There were hangovers all over this city today, people reporting to work hoarse and bleary-eyed, or not reporting at all.
But no one seemed to be feeling any pain.
All of that was past, the Kansas City Royals having twice climbed from the pit of 3-1 deficits in postseason series to win the first world championship in the 17-year history of the franchise. They completed their miracle Sunday night with a resounding 11-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh game of the World Series.
"This has been a long time coming," said George Brett, the superstar third baseman who was the Kansas City offense for much of the season. "We had great teams in the '70s, but this team just refused to die again and again. It was very special."
Special, for two reasons: pitching and that old intangible, the intangible.
The Royals are built around five young pitchers -- Bret Saberhagen, Charlie Leibrandt, Bud Black, Danny Jackson and Mark Gubicza. At 21, Saberhagen, the ace and most valuable player in the Series, is the youngest. At 28, Leibrandt is the oldest.
That should mean this staff will be around for a while. Other young staffs have flashed to greatness and then faded, the 1982 Oakland A's being the most recent and most notable example.
But in Dick Howser, the Royals have a manager who isn't going to burn out young arms the way Billy Martin did in Oakland. In fact, Howser's handling of his staff in the postseason, never once letting a starter pitch with less than four days rest, may have been a key to the Royals' success.
In both the American League Championship Series against Toronto and in the World Series, the Royals' comebacks were built on the strength of fresh starters facing tired ones.
In Game 5 of the ALCS, Jackson, making his first postseason start, beat Jimmy Key, pitching on three days rest. In Game 6, Gubicza, making his first start, beat Doyle Alexander, who was also working on short rest. And in Game 7, Saberhagen and Leibrandt combined to outpitch Dave Stieb, who had been brilliant twice in the series but could not produce a third strong game in nine days.
History didn't quite repeat itself in the Series -- but it came close. Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog, trying to avoid short rest for Danny Cox, went with Bob Forsch in Game 5. He was shelled while a rested Jackson cruised. In Game 6, Cox and Leibrandt, both fresh, pitched superbly. In Game 7, John Tudor, like Stieb trying to pitch three masterpieces in nine days, was bombed. Saberhagen, with the extra day between starts, pitched a five-hit shutout.
"It all starts with good pitching," said Howser, who had said repeatedly the Royals pitching would keep them in contention. "But, I can say this now, we had the intangible, too.
"It's a look in their eyes," Howser continued. "It's sort of like a fighter pilot's. There's no fear, only a desire to go out and play and win. I didn't want to say that before because if we'd been beaten, 11-0, people would have ripped us. Now, I can say it."
Across the hall, Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog was complaining softly about the crucial ninth-inning call in Game 6 when Jorge Orta was called safe by umpire Don Denkinger at first on a controversial infield hit that started the Royals' two-run rally. That call will undoubtedly be rehashed in St. Louis all winter. But the "killer tarp" that sidelined the Cardinals' Vince Coleman for the Series that probably was the major factor in St. Louis losing what would have been its 10th world championship.
The Tarp That Ate Coleman in the NLCS went almost unnoticed in the last three games of the playoff series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tito Landrum had an incredible series in his place, and Ozzie Smith, en route to the second spot in the lineup from eighth, stepped into a nearby phone booth and emerged as Superman, hitting .435 while winning the playoffs' MVP award.
But even though Landrum played well in the World Series, Coleman was finally missed. The Cardinals hit .185 as a team, a record low for a seven-game series. Smith, batting second for five games and first for two, was two for 23 in the Series and his second hit came with the Royals leading, 11-0, Sunday night.
What's more, the Kansas City pitchers barely gave Cardinals baserunners a second thought. With Coleman (110 steals) gone and with Smith (31 steals), Tommy Herr (34) and Andy Van Slyke (34) rendered helpless at the plate, only Willie McGee was any kind of threat on the bases. He stole one base. Smith stole another. That was it. Baseball's most dangerous team stole two bases. The Royals stole seven.
Of course, Coleman might have gone two for 23 against the Royals, too. And the Royals, because of baseball's weird rules, were without their No. 2 RBI man, designated hitter Hal McRae. What-ifs don't matter. The Royals won.
Around its pitchers, the Royals will rebuild. Yes, world champions can rebuild. There are many question marks:
Dan Quisenberry, at 32, was human at times this season. Was it a lapse or a trend? McRae is 39. Second baseman Frank White is 35. Buddy Biancalana had a terrific World Series, outplaying Smith, but is he an every day, major league shortstop? Darryl Motley and Pat Sheridan each had key home runs platooning in right field but combined for a .223 average during the season. Lonnie Smith is an awful fielder who had his worst season at the plate.
The Royals will deal this winter. They will go hard after Detroit Tigers free agent Kirk Gibson, who would solve the right field problem and take a lot of pressure off Brett, who was walked 103 times during the season and 13 times during postseason.
The Cardinals are apt to change less, although Herzog has a penchant for trading. They will probably not re-sign Darrell Porter and will look for a catcher. They also will look for another starter, especially if they decide to unload Joaquin Andujar, whose behavior was worse (if possible) than his pitching at the end of the season.
The Royals, with their pitching in a weak division, and the Cardinals, with their speed in a very tough division, should both be contenders next year. But recent history says teams don't reach the World Series two years in a row. The last teams to do it were the 1977 and 1978 Yankees and Dodgers.
That may help explain the unabashed joy of the normally low-key Howser after the final victory. "I want everyone in here to take credit," Howser said, "myself included. The last inning or two. I just couldn't sit still. I kept thinking, 'It's the seventh game of the World Series and we're winning.' I didn't relax until the ninth."
As Howser spoke, a TV crew walked in. Ever image-conscious, Howser took the bottle of champagne sitting on his desk and stowed it out of sight.
"Dick," someone said, "You just won the World Series!"
"I know," Howser said. "But . . . " He stopped and reached under the desk. His face erupted into a little kid's grin. Dick Howser looked at the camera, put the bottle to his lips, threw his head back and joyously poured the champagne down his throat.
The month was October. The taste was superb.