The Kansas City Royals’ Cinderella season has finally come to an end, but not in the way that most had hoped.
The Royals fell 3-2 to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series last week, bringing an underdog story of epic proportions just one game short of achieving its dream.
The Royals, who came into the MLB postseason as a wild-card team, had to win a play-in game against the heavily favored Oakland Athletics to even qualify for the playoffs, making their run a most improbable one.
Once they beat the A’s, however, their destiny seemed set. The Royals would end up setting an MLB record by winning eight straight playoff games en route to the World Series, but once they reached the final series, the magic suddenly grinded to a halt.
Credit must be given to the Royals for even putting up a fight against the Giants, who, with this win being their third in five years, have certainly established themselves as a modern-day baseball dynasty.
Upon entering the final series of the playoffs, many still expected Kansas City to bow out early to the Giants, despite the Royals’ impressive run. However, the Royals would end up surprising many by bringing the series all the way to a Game 7, with everything on the line.
In the deciding game, it would again be San Francisco’s 25-year-old phenom pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, who would end up dictating the fate of the Giants.
Bumgarner, who pitched an impressive four-hit, complete-game shutout against the Royals in Game 5, would come out of the bullpen in the fifth inning on short rest to vanquish his opponents. He ended up retiring 14 straight batters before giving up only his second hit of the night in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bumgarner would finish the game with four strikeouts and 0.43 ERA, most impressive considering the Royals are known as a team that likes to play small-ball, that is to say they try to get runners on base and advance them into scoring position instead of swinging for the fences on every at bat.
At the conclusion of the game, Bumgarner was named the World Series MVP, and deservedly so, as the Giants may not have been able to pull off the victory if it weren’t for their ace in the hole. The pitcher presumably has the majority of his career ahead of him, so expect to hear his name a lot in the coming years, as he gets even better.
Though this loss must be heartbreaking for Royals fans (it took place in Kansas City, no less), they can at least take comfort in the fact that their team, despite being underdogs for the entire postseason, almost pulled off a big upset against a heavily favored opponent, and has the roster to be a playoff contender for years to come. Though this loss may seem bittersweet in that regard, at least the Royals fans shouldn’t have to wait another 29 years to see their team in the postseason. Look for them to make some noise again next season.