The end of the 2015 baseball season came to an abrupt end as the KC Royals defeated the NY Mets, 4 games to 1. It was certainly a lopsided World Series, one that had me scratching my head in disbelief throughout. On paper, the Mets appeared to have a distinct advantage in key categories, such as starting pitching and power hitting, though they played awful baseball. Here are 5 points the youth football world can learn from baseball’s 2015 World Series.
(1) There is a major advantage to being aggressive. The Royals played furious, ‘fast’ baseball. They outran the Mets on the base pads, having stolen 7 bases while being caught 0 times. Any hit was certain to turn into a runner in scoring position because the Royals aggressively pursued taking that extra base. Game 5 proved this numerous times, including the most important play of the game in the 9th inning as they Royals were down 2-1, and a groundball to third base prompted an aggressive play towards home (resulting in a scored run via an error). No matter what the sport, speed always kills.
(2) Have a never surrender attitude. The Royals put together rallies in big situations, the Mets failed to get the job done. The game 5 9th inning rally came with a two run deficit and a belief that they could win. In the Royals postseason, 7 of their 11 wins were while trailing by 2 or more runs. The players in the Royals dugout had a belief that they were going to win, no matter how many runs they were down.
(3) Address a glaring weakness, make adjustments. The Mets could not throw out any baserunners attempting to steal. Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud, did not have a chance with most of his throws. This should have prompted the Mets manager Terry Collins to make a change, however he did not. This glaring weakness was exploited by the Royals.
(4) Always listen to your coach. One of the memorable images from the end of the World Series was seeing Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey say to his coaches ‘no way are you taking me out of this game’ in the 9th inning of game 5. And with that, he sprinted out to the pitching mound to start the bottom of the 9th, only to issue a walk and double, setting up another Royals comeback. The coaches opinion was that Harvey was out of gas after an overly effective 8 innings, with the Mets closer ready to pitch the 9th inning, respecting this decision may have continued the Series. When a football coach says you are coming out.. you get out of the game.
(5) Have fun. Some of the lasting images in my mind from the 2015 World Series was seeing the Royals players with big smiles on their faces, in the dugout and on the field. While the Mets players played with seriousness in their eyes, and scowls from their faces. The Royals just had more fun playing, and it resulted in victory.