The San Francisco Giants managed to top Kansas City as the World Series road team in 2014, but those who select reserves and pitchers in the National League will have to hone their roster-crafting skills in the years to come to reverse the long-spanning trend.
The Royals' run of success continued in the 87th All-Star Game on Tuesday night as two of their players drove in all the runs in the American League's 4-2 win over the National League at Petco Park. But whichever team represents the AL will have a couple of Royals to thank for home-field advantage.
Of course, home-field isn't everything. And while it's certainly silly in concept to allow the All-Star Game to decide home-field advantage, it doesn't really matter enough to merit all the vitriol. Big Papi, who is retiring after the season, waved to the crowd as he exited to a standing ovation. Dellin Betances flashed his 100 miles per hour heat and Astros reliever Will Harris came on to throw a called third strike past Cardinals rookie Aledmys Diaz on a 3-2 pitch on the outside corner with the bases loaded to end the eighth.
The Giants hold a 6.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. San Francisco is also trying to capture a World Series title for the fourth consecutive even-numbered year after ending a championship drought in 2010 that stretched to 1954, when the franchise was in NY. In the past two seasons, they are 4-2 at Kauffman Stadium in the Fall Classic. The Royals won in five games for their first title since 1985.
This year, Kansas City is languishing at 45-43, seven games off the AL Central lead and in the middle of the wild-card race.
"We'll all go home tomorrow and on Friday we will be screaming at each other again", Yost said. "I just wanted to soak up the whole experience, and it's everything and more you could ever ask for".
Bryant hit the first pitch he saw from AL starting pitcher Chris Sale into the left field stands to give the NL a 1-0 lead three batters into the game. The NL has outscored the AL overall, 360-359.
It was Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz's 10th and final All-Star appearance. He made a huge contribution to the AL win when he was summoned into a bases-loaded situation with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and his team clinging to a two-run lead. The right-hander lasted only 1 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on two home runs. "My boy told me he was going to throw me a fastball, and the first pitch was a changeup", Ortiz said. Gwynn, who died two years ago, won eight batting crowns with the San Diego Padres and had a career batting average of.338.
All four Nationals that dressed played. The Tenors, a British Columbia-based group, changed an "O Canada" lyric to "We're all brothers and sisters".
The first pitch, indeed was an 80-mph batting practice pitch, but Ortiz took it for a ball.
"I'm having a lot of fun", he said before the game. "A lot of pitchers are coming into the game trying to light up the radar gun a bit". Cueto was hard to miss in the center of the field, wearing lime green and orange spikes. I'm going to give you two at-bats, and if you get on your second at-bat I'm going to pinch-run for you and give you an opportunity to walk off the field.
However, Cueto couldn't pass up a chance to take the mound for the National League, even at less than 100 percent, early Tuesday evening.