Title-starved teams offer gripping World Series matchup
By Larry Fine
(Reuters) - The Kansas City Royals and New York Mets get set to battle in the 111th World Series starting on Tuesday in a best-of-seven clash with intriguing match-ups between teams aching to end long title droughts.
Showdowns abound with the Mets' young, fireballing starting pitchers going against a battling Royals team that have been the hardest to strike out in Major League Baseball.
Kansas City will pit their relentless hit and run, pressure offense against a Mets attack that features the hottest hitter on the planet in Daniel Murphy, who along with other slugging New Yorkers will test their power in spacious Kauffman Stadium.
What the two teams have in common is a fierce desire to end decades of frustration by hoisting the championship trophy, with oddsmakers making Kansas City a narrow favorite.
The Royals are in the World Series for a second consecutive season after last year ending a 29-year postseason drought only to fall painfully shy of beating the San Francisco Giants.
The last Mets' appearance in the Fall Classic came in 2000 when they lost in five games to the crosstown rival Yankees.
Kansas City last reached the MLB winner's circle in 1985, while the Mets have not won since 1986.
Those Royals, led on the field by Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett, were a perennial contender. Those 1980s Mets were a powerhouse built around young stars Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Continued...