For A-Rod, Mets bring back memories of '86
2015 squad resembles past champs -- but Royals have that mid-'80s vibe, too
KANSAS CITY -- Long before the 14 All-Star selections, the 687 homers and the drama that would follow him both on and off the field, Alex Rodriguez was 11 years old and jumping on his bed in Miami, mimicking Jesse Orosco's gleeful reaction to the final out of the 1986 World Series.
Many of Rodriguez's most memorable moments have come in Yankees pinstripes, but his first love was the Mets. He recalls faithfully watching games on Channel 9 and pleading with his mother, Lourdes, to stay up past bedtime on school nights to see the conclusion of "Kiner's Korner."
"We're very lucky in this World Series," said Rodriguez, who is serving as an analyst on FOX. "It's not often where you get the best two teams and the hottest two teams to play in the World Series. This is a fascinating World Series for me. There's so many great matchups."
Rodriguez said that these Mets remind him of the 1986 squad, drawing a comparison between Keith Hernandez and David Wright as corner infielders and captains, and likening Yoenis Cespedes' game-changing power to that once flashed by Darryl Strawberry.
"But the one thing that resembles it the most for me is the once-in-a-century lifetime power pitchers that the Mets had both in '86 and in 2015," Rodriguez continued. "If you ask a lot of people that watched the '86 Mets, they said these guys are probably going to win three or four championships here in the next five years."
The Royals won't make it easy, which Rodriguez can attest to first hand. In fact, he sees a mid-'80s vibe on Kansas City's side as well.
"When Eric Hosmer hits the base hit to right field and you have Lorenzo Cain flying around third base, if you blink for a second, you can see George Brett getting that base hit and Willie Wilson flying around third base," Rodriguez said. "The similarities are incredible. You can say that it's the 1985 Kansas City Royals against the 1986 New York Mets."
Rodriguez said that he believes the Royals are better than they were in last year's World Series, upgraded in some areas while reaping the benefits of additional experience. Rodriguez expects that Kansas City will push and challenge the Mets with their youth and athleticism in a way that they have not been challenged before.
"When you have a team that is as aggressive as they are, it's usually synonymous with a very undisciplined team," Rodriguez said. "Kansas City is not that way at all. They have the unique characteristic that they are aggressive, but they don't chase bad pitches and they will take their walks.
"Everyone thinks about how better they're going to be because of the experience. Yes, that's true, but they're going to be better because they're a better team. This team is a year older, they've been together like frat boys for 10 years in college. And when you bring in Ben Zobrist and Kendrys Morales, who are switch-hitters who annihilate great pitching, that's a hell of an addition."