Commentary: Royal ‘purple cows’ come up against seasoned Giants

If you see a purple cow on the side of the road you stop and take notice. A successful news story is one that is new, different, rare, exciting and unique – that’s what sells.

The San Francisco Giants (photo credit: REUTERS)
The San Francisco Giants
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Three months ago, on my first day on the job at a Tel Aviv-based PR company, my manager sat me down for a training presentation in which the first slide, featuring a purple bovine in the middle of a busy downtown intersection, read: “News is a purple cow.”
He went on to explain that the essence of the “Purple Cow” is that it is remarkable. If you see a purple cow on the side of the road you stop and take notice. A successful news story is one that is new, different, rare, exciting and unique – that’s what sells.
The Kansas City Royals haven’t been to the World Series in 29 years, since they won it all in 1985. In fact, the Royals haven’t been in the playoffs since 1985.
On the other hand, the Royals haven’t lost in the postseason since 1985 either.
Dating back to 1985, they’ve won 11 straight games in the postseason, including all eight this year, most of them of the nail-biting, clutch-hit variety.
They were four runs down and six outs from being bounced out of the playoffs before it really even started. But they rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics in extra innings in a thrilling Wild Card game and dispatched the highly favored Angels with two extra-innings wins and a rare ho-hum easy win in the division series. Then they swept the Orioles in four, but they only outscored them by six runs.
The problem is that if asked to name one Kansas City Royal, most baseball fans would say George Brett, the Hall of Famer who retired in 1993. If asked to name a current Royal, most average baseball fans would have to think for a while.
So let’s admit it, the Kansas City Royals are one big purple cow.
Not so for the San Francisco Giants, who will face the Royals in the World Series, beginning Tuesday night in KC. The Giants are returning to the World Series for the third time in five years after winning it all in 2010 and 2012.
Giants’ sluggers like Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence are household names for baseball fans. Even their manager, Bruce Bochy, is being talked about as a serious Hall of Fame candidate when he retires.
On Friday morning, just hours after the Giants won the pennant in dramatic fashion on Travis Ishikawa’s ninth-inning walk-off home run, a friend of mine bumped into me at our local makolet in the bread aisle and was the first to congratulate me in person on my favorite team’s most recent feat.
“Mazal Tov on the Giants,” he said. I thanked him kindly.
“But I won’t wish you luck,” he added, “Because I want the Royals to win.”
I pondered his statement after we parted.
Could it be that the San Francisco Giants, the team the shocked the baseball world by beating the slugging Texas Rangers in five games in the 2010 series and sweeping the heavily favored Detroit Tigers out of the 2012 series in four games, were now in the category of the “hated” New York Yankees, a team that everyone outside the Bronx roots against? I considered it for a while. The Giants were the darlings of the baseball world in 2010. They had never won a World Series in more than 50 years in San Francisco and were embraced. They did it again two years later. Now, apparently, fans are embracing the “new kid on the block,” the Kansas City Royals, who have waited twenty nine years for this moment.
So, go ahead and root for the Royals.
They are hot. They are fun. They are amazing.
They are big news. They are this year’s purple cow.
And if you are in Israel, you can get behind the Royals even just because of their Zionistic uniform colors: blue and white! As for me, I’ll go with the more experienced team. You see, I was born in the city by the bay and grew up in the area, and although I have lived in Israel for the last 20 years, I left my heart in San Francisco.