Brett: Royals deserve credit for success
Hall of Famer likes KC over Orioles in six games
KANSAS CITY -- When Spring Training starts every year, you look at the schedule and find Opening Day and the last day of the season. Plan A is always to reach the postseason. Plan B is a vacation after the season ends. This was no different than any other year that I've witnessed. You have high hopes, you go to Spring Training, you see guys go through workouts and you think, "Man, we're pretty good." But you don't see the other 29 teams do their daily routine.
This year, like any year, Plan A was go to the postseason, and Plan B was do something else the day the season ends. Don't get me wrong -- I'm happy with Plan A, but I've had a lot of Plan Bs that I've already missed. One was the Alabama-Ole Miss game, the next one is the Tennessee-Ole Miss game (one of my sons goes to Ole Miss) and we're still on Plan A. And I hope Plan A goes to the end of October.
Baltimore kind of came out of nowhere also. The Orioles didn't make the postseason last year, so I'm sure they're still on Plan A. I'm sure a lot of their guys had Plan Bs, too.
When we beat the Oakland A's, the comment I heard most and what I said, too, was: "This is unbelievable." Then when we swept the Angels, I said: "This is unbelievable." But, you know what, it's no longer unbelievable. Plan A is believable.
Baltimore has a completely different ballpark, always has been, always will be, compared to Kansas City. When we used to play the Orioles, I remember they had Al Bumbry in center field, John Lowenstein in left and Kenny Singleton in right. We doubled and tripled them to death at Kauffman Stadium. We ran 'em out of the ballpark. We'd go there, to old Memorial Stadium, and all those guys would be hitting three-run homers and we'd be stealing bases and hitting an occasional home run. But it's almost a tale of two different cities, two different ballparks, two different styles of teams.
They're last in the Majors in stolen bases (44), we're first (153). We're last in home runs (95), they're first (211). I think the ballparks have a lot to say about that. Their ballpark now is also small, they don't need guys to go get 'em in the outfield. Speed isn't that much of a factor at Camden Yards. Speed is a huge factor at Kauffman Stadium.
Alex Gordon has good speed and he gets good jumps in the outfield. Lorenzo Cain has great speed, Nori Aoki has good speed. And, you know what, we bring Jarrod Dyson in to play the last innings because he's got more speed than all of them.
Our guys are hot right now. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have four homers in the playoffs so far. Cain's sacrifice fly here the other day would've been a home run in Baltimore. Gordon's double off the wall -- that's 10 rows up in Baltimore. But the one thing our guys cannot do is think about playing in a bandbox and go up there saying, "I'm going to hit a home run." That doesn't work.
I think the Royals can win. I know Baltimore has good pitching, but we have good pitching. I don't know about the Orioles' bullpen, but from what I hear, our 'pen is as good as any in baseball. And I think we're jelling at the right time. Baltimore won its division by 12 games and the Orioles were just coasting because they knew they were in the playoffs. Our guys had a playoff atmosphere every day for a solid month, trying to catch the A's and the Tigers, and they've fared very well. I like that. They're much looser now than they were earlier.
I'm so tired hearing it was 29 years without a postseason and 1985, 1985, 1985. I want the city of Kansas City to start talking 2014. These guys deserve a lot of credit. Ned Yost and his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit. Dayton Moore deserves a lot of credit. The Glass family deserves a lot of credit.
So far it's been a good year, but not a great year. Just because you get to the ALCS doesn't make it a great year. Once you get past that, it's better than a good year. There's only one great team each year in baseball and that's the team that wins the last game of the season. That's what they're striving for.
A prediction: the Royals in six games. I'd like to say Royals in five because then I catch the Tennessee-Ole Miss game and still make the first game of the World Series at Kansas City.