World Series 2015: Game 1 drama should have 'em coming back for more

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — What do you want from the first game of a World Series?Easy answer. MORE: World Series in photos | Spector: Mets well-equipped to come back Easy two answers, in fact.If you’re a fan of a team that’s in it, you want your team to win, of course. In that case, Royals fans, you are tired but happy campers today because your team downed the Mets 5-4 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series.  Related News World Series 2015 in photos: Royals vs. Mets On Eric Hosmer’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 14th inning, to be exact.Ending the longest World Series opener ever. But if you’re one of the millions of in-betweeners — fans who watch the World Series, or who at least start out watching it because it’s the showcase of Major League Baseball, fans who hope the season comes to an exciting conclusion — you are the winners today because the message of Game 1 carrying into Game 2 is that you better pay attention.This could be a good one. This might even be a classic World Series.MORE: Top five jaw-dropping moments of Game 1 | Mets' 10 best postseason memories“No slouch of a game, that’s for sure,” said Hosmer. “Two scrappy teams going back and forth.”“I don’t even know how many innings we played,” said the Mets’ David Wright, “but we expect it to be this way. Close.”This wasn’t the best-played opener ever — and far from the best-played World Series game on record. Chal

lenging simply from the standpoint of time, it ended on the same day Game 2 will begin.At least in Eastern Daylight Time it did. And in Central, too, for that matter. But there were enough ingredients in the blender for the rest of the series to look enticing.MORE: Royals say substance on Perez's shin guard legal“We got the lead, we lost, we got it again. We didn’t get frustrated,” said Mets manager Terry Collins.The true test of a World Series as entertainment, though, is whether it interests fans in Boston if the Red Sox aren’t in it. Or fans in Detroit if the Tigers aren’t in it. Or even those still paying attention in Fort Lonesome, Fla., if the gas station has closed. A World Series can’t thrive on the enthusiasm of just two cities. And because it can’t, Game 1 must be a grabber — a showdown that keeps people up past their bedtime, then has them talking about it at the office.It must create a buzz.In short, Game 1 has to be a game fans can’t easily turn off.Voila.  With soggy conditions at the beginning after a daylong drizzle, but nothing that got in the way of the game starting on time, the World Series opener wasn’t just close, it was compelling. If that sounds more like a movie review, so be it — and all the more appropriate because the opener was good theater. You had Edinson Volquez starting for the Royals after his father died earlier in the day .Losing a parent has occurred all too frequently this season for the Royals. Mike Moustakas’ mother died. Chris Young pitched five innings the day after his father died in September. Now it was Volquez, perhaps not knowing yet, retiring the side in order to the crowd’s cheers in the first, but eventually allowing three runs in six innings.MORE:  Granderson homers in first Series game since '06  “I don’t think he knew,” said his Royals teammate Alex Gordon. “I don’t think most guys knew.”“The wishes of the family were to let Eddie pitch,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “He left before the game ended.”A memorable performance, to be sure.Then came the bottom of the first — and a first-pitch home run by Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar. But not a garden-variety home run that clears a fence or a wall. Escobar’s was an inside-the-park home run, the first in a World Series since Mule Haas chipped in with one for the Philadelphia A’s during a 10-run inning in the 1929 World Series against the Cubs. Some, such as former pitcher Curt Schilling, argued on Twitter that the play should have been ruled an error on Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes instead because a catchable ball wasn’t caught.But no matter how you view the call, the World Series had its first leadoff home run by a team in the first inning since 1903.It also had what every World Series needs — a call to argue about over coffee the next morning. There were fine plays by those teams — none better than New York’s Curtis Granderson robbing Jarrod Dyson of who knows what (at least a double) in the 11th inning. There were blunders by both teams, none more costly than an error at first base by Hosmer, who doesn’t make many, that allowed the Mets to take a 4-3 in the eighth.There were hits that hit bases. There were pitches that hit backstops. There were 13 pitchers used.And, of course, there was eventually a winning run. But along with it came the feeling that possibly a great World Series has just begun.Tom Gage is a Hall of Fame baseball writer, having won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award this year, the highest honor in the profession. Gage covered the Tigers for the Detroit News for 36 years (1979-2014).

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