New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto gave the Kansas City Royals a fright on Halloween 2015 when he knocked a pair of World Series home runs.
The date is October 31, 2015 – Game 4 of the 2015 World Series. For the New York Mets, entering the night down 2-1 in the series, tonight’s matchup is a must-win, lest they risk falling behind the red-hot Kansas City Royals, three games to one. It is the perfect opportunity for a hero to emerge amidst the pressure of the postseason and ignite the spark this team has been looking for all series – the same one they rode into the playoffs and the Fall Classic.
The 2015 season evokes bittersweet memories in the hearts of Mets faithful. It was perhaps the most magical, miraculous, and improbable season in recent Mets history; a season that featured many tears and cheers, from fans and players alike (sorry Wilmer!)
But the 2015 Fall Classic also holds different recollections for Mets fans, some that were felt by a disastrous bullpen and shoddy defense, and some that were made exciting with timely hitting from their (at the time) young rookie outfield prospect, Michael Conforto, who had joined the team in late July merely days before a tumultuous five day span in Flushing that led up to the Trade Deadline and propelled the team on an exciting run at the onset of the dog days of summer.
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With LHP Steven Matz on the mound for the Mets, Conforto broke the ice after leading off the bottom of the third inning against Royals starting pitcher, Chris Young. His solo home run gave the Mets an early 1-0 lead while validating then-manager Terry Collin’s decision to stick with the kid who hadn’t hit a home run since Game 2 of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Two innings later in the bottom of the fifth, he expanded their lead to 3-1 on a 2-2 count against Royal’s left-handed reliever, Danny Duffy. It made him the second Mets player, next to Gary Carter, to hit two solo home runs in one World Series game.
Not bad company for a kid who had made his major league debut just three months earlier from Double A. These home runs induced a memorable World Series moment akin to the amazin’ moments made by the Mets during their incredible run to the top of the NL East, and for part of this night, to the top of the baseball world until their bullpen and defensive woes resurfaced.
New York would drop their third game in this best-of-seven series later that night as a result of a misplayed ground ball that slipped under Daniel Murphy’s glove, followed by the tying and go-ahead runs given up by Jeurys Familia to seal the game.
They would ultimately lose the series in five, but for those two exciting at-bats, and thanks to the performance of one rookie, Citi Field was home to these two moments that would go down in Mets postseason history.
This was a team that made it to the World Series with a regular season record of 90-72, after starting the season at 47-42.
The Mets would go on to lose the series 4-1, despite leading late in four of those games. Had their bullpen been stellar, or even able to hold a lead, they would have won the World Series in five games.
They could have won. They should have won.
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Nonetheless, those two dingers continue to elicit two happy memories brought to you by Michael Conforto.