Fats Domino sang this classic song about Kansas City in the 1950s, before the Mets and Royals were born, 1962 and 1969 respectively. Today, on October 27th, 2015, the MLB expansion teams of the 1960s will play Game 1 of the Fall Classic in Kansas City.
As for the Kansas City Royals, they had good reason to believe they might be here, having made it to the World Series in 2014, ultimately losing to the San Francisco Giants and a pitcher named Bumgarner in a heartbreaking Game 7 of the series.
As for the New York Mets, most casual to knowledgeable fans likely had them at best as a .500 club this season. After an explosive start to the season, the Mets faltered and by the All Star Break, it appeared that the pre-season favorite Washington Nationals, with their hot young star Bryce Harper and ace-like pitching staff led by Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmerman, were going to represent the NL East in the post-season.
Stop there! There was a group of men who believed even before the fans did–that’s right, guess who was talking about going to the World Series as early as Spring Training? The Uribe-Johnson-Cespedes-Clippard-less club in March were believers. The players were talking about it months ago, while the Mets were in no one else’s post-season plans.
So the story has been well told now, in 2015 the Mets did not Melt Down, they Stepped Up. Thanks to Sandy Alderson and the Mets front office, who made what now seem like All the Right Moves before the July trading deadline, by Labor Day weekend the Mets rolled into the Capitol and dominated the Nationals in three consecutive come from behind victories at Nats Park. I wouldn’t have believed it but saw each one with my own eyes.
(David Wright at Nats Park, Batting Practice 9/9/15, Photo: Laura Farina)
(Cespedes’s Blast at Nats Park 9/9/15, Photo: Laura Farina)
Aside from a bit of a stumble in the final week, the result was as the Players predicted in the pre-season: they won the NL East and advanced to the post-season. In the NLDS, they faced two of the best arms in the Majors in Kershaw and Greinke and prevailed in a hard fought bi-coastal 5 games, showing off to the unsuspecting world (outside of knowing Mets fans) their Amazin’ Aces, deGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard and Matz.
Onto the NLCS, 3 of 4 games covered by this Blog: Share with me the name of an analyst who predicted the Mets in a sweep because I have not yet found him or her. Arrieta and Lester were no Kershaw and Greinke and in the Game 4 at Wrigley with Matz on the mound, I fully expected that for at least one night the Cubbie fans sadness would be wiped from their faces. But it wasn’t to be. Rookie Matz lasted only 5 innings but they were a strong 5, and he set up the Mets relievers and Familia for the sweep.
What was also unique about the Mets sweep of the Cubs was also that they never trailed once in a single inning of the 4 games. The heroes of the Series, so many to name, including NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, with his record-setting HR in 6 consecutive post-game MLB record, Curtis Grandson, who continued with a hot bat, baserunning and defense, Bartolo Colon in relief, an unsung hero in the post-season who may become even more critical in the Series with the Royals as the Royal bats are more sophisticated and post-season tested than the young Cub hitters. Jeurys Familia has been other worldly (summon up memories Mariano Rivera from another NY ball club) and Captain David Wright and Lucas Duda came on at critical junctures when needed to deliver, especially Duda’s 3-run homer in the first inning of Game 4.
Still, what everyone will be watching as the World Series begins tonight in KC is the perennial question, Does Pitching Beat Hitting in the Post-Season?
Why the Mets Will Win Game 1:
- The Dark Knight is pitching and it’s almost Halloween. This is the time of year for Dress Up and the Mets have the ultimate Dress Up team. Guess who the kids in Queens will be dressing as for Halloween–the Mets’ Aces! The Dark Knight, Thor and the Hair of deGrom. This is your Dream Costume Team and they will scare the Royals’ bats.
- Middle Relievers Are Ready: Colon, Reed, Clippard and of course Familia will be ready, willing and able to close it out tonight, whether Harvey goes 6 or 7, they’ll be there.
- Mets Bats Were Just Warming Up in the NLCS: With all of the fuss about Daniel Murphy, the well deserved MVP, it was easy to forget that others were contributing to run production, from D’Arnaud (who nailed the Big Apple) to Cespedes to Flores and Duda, all who started to find their swing if they didn’t have it already. Murphy can hit the long ball, yes, but is also quite capable of contributing to a rally with singles and doubles.
- It’s Been Thirty Years and They Won in LA and Chicago! To be technical, 29 years since the Mets won the World Series but that is long enough. Mets Fans are very hungry, but the team and organization is as hungry and that is what is important now. And this Mets team can now win on the road, a problem they had until mid-season.
Why the Royals Could Take Game 1:
- They are playing at The K: They begin the Series at home, Kauffman Stadium, because the American League won the All Star Game. Should we start to rethink that mid-season “prize”?
- The Royals Are Hungry Too: K.C. defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in an exciting 6-game series, and the Jays were ranked 1st or 2nd in the MLB much of the season. The Royals last won the World Series 30 years ago precisely and lost in the Series in 2014. There is something to be said for experience.
- Kansas City Bats Get to Harvey? It is possible, anything is possible.
- The Beef?
Game 1 Prediction: The Mets, 7-5. The first game in Kansas City will feature some hot bats but ultimately, the Mets will feast more on Kansas City pitching (Edinson Volquez not Greinke, Kershaw, Arrieta or Lester) than the Royals will be able to attack Mets pitching.
Mets in 6, 1-1 in KC, 2 of 3 in NY and Game 6 in Kansas City. Possibly 5, clinch in NY on Sunday