The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals meet in the 2014 World Series with radically different histories of performance in October. The Giants are looking for their third World Series in five years, which would continue one of the most impressive runs in recent history, while the Royals are back at the party for the first time in 29 years.
Both fan bases have a lot to be excited about with Game 1 set for Tuesday, but the experiences they've been treated to by their respective teams have been radically and undeniably different over the past few decades. In some ways, this series feels like a reminder of just how harsh the sports world can be to some fans, making them wait so long between titles while all the other teams have the fun. Sometimes, you gotta take your turn, though.
The Royals have a chance to add to their World Series history this year, just like the Giants. As we await the series to find out who will come out on top, here's a reminder of how things have gone in the past.
1980 World Series
The Royals lost the 1980 Fall Classic to the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2. Kansas City was favored entering the series, having won 97 games during the regular season and dominated the New York Yankees in the ALCS, but just couldn't win on the road in Philly.
A blown lead late in Game 2 would prove especially costly, as the Royals went down 2-0 heading home for the next three games. The team would rebound to tie the series, 2-2, but lost Game 5 at home and Game 6 on the road to be eliminated.
Willie Aikens had the defining performance for Kansas City -- he hit the only triple of the series, and his four home runs topped Philadelphia's team-wide series total (three).
1985 World Series
The Royals' last championship came in 1985, when the team topped the St. Louis Cardinals in a classic seven-game series. Kansas City had to rally from series deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to win its first ever championship, but allowed just two runs over the final three games to complete the comeback.
Folks across Kansas City remember the team's incredible Game 7 performance, which saw the Royals pile 11 runs on the Cardinals in an absolute beatdown to decide the series. Bret Saberhagen delivered two complete game victories, including a nine-inning shutout in the clinching seventh game.
Sweeping into World Series doesn't mean K.C. will win
The Royals are riding an impressive winning streak into the World Series, but history says that's not a great indicator of ongoing success.
Giants (SF era, only)
1962 World Series
The Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, and four years later brought the World Series to the Bay Area for the first time. The team was an absolute juggernaut, winning 103 games led by Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Felipe Alou and others.
Unfortunately, the Giants met another monster team in the Fall Classic, the New York Yankees, and lost the series in seven games. It was a classic affair, with the two teams trading wins over all seven games in what was then the longest World Series in history at 13 days. However, the Giants wouldn't be back to the series for nearly three decades.
1989 World Series
The Giants finally returned to the Fall Classic in 1989 with the matchup against the Oakland Athletics, but looked completely outmatched in a four-game sweep. The series is primarily remembered now for the Bay Area earthquake that postponed Game 3 for 10 days.
The A's piled runs on the Giants in the series, including 22 combined in two games at Candlestick Park to clinch the series. San Francisco's top hitter, meanwhile, was Kevin Mitchell, who batted .294/.294/.471 with one home run over four games.
2002 World Series
Barry Bonds only led the Giants to one World Series despite his run of mind-melting excellence, but it's hard to forget how brilliant he looked during the 2002 postseason. While San Francisco ultimately lost the World Series to the Anaheim Angels in brutal fashion after blowing a late lead in Game 6 with a chance to clinch, Bonds' brilliance is still worth appreciating.
Seriously, look at Bonds' numbers vs. the Angels: 8-of-17 with two doubles, four homers, 13 walks and three strikeouts. His batting line of .471/.700/1.294 -- yes, that's a near .2000 OPS -- could hardly be replicated in a video game, but this guy did it on the sport's biggest stage.
In Bonds' only Fall Classic with the Giants -- a series with three one-run games, including the legendary Game 6 that saw San Francisco allow six runs in the final two frames of a 6-5 loss -- he was pretty spectacular.
2010 World Series
And yet, as great as Bonds was, the Giants' first World Series title in San Francisco would come after his retirement. After sagging for a few years there post-Bonds while trying to find an identity, everything came together for the Giants in 2010 behind a juggernaut pitching staff that was simply too much to handle.
An aging Edgar Renteria winning World Series MVP says what you need to know about the Giants' lineup, but the pitching staff was truly something else. Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain gave San Francisco the three dominant starters it needed to overwhelm pretty much any opponent, and while the team lost its only World Series game not started by one of those guys, that hardly mattered in a 4-1 series victory over the Rangers.
The pitching staff held Texas to three or fewer hits in three of the five games in the series. That's just mean.
2012 World Series
A second World Series victory in three years came even easier than the first, with the Giants sweeping the Detroit Tigers in four games. The real challenges for San Francisco came earlier in the postseason, as it had to win deciding games to advance from both the NLDS and NLCS.
Pablo Sandoval set the tone for the series in Game 1, joining the likes of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols in the record books by hitting three homers in one World Series contest. He would add five more hits during the series en route to World Series MVP.