The Greatest Game Ever Played




exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.


exaggeration, overstatement, magnification, embroidery, embellishment

The best place to find hyperbole in this world is Facebook. We’re all guilty of it. We eat a good steak or see a spider or celebrate a lost tooth, and it becomes the biggest event since The Eagles reunited for the Hell Freezes Over tour (and then toured like 6 more times). Often, we are the guilty party, with our gushing description of the events we just witnessed.

“OMG!!!!! Holly just got 4th place in Jump Rope For Heart in her class of 22 kids!!! #proudmama #olympics2020"

“I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin. I literally have THE BESTEST HUSBAND IN THE WORLD!! He bought me my favorite ice cream (Vanilla Bean!! YUM YUM!!) after my 11 hour kidney transplant surgery. AND I CAME HOME TO A CLEAN HOUSE!!!! I LOVE YOU BOO!!!!!!”

And sometimes, our parents and grandparents and drunk friends do the job for us.

“Feeling sad since my little pup has an achy tooth. Gotta go to the vet tomorrow. ☹”

Sally Bickertooth and 41 others LIKE this

Sally Bickertooth: OMG sis, I am SOOOOO sorry. This just breaks my heart. You two are in my prayers!! Get better little snuggle bear!!! Txt me when you leave for the vet so I can say a prayer while you’re driving to the vet!!!!!

On and on it goes like that on almost every page on the entire bloody website. It doesn’t make me angry, but it gives me pause whenever I want to say something like I did in the title of this piece, because I’m probably just blowing smoke outta my ass like I do every time I like something and tell the world about it. BUT.

I’ve had 12 hours to digest the AL Wildcard game at Kauffman Stadium last night, and I consider that enough time to make a bold statement and stand by it. That was the best baseball game any two teams ever played since Abner Doubleday invented the sport.

You’ve probably heard all the story lines a million times already, regardless of whether you live here in KC or not. 1985. George Brett. Dick Howser. Frank White. Don Denkinger. CD’s were invented. “No outs to go!” And the ensuing lifetime of banality, struggle, 100 loss seasons, bad management, absent ownership (still an issue) and generally apathy for baseball in this town. Good fans went to 5 games a year, 10 if their company or neighbor inherited season tickets. Then, on Dayton Moore’s arrival, things started to change (and stay the same). We built the best farm system in baseball and promptly traded the best prospect in the sport and a solid #2 pitcher for James Shields and Wade Davis. The coin started spinning on that day; Dayton Moore called “heads” and we waited…

Last night, with Colon in scoring position and the best young catcher in baseball at the plate hacking like hell to advance him, the coin spun around one final and precariously slow time…and landed. When we exhaled it was heads up.

If you watched the game or talked to another human being today, you know how the game went. What you probably don’t know unless you live here (or root from Arizona) is how it felt. I grew up in Wyoming, long before the Rockies existed, and my hometown was so far from any MLB team that the Sports Editor at the paper would take a poll (you had to mail in your vote) to decide which team to cover as “our” team each season. Sometimes it was the Cardinals, sometimes the Yankees, and once I recall Seattle as the victor. Someone may correct me on all of this, but my point is that “we” (people born there with no immediate association or family member in the Majors) had to try to feel good about something without seeing it very often or being fully vested. That sucked. I cheered for the Yankees on and off as a bandwagon idiot (even bail-bribed myself out of a Mexican holding cell with a Yankees hat in 1990). But I moved to KC in 1994, and for the last 20 years, I’ve metamorphosed into a die hard, blue blooded (literally had my blood dyed blue) fan of the Royals. After 20 years of doing anything, you automatically get into the club. I’m also, by that logic, a beer.

My two boys are Royals fans by birth, and they’ve only ever known heartache, boredom and grainy stock footage of Brett getting mobbed and champagne bathed to build their feelings about this team. Until last night, that is.

We watched together and we gave up after the 7–3 lead looked like too much to overcome. We left the watch party and retreated to our house to get ready for school, an 8–8 Chiefs season and 6 months of cursing Ned Yost and his devilish desire to over-manage at the most inopportune times. But we never stopped watching. Then we got glued and we got a run across and it became the most electrifying 120 minutes of my sports life, and Salvy swung at a pitch that wasn’t in the zone (it might not have been in the zone if the zone was an Auto Zone) and Colon crossed the plate and we hugged and laughed and I had tears on my face. Over a stinking baseball game.

The Royals might play 11 more games and sweep their way into a second World Championship. They might go to Anaheim and lose two then fly to MCI and choke away more glory at The K in front of the very people they just gave life back to last night. I don’t care either way, and I mean it. I WANT them to win 11 more, don’t get me wrong. And I’m not setting the bar at, “well we had a great run and the WILDCARD GAME WAS WORTH IT AND NOW WE’RE HAPPY AGAIN FOR 29 MORE YEARS!!!” Whatever they do, they will never be able to do what they did last night. In one game, they tore off the bandage on the oldest wound in professional sports. No other major sport has a city with a longer post season drought, and it would be difficult to repeat it if you tried. For today, for right now, the slate is clean.

Do you know what has happened in the world since the last time the Royals won a playoff game?

Well, I drank a pot of coffee and wrote a blog. It rained a little. Oh, and they fueled a jet and flew the team to L.A.


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