Jeff Passan

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Jeff Passan is an award-winning columnist who has covered baseball since 2004. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • Royals even World Series as benches clear in 7-2 victory

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tempers flared. The benches cleared. A fight nearly broke out. And a World Series with little verve finally got the jolt it needed Wednesday.

    Omar Infante’s two-run home run set off the extracurricular activities and capped a massive sixth inning for the Kansas City Royals, who avenged a Game 1 defeat with a 7-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of a raucous 40,446 at Kauffman Stadium.

    Giants reliever Hunter Strickland, who allowed a two-run double to Salvador Perez a batter before Infante, exchanged words with Perez as he rounded the bases on the home run. While unclear who or what prompted the jawing, it grew from stares and words to Strickland challenging Perez to meet him on the mound. Perez declined the invitation, though players from both teams spilled onto the field in case further displays of misplaced manliness manifested themselves.

    Salvador Perez (left) and Hunter Strickland exchange words. (Getty Images)Salvador Perez (left) and Hunter Strickland exchange words. (Getty Images)Alas, cooler heads prevailed, and the Royals simply settled for their biggest inning this postseason. Starter

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  • How the Royals lost for the first time in the 2014 playoffs, and what comes next

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For nearly a month, the Kansas City Royals forgot what the solemnity of a losing clubhouse felt like. No music straining through the speakers. No boisterous ceremony tabbing the player of the game. No smoke machine coughing out thick clouds of vapor. Just quiet and reflection and stunted voices trying to remind the Chicken Littles in the room that one loss does not a crisis make.

    The Royals lost Tuesday. They lost bad, 7-1 in Game 1 of the World Series to the San Francisco Giants. They lost with their best starting pitcher, James Shields, allowing three runs in the first and five over three innings while watching his ERA this postseason balloon to a most inconvenient 7.11. They lost in front of a crowd of 40,459 at Kauffman Stadium that deflated following that first inning and, despite efforts to the contrary, never found any of the energy that permeated in four previous home playoff games. They lost to Madison Bumgarner, a pitcher who better embodies the Big Game

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  • Giants end Royals' streak with 7-1 victory in World Series opener

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – James Shields said he's a big believer in amnesia. For his sake, he'd better hope his Kansas City Royals teammates are, too, because they need to forget Game 1 of the World Series if they have a shot against the San Francisco Giants.

    The Giants snapped Kansas City's eight-game postseason winning streak, riding a Hunter Pence home run, another sublime Madison Bumgarner performance and a mistake-filled Royals showing to a 7-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.

    Shields, the Royals' right-hander who said before Game 1 that he wanted to forget about his previous struggles this postseason, compounded them in grand fashion and continued a week of pain that started with his passing a kidney stone. Shields was more Big Lame James than his nickname Big Game James, yielding three runs in the first inning and five overall in three innings of work. Shields' ERA this postseason leapt to 7.11, his early exit the opposite of convenience for Kansas City.

    Hunter Pence watches his two-run home run during the first inning. (AP_Hunter Pence watches his two-run home run during the first inning. (AP_The Royals gave the

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  • From maligned to genius in less than a month, the evolution of Ned Yost

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – At 4:30 a.m. last week, already awake for 90 minutes, Ned Yost began vacuuming his condo. He can't help but get up at 3 a.m. these days, the anticipation of the next day of this incredible Kansas City Royals run to the World Series rousing him from his slumber. With nothing better to do, Yost figured his place could use a once-over, seeing as vacuum hadn't met carpet once all summer and his grandkid was coming to town to watch grandpa continue the biggest surprise of the postseason, even bigger than the Royals: Ned Yost, effective manager.

    "I wake up excited," Yost said. "I wake up happy. I wake up anticipating Tuesday."

    Now that it's here – now that Yost, the most maligned Ned since Homer first met Flanders, is managing heightened expectations in addition to a ballclub trying to make the first undefeated run ever through a postseason – the permagrin will dissolve into the dead-eyed face of a manager running through all the permutations a manager must. The sorts of

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  • 2,014 reasons to watch the 2014 World Series

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Not that anyone needs excess motivation to watch the intriguing matchup between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants for baseball’s championship, but just in case, here are 2,014 reasons to watch the 2014 World Series.

    1-29: For the 29 years since Kansas City’s last championship. Or playoff appearance. Or relevance. The Royals are a great story because of their spectacular run in October, sure, though seeing it through the lens of nearly three decades of ineptitude only heightens the stakes for a city ready to burst at the seams with excitement.

    30-52: For the 23 days between the Royals’ last loss and Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. ET. It was a 5-4 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.

    53-60: For the eight consecutive wins the Royals have posted this postseason, the most ever to start a playoff run. They haven’t lost a playoff game since Oct. 23, 1985.

    Madison Bumgarner has been a big reason why Giants opponents have struggled to hit this postseason. (AP)Madison Bumgarner has been a big reason why Giants opponents have struggled to hit this postseason. (AP)61-252: For the .192 batting average Giants pitchers have held opponents to during

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  • Why Royals great Frank White no longer associates with the team whose stadium he built

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – On the biggest night of baseball this city has seen in nearly 30 years, the man responsible for so many great moments here was just like the 40,000-plus people losing their minds around him. About a dozen rows back of the third-base dugout, Frank White sat anonymously – or as anonymously as Frank White can sit in his city – and relished the Kansas City Royals clinching a spot in the World Series for this suddenly baseball-mad town.

    It was his third time visiting Kauffman Stadium in the past month, a softening from the stance outlined in his autobiography released less than two years ago: "You'll never see me in that stadium again." White smiled, posed for pictures, signed autographs, momentarily forgetting what kept him away and still keeps him at a distance.

    Frank White should be in the middle of all this. He should be on the field, slapping the backs of Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, two linchpins of these Royals whom he once managed. He should be throwing out a

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  • Ticket prices for World Series opener in Kansas City are soaring

    Tickets to the first game of the World Series in Kansas City have skyrocketed to record prices, with the average seat going for more than $1,000, behind-the-plate seats for more than $13,000 and standing-room-only tickets listed for more than $600, according to an analysis by SeatGeek.

    Even in the last five years, as ticket prices for sporting events have multiplied in price, no opening game of the World Series has matched the demand of Kansas City, which last hosted one 29 years ago. The average resale price for a ticket is $1,048, according to SeatGeek, with the cheapest get-in price at $602 and rising.

    “There just aren’t a lot of tickets on the market,” said Jeff Goodman, the president of Kansas City-based Goody Tickets. “We already sold two-thirds of what we own. That’s pretty quick. Some people are late and may hope the prices go down. You might find some people lucky here and there. But the demand is high enough that you’re not going to see a big drop. Somebody asked me today if

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  • How the Royals reached the World Series after 29 years of angst

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals are America. They are not America because they reside in the heartland or because they love barbecue so much one of their players concocted his own signature sauce. They aren't America because they play baseball, either, seeing as baseball isn't America's sport anymore, nor because they represent hard work or determination or the other bromides that soothe the masses.

    The Kansas City Royals are America because the system that served them so well went haywire, and they did something about it. They stopped feeling bad for themselves, concocted a plan, fought back. They succeeded. They are America because their rich-poor divide grew bigger every year, their middle class withered away, the economics of their world marooned them, and they refused to use any of those things for an excuse, not anymore.

    Want to hear something crazy about the Kansas City Royals? Twenty-four years ago, they spent more money on players than any team in baseball. It's

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  • The catch that helped push the Royals to the brink of the World Series

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The wind started early in the day, blowing from west to east, rippling the flags at Kauffman Stadium. It rarely moves beyond a light swirl here, only occasionally unleashing the sort of gust that plays havoc on the baseball, as it did in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Hit a ball in the air Tuesday night and it was bound to move fast, like it was late for a date.

    Mike Moustakas understood this as he clomped toward the dugout suites along the third-base line, a place where people willing to shell out big bucks get to hobnob with the dirt track that rings the field. Corner infielders who join the Kansas City Royals learn early the trick to traversing the dugout suites: Go to the front edge, plant yourself, find the ball and make a choice. The choice is the difficult part.

    Without the wind, it would have been easy. The ball would have landed out of Moustakas' reach, maybe on the suite's roof, and been a foul ball. The wind whooshed, though, and it

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  • John Hart turns down offer to be Braves' GM

    John Hart turned down the offer to be the Atlanta Braves' general manager, prompting the team to focus on current assistant GM John Coppolella and Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore as its top two targets, sources told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday.

    Another name that has surfaced in internal Braves discussions: Dan O’Dowd, the former Colorado GM who recently turned down a contract extension with the Rockies and resigned.

    Hart, 66, was the first choice of Atlanta president John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox, the Braves’ former manager now serving in a top adviser role. Hart, too, has been an adviser with the Braves, and Atlanta tried to persuade him to take the job after the firing of Frank Wren.

    After long consideration, Hart told the Braves' brass the rigors of the full-time job concerned him, forcing Atlanta to turn its attention to Coppolella, a bright young mind whom Cox and Hart both think extremely highly of, and Moore, a former Braves assistant GM whose Royals are now one win from the

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