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The Week In Sports: NBA's Most Hated, World Series Game 3

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The Mets come back after two losses in the World Series, and basketball season's started. Fans already have a heavy to root against - not our very own Tom Goldman, who joins us this morning. Tom, thanks very much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: Down two games and - forgive me - you can't talk sports without a few good cliches. The Mets really came to play last night from the first pitch, didn't they?

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) That first pitch by the Mets' Noah Syndergaard reminded me of a Scott Simon first question.

SIMON: (Laughter).

GOLDMAN: High and tight and meant to rattle. Syndergaard buzzed Kansas City leadoff hitter, Alcides Escobar, with a pitch...

SIMON: He needed a shave. I can see it - I can see it myself, yeah.

GOLDMAN: Exactly and it left Escobar's teammates screaming at Syndergaard from the dugout. And Syndergaard said about it my intent on that pitch was to make them uncomfortable, and I feel like I did just that. Now, it took the Mets a few innings to back it up, but they did with timely homeruns from a couple of veterans - David Wright, Curtis Granderson - and then a relentless offensive attack after that.

SIMON: The 1-9-3 - what do you foresee for tonight's game at Citi Field? Do they have more pitchers in the pipeline like Noah Syndergaard?

GOLDMAN: Yeah, they do - Steven Matz. But, you know, the Royals have shown even in defeat that they can hit this vaunted...

SIMON: Yeah...

GOLDMAN: ...New York starting pitching rotation. And they'll try to jump out early again as they did last night against Syndergaard and - but hope for better pitching than last night. On the other hand, momentum is with the Mets, and if they keep it up and keep attacking like they did last night, they can tie the series up. But we have a World Series now; neither team is going to have an easy time of it. And that's pretty cool.

SIMON: Wonderful vignette from last night - I don't want the week to expire without talking about it - Raul A. Mondesi, 20-years-old, son of a major leaguer - made his major league debut in the World Series.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) Yeah, for the Royals, he became the first major leaguer to make his major league debut in the World Series. He pinch-hit. He struck out...

SIMON: Yeah...

GOLDMAN: But he said he was still happy to get a chance...

SIMON: A lot of great careers have begun with a strikeout. NBA season's just getting started, and there's one team that's uniting all of basketball at the moment, aren't they? The Los Angeles Clippers - and not the way they used to unite people.

GOLDMAN: Yeah, right. Well, I'm not sure if they're uniting the entire league but certainly Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban set the tone Thursday when he said prior to Dallas' game versus the Clippers that he doesn't give a bleep about the Clippers. And then showed that he does because he said about them you can change the players, you can change the owner, but the Clippers are who they've been for the last 30 years. Now, Mark Cuban appears to still be a...

SIMON: Which his loser, right?

GOLDMAN: (Laughter)Yeah...

SIMON: Yeah, OK.

GOLDMAN: ...Exactly. No, he is - he appears to still be angry about LA center DeAndre Jordan's free agency flip-flop during the summer when Jordan agreed to sign with Dallas then changed his mind. Oh, but didn't contact Cuban or the Mavs about the decision.

SIMON: Yeah.

GOLDMAN: The game Thursday was chippy with hard fouls and technicals and an almost fight involving Jordan. One nice moment during the game - one of the greatest features of big-time pro-sports - the kiss cam...

SIMON: Oh, I love this actually, yeah.

GOLDMAN: I know. It flashed both Cuban and LA owner Steve Ballmer on the big screen. They blew kisses at each other but the script appears to be set. It looks like we've got a bit of a nasty rivalry going between these two teams. And don't we all love a nasty rivalry?

SIMON: Yeah, and - I mean, yes, the rest of the league enjoys this, right?

GOLDMAN: Absolutely. Oh, yeah. The Clippers are no one's - except people in LA's - favorite really.

SIMON: All right. Thanks so much, NPR's Tom Goldman. Talk to you soon. Take care.

GOLDMAN: OK, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.