Matt Harvey may have stayed in too long. Jeurys Familia blew three saves. Addison Reed got lit up in the twelfth inning. Lucas Duda made a horrible throw to the plate. Daniel Murphy, after a postseason record of home runs in six straight games, batted .150 and made two errors. That's probably the way New York Mets fans will remember the 2015 World Series, but it wasn't the Mets that lost it, it was the Kansas City Royals who won it.
The Royals, owners of the best record in the American League, this season, also were the ultimate team in the playoffs. It's not always the best team that wins it all, but this year, it was. Kansas City had 47 hits in the Fall Classic—an average of almost 10 per game. On paper, the Mets had the better starting pitching, but Johnny Cueto held New York to just two hits in game two, and despite Harvey pitching a gem, New York could only muster four hits in the decisive game five. The Royals committed two errors in the series, but the Mets made six. New York out-homered Kansas City 6-2, but one of the Royals homers was inside-the-park, and K-C spent a lot of time going first to third on base hits. Catcher Salvador Perez was named the Most Valuable Player, and didn't pitch, didn't homer, and only drove in two runs. All 25 guys on the roster played. It was a team win.
It was said often during this World Series, most often by Fox analyst Harold Reynolds. This is the way the game was meant to be played. They weren't perfect, and Eric Hosmer's scoring from third on a ground ball was not as brilliant as everyone made it out to be, because a routine throw would have gotten him, but it was aggressive and exciting. One could hope, that during the off season., which has already started, teams may model themselves after the Royals.
Yes, the calendar has turned to November, but baseball doesn't seem to sleep. There will be no games on the field until February or March, but already, teams are non-tendering player contracts and outrighting guys to the minors. Today, Don Mattingly was officially named the manager of the Miami Marlins. Tomorrow, Bud Black will be the new skipper of the Washington Nationals. Zack Greinke is expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent on Wednesday. It never ends.
With Black in Washington, the Dodgers become the only team without a manager. It may be a week or two before they decide. Former Angels player Darin Erstad has suddenly emerged as a candidate. He's never managed, but is currently the head coach at the University of Nebraska. Former Dodgers players and current coaches Tim Wallach and Ron Roenicke are in the running, as is Dodgers farm director and former player (not with the Dodgers) Gabe Kapler. While many of us are hoping for a Dodger to get the job, maybe a little Kansas City influence wouldn't hurt either. After all, the Royals have emerged. They are World Champions.
TV moments: Remember the Fox power outage in game one? The game was only held up for six minutes when it was realized that replays wouldn't be available, but the game continued. At first, we got MLB International announcers Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz, but they were subsequently kicked out of their own booth so Joe Buck, Reynolds, and Tom Verducci could be heard again... Speaking of Verducci, it was learned that he was the one who pinned the nickname 'Dark Knight' on Mets pitcher Matt Harvey. Reynolds mentioned that in game one, that Verducci wrote a Sports Illustrated piece on him. Why the Dark Knight? Verducci said “because he saved New York.”... It has to be the first time since 9/11, but Fox did not air the singing of God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch in any of the World Series games. They did during the ALCS games in Arlington, but the other games of the Texas-Toronto series were played in Canada... It's painful to write, but Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez did a nice job as guest commentator, although one should ask why he was there in the first place. There are so many more guys who are just as capable and of better character than A-Rod. ESPN used Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer as their current player-slash-broadcaster. Except for too many “umms”, he was good, and funny, and entertaining... Fox isn't as blatant as they used to be with their promotionalism (is that a word?), but this year they used Rob Lowe to narrate the broadcast opens. Lowe is on a new Fox show called The Grinder. Too bad it wasn't the creepy Rob Lowe from the DirecTV commercials.
Song wars: The Royals may have won the World Series, but New York clobbered Kansas City in the national anthem department. K-C gave us pop 'sensation' Andy Grammer in game one, and country singer and Missouri native Sara Evans for game two. After the series shifted to New York, we got Billy Joel and Demi Lovato for games three and four, and in game five, Tony Bennett doing America the Beautiful, and an operatic firefighter singing The Star Spangled Banner. New York in a sweep.