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Soup of This Day #54: As Sure As Kilimanjaro Rises Like Olympus Above The Serangetti

August 23, 2011

Kauffman Stadium in 1981
Royals Stadium (Kauffman Stadium since 1993), home of the Kansas City Royals. In Missouri – Photo: Wahkeenah, 1981. Wahkeenah has no affiliation with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

In 1967 a 17 year old University of Tulsa freshman called S.E. Hinton (The initials were used to disguise that the book was written by a female author) had a book published called The Outsiders. Set in Oklahoma and inspired by gangs at a school in Tulsa it described a world away from a small Wheatbelt town in 1980’s Western Australia but nonetheless I was hooked when I read it as a high school student. A passage comes to mind now in 2011 – A character, Dally has just been killed and a friend of his, Two-Bit is complaining because he has lost a fancy switchblade knife when the police have searched the body:

‘Is that all that’s bothering you, that switchblade?’ a red eyed Steve had snapped at him.
‘No,’ Two-Bit had said with a quivering sigh, ‘but that’s what I’m wishing was all that’s bothering me.’

This post is my switchblade. It’s not what’s bothering me but it is what I’m wishing was all that’s bothering me.

Immediately to the south of Oklahoma and the world of S.E. Hinton is Kansas. Kansas City fascinates me. For a start there are 2 Kansas Cities, right next to each other. The larger 1 is nicknamed the City of Fountains but it could also be called the City of Irony because it is not, as you might expect from it’s name, in the State of Kansas. Nope, the larger of the 2 Kansas Cities is in next-door Missouri. The substantially smaller Kansas City is across the Missouri River in Kansas and is technically a suburb in the larger Kansas City, Missouri.

Which must be a right bastard for taxi drivers to get their heads around.

This has some consequence for sporting teams. NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs are not based in Kansas anymore Toto, nor indeed have they ever been located in Kansas. They were founded in 1960 as the Dallas Texans, presumably in Dallas, Texas but maybe don’t take it for granted. In 1963 they moved to Kansas City, Missouri and wisely adjusted their name to suit. The Kansas City Royals of the MLB are also not in Kansas. They were a 1969 expansion team that began life in Kansas City, Missouri and have somewhat miraculously just stayed there.

The Red Sox just wrapped up a 4 game stand at Kansas City. In Missouri. Prior to that they had a 3 game stand with the Rays at Fenway that I have not yet written about. I’ll do so now:

In Game 1 the Sox managed just 3 hits. Miraculously 1 of those hits was a 3 run blast to Ellsbury. That was part 1 of a double header and they won it 3-1. Which postulates the theory that you don’t need more than 3 hits to win.

This theory underwent some in-the-field testing courtesy of part 2 of the double header, Game 2, when the Sox got 3 hits and 2 runs (Varitek and Ellsbury with solo long shots) and lost 6-2. Of honourable mention in this games was a Sox triple play. With runners on 1st and 2nd Sean Rodriguez knocked a hard grounder to Lowrie at 3rd. He whipped it to Pedroia at 2nd who turned it to Gonzalez (again) to complete the trip round the Horn. It was the 1st Red Sox triple play since July 8 of 1994 when SS Johnny Valentin got all 3 in an unassisted triple play. He also got a leadoff home run in the 6th, 1 of 2 hits he got for the game.

Triple plays are fun to watch but they kinda imply problems. For it to happen you need 2 on with no outs. That’s generally not a good thing to do. Let guys on base on lead off often enough and you’ll pay for it.

In Game 3 they paid for it, managing just the 3 hits for the 3rd time in a row, while copping for 2 runs off lead off hitters. Again they lost, this time 4-0. Which postulates a new theory, that 3 hits is not really enough to win a game most of the time.

And so on to Kansas City, Missouri and the Royals. I first started writing notes for this post as the Royals were wrapping up a series against the Yankees. As the Sox were floundering in Game 3 against the Rays, the Royals were snatching a 1 run thriller against the Yanks. That was nice of them.

In Game 1 against the Sox, with Beckett on the mound, KC edged to a 1 run lead again. This tim though it was early in and a Varitek RBI single got the Sox back in in the 2nd. In the 3rd a Pedroia RBI single scored 2, although this was soon cancelled out by 2 for the Royals in the 4th. Pedroia edged the Sox back in front in the 5th with a RBI double and Beckett, Bard and Papelbon brought it home. 4-3 Red Sox.

Game 2 and Miller with a rare start. He gave up the opener in the 2nd but right on cue the Sox bats rode to the rescue. A RBI triple to McDonald and a sac fly to Ellsbury gave the Sox the lead in the 3rd. In the 4th Ryan Lavarnway got his 1st hit in the Majors. He subsequently got his 1st run after Salty bashed a 3 run blast over his head. A Gonzalez (again) sac fly and a Pedroia grounder, both in the 8th made it 7-1 and that’s how it ended.

Game 3 and God’s favourite knuckleballer was again in line for win 200. Wakefield started well, giving up just 1 run across 5 innings, while the bats gave him 4. Scutaro, Crawford, McDonald and Lavarnway with the RBIs as Boston’s 2nd line got some mojo on.

And then they imploded.

Wake gave up 3. Albers gave up 3 as well and then Morales gave up 2. All in the 6th and just like that a 4-1 lead was a 4-9 deficit. That’s how it ended so no 200 for Wake just yet. As for Albers and Morales? There are some doubts.

Game 4 and the Sox got Lester on the mound. He did not disappoint with an impressive 6 innings of shutout. He let go a little in the 7th, allowing a run with no outs but Bard curtailed the Royals fight and Wheeler closed it out with that 1 run being the total damage. On offence the Sox again relied on the B roll, with a Tek RBI triple a highlight. McDonald and Crawf added solo long shots and Gonzalez (again), Lowrie and Lavarnway all added RBIs of varying shades. It finished 6-1 and the Sox remained a 0.5 game behind the Yankees.

If you’re counting right, that’s 7 games I’ve just covered in 1 post. Not something I normally do but I’ve been a bit out of it the past 6 or so days and my blogging schedule got blown to hell. This post started life last Thursday lunchtime. By Thursday night I needed a distraction from worrying about the possibility of a situation that only happens to other families. By Friday night the possibility had become reality. In spite of this and maybe because of this, when I needed to write most of all, I struggled to string together more than few coherent sentences and my posts since then probably seem a little forced and maybe a bit disjointed. That’s ok though because the words came out in the end and I got my switchblade.

Denial is not just a river in de Africa.

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