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Nothing in sport reflects the changing demographics of the country more than college football — most especially the decline of the Big Ten Conference and the ascendance of the Southeastern Conference.

Big Ten territory represents steel mills and coal mines, blue collars and black smoke, where America's pigskin heroes used to be weaned on frozen fields. But the SEC, in the growing Sun Belt, has completely taken over. Mississippi State is the No. 1 team in the country. Excuse me: Mississippi State? This is like Antiques Roadshow soaring to the top of television ratings.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET, Oct. 22.

Madison Bumgarner continued his dominant run through the playoffs, giving up just three hits and striking out five in seven innings Tuesday, as the San Francisco Giants clobbered the Kansas City Royals in Game 1 of the World Series.

A two-run home run by outfielder Hunter Pence staked the Giants to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and that would be more than enough as the Royals managed nothing more than a solo home run by catcher Salvador Perez in the seventh inning.

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Millions of baseball fans and two cities 1,500 miles apart are getting ready for tonight's big game in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals are in their first World Series in nearly three decades. They face the San Francisco Giants, who are back again after missing their chance at the series last year.

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The San Francisco Giants are in Kansas City tonight to play the Royals. It's game one of a best-of-seven series. NPR's Tom Goldman is there. Hi, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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Edward Munoz grew up a soccer phenom and his family invested in making him a success. School suffered, so he quit playing two years ago but only recently talked with his father about that decision.

This story is from Radio Rookies, a program at member station WNYC, and was produced by Andrew Mambo and edited by Kaari Pitkin.

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Two Wildcard Teams Meet In World Series

Oct 18, 2014

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BJ Leiderman writes our theme music. Want to hear it?

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And speaking of flights of fantasy, meet our next guest.

MICHAEL SNIVELY: Full-time, I design speakers, but part-time and on weekends, I am a skydiving instructor.

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As the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals entered the bottom of the ninth inning tied 3-3 on Thursday night, all but one run had been the result of balls smacked into the stands.

Giants leftfielder Travis Ishikawa sent a fastball from Michael Wacha into the right-field bleachers to end the game, and the National League Championship Series, in San Francisco's favor. It's the third time in five years the team has reached the World Series.

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And now this - the Kansas City Royals still have not lost a playoff baseball game since 1985. Of course, for 28 consecutive seasons since that World Series victory in '85, they did not have any post-season games at all.

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The Kansas City Royals, who had not seen the playoffs since 1985, have swept the Baltimore Orioles, winning the American League pennant and securing a spot in the World Series.

As The New York Times puts it, right now, the Royals can do no wrong. The team has yet to lose a playoff game, stringing together eight straight victories, a feat no other team has accomplished.

Today, they perfected that run by beating Baltimore 2-1.

For me, 45 years ago today — Oct. 15, 1969 — was one of those rare days, a day you remember all your life. It was Game 4 of the World Series. Mets vs. Orioles. My Mets were up two games to one. And I was at Shea Stadium.

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That familiar old preface we so often hear — usually from long-winded people — is: "To make a long story short." I've noticed lately that that expression has become more common, but, to make a long story short, it's been shortened to just "long story short." I'll even bet it's gotten initialed in the text universe to LSS.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

He didn't want to play Friday, but in the end, U.S. soccer legend Landon Donovan was glad he did.

The setting was a farewell game to honor the retiring 32-year-old forward, a friendly game between the U.S. team and Ecuador. Donovan played only 40 minutes and didn't score — although he came close, when he bounced the ball off the goal post in the 25th minute — and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

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In 1955, Harley Clark was a cheerleader at the University of Texas when he introduced a hand signal that would become one of the most recognizable signs in college athletics.

At a pep rally, Clark displayed his index and pinky fingers extended, with his two middle fingers tucked under his thumb.

Theater should be as thrilling as a football game, as far as playwright — and Chicago Bears fan — Andrew Hinderaker is concerned. In fact, Hinderaker is so fascinated with the influence of football on society, he wrote a play about it called Colossal, which opens this week in Minneapolis. Productions in Dallas, New Orleans and Boston are planned for early next year.

Probably the three biggest recent stories involving women in sports have been Mo'ne Davis, Michele Roberts and Becky Hammon.

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