Just when I'm so mad at baseball, it comes to my door and does this. pic.twitter.com/hqzTrFuYQM
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) October 28, 2015
By Jon Weisman
“I just hope for a memorable World Series, something we’ll remember for generations,” Mark Langill wrote Tuesday. Then that night, Game 1 between the Mets and the Royals delivered, offering so much that even Dodger fans still nursing their playoff wounds had to marvel.
Moreover, it wasn’t hard to find several Dodger connections to Kansas City’s marathon 14-inning, 5-4 victory over New York.
- By innings, this tied the longest game in World Series history, a record the Dodgers originally helped set 100 years ago this month, when Brooklyn’s Sherry Smith and Boston’s Babe Ruth dueled until Red Sox center fielder Hi Myers homered in the bottom of the 14th for a 1-0 victory. Ruth’s 14 innings also remains a single-game World Series record.
- When Kirk Gibson came up with two out in the bottom of the ninth of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, all the Dodgers were realistically hoping for was a single — that’s why Mike Davis’ steal of second base was so critical. Last night’s game gave us a taste of what might have happened had Gibson’s clutchivity simply tied the game 4-4.
- Alex Gordon’s game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth was the first game-tying or go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later since Gibson’s.
- Bartolo Colon, the 42-year-old former teammate of Orel Hershiser, took the loss in his third inning of relief. The Dodgers first faced Colon 13 years ago, with a lineup that features one active player, Adrian Beltre.
- Tuesday’s mid-game delay for electrical reasons was reminiscent of two Dodger games that were delayed this year — June 22 at Chicago and July 18 at Washington.
- Of the 28 infielders and outfielders on the World Series rosters of the Mets and Royals, 23 played in Game 1. Three of the five who didn’t had Dodger connections: Juan Uribe, Drew Butera and 20-year-old Raul Mondesi Jr., who was added to the Royals’ 40-man roster Tuesday and could become the first player to make his MLB debut in the World Series.
- Raul Mondesi the Elder had 11 career at-bats against Colon, going 2 for 11 with two singles — one of which ending with Mondesi being thrown out trying to stretch into a double.
- Colon made his MLB debut on April 4, 1997 — only 20 months after the 20-year-old Lil’ Mondesi was born. Think that’s impressive? Greg Maddux made his MLB debut 18 months before 2008 Dodger playoff teammate Clayton Kershaw was born.
- Kansas City right-hander, Edinson Volquez, who pitched six innings in Game 1 on the day his father passed away, was released by the Padres barely two years ago, on August 27, 2013. The Dodgers signed him one day later, and he pitched 28 innings down the stretch for the National League West champions, going 0-2 with a 4.18 ERA in six games (five starts). He did not pitch in the National League Division Series or Championship Series for the Dodgers, but has appeared in the playoffs for three other teams since — the Reds in 2010, the Pirates last year and the Royals this year.
- The Mets finished Game 1 with six consecutive scoreless innings. Believe it or not, it had been 17 days since the Mets had gone that long without scoring — all the way back to Game 2 of the NLDS on October 10, when the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke, Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen shut New York out over the final seven innings of their 5-2 victory.
- For Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, it had been nearly as long since he had played a game without hitting a home run. His postseason record of six straight games with a homer — dating back to NLDS Game 3 on October 12 — ended Tuesday. Murphy still went 2 for 7 and is hitting an even .400 in his 10 playoff games. (This seems impossible to believe, but Murphy was only batting .235 before NLDS Game 5.)
- Though the ball was hit quite sharply at him, when Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer made an error that allowed the go-ahead run to score for the Mets in the top of the eighth, it was impossible not to think immediately of Vin Scully’s “Behind the bag — it gets through Buckner!” call when the Mets last won a World Series in 1986. Unlike Bill Buckner — himself a former Dodger — the fates allowed immediate redemption for Hosmer, who drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly.
You don’t need to tell me that none of this matters in comparison to the 2015 Dodgers being sidelined from the Fall Classic. The Mets and Royals are two of the 16 clubs (including expansion teams) that haven’t won a World Series since 1988. One of them will drop off that list into glory by next week.