Speculation about whether the Royals would express their joy on the field or wait until they reached the clubhouse was answered about one second after catcher Salvador Perez caught the game-ending foul pop.
Out poured the Royals from the field, bullpen and dugout to party, and the festivities continued on the field and off.
Who would deny players wearing the uniforms of a franchise that hadn’t celebrated a postseason berth since 1985 the hugging, champagne spraying, singing and dancing?
But two games remain in the season, and based on the developments in other ballparks, those games could have great meaning for the Royals.
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Because the Tigers lost to the Twins 11-4 on Friday, the Royals stand one game behind Detroit in the American League Central Division.
Manger Ned Yost has said the division title has been the Royals’ objective all along. Will the Royals have their legs after all that dancing?
“We still have work to do,” Yost said. “You don’t know what can happen. We’re going to stay focused until it plays out, and we’ll go play whatever game there is for us to play.”
The possibilities: a tie-breaker game on Monday, the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday and a best-of-five Division Series opener on Thursday. The Royals are alive for all.
If the Royals, 88-72, and Tigers, 89-71, wind up with the same record, there will be a one-game tiebreaker in Detroit to determine the Central Division winner.
The winner would skip Tuesday’s Wild Card game and advance directly to the Division Series.
The Angles have clinched the West Division, the Orioles the East. With the Orioles’ loss to the Blue Jays on Friday, the Angels are guaranteed the American League’s best record and will play host to the wild-card winner in the Division Series that begins on Thursday.
The Central Division winner will travel to Baltimore to begin that series on Thursday.
The top wild-card team plays a home game on Tuesday, and right now that’s the Royals, who hold a one-game lead over the A’s, 87-73.
If the Royals and A’s finish in a tie and the Royals don’t win the division, the Royals will play Oakland at home based on a 5-2 record in the season series.
The Mariners can still catch the A’s after beating the Angels 4-3 on Friday night.
Danny Duffy is scheduled to pitch today’s game against the White Sox, and if the Royals win it, they’ll go into the final day of the regular season with a chance to finish first in the Central.
Yordano Ventura is set to go on Sunday in the regular-season finale.
Friday was about the party, but a hangover today could shortchange the Royals’ ultimate goal of a division title.