The Kansas City Royals have denied a report saying they're seeking retribution against the New York Mets on Opening Day for a Noah Syndergaard fastball that went over the head of Alcides Escobar during last season's World Series.
Marc Carig of Newsday reported "multiple industry sources" confirmed that the Royals kept the moment in mind and could look to retaliate Sunday night. However, Syndergaard isn't slated to start the game with Matt Harvey in line for the start instead, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
However, a Royals official told MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan that "the only retribution planned for the Mets on Opening Night is a 30-second tribute video."
Royals manager Ned Yost said, "Some buffoon writes something and you guys are gonna jump like little monkeys in a cage for peanut," per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City-Star.
The 23-year-old starter began Game 3 of the World Series with a pitch high and tight on the Royals' leadoff hitter. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com noted afterward that multiple members of the Kansas City roster spoke out against the pitch, but the Mets ace didn't back down.
"If they have a problem with me throwing inside," Syndergaard said, "then they can meet me 60 feet, six inches away. I've got no problem with that."
Mets first baseman Lucas Duda didn't seem too worried about the report when asked by Mike Puma of the New York Post “Whatever they want to do, they are not going to bully us, they are not going to scare us,” Duda said. “They are not going to scare us by hitting us. You can talk to all 15 position players that we have, and I’m pretty sure none of them are scared.”
Game 3 was the only one the Mets won as the Royals went on to capture the championship in five games. But if the report is to be believed, raising the trophy and a long offseason of celebration weren't enough to make the Royals move past the incident.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reported earlier Tuesday that Matt Harvey is back in line to start the opener after passing a blood clot that affected his bladder, which initially left his status in question and led to speculation that Syndergaard could start.
In the bigger picture, this is another issue relating to a clash of the old school and the new school. The conflict was on full display earlier in spring training when New York Yankees legend Goose Gossage called out several players, including Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, for showboating.
Baseball has more so-called "unwritten rules" than any other sport. It's led to a lot of self-policing over the years, where the players themselves handle problems rather than wait for the league to step in.
Whether it's the right approach for the modern game is certainly up for debate. But Kansas City won the World Series using an old-school approach on the field, and now it appears the team may have been planning to settle its lingering dispute with the Mets the same way Sunday night.