KANSAS CITY -- Throughout the offseason, Alex Gordon has heard the question many times: Should he, would he, could he have scored in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series?
What happened, as Royals and Giants fans know quite well, was that after his two-out single and a two-base error, Gordon was stopped at third base by coach Mike Jirschele. Then Salvador Perez fouled out and the Giants won the game, 3-2, and the World Series championship.
"Trust me, I've had the question asked so many times and, obviously, if he sends me and I get thrown out, everybody's going to be asking him, 'Why didn't you hold him up?' So that's just part of the game. He probably did the right thing. It would've been a close play, so people are just going to say that kind of stuff," Gordon said.
Gordon's liner to left-center skipped past the Giants' Gregor Blanco, who was charged with an error, and Juan Perez chased it to the left-field wall. The ball kicked away from Perez, who quickly snagged it and threw to the relay man, shortstop Brandon Crawford, in short left.
"Obviously, I thought it was going to be a single, then it got by [Blanco] and I started sprinting as hard as I could. I don't even know what I was thinking. I was trying to find the ball, trying to run as hard as I could," Gordon said.
Jirschele held up the stop sign and Gordon, representing the tying run, went into third base standing up. Some second-guessers thought the Royals should have taken a chance, considering Gordon was only the second baserunner against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner in his five innings of relief.
"I think people were saying Bumgarner was pitching and you've got to take a chance, something like that, but I obviously watched it [on replay] and [Crawford] had the ball when I was touching third so, unless he would have made a terrible throw, they probably would have had me," Gordon said.
"Shoulda, woulda, coulda," Gordon added with a smile. "I should have had [Jarrod] Dyson's speed or done a couple more sprints in Spring Training and I would've scored. You wouldn't even have to ask Jirsch."
Gordon and his Royals teammates found themselves in baseball wonderland in October, reaching the postseason for the first time in nearly three decades and then pushing the Giants to the final out of the final game before yielding.
"I think during it you get caught up in it and it is exciting, but you really don't know how special it was until you go to the offseason and look back at just what took place and some of the highlights and situations you've been through with your team," Gordon said.
"You look back on it and I think it's something every guy is going to cherish for the rest of their lives. Obviously, we didn't win the World Series, but I don't think anybody expected us to be in Game 7 with the Giants to try to win it all."
Certainly not after the Royals went into the mid-July All-Star break 6 1/2 games out and then stumbled out of the intermission with four straight losses. In 2013, they'd come out of the break blazing, and everyone expected a repeat from this so-called "second-half team."
"And it didn't happen," Gordon said. "Every year is different and you have different obstacles. That was just an obstacle we had to get past and knowing our team, we did it pretty well."
After the four losses, the Royals had a 26-8 surge and were on their way.
"What was so special about our whole year is we were hot, we were cold, we were hot and we had runs where we'd win seven games and 10 games and I think that's what we did in the playoffs," Gordon said. "We just got hot at the right time."
For Gordon, his Game 7 dash is a little hazy, but most of the World Series is etched clearly in his mind.
"That was a crazy play but, for the most part, I remember all of it," he said. "It was really special. I could look back at every game and remember almost every pitch and just how special that was."
Gordon has become a special player for Kansas City and he's expressed his interest in remaining beyond his 2015 contract and the player option he holds on a 2016 contract. But, he said last week, there have been no extension talks with general manager Dayton Moore.
"We have not talked about it, no. Obviously, I want to be here," Gordon said. "This is where I was drafted, close to home. It is what it is. We haven't talked about it at all, but I still have two more years, so we'll see."
With October filled with all those games, drama and emotion, Gordon suddenly has realized that next season isn't all that far away.
"Spring Training is going to be here before you know it," he said. "This Spring Training we have something to work for, we have one more run we need to score."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.