I like to believe that I’m pretty hard to surprise. Perhaps it’s due to an over active imagination that works right alongside an overly anxious, that leads me down weird and winding road, where I consider even the most preposterous of situations. Or maybe I’m just an arrogant ass. I’m not entirely sure, but the truth is, that it’s probably some combination of the two. But I am genuinely surprised that I am about to watch the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals play in the World Series.
I mean, I first started talking about the possibility of this match up back in late April. The Mets were in the midst of what ended up being an 11 game winning streak, and had the best record in baseball at 13-3. The second best record belonged to the Royals, who were 12-4. And even after last year, I was telling a buddy that the Mets were built somewhat similar to the Royals. We had a great fielding center fielder, a superb young catcher, some bullpen arms that throw really hard, and a homegrown vet who was the heart and soul of the team. But the Mets and their fans, were most hopeful about the rotation we thought we had.
Yet at the same time, a promising young rotation had burned us before, 20 years ago with Generation K. Three pitchers who were supposed to lead us to the promise land, and would be the foundation of a contender for the next decade. Then the arm trouble started, and that bright future we were promised, became the ghost story evert Met fan would one day tell their children as a pre-cautionary tale. When Matt Harvey went from starting the All-Star game at home to having Tommy John surgery by the end of the year, we were all terrified of Generation K II. If Hollywood could only serve up reboots, why shouldn’t baseball?
May and June came, and the Mets began to fade. On the 4th of July, we were just a .500 team. The future still looked bright, but our hitting was ridiculous. The Royals were battling for the best record in the American League, and re-match of the 1985 World Series appeared much more realistic than a Mets-Royals series. But baseball is a funny sport, and it’s a long season. A month later we were back in first, and the Royals continued marching towards October. And the “promising” rotation of the Mets was exceeding expectations.
That’s when my wife and daughter really got nervous. When I first mentioned the idea of the two teams playing each other in the World Series, they kind of laughed it off. They said it sounded horrible, mostly because they felt I would be unbearably annoying. I mean, that doesn’t sound all that far-fetched, and a few years ago they would have been exactly right. But as I documented last year, I really liked this Royals team.
The idea of my Mets playing their Royals sounded better and better. They feared a “house divided” but the way I’ve looked at it is; if the Mets are going to lose in the World Series, I’d much rather they lose to the team my family loves. How could I really get upset at something that would bring them so much joy? And hell, these Royals are one likable bunch. Losing to them wouldn’t hurt nearly as much as the 2000 World Series loss to the Yankees hurt. It wouldn’t compare to the stomach punch that was the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals. Seriously, still waiting on you to swing Carlos Beltran (originally a Royal).
This is a win-win series for me. I want my Mets to win, there’s no question. But if losing means seeing ear-to-ear smiles painted on my wife and daughters faces, that’s pretty hard to chalk up as a loss.
Either way, I’m ready. Let’s Go Mets!