Royals

As focus faded and losses picked up in late July, Royals changed their game

The sight unnerved Rusty Kuntz as he entered the visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway Park on July 20. The KC Royals had dropped their third game in a row and fallen below .500 for the first time in a month, but a collection of players were focused on their iPads, playing a game called “Clash of Clans.” A series of meetings followed, and the Royals became more focused and evolved into a well-oiled machine built for October.

Royals

Share your #PaperRoyals

Look for our Royals special section in The Kansas City Star Tuesday for a new action figure. Tweet your most creative photos with the hashtag #PaperRoyals or email them to sports@kcstar.com.

Giants outfielder spawns a social happening: #HunterPenceSigns

It began innocently enough, with a tweet sent in early August from a non-descript coffee shop in New York City. Little did Hunter Pence know that this tweet, a line from the TV comedy “Seinfeld” — “These pretzels are making me thirsty!” — would spawn a social-media happening: #HunterPenceSigns.

How the postseason is different

Let’s say your team has an offensive philosophy wins you 96 games that season. That’s a pretty good deal; 96 wins will almost certainly put you in the playoffs. But remember; that 96-win philosophy is also going to give you 66 losses—you’re still losing about 41 percent of the time. On the other hand, who cares about those 66 losses if you make the postseason? But after you reach the post-season the game changes.

Giants outfielder spawns a social happening: #HunterPenceSigns

It began innocently enough, with a tweet sent in early August from a non-descript coffee shop in New York City. Little did Hunter Pence know that this tweet, a line from the TV comedy “Seinfeld” — “These pretzels are making me thirsty!” — would spawn a social-media happening: #HunterPenceSigns.

How the postseason is different

Let’s say your team has an offensive philosophy wins you 96 games that season. That’s a pretty good deal; 96 wins will almost certainly put you in the playoffs. But remember; that 96-win philosophy is also going to give you 66 losses—you’re still losing about 41 percent of the time. On the other hand, who cares about those 66 losses if you make the postseason? But after you reach the post-season the game changes.

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Royals

Royals

Royals’ James Shields passed kidney stone during ALCS but is ready for World Series

As the Royals wrapped up their first berth in the World Series since 1985 last week, James Shields was grappling with the effects of a kidney stone, the pitcher told The Star on Monday. Shields will face Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner after 11 days off in game one at Kauffman Stadium (7:07 p.m. Tuesday on Fox). One reason for the length of Shields’ layoff was his condition, which kept him from pitching game four of the ALCS.