First and foremost, congratulations to the Kansas City Royals for their four games to one World Series victory over the New York Mets. They were clearly the better team, and they earned that Championship, and they did it in convincing and dramatic fashion. So, good for them!
But let's talk about what everyone else outside of Kansas City will be talking about after that Game Five win - the decision by Mets manager Terry Collins to allow Matt Harvey, whose valiant efforts through the eight innings of that game cannot be overstated, to pitch the ninth inning, despite having reached what was most likely a prohibitive pitch count, despite having his closer ready to go in the ninth, despite this being a game that the Mets absolutely, positively HAD to win in order to extend the Series. Actually, that was not Collins' initial decision. He wanted to pull Harvey and go with his closer to start the ninth, but we all know what happened: Harvey balked at being told he was through for the night, and talked his manager into letting him start the ninth, wherein he gave up a walk and a double, was removed from the game, a game which the Royals tied in the ninth and won in the twelfth.
Collins will no doubt be lambasted for sending Harvey back out there to pitch the ninth, but I put a big heaping helping of blame on Harvey himself for refusing to be pulled and insisting that he stay in the game. On one hand you can say he was being a tough, determined, and gritty competitor, and on the other hand you can say that he was being an ego driven, selfish, me-first modern day ballplayer who was putting his own desires ahead of what was best for the team. With the team's very existence in the World Series at stake, I come down in the latter camp.
Of course, Collins let himself be talked into sending Harvey back out there to pitch. He is the Boss, nominally, and in the most critical decision of the season, he allowed the inmate to run the asylum. That never usually works out well, and it killed the Mets. And Collins compounded his mistake when, after Harvey walked the lead off batter, at which point Harvey should have been yanked, he let him pitch to still one more batter, Eric Hosmer, who promptly doubled and cut the Mets lead to 2-1. As soon as that happened, I said to Marilyn, "The Mets are done, KayCee is going to win this game." And that is what happened.
When I occlude writing this post, I am going to peruse the Internet to see what the New York writers have had to say about the bizarre maneuverings in the ninth inning. I am guessing that it won't be pretty. Collins will deserve whatever brickbats rain down upon him, but I hope that Matt Harvey gets roasted a bit, too. He deserves it.
A four games to one World Series victory would make it appear that it was lopsided and dull Series, but that was not the case. Three of the Royals victories took place after the Royals were trailing the Mets, in the eighth inning in Game Four and the ninth inning in Games One and Five, and those Game One and Five wins came in extra innings. They never ceased putting pressure on the Mets, and once they grabbed the Mets by the throats, they never let go. They were absolutely relentless in the way they went about their business in the World Series, and they are a most worthy Champion.
Okay, now for the "Hey, you kids, get off my lawn" segment of the post. The Royals victories in Games One, Four, and Five were remarkable contests. Thrilling and dramatic in ways that only baseball on the major league level can offer. Game One ended after 1:00 AM in the east, and Game Five, the final game, ended after Midnight.
So, how many people actually saw these marvelous baseball games? Relatively few. I did, and I only saw them because I'm retired. If I had to get up to go to work in the morning, there is no way that I would have seen these games, and what a shame that is. For sure, no school age kids saw them. (Perhaps the fact that the "retiree demographic" was the only one watching these games explains the bewildering number of pharmacological products that were sponsors of the telecasts, but I digress.)
Anyway, this is an old and tired argument that has been taking place ever since MLB agreed to night World Series games, and we all know why - Television Money. It's not going to change. Too bad for everyone.