Mark Turgeon was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Kansas in the fall of 1985, when his beloved Kansas City Royals beat their cross-state rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the World Series. He was at Kauffman Stadium for Game 7.
On Sunday night, and into early Monday morning, the Maryland men's basketball coach was at Citi Field with his two sons, Will, 16, and Leo, 10, to watch the Royals beat the New York Mets in Game 5 to clinch their first World Series title in 30 years.
The World Series title for Turgeon's favorite Major League Baseball team came a few hours before his own college basketball team was picked third nationally in a preseason poll for the second time in less than a month.
Maryland was again behind both North Carolina and Kentucky in the Associated Press media poll released Monday, despite receiving 14 first-place votes to 10 for the Wildcats. The Tar Heels and Wildcats were co-No. 1s in the USA Today Sports coaches' poll that came out last month.
Turgeon kidded that he has "brainwashed" his two sons into becoming Royals fans despite the fact that they have grown up in Texas and Maryland. A trip home to see the family last summer — and a visit to Kauffman Stadium — helped seal the deal in terms of their rooting interest.
"They're diehards now, they love it," Turgeon said.
Turgeon attended a couple of games with the family for last year's American League Championship Series against the Orioles at Camden Yards, but had to keep things low-key given his position as the state's highest-paid employee.
Because it fell right in the middle of fall practice, he knew he couldn't get away to Kansas City or San Francisco for the World Series, won by the Giants. This time, Turgeon thought that getting up to New York was a possibility.
"I knew I was going to try to go when the Mets won [Game 3], it was just trying to find the right date and Sunday worked for us," said Turgeon, who was in Philadelphia Saturday for a scrimmage against Villanova and held an early-morning practice Sunday in College Park. "It happened to be the day they clinched it. We've been talking about it for awhile. I've been working my sources for tickets."
Turgeon's seats were a lot better this time than they were in 1985, "about 17 rows up" behind the visiting dugout. Of the "three or four thousand" Royals fans also in attendance Sunday, Turgeon said that he might be in a small group who attended the team's two World Series clinchers.
"There are not many of us. I was in the building in '85 and I was in the building last night," Turgeon said Monday. "For sure, me and George Brett were at both games."
Among those who didn't make it to New York were Turgeon's wife, Ann, and their 12-year-old daughter Ella. Turgeon knows that he will have to take his daughter to a special event in the future.
"Ella and I will have a dad-daughter night," Turgeon said. "She had a girl's night out with her mom so it all worked out."
Considering how superstitious Turgeon is, Maryland fans might be happy to know that the year he attended his first World Series clincher, the college basketball team he was playing for reached the Final Four.
Terp fans might not be happy to know that the Jayhawks lost to Duke in the semifinals at Reunion Arena in Dallas. This season's Final Four will be played at NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant Field) in Houston.
NOTES: Maryland was one of six Big Ten Conference teams picked in the AP poll, followed by Michigan State (13), Indiana (15), Wisconsin (17), Purdue (23) and Michigan (25). ... Along with playing the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Dec. 1, the Terps will also face No. 20 Connecticut Dec. 8 in the Jimmy V Classic at New York's Madison Square Garden. ... Maryland will also play one other team receiving votes in the preseason poll — Georgetown, which received 23 votes, Nov. 17 at Xfinity Center, and could also face Rhode Island, which got 17 votes, in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge.