The Royals are World Series champs.
Christian Colon’s 12th-inning, one-out single scored Jarrod Dyson for the game-winning run, ultimately giving Kansas City a 7-2 win over the Mets and its first world championship since 1985. It opened the door for what resulted in a five-run inning for KC.
But what will be remembered from the World Series’ decisive Game 5 isn’t Dyson scoring, or even Eric Hosmer’s game-tying, dramatic race home in the ninth on Salvador Perez’s broken bat grounder to third.
It will be Mets manager Terry Collins.
Collins fell victim to one of any manager’s worst nightmares: he let a player talk him out of his initial decision, only to watch the choice backfire in a big way. In this case, the biggest way.
With the Mets carrying a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, and Matt Harvey having dominated throughout his eight innings, Collins sent Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen over to tell the New York starter his night was done.
But Harvey, who was at 216 innings for his season, had other ideas.
Having thrown 102 pitches, Harvey left his conversation with Warthen and stormed over to Collins to make his case to stay in the game. He offered won the argument, remaining in for the ninth.
It was the wrong decision.
First, Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain on seven pitches. Collins still left his starter in the game. After a steal of second, Cain came around on Hosmer’s double, finally ending the pitcher’s night.
After moving to third on a Mike Moustakas ground out, Hosmer would knot the game up by racing home after Mets third baseman David Wright threw Perez’ slow roller to first. The throw from first baseman Lucas Duda would be wild, while Hosmer dove in head-first.
It would be three more innings before sealing the deal, but the storyline had seemingly already been written.
The Collins decision is made worse because it wasn’t his initial instinct. He didn’t stand firm by his first instinct, letting the emotion of a player drive the bus. And then the managing of the inning got worse when Harvey wasn’t lifted after that first batter reached.
It’s why some managers — such as Terry Francona — won’t go to the mound unless he is definitely taking out his pitcher. The manager can’t leave any door open for debate.
Collins did, and it allowed the Royals to sprint into a World Series title.