Husker Hero at Hub of Royals’ Resurgence

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Kansas City Royals Photo

Video: Alex Gordon Leads Go Big Red Chant

Video: Alex Hits HR on Own Bobblehead Day

Watch Benny, Shavon Throw Out First Pitch

By Randy York

Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellenger intended to write a piece on Kansas City Chief running back Jamaal Charles Monday, but had to switch gears because “all that came out was a bunch of stuff about the Royals,” he wrote this morning after labeling KC “the hottest team in baseball” with 14 wins in their last 17 games.  The Royals have won six straight series while taking the elevator to the American League’s upper regions and now have a 59.2 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN.com and a 47.8 percent chance, according to MLB.com’s Baseball Prospectus.

“You want crazy?  The Royals are giving you crazy,” a headline declared atop a column that reminded fans that the Royals are the team with the longest playoff drought in North American sports.  But they now also have the longest winning streak in baseball this season, “and son of a gun, they’re doing it again.  No matter what, we all knew it would take something crazy for the Royals to get into the playoffs.  Well, look around. Crazy is here.”

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Kansas City Royals Photo

Alex Gordon Leads Fans in Postgame Chant

It’s here, in large part, because former Husker All-American and American League All-Star Left Fielder Alex Gordon had one of those weekends he’ll remember for the rest of his life. Friday, he went 1-for-3 and had an RBI in Kansas City’s 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium.  On Saturday night, Husker Night at the K, Gordon’s solo home run gave the Royals a 1-0 lead heading into the sixth inning and he finished 2-of-4 at the plate with two runs scored and the most pivotal RBI in a 5-0 win over the Giants.  Even if you watched it live on Fox Sports, it’s worth watching Alex again lead 9,000 Husker fans in a packed house of more than 35,000 in the post game.  His Go Big Red chant fulfilled a promise he made if he should happen to be one of the game’s stars.

On Sunday, the first 10,000 Royals’ fans through the gates were given an Alex Gordon bobble-head, and the honoree was more than willing to celebrate another special day.  In the first inning, he jacked a two-run home run to increase his season RBI total to 53 and set the tone for a 7-4 win over the Giants.  Check out Gordon’s two-run shot to deep right field.

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Gordo Would Love to Postpone Football Tailgate

Nebraska fans can travel and set up tailgate space for baseball just as easily as they can sell out 333 consecutive home football games dating back to 1962.  In Saturday night’s post game, Gordon admitted he’s among those who can’t wait for football season, so he can tailgate with Husker fans.  “But this is pretty cool, too,” he said with a wry grin. 

Make no mistake.  If the Royals make the playoffs and find a way to extend their baseball season into October, no one will be more excited than Alex Gordon, who grew up making the same drive that countless Nebraska fans made to Kansas City for the weekend.  What an awesome experience for No. 4 and the Kansas City Royals, and please don’t forget who threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Gordon’s heroics.  Shavon Shields threw one baseball to Gordon and Benny Parker threw a second one to Herbie Husker.

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Telecast Takes Fans Back to Gordon’s Husker Days

Film clips of Gordon and live interviews with Shields and Parker were woven into this special night throughout the telecast.  Multiple flashbacks harkened back to Gordon winning college baseball’s top award.  Shavon, son of Will Shields, one of Kansas City’s most popular athletes of all-time, was his usual self-spoken self.  Benny, Kansas City’s High School Basketball Player of the Year, made Royal announcer Joel Goldberg laugh when he said he quit baseball because of all the bugs in the outfield.

Saturday night’s televised game was crucial, crowded and center stage, and it begged an interesting question: Who but Nebraska can celebrate three sports – baseball, football and basketball – before a packed house in another state?  What a showcase it was and what a catalyst it can be if Alex Gordon and his teammates are still playing under an October Sky.

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