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National Post Sports

Runners participate in the full marathon portion of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Toronto, Ontario on Sunday, October 19, 2014. Laban Korir of Kenya won the men’s race covering 42.195 kilometres through the streets of Toronto in 2:08.14.1. (Photos by Laura Pedersen/National Post)   

It was the Shot That Shook the Bay.Travis Ishikawa hit the first homer to end an NL Championship Series, a three-run drive that sent San Francisco to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 on Thursday night.These every-other-year Giants will face the Royals in an all wild-card World Series that begins Tuesday night in Kansas City.A journeyman who began the season with Pittsburgh, Ishikawa connected for the first game-ending home run that sent the Giants into the World Series since perhaps the most famous drive in baseball history — Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in a 1951 playoff.“It’s gratifying,” Ishikawa said. “If there’s an organization I’d want to do it for, it would be this one.” (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

It was the Shot That Shook the Bay.

Travis Ishikawa hit the first homer to end an NL Championship Series, a three-run drive that sent San Francisco to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 on Thursday night.

These every-other-year Giants will face the Royals in an all wild-card World Series that begins Tuesday night in Kansas City.

A journeyman who began the season with Pittsburgh, Ishikawa connected for the first game-ending home run that sent the Giants into the World Series since perhaps the most famous drive in baseball history — Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in a 1951 playoff.

“It’s gratifying,” Ishikawa said. “If there’s an organization I’d want to do it for, it would be this one.” (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Royals (and Paul Rudd) celebrate winning the pennant.

James Shields led thousands of fans in a celebratory chant. Lorenzo Cain pranced along the warning track, cradling his newborn son. Ned Yost finally allowed himself to smile.

After nearly three decades spent as one of the game’s biggest laughingstocks, the Kansas City Royals are once again baseball royalty. They are headed to their first World Series since 1985, finishing a four-game sweep in the AL Championship Series with a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Baltimore Orioles.

In a perfect post-season, the Royals are intent to relish every moment.

“It’s hard to explain,” said Cain, whose clutch hits and dramatic catches earned him the series MVP award. “We’re clicking at the right moment right now.”

There’s no doubt about that. (Photos: Ed Zurga/Getty Images, Jamie Squire/Getty Images, Charlie Riedel/The Associated Press)

Reeva Steenkamp’s father Barry Steenkamp, right, cries as he is comforted by his wife June, left, as they listen to proceedings during the third day of sentencing for Oscar Pistorius at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin sobbed while testifying Wednesday how she first heard on a car radio that Oscar Pistorius had killed his girlfriend.Kim Martin said she had “hoped to God” that Pistorius was cheating on her cousin and that the young woman he had shot at his home was not Reeva.“They hadn’t confirmed the name, they said his girlfriend,” Martin recalled of the early-morning news broadcast. “I was trying to phone her (Reeva) and she wasn’t answering and I was screaming at my husband.”Martin, who said she was close to Steenkamp, went to her mother’s house where she learned her cousin had been killed by the Olympic athlete.“The doors opened and my mother was hysterical and that’s when I knew it was true,” Martin said. “That was for me the end of the world. Everything was just a blur from then onwards.”The emotional testimony during Pistorius’ sentencing hearing caused the judge to rule a brief adjournment when Martin began crying. Her testimony dealt in detail for the first time at the months-long trial with the life of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, and the impact her Valentine’s Day killing had on her family.“We were all, ‘why, why, why Reeva?”‘ Martin said. She said Steenkamp’s killing “ruined our whole family.” (Photo by Antoine de Ras/The Associated Press/Pool)

Reeva Steenkamp’s father Barry Steenkamp, right, cries as he is comforted by his wife June, left, as they listen to proceedings during the third day of sentencing for Oscar Pistorius at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.

Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin sobbed while testifying Wednesday how she first heard on a car radio that Oscar Pistorius had killed his girlfriend.

Kim Martin said she had “hoped to God” that Pistorius was cheating on her cousin and that the young woman he had shot at his home was not Reeva.

“They hadn’t confirmed the name, they said his girlfriend,” Martin recalled of the early-morning news broadcast. “I was trying to phone her (Reeva) and she wasn’t answering and I was screaming at my husband.”

Martin, who said she was close to Steenkamp, went to her mother’s house where she learned her cousin had been killed by the Olympic athlete.

“The doors opened and my mother was hysterical and that’s when I knew it was true,” Martin said. “That was for me the end of the world. Everything was just a blur from then onwards.”

The emotional testimony during Pistorius’ sentencing hearing caused the judge to rule a brief adjournment when Martin began crying. Her testimony dealt in detail for the first time at the months-long trial with the life of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, and the impact her Valentine’s Day killing had on her family.

“We were all, ‘why, why, why Reeva?”‘ Martin said. She said Steenkamp’s killing “ruined our whole family.” (Photo by Antoine de Ras/The Associated Press/Pool)

Angry Oilers fan throws hoodie — and phone — onto the ice after just one gameFans have been waiting a long time for the Oilers’ stable of young talent to turn the team in a contender. One Edmonton fan apparently refused to wait one game more.The Oilers fell 5-2 to the rival Calgary Flames in Edmonton on Thursday night, their opener spoiled by Mason Raymond’s hat trick.“That’s a frustrating way to start the season,” Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins told reporters. “I thought we had a ton of good in our game. … Our power play was excellent.“I’m not going to walk out here and say we played crappy, because we didn’t. But we lost the game and that’s unacceptable.”It certainly is, says the now-former owner of this hoodie. (Photo: Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Angry Oilers fan throws hoodie — and phone — onto the ice after just one game
Fans have been waiting a long time for the Oilers’ stable of young talent to turn the team in a contender. One Edmonton fan apparently refused to wait one game more.

The Oilers fell 5-2 to the rival Calgary Flames in Edmonton on Thursday night, their opener spoiled by Mason Raymond’s hat trick.

“That’s a frustrating way to start the season,” Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins told reporters. “I thought we had a ton of good in our game. … Our power play was excellent.

“I’m not going to walk out here and say we played crappy, because we didn’t. But we lost the game and that’s unacceptable.”

It certainly is, says the now-former owner of this hoodie. (Photo: Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Shouldn’t rivalries matter? Maple Leafs and Canadiens need a high-stakes game
It is, Michel Therrien said a few hours before the puck dropped on Wednesday night, one of the meilleures rivalités in the world of professional sports.

“It’s special,” said the Montreal Canadiens head coach about games against the Toronto Maple Leafs. As fans sporting jerseys of both teams flooded into the Air Canada Centre to open the 2014-15 NHL season, representatives of hockey’s two largest diasporas gathering for a night in one of its cathedrals, it was hard to argue the point.

“Everybody who knows about hockey,” Leo Komarov, the Toronto forward from the non-hockey-hotbed of Narva, Estonia, said earlier, “knows about those two names.”

“It’s always a fun game to play,” said James van Riemsdyk, an American. Around and around the locker rooms, the response echoed that of Therrien: it’s a great rivalry. It’s the best rivalry.

And yet, shouldn’t rivalries, you know, matter? (Photos: Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press, Claus Andersen/Getty Images, Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

The Montreal Canadiens are Canada’s team, according to a poll: The Toronto Maple Leafs were recently named the worst pro sports franchise in North America by ESPN.And now, with the team set to take the ice for a new season, here’s another hit to Leafs Nation: the Maple Leafs are not Canada’s team. According to a recent poll, that title belongs to the Montreal Canadiens.A Forum Research poll conducted for CityNews found that 23% of Canadian hockey fans cheer for the Habs. That’s almost double the number of people who cheer for the Leafs or Canucks — Toronto and Vancouver each claimed 12% of the Canadian hockey fanbase. (Photo: John Mahoney/Postmedia News)

The Montreal Canadiens are Canada’s team, according to a poll: The Toronto Maple Leafs were recently named the worst pro sports franchise in North America by ESPN.

And now, with the team set to take the ice for a new season, here’s another hit to Leafs Nation: the Maple Leafs are not Canada’s team. According to a recent poll, that title belongs to the Montreal Canadiens.

A Forum Research poll conducted for CityNews found that 23% of Canadian hockey fans cheer for the Habs. That’s almost double the number of people who cheer for the Leafs or Canucks — Toronto and Vancouver each claimed 12% of the Canadian hockey fanbase. (Photo: John Mahoney/Postmedia News)

Julius Peppers crossed the goal line and caught his breath.But his work wasn’t done after returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown. Teammate Morgan Burnett pointed to the stands — time for Peppers’ first Lambeau Leap.One of many for the Packers on Thursday night.Aaron Rodgers threw for three scores, and Eddie Lacy ran for a season-high 105 yards and two touchdowns in the 42-10 rout of the Minnesota Vikings. (Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Julius Peppers crossed the goal line and caught his breath.

But his work wasn’t done after returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown. Teammate Morgan Burnett pointed to the stands — time for Peppers’ first Lambeau Leap.

One of many for the Packers on Thursday night.

Aaron Rodgers threw for three scores, and Eddie Lacy ran for a season-high 105 yards and two touchdowns in the 42-10 rout of the Minnesota Vikings. (Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Brandon Crawford figured the San Francisco Giants needed one run, maybe two, the way ace Madison Bumgarner was dealing.A grand slam provided all that and more, silencing a revved-up crowd and propelling San Francisco into the meat of the playoffs. Streaking in May and slumping in September, the Giants are back to their old resilient selves in October.Hey, it’s what they do this time of year.Crawford’s slam off Edinson Volquez in the fourth inning led the Giants to an 8-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild-card game Wednesday night, sending San Francisco on to Washington for the best-of-five Division Series starting Friday. Bumgarner celebrated by trying to drink four beers at the same time. (Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Brandon Crawford figured the San Francisco Giants needed one run, maybe two, the way ace Madison Bumgarner was dealing.

A grand slam provided all that and more, silencing a revved-up crowd and propelling San Francisco into the meat of the playoffs. Streaking in May and slumping in September, the Giants are back to their old resilient selves in October.

Hey, it’s what they do this time of year.

Crawford’s slam off Edinson Volquez in the fourth inning led the Giants to an 8-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild-card game Wednesday night, sending San Francisco on to Washington for the best-of-five Division Series starting Friday.

Bumgarner celebrated by trying to drink four beers at the same time. (Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Rain had started to fall at Kauffman Stadium as the echoing roars finally faded into the night. Eric Hosmer popped out of the dugout one last time, looked to the sky and let it soak in.

It had been 29 years since the Royals played a post-season game — nearly three decades spent mostly as a laughingstock. But on Tuesday night, already drenched in victory champagne, the young first baseman felt as if the whole world had watched their coming-out party.

“This team showed a lot of character tonight,” Hosmer said. “We weren’t going to quit.”

Salvador Perez singled home the winning run with two outs in the 12th inning, capping two late comebacks that gave Kansas City a thrilling 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game. (Photos: Ed Zurga/Getty Images, Jeff Roberson/The Associated Press, Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)