KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Of course Don Denkinger plans to watch the World Series. He always does. He’ll tune in to root for the umpires, check out familiar faces on the Giants and Royals, and see how Kansas City is looking these days.

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There are a lot of different angles that can be analyzed heading into this sure-to-be fascinating World Series matchup between the Kansas City Royals, who have not appeared in a Fall Classic since 1985, and the San Francisco Giants, who have won two of the last four. Is it David vs. Goliath? Dynasty vs. Drought? Or maybe you prefer the quick, aggressive and fearless newcomers vs. the composed, resilient and opportunistic former champions. They all aptly describe this series on multiple levels, but when looking at where these two teams have come from in 2014 and where they hope to go, the stories are essentially the same. They both controlled their respective divisions for a time, only to fall behind the preseason favorites down the stretch. They both advanced in the do-or-die wild card round. They both were perceived as underdogs, yet dominated in the LDS and LCS rounds without home advantage. And they enter the World Series with impressive postseason streaks intact. For Kansas City, they’ve won an MLB record eight straight games to begin the postseason. For San Francisco, it’s eight straight wins in postseason series. Maybe irresistible force vs. immovable object fits better, because it’s difficult to imagine either team losing four games between now and November. Someone has to fall though, and we’ll let you decide which way you’re leaning after we break this series down. SCHEDULE

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(Reuters) – Brief profiles of the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, who will meet in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven World Series starting on Tuesday. …

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The World Series is pretty serious business, in case you haven’t heard. With the 2014 version now a little more than 72 hours away, it’s time for fans of the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants to eliminate any possible distractions and zone in on what lies ahead. Among many other odd things we’re sure, that process apparently includes asking local radio stations to ban any song that even remotely references the other team from airing. Or at least that’s the approach fans in San Francisco are taking, and both KFOG and 96.5 KOIT are going to help them out. The radio stations announced this week that they are removing Lorde’s hit “Royals” from the playlist until the World Series ends. No offense, Lorde, but for the duration of the World Series, KFOG Radio will be a “Royals”-free zone. We’re sure… http://t.co/7uvseCjb03 — KFOGRadio (@KFOGRadio) October 17, 2014 Not long after the song first appeared on the U.S. charts, the 17-year-old pop star from New Zealand admitted she drew inspiration from the Kansas City baseball team when writing the song . So the ban isn’t just about avoiding the word Royals, it’s about that connection.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The moment Alex Gordon knew the Kansas City Royals were serious about winning can be traced to a cold December day when his wife heard they had traded for James Shields.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A lifelong San Francisco Giants fan had a piece of team history in his hands after Thursday’s game: the walk-off home-run ball that sent the Giants to the World Series.

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If you think getting to the World Series is becoming old hat for the San Francisco Giants, think again. Though this will mark the franchise’s third trip to the Fall Classic since 2010, a changing cast of characters mixed with hungry and motivated former champions has the team and the city of San Francisco as excited as ever about reaching baseball’s grand finale.  Also serving as motivation is the fact that many people had readily dismissed San Francisco as true championship contenders. Coming off a disappointing 76-win season in 2013, they were thought to be improved, but of no real concern to the Los Angeles Dodgers or other rising National League clubs. Though Los Angeles did take the division crown, the Giants set the pace most of the season. A strong start and a good finish helped them reach the NL wild card game, and then rolled over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 to make the tournament. Now they’re four wins away from making it three championships in five seasons. Easy math, but it won’t be easy against the Kansas City Royals. Before we look to far ahead though, it’s time to take a look back at the key factors that have helped San Francisco emerge from the NL heap. The brilliance of Madison Bumgarner With right-hander Matt Cain recovering from elbow surgery and Tim Lincecum now a non-factor after being banished to the bullpen, the continued rise of Madison Bumgarner has not only been a blessing for San Francisco, it has been a necessity. Not only is he the unquestioned ace, he’s being counted on to be an anchor, and the added pressure hasn’t hampered him in any way. On the heels of another excellent regular season, Bumgarner has arguably been the most effective starting pitcher in MLB during the postseason, allowing just six earned runs over 31 2/3 innings in four October starts. The stalwarts The Giants foundation is built on the backs of two regulars. Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval have been San Francisco’s offensive cornerstones during their five-year run, and they’re just as good now as ever. Posey surged into the MVP conversation during the season’s final six weeks, hitting .414 with nine homers and 31 RBIs over the final 33 games. That helped San Francisco rebound from back-to-back losing months in June and July. In the postseason, Sandoval has taken the lead, hitting .325. He’s reached base in all ten postseason games this season, and a Giants franchise-record 23 straight postseason games overall. The role players While Posey and Sandoval have remained, the cast around them is ever-changing. This season, we’ve seen the unexpected rise of Joe Panik, who stabilized the second-base position with Marco Scutaro injured. Veteran Gregor Blanco has performed in an expanded role with Angel Pagan sidelined. Now, there’s Travis Ishikawa. After being released by Pittsburgh in April, playing just 47 games for San Francisco during the regular season and starting only five games in the outfield during his seven-year career, Ishikawa has taken over in left field during the postseason with Michael Morse limited to pinch-hitting duties and the Giants outfield thinned. All he did was step up and hit the three-run walk-off homer that propelled them to the World Series. It takes more than 25 players to play deep in to October. The Giants success exemplifies that. Yusmeiro Petit does it all Bruce Bochy has always been regarded as one of the game’s best managers when it comes to utilizing his bullpen pieces. It’s almost unfair that he has a workhorse like Yusmeiro Petit at his disposal, who can fill numerous roles. We’ve seen Petit serve as a regular starter, a spot starter, a long reliever and sometimes even a late reliever this season. In August, he set the MLB record by retiring 46 straight batters. In the postseason, he’s tossed nine scoreless innings while allowing only two hits. Postseason dominance Once the Giants get in the door, it’s difficult to get them back out. With their NLCS victory, they’ve advanced in nine straight playoff rounds, including the NL wild card game. Only the New York Yankees from 1998-2001 have advanced in more consecutive rounds at 11. It’s not that they’re overpowering or intimidating. They just  rarely shoot themselves in the foot, which in a short October series can be all the difference.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An unprecedented playoff run has Kansas City baseball fans declaring it’s time to party like it’s 1985, the year the Royals beat St. Louis for their only World Series title.

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Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and the go-go-go Kansas City Royals played perfect ball to zip through the playoffs. Plus, they recently flattened Buster Posey and his Giants.

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The Kansas City Royals have swept their way through the postseason after earning an American League wild-card spot, knocking off the two top teams in the AL in their first playoff berth since 1985. The San Francisco Giants are reading from a familiar script. As the second National League wild-card team, they were underdogs again in the postseason, rattling of a series of wins that proved the pundits wrong one more time. Just like during their 2010 and 2012 World Series runs.

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