Whether or not the KC Royals and the NY Mets are the best teams from the American and National leagues respectively is certainly debatable. Especially the latter. After all, the St. Louis Cards had the best overall regular season record, Pittsburgh Pirates second, and Chicago Cubs third. And the folks in LA Dodgerland thought they had it going on this year.
But when the playoffs started, the Mets pretty much blitzed the field. KC isn't that much of a surprise to return to the World Series. They still appear to be the class of the American League. It should be noted the Toronto Blue Jays -- a very talented team themselves -- gave them a serious run for their money in the ALCS, including a nail-biting Game 6 that wasn't finally decided until after a rain delay. That game truly could have flipped either way, and who knows what may have happened in a Game 7?
But it is what it is. The Mets and Royals in the Fall Classic. And this should be a terrific World Series.
Both teams seem to have it all. Hitters, home run capability, speed, starting pitching, sparkling defense, and great bullpens. And both are peaking at the perfect time. The Mets clobbering the Dodgers in a divisional series wound up leading to LA manager Don Mattingly no longer being employed there, despite the terrific record he posted during his tenure. Then they swept the Cubs. 8-1 in the postseason against really good teams is very impressive stuff indeed.
Though it was "all hands on deck" throughout some of playoffs -- if you don't win you're out so what's the point in resting some people? -- it won't be that way when the WS starts. Both teams now have a few days off before the Big Dance starts. Actually, the Mets will have sat out for about a week. Will all that time off throw them off the roll they were on? Hard to say.
Winning Game 6 at home was huge for KC. Had they lost, not only would they have run the risk of going down in a Game 7, but their pitching staff would have been the very same "all hands on deck" for the deciding game. Starters could have become relievers, and good luck sorting out who can pitch when and for how long once the WS started. Dispatching Toronto and avoiding such a scenario allows KC to reshuffle their deck and get things back in the proper order. Everybody should be rested and good to go when they tangle with the Mets. And that's the way it should. Both teams at full strength and no excuses.
Who will win? No idea. It's baseball. Anything can happen. It could boil down to a thrilling Game 7 in the WS like it did last year with KC and the Giants, a sweep either way, or anything in between.
However, if the Mets keep playing in the WS like they have for the last couple weeks -- or months for that matter -- they're going to be really hard to beat. This is not to discount KC. They had the best record in the American League, were impressive through two playoff series', and have the "been there done that" factor of being in the WS last year. Besides being super-talented, they're still very hungry to taste a championship. It's been a long time. KC hasn't won a WS for three decades, way back when some guy named George Brett was in his prime.
It's likely safe to say most people outside of the NYC area will be rooting for the Royals. A sentimental favorite. I mean, c'mon, what else do they have? The Chiefs? When's the last time they were any good? No pro basketball or hockey, and the college athletic scene hasn't exactly had a bunch of victory parades in recent memory.
So yeah, go Royals. But looked at objectively, assuming both teams continue to play up to their considerable capabilities, methinks the Metropolitan boys will be getting the parade in a couple weeks. They have ticker-tape in NYC. Not sure what they have to offer in KC. A corn, wheat, or soybean parade perhaps? That would be interesting.
Nevertheless, this should be a great World Series. Bring it on. Beats the hell out of watching October/November games in the NBA or NHL. Who cares? Neither will get interesting until next spring.