Kansas City takes two-game World Series lead
Game 1 of the 2015 World Series started off with a bang on Tuesday night, as Kansas City's Alcides Escobar hit an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch from the vaunted Mets ace Matt Harvey. The Mets managed to prevent further damage, and later pulled ahead 3-1 with one run each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. The Royals rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to clutch RBIs by Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, cheering the home crowd, but then the Mets took the lead in the top of the eighth inning after Hosmer failed to stop a ground ball to first base, reminisicent of the Bill Buckner error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Royals were on the verge of what would have been a devastating loss, when Alex Gordon hit a solo home run to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into extra innings. Finally, the Royals wore out Mets veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon, loading the bases in the bottom of the 14th inning, and all it took was a long sacrifice fly to right field by Eric Hosmer to win the game, 5-4. Amazin'!
In World Series Game 2, Johnny Cueto pitched a superb two-hit complete game, in which the only two hits were by Lucas Duda, whose solo homer in the fourth inning was the Mets' only score. As expected, Jacob deGrom was almost unhittable -- until the fifth inning. All of a sudden, the Royals started to connect, and before you knew it, four runs had crossed the plate. They added three more runs in the eighth inning to wrap up a huge 7-1 victory. Interestingly, none of the Royals had a home run in that game. And so, the Mets return to New York in a rather desperate situation, down two games to none. But that happens to be the exact same situation they were in versus the Boston Red Sox in 1986, and we all know how that turned out!
By amazing coincidence, I saw Johnny Cueto pitch a two-hit complete game on July 7 in Washington, when the Cincinnati Reds shut out the Nationals, And that leads to this "slightly edited" photograph which I took that day:
Admit it, you'd never guess that the above photo was a complete fake, would you? The Royals' uniform in it was "borrowed" from a photo I took of Billy Butler on July 25, 2014.
Citi Field update
Right on schedule, I finished updating the Citi Field diagrams yesterday. The main thing was getting the precise configuration of the bullpens just right, and contrary to my earlier supposition, it is no different than before this year, when the fence in right center field was brought in several more feet. On one of the NLCS games, I saw a good view of the back end of the bullpens, which lie beneath the "bridge." That pretty much cleared up my remaining uncertainties. There is an all-new second deck diagram, which draws attention to the complicated multi-level configuration behind home plate. As before, the lower-deck diagram shows the small triangular seating sections added just inside of each bullpen for games with high attendance -- such as tonight's World Series Game 3! Otherwise, there are a few minor corrections here and there. My estimate of fair territory is now 109,600 square feet, or 1,000 square feet less than was the case from 2012 through 2014. For the first three years (2009-2011), fair territory was about 114,100 square feet.
World Series stadia
Just like last year, and several years before that, I present the home ballparks of the two World Series teams, for easy comparison. Just roll over the thumbnail images to switch between the respective full-size diagrams.
One thing you can notice right away is that, even with the original (2009) dimensions in Citi Field, Kauffman Stadium still had a deeper outfield in almost every direction.
Bud Black to manage Nationals
The rumors broke out during Game 2 of the World Series, and multple reports since then would seem to confirm that Bud Black, current manager of the San Diego Padres, has been chosen to manage the Washington Nationals. I was surprised how quickly the decision was reached, but apparently several teams are head-hunting for new managers, and the Nats front office couldn't afford to wait. In the Washington Post, Tom [Boswell] writes that the Nationals got the managerial experience they were looking for.
Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins have hired as their new manager Don Mattingly, who just ended his tenure as manager of the L.A. Dodgers on mutually-agreeable terms.