KANSAS CITY— What a difference a year has made at Kauffman Stadium. It was almost a year ago here that Royals outfielder Alex Gordon hit a walk-off homer against Twins closer Glen Perkins, and all that did was trigger a plea from manager Ned Yost for the city and its fans to get behind the club.
“I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?” Yost said last Aug. 26, with more than a hint of sarcasm.
Yost went on to explain that night how much electricity and energy big crowds at Kauffman Stadium could generate for his team.
“This was a fun night,” Yost said then. “I just wish there could have been more fans out here to enjoy it with us.”
The comments rattled much of Kansas City’s fan base, though Yost insisted he was not taking a shot at the team’s loyal following.
“I just wanted everyone to be able to enjoy our success,” Yost said.
These days, though, there is no need for pleading for fan support. Over the weekend, the Royals topped the two-million mark in attendance for the first time since 1991. The club is projected to beat the franchise attendance record of 2,477,700, set in ‘89.
That energy and electricity that Yost referred to a year ago is present at The K on a nightly basis, including during Kansas City’s pulsating 4-3, 10-inning win over the Angels on Sunday night, when more than 36,000 fans seemed to will the Royals to a win.
Yost was asked about the fans after the game, and in his response, he saluted his fan base, while at the same time infuriating the red-wearing faithful across the state -- not that the Royals-Cardinals rivalry needs much flame-fueling.
“The Missouri fans are great,” Yost said. “The St. Louis fans are great, but not as vocal and exciting as our fans.”
When the quote was tweeted out, Cards fans, the self-proclaimed BFIB (best fans in baseball), predictably rushed to their defense, and heated words started flying through cyberspace.