Monday, October 26, 2015
The return of the October Classic to my radar
Twenty nine years ago this month I was sitting in my living room in Fredonia, New York, watching the Mets win the World Series on a 13” black and white television trying not to celebrate too much as my then wife had her face in a pillow. She was a Red Sox fan and was devastated. I had to mute any joy I had, which was fairly representative of that relationship.
Fifteen years ago I was at a New York Rangers/Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game the night Roger Clemens threw part of Mike Piazza’s bat back at him. I saw this happen through long lost binoculars as I looked at the screens of the luxury boxes of Madison Square Garden from my Uncle’s seats. My then fiance and I were on vacation, visiting my family on Long Island. That is about the only memory I have of the 2000 Subway Series other than the yankees won it all at now demolished Shea Stadium. They should have won it on their own turf, but so it goes.
It was harder for me to follow my team from Columbus, Ohio back in those days. After the 1994 strike that cut the season short, I did not look at a game or a box score in the newspaper for an entire year and never really got my enthusiasm for baseball back. It took a few more cable channels devoted to baseball and an internet that could always find access to a game to bring it back.
I watched two end of season collapses from afar and a horrible playoff loss in the last decade or so. This year I have been paying even more attention.
After an impressive take down of the Dodgers and a sweep against the Cubs that I would never have predicted the Mets find themselves in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. The Royals return to the series for the second straight year after getting defeated in gut wrenching fashion by the San Francisco Giants. The team has not won the series since 1985.
So this is where we are at: the solid hitting of the Royals vs. the young hurlers of the Mets.
Will the bats of the Royals solve the fastballs of the Mets pitching, or will control be the key for the New Yorkers? From my side, I’m worried about the left shoulder of Yoenis Cespedes they way I was about the field crippled Rusty Staub in 1973. Can Lucas Duda produce in the way he did in game four against the Cubs? If so, he is capable of carrying a team.
And of course there’s the explosive chaos that surrounds Daniel Murphy, who had owned opposing pitching this postseason to the point where he now has a major league record of most games in the postseason with a home run to call his and his alone. Will he be able to keep up his amazin’ pace against the erratic starting pitching of Kansas City?
The Royals have home field advantage, which means the designated hitter will be involved in at least two games. The Mets are said to be using Kelly Johnson in this role, but I prefer the seemingly out of favor Michael Cuddyer. I think the starting pitching is going to be ok and adjust to the fastball hitting Kansas City lineup, the way for the Mets to win will once again be maintaining their offense and ability to generate runs. I’m excited!