The Baseball Desert

Friday, August 08, 2003

I know it's a 162-game season, and no one game really counts any more than another, but if the Kansas City Royals don't make it to the playoffs, they'll look back on last night's game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as one of the keys to the season.

The Royals have been watching the White Sox slowly close the gap in the AL Central, and so, with the White Sox not playing last night, they had a chance not only to stop a two-game losing streak, but also to put a little bit of distance between them and their rivals.

Things started off pretty well - they were up against the American League's second-worst team, and they took a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. However, even though the Devil Rays might not have a lot to brag about in the 'W' column, what they do have - as manager Lou Piniella is quick to remind everyone - is a lot of heart and enthusiasm, and so, even down by two in the bottom of the ninth, they don't quit. So what happened? Well, the Rays managed to tag KC's closer, Mike McDougal (proud possessor, btw, of one of the best nicknames in the game - "Mac The Ninth") for three runs (two of them earned) and won the game 3-2.

It's not just the loss that's going to be hard on the Royals - it's also the manner in which they lost it. It was a real heartbreaker, but as with any broken heart, you've just got to pick up the pieces and try to move on...