No one knows better than George Brett and Frank White what it takes to make it into the postseason.
Both were part of all seven of the Royals organization’s playoff runs, peaking (and ending) with the 1985 World Series title.
Here, from each Royals legend, are three pieces of advice for this year’s club.
Take care of business: “You’ll always scoreboard-watch, but you have to expect the other teams to win. It’s like golf. If you’re tied and you have an 8-foot putt, you can’t hope the other guy misses his 12-foot putt, because then what happens if he makes it? You’re done. I hope the Tigers lose, but the Royals have to expect them to win, and then go out and take care of business.”
Stay in it: “The longer these guys are in a pennant race, the easier it’s going to be for them to say, ‘We have to win today, let’s go out and win.’”
Keep it loose: “One of the things I like most is you can’t tell by the players’ reactions that they’re in a pennant race. They’re not pressing, not getting that tension in their bodies. They’re loose, and that’s how you have to be.”
Just believe: “You have to just convince yourself that you are where you are because you’re good enough to be there.”
Never let ’em see you sweat: This is especially true for manager Ned Yost, says White. Yost must convey poise. And players can’t let one bad moment domino into another. If the team needs an example that everything could work out despite any slumps, the 1976 Royals wasted a 12-game lead on Aug. 6 — losing seven of their last eight — but still won the division by 2 1/2 games.
Shorten the leashes: The Royals have the luxury of the stellar bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. If the toughest thing about managing pitching is sensing when to make a change, with this group “it’s easier to take a (starter) out a little early than to let him throw to another hitter or another inning.”