KANSAS CITY -- The 1979 "We Are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates are the line of demarcation as we head into Game Seven of the World Series tonight in Kauffman Stadium.
The Kansas City Royals want to extend the line. The San Francisco Giants want to cross it.
I know you're thinking say what? Allow for an explanation.
The '79 Bucs are the last team to win Game Seven on the road, posting a 4-1 win at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Since then, home teams are a stunning 9-0 in the sport's ultimate showdown, with a pair of extra-inning wins (Minnesota 1991 and Florida, 1997) as well as the dramatic walkoff by Arizona against Mariano Rivera in 2001.
And that represents a bizarre about-face, because the visiting team was 8-2 in Game Seven from 1962-1979, with only the '73 A's and '64 Cardinals getting to celebrate in front of their home fans.
Here's a look at the results:
Home teams' domination
1982: St. Louis 6, Milwaukee 3
1985: Kansas City 11, St. Louis 0
1986: New York-NL 8, Boston 5
1987: Minnesota 4, St. Louis 2
1991: Minnesota 1, Atlanta 0 (10)
1997: Florida 3, Cleveland 2 (11)
2001: Arizona 3, New York-AL 2
2002: Anaheim 4, San Francisco 1
2011: St. Louis 6, Texas 2
Road teams dominate previous 10 Game Sevens
1979: Pittsburgh 4, Baltimore 1
1975: Cincinnati 4, Boston 3
1973: Oakland 5, New York-NL 2*
1972: Oakland 3, Cincinnati 2
1971: Pittsburgh 2, Baltimore 1
1968: Detroit 4, St. Louis 1
1967: St. Louis 7, Boston 2
1965: Los Angeles 2, Minnesota 0
1964: St. Louis 7, New York-AL 5*
1962: New York-AL, 1 San Francisco 0
* -- won by home team
One way Royals manager Ned Yost is going to play this game is have plenty of impatience with starter Jeremy Guthrie. After all, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland are all on multiple days rest.
"I've never done anything like this. This is totally different than anything I've ever done," Yost said during his pregame media briefing today. "We just sat there going over the pitching and going over the scenarios. The good thing about it is we're really set up good for tonight, but the Giants are, too, so that makes it kind of fun. But we've got Wade that we can use multiple innings, Herrera can go multiple innings, Holly can go multiple innings.
"We feel like we hopefully have all the scenarios covered. Hooks are going to be quick on a night like tonight when you've got that much quality pitching. But you just mix and match it and see the flow of the game and just make your decisions from that."
The Giants, of course, are likely to use ace Madison Bumgarner in relief sometime after Tim Hudson leaves the proceedings. Yost said the Royals' mandate is clear: Get a lead against Hudson.
"If we can get the lead off Hudson, it doesn't matter if Bumgarner comes in," Yost said. "Then we hold the lead. If we're behind when Bumgarner comes in, then we're going to have to battle.".