Brett sees hungry Royals peaking at right time

Hall of Famer thrilled with Wild Card win but knows there is work to be done

Brett sees hungry Royals peaking at right time

ANAHEIM -- In his 21 big league seasons, Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett played in seven postseasons, two World Series and 13 All-Star Games. Simply put, he knows all about the big moment.

So where does Tuesday night's 12-inning thriller, a 9-8 win over Oakland in the American League Wild Card Game, stack up?

"It was the best game I've ever seen," Brett said succinctly at Wednesday's AL Division Series media day at Angel Stadium.

Brett's reaction, shown on the TBS broadcast, has already gone viral in the baseball world. After Salvador Perez's single plated Christian Colon to send the Royals to the ALDS, Brett stood frozen, mouth agape while all of Kauffman Stadium went into full-on party mode.

"Somehow we did it," Brett said, recalling his emotions at the moment. "It was just a sigh of relief, is what it was."

Brett, now the Royals' VP of baseball operations, was quick to remind that there's still work to be done. Yes, the Royals snapped their 28-year postseason drought, but they've still gone 29 years without a World Series title.

  Date Time Matchup/Result Network
Gm 1 Oct. 2   KC 3, LAA 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   KC 4, LAA 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   KC 8, LAA 3 video

 

"It's a good year," Brett said. "But it's not a great year. We don't want to be good; we want to be great. ... What makes it a great year is when you win your last game in the World Series."

To Brett, the Royals' comeback Tuesday night was indicative of their entire season. The ballclub, he said, seems to have the mindset that there's always something to fight for.

"They just don't give up. They have failure, but it just doesn't seem to affect them later on in the game," Brett said. "The way they play, the enthusiasm they have, the camaraderie they have with one another, the chemistry of the ballclub -- this team is just a very special team right now. I wouldn't want to play them."

Brett -- who went to El Segundo High School 30 miles east of Angel Stadium -- has returned to Anaheim, the site of his 3,000th hit.

But there's also a more fitting story line to his return to Orange County. In 1985, the last time the Royals made the playoffs, it was the Angels they held off to win the AL West.

Everyone remembers that thrilling seven-game World Series against the Cardinals. But the '85 Royals entered the final week of the season trailing the Angels by one game, before taking three of four over the Halos and eventually clinching on the weekend.

"Those were some great games against the Angels, not only here, but in Kansas City," Brett said.

Now Brett gets to spend some time in sunny Southern California, watching his beloved Royals compete in the postseason. How better to spend a few days in October?

"I almost brought my golf clubs," Brett said, wryly. "But I didn't think that would look good."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.