Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Today will not be a good day in the offices and work places of New York City. Met fans nursing a hangover from last night’s record marathon 14-inning loss to the Royals that ended at 1:16 a.m. are going to be grumpy, tired and depressed.
As Ned Yost, the Royals manager succinctly put it, “There are two things you don’t want to happen in Game 1 of the World Series: you don’t want the game to go fourteen innings and you don’t want to lose.”
Um, yeah, thanks for that, Ned.
It was, to be sure, an epic and mildly insane game between two teams that appear to be so evenly matched that this Series could, if we’re lucky, wind up being one of the great ones of all time. I love my Mutts, but the Royals are one tough bunch of mofos.
Last night, from Matt Harvey’s first pitch, a long line drive to left center by Alcides Escobar that Yoenis Cespedes tried to catch with the underhand backhand nonchalance of someone getting passed a nickel bag on a street corner, to Eric Hosmer’s channeling of Bill Buckner, to Yost’s successful gamble to burn his Game 4 starter Chris Young, it was a game of unexpected errors, sensational plays and debatable decisions. It was a game that turned on fractions of an inch, had heroes and goats, goats turned back into heroes, and a Murphy that no longer seemed magically possessed by the Billy Goat Curse.
Here, off the cuff, some of the key plays, both good and bad:
Wright and Cuddyer doing their best Carlos Beltran imitations in key spots, taking called third strikes on 3-2 counts.
Moustakis saving at least a run with an incredible diving stop of a Flores scorcher down the third-base line that would have put the Mets up 4-1.
Moustakis, the very next half inning, driving in the run that tied the game 3-3.
Juan Lagares, who in my opinion should have been starting in center, with Cespedes in left, and Conforto DHing (which btw would undoubtedly have prevented the first pitch inside-the-parker), coming into the game late for defense, and then singling off a really tough pitcher, Kelvin Herrera, and stealing a base, putting himself into position to score the go-ahead run.
A seemingly overmatched Flores, against the same Herrera, fighting off a 100-mph pitch, grounding it weirdly toward first base, where a handcuffed Hosmer allowed the ball to skip past him, resulting in Lagares scoring the run that put the Mets back ahead, 4-3.
David Wright stealing second in the top of the 9th inning, positioning himself to score an insurance run, then having the call overturned when replays showed him tagged out a millesecond before his foot hit the bag.
Jeurys Famigilia, who had not blown a save since July, giving up a game-tying monster shot to Alex Gordon two outs away from victory.
Curtis Granderson making a phenomenal catch to rob leadoff hitter Jarrod Dyson of at least a triple in the 11th inning.
Wright’s bobble and hurried throw of a routine grounder in the bottom of the 14th pulling Duda off the bag, followed by Terry Collins’ inexplicable failure to challenge the call when a replay appeared to show Duda’s foot still on the bag as he caught the throw.
It was one of those games that, had it been a Series clincher, would be discussed forever after—there were that many twists and turns and game changing moments—but because there’s another game tonight, it is, perforce, already in the rearview mirror.
In 1969, the Mets lost the opening game of the World Series to a dominant Baltimore Orioles team. The Mets then went on to sweep the next four games and the Series. What would I like to see tonight besides the beginning of that? Lagares starting in centerfield and a fifteen-inning Mets victory that will enable Terry Collins to say, “The only thing better than playing fifteen innings in game two of the World Series is playing fifteen innings and winning.”