Mets ready for unfamiliar Series foe in Royals
NEW YORK -- The World Series field is set. The Mets know their opponent: the Royals, whose American League Championship Series win over the Blue Jays on Friday night punched their ticket. Most Mets players watched at least parts of the game, eager to begin scouting their new opponent.
Because it is the Royals, whom the Mets have not played since 2013, they may need to do some extra homework. Many players have little experience against Kansas City's young roster, even if the Mets have a general sense of what the Royals are all about.
"Kansas City, they've got so much confidence that they're going to win," said Mets infielder Kelly Johnson, who was on last year's Orioles team that lost to the Royals in the ALCS. "They've now done it two years in a row. That lineup is equally tough. They have some power, but they also don't give in. They're going to fight off pitches, make you work and try to just get guys on. And the next man up will try to get the job done."
The World Series is scheduled to begin Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium (FOX, air time 7:30 p.m. ET, game time 8 p.m.), where the Mets expect it to be loud. Royals fans showed up en masse to last year's World Series, which their team lost to the Giants in seven games. This year's atmosphere should be just as raucous for Games 1 and 2, before the series shifts to Citi Field for Games 3-5.
"Those fans in the Midwest are some of the best baseball fans," said Johnson, a veteran of eight big league teams. "They know the game. They know how it's supposed to be played. They know what it looks like when it's played right."
There is not much overlap between these two teams. Only Royals starter Chris Young, who made 24 starts for the Mets from 2011-12, has played for both. Royals backup catcher Drew Butera was once a Mets farmhand, but never appeared for them in the Majors.
Other veterans, such as New York's Johnson and Tyler Clippard, and Kansas City's Johnny Cueto and Kris Medlen, have familiarity with their opponent from time spent in opposite leagues. But for most of them, the World Series will be a fresh experience.
Not that it necessarily matters all that much.
"The best team that plays the best will win," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I like our shot. I like our chances. I like what we've got going. The energy on our club is unbelievable."
"We'll be ready to play our game," Johnson said. "And we'll go from there."