Mancuso: The Taste Of Things To Come

There were no heads bowed in the New York Mets clubhouse a few minutes after their season ended as the Kansas City Royals celebrated their first World Series title since 1985. And there certainly was no reason for sorrow and not bringing a championship home to New York and their fans for the first time since 1986.

Because the Mets exceeded expectations, and well beyond what the experts said in February, there is no room for sorrow. If anything the Mets discovered what the Royals did last year when they came up short against the San Francisco Giants. They got a taste of October playoff baseball and the experience of playing in the Fall Classic.

And if there are minimal changes to the roster, some new additions and a few subtractions, the Mets could be that team celebrating with the World Series trophy in their hands a year from now.

No, they did not bow their heads. And there is no need to rehash what went wrong, though the Royals won three games in which they trailed in the eighth inning or later. The Mets saw that and can only learn how to be that team next year that gets back those three wins.

Manager Terry Collins said he told his team,“They need to hold their heads up.There’s two teams left and we were very proud we were one of them. The things they accomplished. I went around the room and and I told every single guy, everyone in that room had a piece of it. Be it a pitcher or a big hit or something else every single guy accumulated something that got us to this point.”

So there is no shame in losing this World Series. Even with a few errors, lack of hitting, and a bullpen failure, the Mets in that clubhouse knew there was an accomplishment. They hugged each other when the clubhouse doors opened to the media, and it was not show and tell.

“It stings, it hurts,” David Wright said. “When I look back at this year it was the best time I had on a baseball field dealing with this group of guys, the fans.” The captain dealt with adversity and returned late in the season after extensive rehab with spinal stenosis and he saw what this group was all about.

There were those three games that could have been won. The costly errors of NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy at second base and the absence of his home run ball, the implosion of their stopper Jeurys Familia with three blown saves, and a lineup that batted .193 in the five games that became flaws, a reason why the Mets will look to improve after this taste of the World Series.

The Mets came up short. Four outs, five outs and three outs from three wins that would have made the difference. The Royals overcame those late game deficits and had seven comebacks from two run deficits in the postseason.

“We got a taste of what the World Series is,” Wilmer Flores said. “Just like Kansas City last year. The pitching staff we have definitely gives us a chance.” The chance to get back to where they were this October, but Flores knows there is need for improvement going 1-for-17 in the five games.

“They definitely put their foot on the gas the entire series on the basepaths, and this is just another example,” Wright said about how good the Royals were. And how the Royals took advantage of a shaky Mets defense that was exposed in this World Series.

But the prevailing mood in that clubhouse was no shame. The strides made this season, and getting to October were catapulted by a quartet of young pitchers that got a taste of the World Series. There is every reason to know that Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will convene down in Port St. Lucie in a few months and begin the process of getting back to business.

The business, as these Mets said their goodbyes for the winter is to do what the Royals accomplished. Lose the World Series and with a goal to return and win it all the next year, but there may be no Daniel Murphy or Yoenis Cespedes who will test free agency.

After their failure to produce in these five games, Mets fans may not want to see Murphy or Cespedes again in April. But this is baseball and one day, as Murphy knows, you are the hero and the next day you can be the goat, and again there can’t be no complaints.

No complaints because this core of New York Mets went beyond expectations and those who return next season got that taste of the World Series.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to,” Murphy said. “That’s most certainly the case. I wish I would have swung the bat better. I wish I would have made a couple of more plays. But I can’t get it back now. It’s unfortunate.”

Curtis Granderson said, “Good thing for us is everybody enjoyed the moment and took advantage of the opportunity to be in it.” His three home runs in this World Series, including his leadoff home run Sunday night that gave the Mets a 1-0 lead were more of those positive aspects as to why this team can return to the World Series next October.

But, as he said there is room to get better, “Collectively as a team. I’m excited what we have.” And on that note, Granderson did point out 29 other teams will be looking to improve in the next few months with a goal to get where the Mets were the past month.

And when the Mets commence the 2016 season in early April there is an incentive to get this taste again: A two game interleague series at the World Champion Kansas City Royals awaits them.

By then the deficiencies of what went wrong will be in the books. But by all means there is no sadness because the Mets got a taste of the World Series, and when they see the Royals again there will be that reminder of what they have to do.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich has covered countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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