Last night and into this morning, the Mets and Royals played one of the most memorable World Series games of all time. As I joked on Twitter, Alcides Escobar‘s leadoff inside-the-park homer seemed like a complete afterthought given all that came after, some of which was not even really related to baseball, like the television broadcast going out and the ungoing uncertainty over when Edinson Volquez found out about the unfortunate passing of his father.
But there’s also an ongoing undercurrent from Dodger fans of “that could have been us,” the thought that if only for this or that, the Dodgers would have beaten the Mets and then the Cubs and been in the World Series. I think that undersells how talented the Mets are, but sure, you could have seen an alternate future where the Dodgers were in Kansas City last night. And what I was thinking while watching last night was, I’m not even invested in the outcome and this is gut-wrenching. What if it had been the Dodgers?
Obviously, a different team full of different players would have led to a different night. But let’s say, for the moment, that exactly what happened to the Mets happened to the Dodgers. What if the events stayed the same and were replaced with different names. What if…
- Zack Greinke‘s first pitch had turned into an inside-the-park homer because Yasiel Puig & Enrique Hernandez couldn’t communicate in the outfield?
- Don Mattingly had opened himself for criticism by choosing offense over defense in starting Hernandez over Joc Pederson in center?
- Greinke was fine, but hardly dominant, in striking out two over six three-run innings?
- Andre Ethier had hit a homer, walked twice, and made a nice running catch in right?
- Justin Turner had been caught stealing on an ill-advised attempt in the ninth?
- The veteran DH, Chase Utley, had struck out three times in three plate appearances?
- Mattingly had courted disaster — and barely survived — by pushing Joel Peralta through the eighth despite allowing a leadoff double?
- Kenley Jansen had allowed a game-tying homer to Alex Gordon in the ninth?
- Turner’s throwing error in the 14th had put the winning run on base?
Some good, a lot of pain, and yet there’s still the possibility of overcoming this to win a title. Did you want that? Probably — being there is better than not being there. That game was hard to watch, though, and we weren’t even invested. I’m not sure how anyone who had a dog in the fight survived.