Hampton Stevens wrote here at The Atlantic yesterday as to why his Kansas City Royals are now America’s favorite team. Well, that’s a challenge to any fan of my San Francisco Giants, who earned the right last night to meet Stevens’s Royals in the upcoming World Series.
Stevens’s case rests in part on the idea that KC plays baseball the way it once was and ought to be— “small ball”—instead of reliance on home runs. The Royals scrape together runs through infield hits, strategic bunts, and capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes. Of course, the same can be said of the Giants, who scored two runs in their sixth inning comeback in Game Four of the League Championship series without hitting the ball out of the infield. For lovers of strategy, scrapping, and old-fashioned small ball, this World Series will be a delight.
The Royals’ appeal also rests on their comeback story: After three decades in the wilderness, this once-proud baseball power is back on top. But the Giants have a powerful comeback narrative, too—one they relive on an almost daily basis. It started with the team’s incredible run to the world championship two years ago, when the Giants faced elimination five times, but stormed back to win three straight against both the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals and then sweep the mighty Detroit Tigers in the World Series. This year, the Giants added to this streak to set a playoff record for most consecutive wins. And they’ve done so by coming from behind in almost every single game this post-season. I’ll match the Giants streak-for-streak and comeback-for-comeback against the Royals, any time.