of how many double plays Pujols is on pace to hit into. We choose to be optimistic that the pace slows. 2) Any statistics about St. Louis are (or can be) skewed by the fact that the city of St. Louis has roughly a population of 300,000 (including some of the poorest areas), while the metro area is nearly 3 million. So realize that most “St. Louisans” that you will ever meet do not live in an area even remotely resembling Camden, NJ. 3) Finally, if KC barbecue is so good, why do you find St. Louis style ribs everywhere you go?

    • The Baseball Idiot - May 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

      I realize you’re just being a smartass, but Kansas City is actually named after the Kansas River. You know, the “city” on the “Kansas” river.

      It might be a matter of semantics, but I would call that a better choice to call a city than naming it after some dead French king. But that also explains a lot about people from St Louis.

      • spudchukar - May 20, 2011 at 1:15 PM

        Actually it was originally called the “Town on the Kansas”, but the town grew, and most of Kansas City abuts the Missouri, not Kansas River.

  6. volcom2143 - May 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Haha good old Camden , Nj . I can remember going there at 15 years old with my buddy who grew a mustache so he could get served to buy beer at a liquor store on federal street . Boy the good old days In high school . haha thanks for the reminder Craig !!

  7. tomemos - May 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    The remarks about Kansas City and crime are off-base–KC had impressive crime going on way more recently. Has the author not watched Casino? The Kansas City mob *ran* Vegas.

  8. flavius217 - May 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    As a lifelong Cardinals fan from central Illinois, I view this STL-KC stuff with detached amusement.

    What’s also amusing is how thin-skinned many Cardinals fans are. Best Fans in Baseball? More like Most Sensitive, Butthurt Fans in Baseball.

    • spudchukar - May 20, 2011 at 1:30 PM

      Residing in central Illinois and being detached is redundant.

    • sportsdrenched - May 20, 2011 at 4:44 PM

      See, I’m a Royals fan living in Central Kansas. I view this “rivalry” the same way.

      …and thinking you’re smart because you live near Universities just isn’t thinking.

      • spudchukar - May 20, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        I realize this might be tough for you, but proximity to educational institutions is a city’s responsibility. Creating, supporting, and maintaining their levels of excellence is a commentary on a community. See because if you build them they will come. Granted at this point it would be wasteful in the western Missouri diaspora. Hey you guys still have “home schooling”.

      • sportsdrenched - May 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM

        The Universities you listed are private schools. The only people supporting them are the Alumni, and the owners. Has nothing to do with the community.

  9. okwhitefalcon - May 20, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    St Louis just doesn’t care enough to even consider KC any kind of “rival”, they’re more of a novelty baseball interleague necessary evil taking up schedule space.

    Yawn…

    • Paul White - May 21, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      FWIW, after last night’s game, the record stands thusly in the last 22 games:

      Cardinals – 11 wins
      Necessary Evil – 11 wins

  10. cintiphil - May 20, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    I am sorry I even commented on this one. I couldn’t car a rip about the teams, but face it K C, you are not the Cardinals or the Reds (the first pro baseball team in history). Get over it!

  11. Tyree Studio - May 20, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Cardinal fans forget there was still a game 7 to be played back in 85. STL players must have forgot back then since they didn’t bother showing up for it.

    • spudchukar - May 20, 2011 at 5:39 PM

      Nor should they have had to.

      • sportsdrenched - May 20, 2011 at 5:57 PM

        As I recall that would have only been the second out of the inning. Are you infering the Cardinals shouldn’t have to get the third out either?

        Umpires don’t drop foul balls.

  12. Paul White - May 21, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Oh boy. I was hoping to avoid this reconstruction of the actual events, but given the number of delusional Cards fans who have appeared, it seems necessary. So, for the eleventy-thousandth time…

    October 24th, 1985 – The Cardinals, holding a 3 games to 1 lead in the World Series, have an opportunity to clinch a World Championship on their home field. They are facing the very definition of a middling starting pitcher in Royals’ lefty Danny Jackson (career record 112-131, career ERA+ of exactly 100), who the Cardinals had already beaten in Game 1. Brilliant manager Whitey Herzog, having used Game 1 starter John Tudor on short rest the day before, decided NOT to use Game 2 starter Danny Cox on short rest for Game 5, so instead of having a starter on the mound who went 18-9 with a ERA+ of 124, the Cardinals pitched a guy who was their own equivalent of a middling starting pitcher, Bob Forsch, he of the 9-6 record and 92 ERA+ in 1985. Both teams scored a run in the first, but the Royals took command of the game in just the second inning when Forsch gave up a double to Jim Sundberg (career OPS+ of 89, career post-season BA of .208) followed by a single to Buddy Biancalana (career OPS+ of 51, career post-season BA of .243), followed by a walk to Lonnie “Skates” Smith (who the Cardinals traded to the Royals THAT SEASON straight up for the great John Morris) and a 2-run triple by Willie Wilson. The Cardinals could only muster three more hits the rest of the game and never scored again on Jackson. Meanwhile, the Cards’ bullpen had to throw 7.1 innings to make up for Herzog’s bad decision to go with Forsch. This will become incredibly important in a couple of days.

    October 26th, 1985 – The Cardinals took the field in Kansas City with their second chance to clinch the World Championship. They brought to that game the aforementioned Danny Cox, now pitching with an extra day of rest. They were facing Charlie Leibrandt, who had pitched well for the first 8 innings of Game 2 only to see the Cardinals rally and hit him up for 4 runs in the 9th inning to win that game. Both starters again pitched brilliantly (Leibrandt went into the 6th with a perfect game), and the game went to the 8th in a scoreless tie. The Royals had squandered the game’s first scoring chance in the 1st when George Brett was called out by home plate umpire Jim Quick on a questionable third strike with a runner on 3rd and only one out, which was then followed by a Frank White groundout to end the inning. In the 4th, the Royals fell victim to their own blown call by umpire Bill Williams, when he called out Frank White trying to steal second base. Replays showed he was safe. Pat Sheridan followed with a single that likely would have scored White for the game’s first run, but certainly would have pushed White to third with only one out, from which he would have scored on Steve Balboni’s ensuing fly ball to center field.

    In the top of the 8th, the Cardinals finally managed a run against Leibrandt on a pinch-hit single by Brian Harper, so they entered the bottom of the 9th with that slim one-run lead. Brilliant manager Whitey Herzog – with a one-run lead to protect and needing only three outs to clinch a World Championship – decided NOT to bring in his best reliever, Jeff Lahti, he of the 1.84 ERA and 2.2 WAR that year. Lahti had thrown 34 pitches over 2 innings in Game 5, and even though that was two days prior, apparently Herzog felt he couldn’t go. (Yes, this means that Herzog effectively burned his closer while trailing by 3 runs late in Game 5 rather than save him to be available to pitch the next potential clincher, Game 6.) Herzog also decided NOT to bring in his second-best reliever, Ricky Horton (1.2 WAR that year), because he’d been burned even worse in Game 5 (40 pitches over 2 innings). So, yes, this does mean that Herzog’s decision to go with Bob Forsch as his Game 5 starter cost the Cardinals not only Game 5 but also Game 6. Option number 3 was to simply stick with Ken Dayley, his third-best overall reliever that season. Dayley had pitched the 8th inning and retired the Royals on only 18 pitches. He was certainly capable of going one more inning, as he had 21 multi-inning outings that season and was not just a lefty specialist. He also had the advantage of not having surrendered a run in the entire post-season (a streak he would continue until Game 6 of the 1987 World Series, when he famously surrendered a grand slam to Kent Hrbek). But no, Herzog instead decided to go with option #4, a rookie, Todd Worrell, who had pitched well in his brief time in the big leagues that season and had saved Game 1, but had also been one of the many Cardinal relievers called upon to clean up Herzog’s and Forsch’s Game 5 mess (2 innings, 27 pitches) so he wasn’t much more fresh than the better relief options Herzog decided to pass over. All of which leads to the infamous poor call at first base on lead-off pinch-hitter Jorge Orta’s ground ball. Yes, he should have been called out. So now, in true official scorer fashion, let’s reconstruct that inning had Orta been called out:

    – Orta out at first, one down
    – Single by Steve Balboni, runner on 1st with one out. (Concepcion runs for Balboni)
    – Here’s where it gets tricky. In real life, Jim Sundberg laid down a bad sacrifice bunt and the lead runner was thrown out at third. There’s no real way to know if Dick Howser would have ordered that bunt with only one runner on and one out. Let’s say he did, but in that case, with no runner headed to third base, would Worrell have tried for the lead runner at second or gotten the sure out? I’m assuming he would have gotten the sure out rather than risk the longer throw to second base, so let’s go with that. Runner on second, two outs.
    – Passed ball, runner on third, two outs.
    – Hmmm, does Herzog still intentionally walk Hal McRae here? With the pitcher’s spot coming up, yes, I think he does. Runners at first and third with two outs, setting up…
    – RBI single by pinch-hitter Dane Iorg, runners at first and second, two outs, game tied, top of the order coming up.

    So, even without the blown call at first base, the most likely scenario still has Worrell blowing that lead and the Royals having the winning run on second with their best hitters coming to the plate against either a shaky Worrell or a Cardinals bullpen that Herzog already felt was too burned to use properly.

    October 27, 1985 – The St. Louis Cardinals humiliate themselves the game’s biggest stage. 11-0 Kansas City.

    But yeah, sure, keep pretending that was all Don Denkinger’s fault.

    • spudchukar - May 25, 2011 at 10:51 AM

      It was Don Denkinger’s fault.

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