#WSMediaDay: Buzz building for Game 1
Royals, Mets discuss Fall Classic before Tuesday's opener in KC
KANSAS CITY -- The World Series is still one day away, but Kauffman Stadium was abuzz on Monday, with hundreds of media types descending in anticipation of World Series Media Day.
In advance of Game 1 on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time on FOX), the Royals and Mets held separate media sessions in the Royals Hall of Fame. It was somewhat of a free for all, with players sitting at stations for 45 minutes, answering questions that ranged from "How did you develop such a deceptive changeup?" to "Who controls the clubhouse music before games?"
First up were the Royals and Edinson Volquez, who was officially named the Game 1 starter.
"For me it's a great honor to pitch in this game, especially pitching at home," Volquez said. "It's a great feeling."
Next, Royals manager Ned Yost took the podium for his 20th or so meeting with the media this month, and he announced his first four starters: Volquez, followed by Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young.
Cueto was a logical choice for Game 2 and Game 6 (if the Series extends that far), given how well he pitches at home and how much he's struggled on the road.
"We wanted Johnny Cueto in Game 2, because Johnny really feeds off the home crowd," a diplomatic Yost said. "And we're able to have Johnny in Game 2 and Game 6 here at home, where we think that that gives us a bit of an advantage having Johnny pitching at home in front of our home crowd. They really, really give him a lot of energy. He's pitched his best games here."
Media sessions are relatively standard, but there's always room for a little comic relief, specifically, on the Royals side, thanks mainly to catcher Salvador Perez. The resident funnyman can simultaneously field questions about the absolute beating he's taken behind the plate this postseason -- "I know I'm going to get hit at least once every game. I'll worry about it when the season's over" -- while making sure his teammates are still keeping things loose. [Perez: "Say, 'I love Salvy.'" Lorenzo Cain: "Yes, I love Salvy."]
While their manager was fielding questions, the Royals hit their home field -- one that is now adorned with World Series logos next to both dugouts and a giant Royals signature crown mowed into the grass in the outfield -- for a final tuneup workout that lasted about an hour.
Splitting up the teams was Commissioner Rob Manfred, who answered questions from the media. Then, it was time to meet the Mets. Game 1 starter Matt Harvey addressed reporters at 3:45 p.m., followed by Terry Collins around 4.
Collins, managing in his first World Series, said he encouraged players to take it all in and enjoy the experience.
"You walk around and talked to the players, which I try to do. … From some veteran guys to the rookies, they're walking around, they say, 'Wow, it's a cool place, never been here. Man, we're in the World Series,'" Collins said. "And it strikes home. It's what it's all about."
Harvey indicated that for some of them, this all hasn't really sunk in. Perhaps the long layoff had something to do with it, which might, as Harvey pointed out, work in the Mets' favor.
"I think for all of us, we're kind of sitting around the locker room all talking to each other, and I don't think anything has really set in for us yet, which in our minds I think is a positive," he said. "We still realize that it's a baseball game. And for me this is another start. Obviously it's a start on a different level. "
The rest of the Mets gathered in the Royals Hall of Fame for their 45-minute media session at 3:15 p.m., followed by a workout at 4.
Elder statesman Michael Cuddyer joked about how popular he has become among family and friends (and ticket seekers) since his Mets won the pennant.
"The word 'allotment' is a great word," he chuckled. "That's where you say, 'I've got an allotment of tickets, and this is all I've got.'"
Asked about the shock factor regarding his team being in the World Series, Cuddyer played it cool.
"I felt this organization was on the right path, and if we could get into the postseason, we were a dangerous team, with the pitching we have," he said. "To say this is exactly what I expected to happen is not true, but to say I did not expect this is also not true."
The World Series is here, and so is the chaos. Let the games begin.