Let’s be honest, while they respect one another, the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals do not like one another. Not only were both teams involved in four nail biters in last Fall’s World Series that set the stage for KC’s first World Championship since 1985, but, during Game 3 of the Series, Mets starter Noah Syndergaard threw a pitch high and tight to lead-off man Alcides Escobar that set off a chain reaction in the Royal dugout.
Who could ever forget Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas dropping F-bombs like they were base hits in Syndergaard’s direction on national television?
Syndergaard never apologized for the brush back, in fact he admitted it was intentional and basically dared the Royals to bring it on. The Royals never “retaliated” during the World Series, and some expect them to do some form of retaliation this weekend against the Mets when the two open the season against one another in Kansas City.
The question is will they actually do so?
While no one is going to call @Ned Yost's bluff in this situation, it’s not likely we will see any direct retaliation (a la Roger Clemens style for this one). In fact, at this point there really is no need for it. One would think that the Royals had the greatest retaliation of all by taking advantage of the Mets mistakes and taking the World Championship from them. The Royals will even get the chance to raise their World Series banner on Sunday night, and will distribute their rings to the players on Tuesday afternoon, all at the Mets expense.
If that isn’t rubbing it in the Mets face, I don’t know what is? And they have every right to do so as World Champions.
Not to mention, the brush back on Escobar was deserved. He led off Games 1 and 2 with game changing base hits on the first pitch of both contests, so Escobar and everyone in that Royals dugout had to know by Game 3, the Mets were going to work him inside. And … again referencing Clemens … its not like Syndergaard knocked Escobar out cold with a fastball, or threw a broken bat in his direction, pointed at him and later denied it ever happened. It was baseball, old school style.
But, if one is wondering if the atmosphere will be chippy on Sunday night and Tuesday afternoon, you better believe it will be. The moment Syndergaard or Matt Harvey (who has been cleared to start) work inside, a lot of players will start grumbling in that first base dugout. And if someone goes inside and tight on Moustakas, who really let the Mets have it both on and off the field during that World Series, don’t be shocked if we see fireworks.
All that being said, if the Royals do retaliate this week, they will probably hit Curtis Granderson, or Yoenis Cespedes on the rear end and get it over with. That might be the best thing they could do, and we can all move on and focus on two teams that are favorites to get back to October this year. Then again, if this so-called “Royals retaliation” drags on into June when the two teams meet in Citi Field, maybe the Royals will save their “strike” for Syndergaard when he bats in the National League park. Maybe Shawn Estes will make a special guest appearance?