Programming note: For the most comprehensive World Series coverage, watch "SportsNet Central: October Quest" today at 4 p.m., and immediately after Game 4, on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – This World Series has been dissected from all baseball angles, but who knew the grounds keeping would become a hot topic.
It turns out the infield dirt was noticeably damp before and during Friday’s Game 3 at AT&T Park, leaving the Royals wondering if some gamesmanship was at play in an effort to slow some of their speed burners on the base paths.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost was asked if his team has encountered slippery field conditions in other visiting ballparks, with opponents aware of how much the Royals like to run.
“In some places,” Yost confirmed during Saturday’s media session. “And yes, I thought it was a little extra wet around first (Friday night). When Moose (Mike Moustakas) or somebody got on, it might have been Moose, and he dove back into first base and he came up extremely muddy, I thought that it was a little damper than normal, yeah.”
Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson noticed it while running the bases during Friday’s game.
“When I took off, I left a big divot in the ground,” he was quoted by the Los Angeles Times. “They’re just trying to slow our running game down. Typical move. We’re not surprised by it.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy heard the rumblings on the topic but said he was unaware of any extra efforts to benefit his team on the irrigation front.
“I didn’t notice. I’m being honest,” he said. “I didn’t see it. But somebody did mention that to me. I think somebody else, when we played Washingon, mentioned that too. But I didn’t notice.”
Would he have any input on how much the infield is watered before a game?
“Well, if I don’t think it’s playable, sure, I would have input,” Bochy responded. “But honestly, I didn’t say anything about the infield or do something. I’m being honest.”
What isn’t debatable: The Royals have commanded a 2-1 Series lead without having stolen a single base so far in the three games. They’ve attempted just one, and Alcides Escobar was thrown out by Giants catcher Buster Posey while trying to steal second in the first inning of Game 2.
Kansas City has 13 stolen bases total this postseason, but remember, seven of those came in the wild card game against the A’s. In their 10 other games, they’ve swiped just six bags, so they haven’t been running wild as you’d expect from the team that led the majors with 153 steals in the regular season.
Yost, asked if he thought a wetter infield in the Giants home park equated to standard gamesmanship, answered with a smile.
“Maybe the groundskeeper just was looking at all the Royals fans up in the corner there and just forgot.”