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As the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals take the field Friday in the American League Championship Series, some baseball fans will hark back exactly 30 years to the theatre that unfolded the last time these teams met in the postseason.

Scott Carson is the statistician on Blue Jays television broadcasts, the third guy in Sportsnet's booth with Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler during the regular season.

He was just a young intern at TSN in 1985, when a free Blue Jays playoff ticket appeared and offered him an exhilarating experience.

Broadcaster Vic Rauter walked into the newsroom with an extra ticket for that very day – Game 2 of the Jays' ALCS game against the Royals in Toronto's first playoff series since the franchise was born in 1977.

The 22-year-old Centennial College student was the first to call out and claim it.

Nicknamed the Drive of '85, and led by ace Dave Stieb and a star-powered outfield of Jesse Barfield, George Bell and Lloyd Moseby, the Jays were the favourites entering the series.

Stieb had already helped deliver the Jays a dominant 6-1 victory in Game 1, so the city was electric. Carson sat in the upper deck on the first-base side at Exhibition Stadium for the second game and shot to his feet along with the roaring crowd as Toronto's Al Oliver cracked a hit off Dan Quisenberry right up the middle to score Moseby in the 10th inning for a thrilling 6-5 Jays victory.

"Everyone let out a collective roar and I couldn't believe how crazy the place went at that moment," Carson recalled this week. "The Jays took a 2-0 series lead that day and only needed two more to make their first trip to the World Series."

The heavily favoured Jays made the trip to Kansas City for Games 3, 4 and 5. It was the first year that Major League Baseball had lengthened the conference playoff series to seven games from five.

The Royals had been swept out of the postseason by the Detroit Tigers in 1984 and by the Oakland Athletics in 1981, so KC fans were bracing themselves for another defeat.

Dave Webster is a tour guide at the Royals Hall of Fame today, well recognized by fans as the team historian named "KayCee," with his mustache waxed and twisted as he wears a hand-stitched vintage Royals uniform. But in 1985, he was a young fan in the stands to see brilliance that day. The Royals started 1985 Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen to counter the Jays' Doyle Alexander, but George Brett put on one-man show.

"When the Royals came back from Toronto, we had such a deflated feeling, but suddenly, we saw the best game George Brett ever played," Webster said. "He went 4 for 4, hitting a single, a double and two home runs, and had a couple of brilliant defensive plays and the Royals won 6-5."

The Jays trailed 1-0 for most of Game 4, but battled back to win 3-1, and they sat a single win from that World Series trip. But it wouldn't be that easy.

A 2-0 win by the Royals in Game 5 wasn't without controversy as the umpire called Bell out at third when the TV replay showed otherwise. A young Kelly Gruber was a Jays alternate in that series and saw the play from the third base dugout. "George Bell slid in and they called him out and he was clearly safe," Gruber said. "I ran into the locker room and saw it replayed on TV and reconfirmed what I knew. He was safe."

Bell would later imply to media that the umps had a bias against the Canadian team: "If our club was American, we'd have it won by now."

The Royals went on to do the incredible, winning two more to deny the Jays the chance to play for their first championship in franchise history. Instead it was the Royals, marching on to face the St. Louis Cardinals and toppling them to become world champs.

"Who knew we would be here 30 years later," said Carson, who will enjoy this year's series as a fan. "How lucky are we as Jays fans, getting another chance to see these same two teams in the ALCS?"