The Kansas City Royals ripped the apple out of the New York Mets’ shriveling throats Sunday night.
KC’s finely tuned chemistry-based team brought the big city to its knees culminating in the finale, extra-inning bookends that will be the signature games of this year’s Fall Classic.
Christian Colon, who spurned the Padres out of high school in 2007 to attend Cal State Fullerton, ended up being the poster boy in the Royals’ first World Series title in 30 years, as he drove home the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th inning of Game 5 in his first at-bat since Oct. 4 and first RBI in 41 days. It was a testament to the hard work of the KC Blue Crew, where each man seemed to get his turn in the hero spotlight throughout the season.
The Royals have been many a professional gambler’s best friend for the last three years and were again this October. Even on the season’s final night, the most profitable team in baseball for bettors over the last few seasons were still getting as much as $1.30 at first pitch Sunday night.
Salvador Perez, who hit a series high .412, won the Most Valuable Player award becoming the second Venezuelan-born player to win the award, joining recent recipient (2012) Pablo Sandoval, then of the Giants.
Eric Hosmer, from South Miami, is another prototypical Royals’ type, as he shrugged off a critical error to later drive home the game-winning run with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the series opener. Meanwhile, the Mets’ errors – in the field and on the basepaths, piled up in the series.
And consider the heartfelt situation of Royals’ starter Edinson Volquez. Brought to the Royals in the offseason for a two-year, $20 million deal, Volquez took the mound in Game 1 looking like a determined Dominican, pitching his heart out for six innings not knowing what many in baseball had already learned just as the game was beginning. Edinson’s dad, Daniel, 63, died just hours before the start of the biggest game of his career.
It was also a matter of national pride for Volquez and teammates and fellow countrymen Yordano Ventura and Johnny Cueto, acquired in July from Cincinnati, making up an internationally unprecedented three-fourths of the team’s World Series rotation.
Volquez’s wife, Roandy, not wanting to let the news affect the most important night of his professional career, told Royals’ officials of the situation, but not to inform her husband until after his appearance.
Game 5 was certain to see a bit of a downturn, however, as the baseball game was pitted against Sunday night’s Denver-Green Bay battle of unbeatens. Interestingly, baseball and FOX decided to start the series on a Tuesday for a second year in a row to avoid putting a Game 6 up against Monday Night Football.
And now on to 2016 where, get this, the seemingly lost Los Angeles Dodgers, sans Don Mattingly, are somehow installed as 8-1 favorites to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy come next November, followed by the Mets, Cubs, Blue Jays and Nationals at 10-1. After a few more teams ranging from 12-1 to 16-1, you’ll find the unheralded Royals at 18-1.
While they might not party for a second-straight year in the Power & Light District, know you will likely be able to keep the power and lights on by backing KC on a routine basis again next season.
Ramon Scott is a Southern California-based sportswriter, covering the preps to the pros for over 25 years. Email: [email protected].