Royals

How did the Royals do? Just watch fans’ body language in the stands and you’ll know

Even before the game began, Abby Kolich, 27, of Olathe was on her feet, gold paper crown on her head, biting her fingers in anticipation.
Even before the game began, Abby Kolich, 27, of Olathe was on her feet, gold paper crown on her head, biting her fingers in anticipation.

As much as words, body language tells a tale. And on Wednesday night, with two outsto go in the top of the ninth inning, with the Royals on the verge of winning the American League Division Series, Karrla Morgan’s single action said it all.

She, together with thousands of other fans at Kauffman Stadium, took out a cell phone to record the event for posterity.

“I wanted to get a picture of them celebrating,” said Morgan, 55 of Joplin, from her seat.

The game, from first to last, recounted in fans’ body language:

▪ Towel chewing. First inning. Even before the game began, Abby Kolich, 27, of Olathe was on her feet, gold paper crown on her head, eyes wide as a lemur’s, biting her fingers in anticipation, chewing on her rally towel. Johnny Cueto pitched. Three up. Three outs. She arched her back, eyes to the heavens.

“We’ve got the good ju ju,” she proclaimed. “Today, it just feels different!”

▪  SRO Tippy-Toe “No.” Second inning. One minute earlier they were all high-fiving on the outfield deck next to the Royals Hall of Fame. Then the Astros stroked a two-run homer, and Marco Cusumano, 44 from Kansas City, stood silent, frozen, mouth agape — like everyone around him.

“Let’s do it now,” Cusumano said when the Royals came up. “I don’t want to have to wait ’til the eighth inning.”

▪  Blowing air into the sky. Third inning. The Astros’ two-run homer robbed Melissa Salazar of air, but only for a minute. In the bottom of the third, she was on her feet, blowing a 2-foot long horn into the night sky, urging others to rise to their feet, too. “Come on, Escie!” the Lee’s Summit 40-year-old shouted 300 or more feet away to Alcides Escobar. She grabbed her horn again.

“I’m trying to let them know we’re with them,” she said.

▪  Rally Towel Twirl-a-roo. Fourth inning. Lisa Lark and Redena Schmidt, both of Overland Park, had two reactions as Lorenzo Cain reached base. First, they dashed back from concessions trying not to spill their popcorn tubs. Then as Cain scored from first on an Eric Hosmer single, their rally towels were on a two-minute spin cycle.

▪  Standing with a boot on. Fifth inning. Jan Carter, 56, of Overland Park was up with a boot on her right foot after bunion surgery. She was far off into right field, with the wheelchairs and scooters. She slapped her right thigh, shouting, eyes blazing behind glasses. “Get ’em on!” Two on base. Alex Rios smacked a double.

The entire stadium was on its feet, high-fives, dancing, fist-pumps. Royals up 4-2.

▪  The Cueto Shimmy. Sixth inning. Stu Scheller, 57, did the little butt wiggle he’d been showing off all game after Cueto sent three Astros batters back to their dugout. Scheller is from Cincinnati, where Cueto once starred for the Reds. Near the left-field foul pole, Scheller rooted with sons Dave and John — the latter a new resident of Kansas City. All three wore blue Cueto T-shirts they bought before the game.

“We know in Cincinnati,” Stu Schiller said. “When Cueto’s on fire, he’s on fire.”

▪  Spinning on a chair. Seventh inning. Three more Astros outs. Above the right field bullpen, Jonah DaSilva jumped on top of his chair, whirled his rally towel around his head, spun around to the entire crowd. In January the Leavenworth high school senior will head into the Marine Corps. He bought this ticket himself, came by himself.

“We’re ahead, but we can’t do anything stupid,” he shouted above the joyous crowd. He wanted more Royals runs. “Can’t relax,” he said.

▪  Diamond Club clap dance. Eighth inning. Drew Johnson, 22 from Kansas City, Kan., simply could not stay seated with his buddies at their reserved table in the stadium’s Diamond Club. After every Astros out, he was on his feet and circling, clapping, roaring.

What he did after Kendrys Morales’ three-run homer can best be described as convulsive. Up Johnson jumped, shoulders and elbows flying as if he was being electrocuted.

As the eighth ended, with Johnson still on his feet, still clapping, he shouted:

“Up five runs. Wade Davis in relief. This game is over. It’s done.”

▪  Concourse high fives. Ninth inning. Crowds began to form at TVs on the concourse near Gate B. These fans wanted to catch the last few outs of a game they’d never forget, then race out to their cars.

Up and down the concourse, they high-fived their way out.

Eric Adler: 816-234-4431, @eadler

Rick Montgomery: 816-234-4410, @rmontgomery_r

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