It ain’t over ‘til it’s over

Happy Labor Day weekend.

It’s Sunday night, and the Royals are breaking my hopes for the third night in a row. They're still in first place though – for now.

Last night, we were there to watch it in person. From a family perspective, we had a blast. From a Royals fan perspective, the Royals' offense was horrifying.

From The Kansas City Star's game cap ...
The solitary stay at the summit lasted 19 days, long enough to spur a Sports Illustrated cover, elevate expectations and dare a long-suffering group of fans to dream. The Royals ascended into first place of the American League Central on Aug. 11, and spoke as if they never would abdicate the throne.

With a 3-2 loss in 11 innings to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, their fifth defeat in seven games, no longer can the Royals claim sole ownership of the lead. They now share the real estate with the Detroit Tigers, their overlords for so long, setting up for the most thrilling September in nearly three decades of Kansas City baseball.
To give you a little background, I purchased a Blue Crew membership for Phoebe as a Christmas present. As part of the package she got a coupon book that included some discounts on Royals gear, two vouchers for free game tickets and a punch card for free admission to some of the activities in the Outfield Experience at Kauffman Stadium. We had been eyeing up the schedule all season and had a couple misses when it didn’t quite work out for us to go.

Then the Royals started getting really hot, and I didn’t want to waste our chance to get to a game. Finally, we settled on last night’s game – good thing, too, because we would have been drenched had we decided to go Friday night.

I secured our tickets a couple weeks ago when I swung through Kansas City to see Nickel Creek. The catch on the free ticket voucher was that they had to be redeemed at the box office. Don’t get me started on how family-unfriendly that little ploy is …Although, on the bright side, with Phoebe's voucher and a 2-for-1 coupon I picked up at Subway, the tickets cost us a total of just $19.

The girls were excited to go. Everyone was well-rested and in a good mood as we woke up yesterday morning. Which bode well for all of us.

After a lunch at home, we hit the road and made our pit stop in St. Joe to redeem Phoebe’s coupon for discounted Royals gear. We stopped at three store before finding T-shirts that fit our tastes and were available in our sizes. And at every stop we encountered handfuls of families either looking for Royals gear or dressed in it and obviously on their way to the game.

We timed our arrival at Kauffman perfectly, around 4:30 in the afternoon, just as the gates were opening. Phoebe and I, ever the excited ones of our bunch, walked as briskly as we could toward the gates, having to pause every couple minutes to let Kates and Faye catch up. … At the gates, the usher scanned our tickets, we pushed through the turnstiles and memorabilia collector in me breathed a little sigh of relief as I looked ahead.

Because Phoebe and I each got a Mr. Royal bobblehead. Or as Phoebe calls it, wobblehead. … Only the first 10,000 fans through the gate received one, and we’ve missed out on the stadium giveaways since Kates and I started bringing kids with us to baseball games. We had been seeing the promotions for this game during Royals broadcasts for weeks. Phoebe had been looking forward to getting one, too, and I’m not sure who would have been more disappointed if we weren’t among those first 10,000 fans.

Yes, a Mr. Royal bobblehead. I have no idea who Mr. Royal is and can’t seem to find any reference to him in my brief internet research of Royals history, but it was Retro Night at The K nonetheless. The Royals and their opponent, the Cleveland Indians, wore 1974 jerseys. The music for the night was supplied by a classic organ rather than the sound system blaring hip hop tunes. The high-definition, full-color scoreboard was turned back to gold dots on a black screen to resemble the old scoreboard of the Royals Stadium days. George Toma, the Royals’ legendary, now-retired groundskeeper, was an honorary grounds crew member.

And there was even and appearance by our old friend, “Brady Bunch” star Barry Williams. During a trivia contest between innings, a woman was picked out of the crowd to guess the mystery 70s from a set of clues. When she correctly guessed Barry Williams, the announcer informed the woman that the Royals were going to “sweeten the deal” for her. She was then instructed to turn around, and there was Barry Williams himself standing behind her. Later, Barry led the stadium crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.

Here he is in the Royals broadcast booth with Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler

After we passed through the gates, we stuck with our plan to take the kids straight to the Outfield Experience to let them play and burn off some energy before the game – and so we wouldn’t have to come back to it during the game. Phoebe immediately wanted to ride the carousel, so I accompanied her and Faye for that. Then we moved on to the playground and eventually to the fountains before grabbing a couple lunch boxes for the girls’ supper. Phoebe had a hot dog. Faye had nachos.

Soon, we were settling into our seats on the third base side of the upper deck. The Royals were batting in the bottom of the first and it was looking as though it was going to be a good night for the home team.

And then pfffffffft
Yep, the Royals loaded the bases against Indians starter Trevor Bauer -- Nori Aoki and Omar Infante singled and Alex Gordon walked -- with nobody out. But Billy Butler, Perez and Raul Ibanez all struck out. Nothing.
Right through the heart of the order. I couldn’t believe it.

They put runners on first and second with no outs in the fourth inning. Nothing.

Runners on second and third in the sixth inning. Nothing.

They loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning and finally mustered a tying run. But only the tying run.

They put two runners on in the ninth inning. But Jerrod Dyson struck out to send it to extras.
They loaded the bases again in the 10th against Tomlin. Perez doubled and, with one out, Cain singled and Mike Moustakas was intentionally walked. But Alcides Escobar bounced into a force out at the plate and newcomer Jayson Nix fanned. Nothing.
The Royals left 16 runners on base last night – 16 runners! They wasted strong pitching performances from James Shields. Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera before Scott Downs blew it in the 11th inning.

After Jose Ramirez led off the top of the 11th inning with a triple and scored for Cleveland we decided we had seen enough, packed our things and headed for the gate. The stadium had started emptying steadily around the eighth inning.

The Indians would go on to score another one by the time we entered the concourse.

There was some drama still to be had, though, and we stayed for the whole game after all. Between packing our belongings and using the restrooms before heading out of the stadium, I started watching one of the monitors in the concourse. Jarrod Dyson singled with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning. Then Salvador Perez doubled, scoring Dyson and making the score 3-2. … But Erik Kratz struck out and that was it. We began walking down the ramp, toward the gates in earnest.


* * *

After such a brilliant run, it’s been an ugly week for our Royals.

Wednesday night, for the record, I was dozing on the couch throughout the game. Kates badly wanted to turn the channel to one of her Hallmark movies, but she held on for me and kept it tuned into the game.

I opened my eyes for a few moments, just in time to catch Alex Gordon rounding the bases after hitting his walk-off home run. ... But I missed Alcedis Escobar's  web gem.

It was a grand snapshot of this Royals season ...
The best thing about the best moment in baseball is that, sometimes, it really does happen like in the movies. Escobar bloops a single. Gordon blasts a slider over the right field wall. The Royals win 2-1, this increasingly sepia season taking its first real slow-motion, grab-your-buddy-and-kiss-his-cheek moment with a walk-off home run. The Royals remain in first place. It might be the best moment of Gordon’s All-Star career. Afterward, he’ll do an interview on national TV and then spread his arms and smile as Sal Perez dumps yellow Gatorade over his head.
Then, Ned Yost went off on the fans ... And Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger went off on Ned.

In the defense of fans, it was a school night, the games do tend go long -- and the cost to take a family to a ball game, pay for parking and purchase concessions in addition to seats is almost worth taking out a loan to pay for all of it.

But Sam makes some good arguments, too. In fact, counting this weekend's soon-to-be sweep by the Indians, the Royals are 4-9 in front of crowds more than 30,000 at home.

(Update 08.31.2014: The Royals tied last night's game, just before another storm blew over Kansas City, and the game was suspended in the bottom of the 11th inning.)

(Updated 09.02.2014) Here's some good baseball reads ...  


Awesome of the week

Some fairly awesome things I caught on the internet this week ...

Hello Kitty Is Not A Cat Because Nothing Makes Sense Anymore ... Phoebe is going to be crushed.

* * *

I missed the Emmys Monday night, but Billy Crystal's Robin Williams tribute had people buzzing the next morning. Rightly so. ...

* * *

Ever wonder how a basketball court gets painted? Or in this case, a legendary basketball court gets repainted? Check out this fascinating slideshow showing painters working on the Kansas Jayhawks' court at Allen Fieldhouse.

* * *

And finally some "Friends."

Here's an amusing video featuring Maggie Wheeler explaining how she came up with Janice's distinct voice. ...


And here's Jimmy Kimmel trying to live out his dream of being a "Friends" cast member ...


Another night with Nickel Creek

Still basking in the memory of my night with Nickel Creek last week, I took advantage of the bonus tonight.

I've just finished watching the boys and girl perform nearly the same set -- between-song banter, story-telling and all -- again, thanks to the wonders of the internet. Austin City Limits offered a live stream tonight of its recording session with Nickel Creek for an upcoming television episode. ... It was my turn to put Faye to sleep tonight, and you better believe I got a headstart, knowing the live stream began at 8 p.m. I refused to be late to the show.

The show, of course, was fantastic -- even if they had to use half of their encore to perform re-dos of "Where Is Love" and "Don't Know What's Going on" because they weren't satisfied with they how they performed the songs earlier in the set. ... Didn't matter one bit to me. I enjoyed all two hours of it. Again.

My night was made. ... And, for the record, the click wheel on my iPod hasn't moved away from Nickel Creek since last Tuesday. I think it will remain there for at least a couple more days.

If only the Royals had beaten the Yankees tonight. Pheebs and I watched the first couple innings before our bedtime routine got underway. A check of my AtBat app when the game was in the eighth inning informed me it wasn't good, and now the Royals have lost two straight for the first time in a month. ... Here's hoping we're not heading for a repeat of that All-Star break swoon.

Here's a couple good Royals reads ...


Fun with animals

Two videos that gave me a hardy chuckle as I watched the national news tonight ...

First, check out these dogs enjoying a pool party at a doggy daycare ...

Then, there's this beluga whale making faces at a group of kids ...


Finger flicking good

I’m going on about four hours of sleep since last night, and it’s been a roller coaster of a day.

We kept Phoebe home from school today because she wasn’t feeling well and had a high fever. That meant we had a whirlwind start to the morning as Kates headed to her classroom to write lesson plans for her substitute teacher while I tried to get ready for my work day – today was the official start of the academic year at the university – and keep the girls occupied. By the time Kates returned home, it was too late for me to make my usual drive across town to take Faye to the daycare and still be on campus in time for our all-employee meeting. So Kates took Faye to the daycare – only to be called back a couple hours later because she wasn’t her usual self, convincing us she wasn’t feeling well either. My work day had its issues, too. …

But, hey, last night was a dream come true. So I have that.

Last night, saw Nickel Creek perform in Kansas City.

There are hardly enough words to describe the experience. I listen to the music of my favorite bands for so many years, study them, follow their blogs and social media, watch them on YouTube and establish a certain level of attachment to them.

But the feeling I have on those nights when these artists I admire so much are standing on a stage, live and performing, 10, 20 feet in front of me, is like no other.

I’ve been playing Nickel Creek’s music regularly for several years, loving their unique sound and signature harmonies. It was at a cousin’s wedding in 2005 that a pair of vocalists sang “Out of the Woods.” I was immediately taken by the song and looked up Nickel Creek as soon as I could afterward. Before long, their entire studio catalog was part of music library.

Then, they broke up.

For years, I wished hard that they might reunite. … And last spring, seemingly out of nowhere and impossibly, they did.

Still, I didn’t know what to expect last night. I don’t consider myself a bluegrass fan. I didn’t “grow up listening” to Nickel Creek as I overheard a few of last night’s concertgoers discussing – even the night's opening act, Sarah Jarosz, shared the sentiment – and I can’t say I know even most of the words to a majority of their songs.

I purposely tried to lower my expectations as I headed for the show. In fact, I tried to go in with no expectations.

And then everything I heard and saw blew that away. and the show surpassed my wildest expectations. I’m thinking it ranks – among Train in 2006, last summer’s Fun and some of the Ben Folds shows I’ve attended – as one of the best I’ve been lucky to be an audience member.

I got to the venue around 7 p.m. – the show was slated to begin at 8 – and already the crowd was lined up two blocks down the road and around a corner. Fortunately it didn’t matter as the openness of the venue allowed me to get about 10 feet from the stage.

Worth noting, the crowd, based on my observations and conversations I overheard, was clearly musically educated, god-loving and eclectic. Men and women, young and old, it was maybe the most diverse and balanced concert crowd of which I’ve ever been a part. I overheard a fair number of people throughout the night identifying themselves as music educators.

Sarah Jarosz was the night’s opener. She and her two bandmates – a violinist and cellist – kicked off their set with a twangy number that had me thinking my lowered expectations were going to be on par and I might be in for a long night of hoedown music.

But she had me at her second song, “Come Around,” and the trio proved to be a welcome warmup to Nickel Creek. When she wasn’t laying the twang on thick, Jarosz showed off a wonderful and often soothing alto voice.

She followed with equally enjoyable takes of “Build Me Up From Bones,” “Ring Them Bells” and “Over the Edge.” She also tossed in nice covers of Béla Fleck’s “Puddle Jumper” and Cat Stevens’ “The Wind.”

It was a joy to watch her perform – free and in her element. So at ease. At times, the trio’s sound even reminded me a bit of early Jars of Clay, the kind of guitar strumming and violin stuff that made the Jars’ self-titled debut so enjoyable.

Nickel Creek appeared on the stage around 9, and started in with “Rest of My Life,” the lead track on their new album. The crowd erupted the first time their voices connected for a harmony, and the show was officially on.

There wasn't a song throughout the set I didn't know on some level. Their harmonies soared throughout, but their master musicianship was what really pumped the show.

The lovely Sara Watkins repeatedly showed off her brilliant voice and immense talent on the violin. Chris Thile has a wonderful voice, too, but his work on the mandolin is out of this world.
Sean Watkins is a strong singer and talented guitar player in his own right, but really I just wanted to see him in a Phillies cap and compare how much he resembles one of my all-time favorite baseball personalities, John Kruk.

If I was to go on comparing Nickel Creek members to TV personalities, a biopic about Nickel Creek might as well star Bradley Whitford in the role of Chris Thile.

I digress …

Here's what The Kansas City Star had to say about the show. ... 
Tuesday’s magnificent concert indicated that the three musicians bring out the best in one another. Very few of the ensembles that have flourished during the recent resurgence in acoustic-oriented music possess even half of the talent or allure of the reformed Nickel Creek. The band seems impervious to trends and fully capable of building an even larger base of fans thirsty for its organic approach.

Joined by the distinguished bassist Mark Schatz, the revitalized trio repeatedly veered between hay bale hootenannies and elegant concert hall serenades during a performance that was ten minutes shy of two hours.
Arguably, the highlight for me – though there were many – was their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Ledge.” ... Nickel Creek's version is way better to my ears. Here they are performing it a few weeks ago in Brooklyn. I love how animated Sara gets, and the performance also shows off the fantastic bass playing of Schatz.

They were playful and witty with the crowd, too, and the between-song banter grew more entertaining as show went on, particularly after “The Ledge.” Chris began riffing about how a ledge is never mentioned in the song, nor does it seem to be about a ledge. On the other hand, Nickel Creek’s song “Anthony,” is clearly about a boy named Anthony, and Chris teased Sara that he counts the number of times Sara sings Anthony every night to make sure she sings the song correctly. Instrumentals, Chris explained, are a different animal and claimed part of the reason for the band’s hiatus was that they ran out of titles for their instrumental songs. He went on to claim that “Smoothie Song” may be the worst title for an instrumental song, ever, and accepted the blame for that. He also admitted that “Ode to a Butterfly” would be more accurate if it were called “God Damn Butterfly.”

For their final song, the band noted how impressed they were by the acoustics of the hall during their afternoon soundcheck and they wanted to take advantage by performing their final song acoustically. So they unplugged completely and stepped away from their microphones. They requested that everyone put down their recording devices and be in the moment, even shooting dirty looks at those didn’t quite take their request to heart initially.

And the crowd was rewarded because what a magical moment it was. The group huddled at the front of the stage and performed a heart-achingly beautiful “Where is Love Now,” their raw sound filling the hall. The dead silence between notes was breathtaking.

Afterward, betting on a meeting with the band members outside the theater, I bought a copy of “A Dotted Line” – even though I already own a digital version – for autographs. Sure enough – in what seemed to be a record time in comparison to other artists for whom I’ve waited after shows – Sara, Chris and Sean came out from behind the theater, one by one until all three were standing among us. So gracious, they accommodated every request for an autograph or photo and lingered for several minutes afterward to chat with us.

To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.

Here is Nickel Creek’s set list … to the best of my recollection because my phone died after “Somebody More Like You,” thus preventing me from taking additional notes. I'm also including links to some similar live performances from the tour -- that were favorites of mine last night. 
  1. Rest of My Life
  2. Scotch & Chocolate (instrumental)
  3. This Side ... one of my very favorite Nickel Creek songs.
  4. Destination ... A great song featuring Sara on lead vocals.
  5. The Lighthouse’s Tale
  6. Smoothie Song (instrumental) ... The only video I shot of the night.
  7. Reasons Why
  8. 21st of May
  9. When In Rome
  10. Anthony ... I have a whole new appreciation for this song after watching them perform it this way.
  11. Ode to a Butterfly (instrumental)
  12. You Don’t Know What's Going On
  13. Somebody More Like You
  14. When You Come Back Down ... Introductory banter included.
  15. The Ledge (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  16. Elephant in the Corn (instrumental)
  17. Jealous of the Moon
  18. Hayloft ... It was fun to hear the crowd get into this one, and it's easily one of my favorites on the new album.
  19. The Fox
  20. Helena
  21. Cuckoo’s Nest (instrumental)
  22. Where is Love Now ... Doesn't hold a candle to the unplugged version they performed last night. But it's still beautiful.
Bonus coverage. Here’s a great interview with the band


Shake It Off

Ferguson is still under protest. The Royals are still winning. And Taylor Swift is still cool – in my eyes at least.

In case you're living under a rock -- and if you are, you definitely wouldn't be reading this -- Taylor Swift unveiled her latest single yesterday. And, whaddaya know, it was trending today.

For the record, I watched it as I was getting ready to leave my office last night, and I love it.

* * *

The protests happening in Ferguson have me shaking my head. No one is blameless for what is happening there. But even then, the news media is fanning the flames of the situation as much as anyone.

Last night, I got caught watching the “breaking news” coverage – even though there was no breaking news to report when the news channel cut into the Late Show with David Letterman. An anchor on the station actually exclaimed, “Oh boy, here we go!” when law enforcement officers began firing teargasas if it was the start of a Fourth of July fireworks display.

Now people who have no affiliation with Ferguson and possess a limited knowledge of the facts are joining in, and the protesters seem to be taking on a personality of little more than attention seekers.

Talk about police tactics all you want. I get that. But, based on my experiences, I also believe cases like the one involving Michael Brown almost always can be traced back to people who made poor choices and failed to abide by the law in the first place.

In the meantime, innocent people who live in Ferguson and have no association with the case are being portrayed in a harsh light. We know how they feel in The ‘Ville. I’m proud of our state, and it saddens me to see another one of our cities portrayed in the national media this way.

That’s all I have to say about that.

* * *

I had tuned into CBS to watch the Late Show, fully anticipating a tribute to Robin Williams because Letterman was in reruns when Williams passed last week.

As I wrote the other night, a Robin Williams appearance on Letterman was always special. Letterman begins talking about that feeling in the video below at the 6-minute mark.

Well, said Dave. There will never be another one like Robin Williams.

* * *

The Royals are hot. They’ve won eight straight series. They are the highest they’ve been above .500 since 1994 – I was there – and the Tigers continue to crumble. This is really fun.

Last night, via Royals beat writer Andy McCullough …
As he wrote in his game recap ...
The sequence confirmed the blessed fortune shining on the Royals, even as the events hinted at the organization’s darkest fear. In the seventh inning of a 6-4 victory over Minnesota on Monday, Salvador Perez stood inside the dugout with his shirt untucked and his right knee sore. It was his turn to bat. He would not. Instead Erik Kratz, a 34-year-old backup acquired last month, headed to the plate.

Yep. Good thing the Royals picked up Erik Kratz. And Josh Willingham, too.

How can you not root for the Royals right now?
If they're able to finish the deal, it will be impossible to measure the emotion, not just in the executive offices, not just in the clubhouse, but also in the community. Remember what it was like in Pittsburgh last fall when that ballpark was full and fans were rocking the place to its bones? That's what it'll be like in Kansas City, too. …

The Royals have been through so much these last 29 years, endured so much hope and so much disappointment. Maybe, just maybe, that'll make the endgame that much sweeter. Maybe this time it'll work out in a way that makes all that patience seem worthwhile.


Fair fun

So I made my first trek to the Iowa State Fair yesterday. I went with my university relations cohorts, and we called it a professional development day. We worked our university information booth for part of the day and explored the fairgrounds for the rest of it.

Overall, I was impressed and I now understand why the Iowa State Fair has a reputation as one of the best. The Wisconsin State Fairwhich Kates and I also attended for several years – does, too, but I’m giving the edge to Iowa.

The grounds are clean, well-maintained and spacious. But I thought the real charm was in the history of the buildings – including the coliseum-like grandstand – and the variety of food and attractions.

Oh, the food. One of the more popular items at the fair is pork chops on a stick. So my buddy Brandon and I headed to that stand for our lunch, handed over $7 apiece, and it did not disappoint. In return for our money we each received a hand-sized slice of meat that was juicy and cooked to perfection. It was worth every dollar.

For an afternoon snack, I had a basket of deep-fried Oreo cookies, and Brandon and Kim bought a pair of jumbo rice crispy bars – known as Fair Squares. We tried the peanut butter and strawberry flavored cakes. … Vendors also were selling deep-fried Snickers bars, deep-fried Twinkies, multiple flavors of funnel cakes, and – another popular Iowa fair item – buckets of cookies. According to the Iowa State Fair, it features nearly 200 food stands and about 70 items on a stick. There’s even salad on a stick.

On Brandon’s recommendation, each of us also made sure to get a free hard-boiled egg on a stick. A producer hands them out to anyone who visits his stand, and for a bonus there’s a bowl of spices to dip it in.

Beyond the food stands, we took in the incredible and fascinating display of photo submissions in the cultural hall, which also featured some amazing doll houses …

We walked through the Iowa State Fair museum – which featured some neat displays of fair memorabilia, including fair pins through the years and photos of all the fair queens dating back to the early 60s. Oh, the hair and the dresses through the years.

We wandered through a car exhibit …

A tractor exhibit …

And the craft barn …

Finally, we walked through the birthing barn to admire the baby adorableness of calves, ostrich, pigs and ducklings. We also watched chicks hatching and the cutest goats you’ve ever seen.

It was worth the trip, and I hope to do it again some day.


In the first place ...

My social media feeds are blowing up tonight on three subjects, and nothing else.

A few minutes before 6 tonight I had one of those jaw-dropping, take-your-breath-away moments that come every so often when a piece of shocking news pops up on my TweetDeck ...

I was introduced to Robin Williams as a kid through reruns of "Mork & Mindy." This scene was one of the first I remember. ... It remains one of my favorites and still makes me laugh to this day ...

Here's the entire pilot episode, which also included the hilarious crossover bit with "Happy Days'" Fonzi and "Laverne & Shirley's" Laverne. ... YouTube is loaded with this stuff.

Then came "Good Morning, Vietnam."
"Dead Poet's Society."
"Mrs. Doubtfire."
And of course, "Good Will Hunting."
Among a load of others I'm thinking I should see.

There also was his hilarious turn with Billy Crystal on "Friends." Another classic.

In college, I listened to a cassette tape of "A Night at the Met" for the first time, and I laughed so hard I cried. 

And I whenever I saw he was appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman," I was sure not to miss it, knowing I was guaranteed a solid 10 minutes of laughter. ... I'm sad none of those nights are left.

Rest in peace, Robin.

Good reads (Updated 08.13.2014) ...
= Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Actor, Dies at 63 in Suspected Suicide 
= "Mork & Mindy" and the Tireless Dervish That Was Robin Williams
= Conan, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers Pay Tribute to Robin Williams'
= Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, more react to death of Robin Williams
= Watch Robin Williams' 13 Funniest Impressions

* * *

I had one of my longer board meetings tonight and arrived home in time to say good night to the girls. I read stories with Faye and put her to bed while Kates did the same with Phoebe. Then Kates went back to her classroom to work, and I retreated downstairs in time to catch the last two innings of the Royals game.

The Royals were up 3-2 as I watched them send down the A's in the eighth inning and then hold on in the ninth. The Kauffman Stadium crowd was chanting "Let's go Royals" so loudly and so in unison -- I didn't know Kauffman Stadium could be so loud. It was so awesome and it gave me chills. ...

So steady, Greg Holland put a cap on it, getting the final batter to fly out to Jarrod Dyson ... Who caught the ball, paused and then did a black flip as the crowd erupted. ... A fantastic win.

Cue the old-time ball player to come out and post the W. And tonight he brought the Royals South Korean super fan with him, who jumped and celebrated on the deck like a maniac. ...

All along I had been following the Tigers-Pirates game on AtBat. The Tigers lost, which means the Royals are back in first place. ...The Tigers are stumbling, and Justin Verlander's durability is now a question.

Meanwhile, the third story blowing up my Twitter feed is the riots burning up Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown. ...