In Game Five, Matt Harvey looked virtually invincible. But then IT happened. After talking manager Terry Collins into letting him go back out for the 9th inning, Harvey walked Cain, who promptly stole second. Then Eric Hosmer hit a double off the wall, scoring Cain and putting the Royals one unfathomable run away from tying the game. Mike Moustakas moved Hosmer to third with a grounder. Salvador Perez then sent a chopper to David Wright before IT happened again. The Hoz took off for home as Wright threw to Mets first baseman Lucas Duda, who sent an errant throw to catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Hoz scored to tie the game. Reduced to a battle of bullpens, the Kansas City Royals went on for a final improbable win in a postseason filled with improbabilities. In what ended up looking like a route by the time it was over, with a final score of 7-2 in 12 innings, the Royals had yet another history-maker, scoring the most runs in an extra-inning in World Series history.
Superlatives abound but ultimately fail to describe just how special this team was, and how amazing they were to watch. The best single factoid for me is that they trailed in the 6th inning or later in 8 of their 11 postseason wins.
Two days after The Steal of Home Heard ‘Round the World, nearly half the population of the Kansas City metro area showed up to celebrate with the Royals. It was the largest gathering in Missouri’s history, estimated at more than 800,000 strong. A team and a city that was a mere 90 feet away from baseball bliss last year … a team and a city that no one thought would even compete this year … a team and a city that had waited 30 years for a world champion, gathered peacefully, as one, under a perfect Royal Blue sky.
While it may be true that baseball is “just a game,” it is also true that nothing has captured the heart of the city like the 2015 Royals did. The sense of community, and of communal joy, is unlike anything most of us have ever seen. Just look at the photos of the parade. That is (K)Crazy love.
P.S. To all 800,000 of you: Hang in there … pitchers and catchers meet in a mere three months!