And, so, it's over. The Kansas City Royals marked the 30th anniversary of their first World Series championship by winning this year's edition in 5 games over the Mets. The two teams won't have to wait long to meet again, however, as they'll open the 2016 season at Kaufmann Stadium next April.
To give credit where it's due, the Royals played like the hungrier team, wanting to prove that their run last year, ending in a 7 game loss to San Francisco, wasn't a fluke. Fox announcer Joe Buck stressed during the fatal 12th inning the Royals' familiarity with Mets reliever Addison Reed, dating back to his days as the closer with the Chicago White Sox. Many of the same players on both teams had previously met when the Royals won 2 of 3 at Citi Field in 2013, so there was some familiarity there, too. While the scouting reports were fresh entering the series, I would not discount the fact that the Royals could've kept the reports they used 2 years prior on the likes of Lucas Duda and David Wright. They knew Cespedes and Curtis Granderson from the AL (Granderson with the Tigers & Yankees, Cespedes with Oakland, Boston, and the Tigers). They certainly knew Bartolo Colon. No matter how far back it went, a scouting report does go a long way.
For the Mets' Cinderella story, the clock, appropriately enough, struck midnight, as Sunday evening gave way to Monday morning after another bullpen meltdown resulted in a 5 run 12th inning for the Royals, breaking a 2-2 deadlock, for a 7-2 win. Mets closer Jeurys Familia couldn't slam the door shut after Matt Harvey pitched into the 9th inning, suffering his 3rd blown save in the Series. Familia's struggles were just one sign that the Mets' youth movement's general inexperience in the postseason had finally caught up with them. The Young Guns (Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz) were as advertised, but fell victim to bad luck more than the opportunistic Royals offense. NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy's home run stroke disappeared, and his defensive struggles returned in the final 2 games, which would have his detractors justifying the Mets' rumored decision to cut bait and let Murphy test the free agent waters.
Yoenis Cespedes was kept in the ballpark the entire series, and was knocked from the game on Sunday after fouling a ball off his left knee. It might be that he's played his last game as a Met if Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports team decides to have him chase the money. Mets owner Fred Wilpon would be wise to open the checkbook to retain Cespedes, especially if Juan Lagares, reduced to a reserve role in the 2nd half, needs surgery on his elbow, which affected his throwing. Considering that Cespedes has played for four teams in the last two seasons now, and quickly became a fan favorite in Flushing, the Mets cannot afford to be presented again as cheap.
And we don't want to hear from America's Parasite, Scott (20 Mule Team) Boras, as it relates to Harvey's bulldog effort in Game 5. He can take his medical reports and stick them where the sun won't shine.
As for the champs, the hardest part, of course, is retaining the core of the team, as they too must guard against free agency. It would mean a lot if both teams actually have the same units on the field when they meet again in five months' time. ESPN would love to have them open the season on Sunday Night Baseball if possible. The Royals waited 30 years for another championship. George Brett, who was on the 1985 team, is now an executive, and earned his 2nd ring as a result. Could they reach the Series for a 3rd straight year? The last team to turn that trick? The Yankees, who were the Royals' nemesis in the glory years of the late 70's-early 80's.
The Mets, though, can learn from this experience, and follow a pattern. The Royals came up short last year, then won it all. The Mets will mark 30 years since their last title next year. Will we see an October rematch? Well.........!