ROYALS WIN…. on “a Late/Dark (K)night in Gotham”.
Just ANOTHER REASON why I do so LOVE BASEBALL as much as I do.
No secret… after The Cardinals, my #2 team is their cross-state cousins 250 miles west in Kansas City. I lived in KC in the late 70s as The Brett Era toyed with Greatness losing to The Phillies in 1980 but being annual contendas in the Junior Circuit. I had moved on by 1985 – chasing my own rainbows – as Dick Howser came in as Skipper as the final piece in the puzzle. We were living in Worcester MA when Don Dinkinger made “The Call” and The I-70 Series earned its place as one of the more memorable Fall Classics. I suppose ANY World Series or Final Four or Super Bowl when “your team” wins is memorable to fans of that team. No?
My personal memories of Kansas City are all positive. The corporate bureaucracy I was a little piece of was, in retrospect, not as bad as the several others I endured in my quest to “find myself”. I have only “kept up” with 1 or 2 acquainti of those days…. but meeting Blondie would never have happened otherwise. We met at a mutual friend’s wedding in what might be described as The Blue Zone at Royals Stadium. So I have no problemo “pulling for’em” in this Fall’s Classic.
A perennial doormat for 95% of the past 30 years, their Phoenix-esque rise to The Pinnacle the past two seasons should be inspiration for long-suffering fans everywhere that Baseball is “a long season” where Dreams Become Reality one pitch at a time over 162+ games.
THE national story on last night will, of course, be Terry Collins’ decision to let Matt Harvey go back out in the 9th to complete his shutout. That fateful decision was wildly cheered in the moment by a jam-packed Citi Field, although many of those loud-cheers quickly dissipated as Harvey gave up a walk and a double and “let those darn Royals back in the game” which they would win, in a bit of a rout, in the 12th.
I loved Collins’ choice then and even in retrospect. Sports’ charm is that such “from the heart – from the gut” decisions are there to be made…. or not. Harvey had been maligned back in August re: over-use of his Tommy John-arm. He had overcome that social media-fueled brouhaha to regain the support of fickle Mets’ faithful. On this dark night in Gotham, The Dark Knight was at the top of his game. Had those darned Baseball Gods allowed it, Harvey does indeed complete his shutout and, regardless what happened as “the Series moved back to KC”, Matt Harvey’s warrior-like effort on this night would be forever a part of New York baseball lore. Alas and alack those gosh-darned Baseball Gods are prone to tantalize we mere mortals before they jerk away that brass ring for another day. Such would be the case on November 1, 2015 in Flushing Meadow just east of LaGuardia.
Eric Hosmer’s go-for-broke race Home from 3rd on an infield ground-out will be etched forever in Fly-Over Country. It was as Joe & Harold said ad infinitum “what is Royals’ baseball”. A good throw by the Mets’ first baseman nails Hosmer…. but ’twas not the case. Ol’ Mo(mentum) clearly switched sides as Hosmer slide across the plate. It was as obvious to those in Citi Field as it was to Blondie and I and Royals fans everywhere.
In the 12th, the Royals hammered a worn-out Mets bullpen and a 2nd World Championship was added to its 1985 brother in Ewing Kaufman Stadium.
I’m not a typical Carolina fan. Duh. Yes, I am an alumnus of the Chapel Hill institution but became “estranged” well before Marvin tweeted. The administration / faculty turned it’s collective back on “alumni like me” quite some time ago other than to beg for $$$$. It’s overtly “radical” socio-cultural ideology simply became too radical for me to support. Yes, I have long-time friends employed there and many friends who enthusiastically support the institution’s sports teams (when they win) but I view the institution and it’s sports programs in a totally clinical fashion and have for some time. That TCW Kool-Aid just never tasted all that sweet to me.
That said, I do follow the exploits of its sports alumni…. like Matt Harvey. I wish them success. As such, I hoped Harvey would get his shutout and cement his relationship with New York sports…. allowing that, in any sports city not named St Louis, such “relationships” are built on constantly shifting sands.
The Dark Knight gets his shutout – the Series returns to KC where The Royals “win it all” in front of their home fans and all would be right with The World. That scenario worked fine with me as Harvey ran out of the dugout to take the mound in that fateful 9th.
I also always “pull for” Philip Rivers and “Russell”. I have noted that, and why, on various occasions. Both have always exhibited the “old school” qualities I admire in athletes I choose to “pull for”. I asked Blondie last night as the drama unfolded:
“I wonder how many, if any, State fans are pulling for Matt Harvey to “live the dream”? She laughed…. “about as many as there are Carolina fans, other than you, who pull for Philip and Russel in similar situations.” ….. She was, alas, probably correct.
I am content with my lonely Maytag Repairman’s attitude about such things. My chosen approach to how I view “games and the people who play them” is a lonely position for sure, but one with which I am quite comfortable. Hell, I admire Coach K and all he keeps accomplishing.
Sigh and sniff…. Pack up the bats and balls and rosin bags and pine tar. Yet another 162+ game marathon is “in the record books” for another year. Fire up the Hot Stove and endure the drudgery of “agents” and “picking up options on contracts” and “letting aged veterans go”…. not nearly as much “fun” as head-first slides…. and breaking up double plays…. and walk-offs…. and “living the dream in The Big Leagues”.