Sports: Examiner’s Althaus gets champagne showers — 30 years apart
They’ve becoming the darlings of the baseball world, a team that had been all but forgotten for decades — that’s now re-emerged as a powerhouse.
On Thursday, the Kansas City Royals clinched the American League Central, giving the franchise its first division title since 1985.
Bill Althaus was covering the team for the Independence Examiner that night back in 1985, and he was back in the box on Thursday to witness the action.
Althaus shared his thoughts with GatehouseNewsroom.com:
When Dan Quisenberry, Buddy Biancalana and George Brett showered me with champagne in a raucous locker room, following the Kansas City Royals celebration of their 1985 World Series championship over the cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals, I never imagined it would be 29 years before the team would once again reach the playoffs and 30 years before it would win a division title.
Last year was so unexpected, with the once-in-a-lifetime atmosphere of the 9-8, 12-inning victory in the Wildcard Game to the eight consecutive playoff victories. It took a Herculean effort by San Francisco pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who won the Sports Illustrated Man of the Year Award, to keep the Royals from claiming their second world title.
And despite winning the Central Division this year, this team is still hungry. A decisive 10-4 victory over the Seattle Marines – that combined with a 6-3 Cleveland Indians win over the Minnesota Twins – allowed the Royals to once again pop the cork on the bottles of champagne. All-Star catcher Salvador Perez gave me a victory embrace, while slyly pouring an entire bottle of the bubbly down the back of my shirt. I then got the celebratory champagne shower from winning pitcher Johnny Cueto, third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer, who personified unbridled joy.
Last year, the Royals stunned the world of baseball. This year, they played like they owned it!
I made sure the drive home was calculated and careful as I smelled like a brewery. No cop on the planet would have believed I hadn’t hit every bar in town as my shoes were filled with the excess champagne that flooded the locker room floor and my eyes still burned from covering the well-deserved celebration.
I hope I get to do it all again – after Game 7 of the World Series.