Noah Syndergaard brushed back Alcides Escobar with the first pitch Friday night -- a fastball near his head -- and didn't apologize after Game 3 of the World Series. Quite the contrary. Syndergaard made it clear that he did so intentionally, telling FOX Sports Insider Ken Rosenthal in a postgame interview that his intent was to "back (the Royals) off the plate."

"That's my plate out there," Syndergaard told Rosenthal. "I'm going to attack the zone. I didn't want them too comfortable in the box."

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The Royals weren't pleased, judging by their immediate reaction in the dugout and public comments following the game. So perhaps retaliation is forthcoming, particularly in light of the Royals' early-season brouhahas with the A's and White Sox.

And indeed, those benches-clearing incidents could foreshadow how the Royals will handle Syndergaard's audacious pitch . . . sometime next April.

Fortunately for the Royals, they need not risk an ejection or additional baserunner by settling a score during the World Series. Long before the Mets and Royals clinched berths in the Fall Classic, Major League Baseball announced that these teams would begin the 2016 regular season with a two-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

The schedule-makers, it seems, knew this would make for compelling baseball theater.

So if the Royals feel they need to defend Escobar by plunking a Met, they'll have the opportunity to do so in broad daylight on April 4, 2016 -- rather than this high-stakes Halloween night