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)
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)
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)
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)