The Royals felt as if they were on firmer footing Tuesday night when the World Series returned to Kauffman Stadium for game six.
Much was made about the watered-down infield at AT&T Park in San Francisco for the middle three games of the Series, and while the Giants’ groundskeeper said the soggy dirt wasn’t intended to slow down the Royals on the base paths, it had an effect on their defense.
“Somebody said that the reason the infield was so wet is because the Giants infielders like it like that,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They like it soft.”
Yost said two balls hit by the Giants that escaped normally sure-handed shortstop Alcides Escobar were affected by the soft surface.
“Esky’s used to playing on a little bit firmer infield,” Yost said, “and when I walked around on that infield, it was soft. But it doesn’t have anything to do (with slowing the base runners); it’s the way their infielders like it. Not a lot of bounce in it.
“Ours is a little bit firmer. I think both of those balls Esky expected for it to hit and bounce up, like it normally does. But both balls, I watched them really close, slowed them down, both balls hit and stayed down. So it’s going to help us in that respect defensively, and it’s going to help us, because we’ve got a firmer infield, firmer base paths with our base running.”
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt noticed the difference in the fields.
“The fields are pretty close to opposites as you can get right now,” Belt said. “They obviously hadn’t played at our field this year, but it’s usually pretty soft, especially early in the game. It dries up quickly, and by the end of the game it gets harder.
“But here, it seems like the field is a little bit harder and you have to be aware of that. It’s something you get used to in batting practice and you take your normal ground balls.”
Blanco thanks Royals
Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco spent parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons in the Royals’ organization, and he said that was time well spent.
“When I played with the Royals, they taught me a lot,” said Blanco, who hit .274 in 49 games for the Royals in 2010. “They taught me how to really become the player that I am right now. They taught me how to prepare myself and to have success.
“In that situation, I really thank the Royals’ organization. I played with most of the guys over there, and I wish them all the best and their front office and everybody. It’s awesome to play a World Series against them and to be part of this team, and hopefully we win.”