Monday, March 31, 2008
- Awesome Alex Gordon (.290/27/95) will hit at least 100 points higher in April than he did last year.
- Bad Ass Billy Butler (.315/31/106) will play more than 30 games at first base.
- Gil Monster Meche (18-6, 3.74) will make his second All Star Game appearance
- Wacky Zack Greinke (21-6, 3.22) will make his first.
- Jumpin Joey Gathright will steal 40 bases and appear in 120 games.
- The Royals will finish in the top 5 in team ERA
- Alberto "Don't call me Albie" Callaspo will fill in admirably at 2nd every time Mark Grudzuuuzzzzilanika needs a 15 rest on the DL.
- Tea Bag will return to 2006 form and belt 24 home runs.
- Jose Guillen will drive in 120 runs. (Yeah, I still don't have a nickname for him)
- The Cardinals will lose 90 games in the worst division in baseball
- The Yankees will miss the playoffs...and get swept at the K next week.
- The Royals will draw 2 million fans
- Luke "I am your father" Hochevar will be everyone's father in the 2nd half, and be the third starter in the playoffs.
- That's right, I said PLAYOFFS
- The Tigers will win the Central with 110+ wins.
- Mike Sweeney will drive in twice as many runs as Ross Gload, in fewer at bats.
- Joakim "The Warria" Soria will struggle at times seeing as much as a full run increase on his ERA
- Brett "The Human Expetive" Tomko will have an ERA over 6.
- Ross "No need to" Gload and Esteban "Doesn't look" German will play far too much
That's all I've got for now, but much more to come later. I will say, the Royals win 93 games...and the wild card. I'll also say they win today 4-3 as Soria gives us the first of many heart attacks throughout the year. Later this week I'll have my complete list of team nicknames...Go Royals!
- How relieved did Bill Self look when that shot at the buzzer missed? i think he (and many Jayhawk fans) almost expected it to go in. Now Self has his Final Four, but is anyone really satisfied? Nope.
- KU vs Carolina for a shot at the title....with all of the questions that Self and his players will have to face about Roy here's hoping at some point we get the "I don't give a ____ about Roy WIlliams right now" jab. I'd say Self is too classy and the players on too short of a rope, but it would be fantastically funny.
- Memphis looks scary good. I don't know that anyone in the country could have beat them their last two games.
- Yes, Kansas (and Self) almost choked that game away yesterday. There have been a lot of time that Mizzou and K-State fans have accused the Jayhawks of choking, yesterday would have been warranted.
- Stephen Curry has two years to stake his claim as the greatest college basketball player ever, and he has one hell of a start. Curry has now put up over 1600 points in his first two seasons, and a magical run to the Elite 8 over the WCC champs, the Big East champs and the Big 10 champs.
- Kansas of UNC? You'll have to wait until later in the week...
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
.354 Batting average
.404 On Base Percentage
10/10 stolen bases
We don't have room for that in the lineup?
Monday, March 24, 2008
If Bill Self can't reach the Final Four this year, with the talent he has,and the way the regional has played out ... you have to wonder if he's evergoing to do it. Villanova is a replica of UNLV, only not as talented.Wisconsin plays tremendous defense ... but the Big 10 (plus one) has noteam even remotely as talented or deep as KU. Let alone offensivelyassertive. I don't know what shocked me more Saturday, that Wisconsin wonwith ease ... or that a Brutal Big 10 team topped 60. And Davidson, sorryguys, but Bo Ryan isn't giving your 3 point specialists open looks in the2nd half on Friday night. The run's over guys. And if its not, well, I'lltake my chances in a regional final against Davidson.
I should preface this by saying, this is the same Steve who spent most of last season telling me how the Chiefs could still get into the playoffs, but I digress. Should KU be in the Final Four this year? Absolutely, but the road still isn't easy. I was shocks at the ease with which Wisconsin dismantled the Mildcats on Saturday. The plan to put Butch on Sutton and not guard him more than 12 feet away from the basket was genius...hitting all of those 3s was lucky. Point being, if Wisconsin, Davidson, or even Villanova can A) come up with a genius game plan and B) hit a bunch of threes (as teams have been known to do in the tournament against Kansas; anything is possible. Steve seem to hope for a Davidson upset of Wisconsin, I'm not sure. Stephen Curry became my favorite non Jayhawk this weekend, I can't believe he's only a sophomore. He's the only guy left in our bracket that really scares me.
As far as the rest of the weekend?
A&M got jobbed against UCLA
Hochevar is starting in AAA, which means Tomko will probably be in the rotation...BOOOOO
Joey Gathright is hitting .318 and is 9/9 in stolen base chances this spring
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Win over Portland State
Win over Kent State
Win over Clemson
Win over Georgetown
Loss to North Carolina
It's not so much that I don't think the Jayhawks could win it all...they certainly could...but are they better than the 97 team that lost to Arizona? What about the 02 (or 03) team with Hinrich and Collison? I don't think so...at some point you get burnt enough that you stop believing... maybe I've reached that point. Still, Final Four is a nice season.
I see Oklahoma and Baylor going one and done. Baylor because they got a crappy draw, Oklahoma because I've lost faith in them and Phil Martelli will coach circles around Capel. K-State could beat USC...even Wisconsin in Nebraska...but once we get to Detroit, they can't hang with Georgetown. Seems like them getting one game away from a KU/K-State Elite match up and then fading out sounds about right.
This leaves Texas...I hate this...Has any team had a better set up? They leave the state for one weekend, into a pod with Miami, St. Mary's and Austin Peay...really? After that they head to Houston, where they'll probably face the worst #3 seed (Stanford) or an upset winner to get to the Elite 8 against Memphis (worst case). Hypothetically, if they win that they'll face UCLA ( a team they've already beaten) in Texas. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if a #1 seed doesn't win it all, it will be Texas....Excuse me while I go puke...
Monday, March 17, 2008
It is time for Kansas Jayhawk fans and Kansas State Wildcat fans to come together if you will. Put away the "I was just helping the sheep over the fence" jokes... Jesus Sandal jabs be gone... It's not the spoiled hippy wannabes versus the clueless farmers...it's the spoiled hippy wannabes and the clueless farmers...Rock Chalk and EMAW together...I know, it sounds crazy... but follow me:
This weekend folks from all across Kansas will invade Nebraska, turning the Big Red State into sea of Crimson, Blue and Purple. They have an opportunity to take the city over, but only if they work together. What if 40% of the crowd is Jayhawk fans? And let's say 35% of them are K-State fans? What if, just for one weekend, they united as Big 12 fans...united against the original posers from So Cal...against the cheese heads from Wisconsin...what if they just flat out took the city over? I'll tell you what would happen, they'd both punch a ticket to the Sweet 16 and Detroit.
Both teams should have a home court advantage by themselves, but with help from their rival school? Does anyone really think K-State can't handle the Trojans at Bramlage? What about Wisconsin? Well what if the Qwest Center into Bramlage North for the weekend...at least when K-State is playing...The Jayhawks can EMAW right a long with their farmer bretheren...maybe even wave a Power Towel or two....okay, maybe that's going too far...but you get the point.
Listen, I'm not asking Jayhawk fans to wear purple or anything...and I'm not asking the Wildcats to break out in Rock Chalk Jayhawk at the end of the game...but let's present a united front...let's send two teams from Kansas, two teams from the Big 12, on to Detroit...to the Sweet 16...and only one game away from the rubber match of what is once again turning into a rivalry. Then we can start with the jokes about Bill Self's (alleged) hair piece and Frank Martin's (not so alleged) over sized suits...
12 seed Georgia winning the SEC Tournament, in front of (seemingly) 2500 people was easily my favorite story of the weekend. It's also a testament to the inferiority of the SEC. It's not even feasible that Colorado could have done that this weekend.
Baylor getting in to the Dance was my 2nd favorite story. Besides the Cinderella factor, last time the Bears went dancing? 1988
Sunday's championship game was possibly the best game I've seen this year...I'll take it over either of the Duke/UNC in terms of quality of play. I think Self said it best when he said it was "humbling" at times.
If Brandon Rush keeps playing like this, Kansas will be in the Final4.
If Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers keep playing like this, Kansas will win it all.
A tornado hit the Georgie Dome in the middle of the SEC Championship? WOW! No one died? Bigger WOW! Whoever designed that should get some kind of medal today.
Kansas, bracket is the easiest of them all. Only the 3 seed and 11(K-State) are better than the other brackets. By the way, last time Kansas and K-State were in the same bracket? 1988.
Yeah, I'll probably pick Kansas to win it all in at least one of my brackets.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The line shows Tomko went 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk.
"Great outing," Hillman said. "The line was bad, but with what he did, it was very good. He took the bullpen session right into the game."Maybe if it's a young pitcher, or someone like Hideo Nomo who's coming back after a two year hiatus I could understand this thinking. But Tomko went 4-12 last year...with a 5.55 ERA...in the weak National League. Moral victories shouldn't be enough for an 11 year veteran who stunk so completely last season. But that wasn't all...
His take on being the Royals' No. 4 starter at this point?
"If that's what they want, I'm down with it," Tomko said. "I felt like I threw the ball well today and I don't feel I've been horrible since I've been here. The Cubs game, yeah, here and there. Other than that, I feel like I'm progressing the way I need to."He doesn't feel like he's been terrible? Tomko's had 3 starts, here are his stats:
10.2 innings, 10.13 ERA, 21 hits, 15 runs(12 earned), 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
That is as terrible as you can be, Brett....atrocious in fact.
I was really concerned by this whole thing until I read the Star today. This article, while still justifying Tomko's terrible day gave me hope because of this quote from Trey:
“Nothing is solidified with those final two spots,” Hillman declared. “We’ve got too much time left.”
Granted, Tomko still probably has the inside track, but at least they haven't given to him. They have to make him have at least a couple of decent outings, right? I've heard a lot of people speculate that Tomko will make the team no matter what because of his approximately $3 million dollar contract. If that's fact, let's at least start him out in a long relief role and make him show something before we start him. Better to throw away $3 million dollars than 10 games in the standings, especially if you're the Royals.
So, if not Tomko, who? I've tried hard to find alternatives to John Bale as our token lefty, but there isn't one at this point. Maroth will probably have to start in AAA because of an injury scare and De La Rosa has been as wild and ineffective as anticipated. So, my new alternative is no lefty at all...really. I like Bale in the bullpen as a long relief guy...maybe even a swing starter...but I don't trust him in the rotation.
As of right now I like Luke Hochevar and Nomo to fill the 4 and 5 spots. I know everyone says that Nomo is too old, and Hochevar too inexperienced...but they're the most talented guys we have and that's what we have to go with. Yeah, it's similar to the Gathright argument, and it's my philosophy I guess. This team can't win by playing it safe...with guys like Brett Tomko, John Bale and Ross Gload...we need talent and potential and we have to take chances. I know Hochevar and Nomo are both considered big risks, but as of right now that's who I'd take.
Besides, the age isn't that big of a deal. Nomo won't turn 40 until August, a ton of pitchers have had reasonable (we're only asking him to be a #4) success after 40. Hochever, meanwhile, is almost a month older than Zack Greinke...no one thinks Greinke is too young. Here's hoping Hillman (and Dayton) show some guts and start with out 5 most talented pitchers in the rotation to start the year.
Oklahoma didn't exactly play inspired, and I don't really expect them to keep it close against Texas, but I think they've done enough to wrap up at least an 8/9 seed. What that means to me is that today's game is huge for them. Winning today probably means they avoid a #1 seed in the second round...I still don't think they can.
As for the teams that lost? K-State fans have to be exceptionally nervous right now. Their resume is eerily similar to last year (other than the 3rd place finish). Surely they don't get left out in the could two years in a row, right? Remember how mad Mizzou fans were when the conference allowed Kansas to get the BCS birth even though the Tigers won the North? K-State fans would have an even bigger gripe if the 4th, 5th and 6th place teams went dancing while they stayed home. I've got the Cats penciled in as a 10 seed.
The Bears still look good to me as well, although they could use some help today. Memphis is destroying Tulsa, so that helps. Other games the Bears and Cats should watch today?
-They need Georgia to lose either this afternoon or tonight, which is very likely
-Carolina embarrassing Va Tech wouldn't hurt anything
-They really need the winner of Michigan State and Wisconsin to win the Big 10. The other side of the bracket features Illinois vs. Minnesota, both teams that need to win the tournament to get in.
Like I said, I think they're both in good shape. But if all of those things went against them? I wouldn't want to be a Wildcat or Bear fan tomorrow evening.
I'd also like to say that I'm pretty irritated with the Missouri Tigers and Kansas State Wildcats...and all of KC should be. The bracket set up perfectly for the first Big 12 Tourney at the Sprint Center to be an incredible atmosphere. Kansas vs. Missouri on Friday night, the winner vs. Kansas State on Saturday...can you imagine what downtown would have been like? Worse yet, the Tigers and Cats needed only to beat teams they'd already beaten this year....but neither one did, and they did it in remarkably similar fashion throwing away any chance at the end with sketchy play calling and sketchier execution.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I know its not exactly KC news but whats your take on Trent Green? Death Wish? Not knowing when to give up? The best thing I think can happen to him is not to have his butt leave the sideline, and I know the Rams blow but that's a lot of money to throw at a guy who is one hit away from vegetable-ism. Am I missing something?
As I told Adam earlier today, I made essentially the same point he's making a little over a month ago here. Now that Green hasn't taken my advice, I can't really say I'm that surprised. We spend a lot of time complaining about the younger generation of athletes being so pampered and disillusioned that they don't think that the rules apply to them. I'm not sure this is that much different. There has to be an air of invincibility to Green for him to make this decision. Either that or he has a wife that goes through money like Jose Guillen goes through MLB teams. Either way, I just hope Bulger stays healthy and we don't have to seen Trent carried off the field again.
On Adam's last point about the Rams, $8.9 million for 3 years is a ton...but this isn't baseball where the contracts are guaranteed either. Seems less than intelligent to count on Trent as a backup to someone as fragile as Bulger, but that's pretty much par for the Rams...and the city of St. Louis. This is the same organization that employed Leonard "Manslaughter" Litttle, you know.
Finally, speaking of St. Louis and fragile: Albert Pujols is going to try and tough it out without surgery on his elbow. Weird how the injuries are piling up for Pujols now. It's almost as if he's a 40 year old man who has been doing something to stay in good condition and then just stopped...I'm just sayin'...
Player of the Year never was really a contest and obviously belongs to Michael Beasley. The only real debate now seems to be between Beasley and last year's incredible freshman, Kevin Durant. The regular season numbers are close enough that the postseason will decide this argument. Durant's Horns lost in the Big 12 Championship to Kansas and were knocked out of the dance in the 2nd round. Can Beasley top that?
Coach of the Year: Rick Barnes. Everyone (including me) expected Kansas to win this conference. While many argue they did win a share of it, it's Barnes Horns who received the #1 seed in the tournament. Considering he lost the best player in the nation last year, the accolades are even more deserved.
Biggest Surprise: Baylor Bears. I picked the Cats to go 10-6, so I wasn't surprised by them at all. But the fact that the Baylor Bears are the 5 seed? Needing only a gimme win over Colorado to clinch their NCAA bid? Shocking, especially for someone who picked them to go 5-11.
Biggest Disappointment: Nebraska and Tech disappointed me, but nowhere close to the level that A&M did. To go from a Top 10 team to playing on Thursday for your NCAA life is the epitome of disappointment. Mark Turgeon won't get too many seasons like this before he's back in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Biggest Story: Maybe I'm chicken, but I'll take Bob Knight retiring. One of the greatest, most despised coaches of all time retiring outweighs a few kids (continually) making bad decisions...even if Athenagate lends itself to more humor.
Okay, enough of the past....on to the predictions:
Oklahoma State over Texas Tech- Two teams going opposite directions, Cowboys could give Texas problems in round 2.
Baylor over Colorado- Bears clinch an NCAA bid.
Missouri over Nebraska- Essentially a home game for the Tigers, setting up a very fun Friday night at the Sprint Center
A&M over Iowa State- Not sure this win gets the Aggies in, but I'm pretty sure a loss knocks them out.
Texas over OSU- I really wanted to pick OSU here, but on a neutral floor? With the Longhorns playing for a #1 seed? I don't see how.
Baylor over Oklahoma- This puts Oklahoma as the most likely Big 12 team to get bounced...I just don't like the way they've played lately.
Kansas over Missouri- Maybe the closest game of the day...Tigers come up just short.
A&M over Kansas State- I don't really like this pick, but I can't imagine we'll be lucky enough to get MU/KU one night and KSU/KU the next. Besides, A&M will have revenge on their mind.
Texas over Baylor- Playing on Thursday finally catches up to the Bears
Kansas over A&M- Ditto for the Aggies
Will the selection committee be watching? They should be, as the winner of this game should get a #1 seed. The first match up between these teams was close, but Texas squeaked one out at home. This will be a home game for the Jayhawks as they christen the new Allen Fieldhouse East. I don't see how Texas (or anyone else) could beat them there this year. As a consolation to all the Tiger and Wildcat fans, they get to hear the Jayhawks complain about receiving a 2 seed because the committee didn't wait for this game to end.
Kansas, Texas- #2 seeds
Baylor- #8 seed
A&M, Kansas State- #10 seed
Oklahoma- #12 seed
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I'm a big fan of Mike Maroth. I was saddened when the Tigers traded him to the Cardinals and he got released last October. Is there a good chance of him making the Royals' club?-- Luis C., Bristol, Tenn.
Maroth is a bit behind because of a stiff shoulder but, after pitching in a "B" game on Sunday, he's about ready for Cactus League action. He started out throwing softly on Sunday, but by the end of his outing his pitches were up around 85, 86 mph. That's just a couple of miles per hour shy of his normal speed. With Maroth, of course, everything is getting the pitches to work and hitting his spots as he did so well for years with the Tigers. The Royals already are impressed by his edgy determination and work ethic. Two other left-handers, John Bale and Jorge De La Rosa, are competing for the fifth slot in the rotation and Maroth has some catching up to do. He's agreed to start the season at Omaha if necessary and, with less than three weeks left in Spring Training, that's a possibility. Having a veteran like Maroth tuning up at Triple-A in case another starter is needed in a hurry would be a good option.
I'd have to agree it's looking like a long shot that Maroth breaks camp with the Royals, but the fact that he's agreed to start in AAA if needed is huge. He could be a great asset in May or June.
Monday, March 10, 2008
1. The "Joey Jumps Over a Car" bobblehead would be really awesome.
3. He had and OBP of .371 last year, best on the team
4. I hear he's bringing back the Brian McRae drag bunt
5. Otherwise, Ross "No need to" Gload is going to play 1st and bat 3rd
There are a lot more, but one major theory that I'd like to expand on. The Royals cannot afford power, as evidenced by the fact that we just "broke the bank" spending 12 million a year on a guy (Jose Guillen) that no one expects to hit more than 30 home runs in a year. Power has simply become too expensive, unless you develop it...which we may with Gordon and Butler. But the one thing we can still afford is speed, and that's what we should build this team on: Pitching, defense, and manufacturing runs. A lot of people say you can't win that way in the AL anymore, who's trying? Can we honestly try the same things the Yanks and Sox are with 1/3 the payroll and expect to compete? Absolutely not.
Even if you completely disagree with that theory, I'm not suggesting you give up power to play Gathright...Ross Gload would be the casualty. I like Gload, but as his nickname suggests, he's nothing special. He's a utility man...a pinch hitter...a defensive replacement...but an everyday first baseman batting 3rd? No way. Gload is an asset to the club, and I won't bad mouth him at all, but you can't build a good lineup with him as your 3 hitter. Can you say the same about Gathright at lead off? I don't know how you could. I know he has no pop...I know everyone hates how much he bunts...and he does dumb things sometimes...but he's inexperienced. Give him a full year in the lead off spot and watch how much better this offense is. Give him a full year in the outfield and watch how many times he makes web gems.
You see, Joey Gathright could be exciting. He could bunt his way on, steal second, move to third on a ground ball and score on a shallow fly ball. He can manufacture runs by himself. He can take away runs with his speed in the outfield. He's a raw talent with a ton of potential, which is exactly what this team is built around. It's the only reason for hope in Kansas City: potential. Let us hope Trey, at least for a while...start Joey Gathright.
June 1st- Cleveland Indians on a Sunday afternoon.
First 10,000 kids get a Build-A-Bear
Bob Evans Family and Friends Day
4 Outfield Plaza tickets
4 hot dogs
4 sodas 1 bag of Peanuts
That deal is absurd...
Friday, March 7, 2008
Who will win the conference? Texas
Who will earn the other byes? KU, KSU and Baylor
Will anyone play spoiler on the final day? I don't think so
One thing you don't have to wait until tomorrow for? The Week 8 Big 12 Power Poll...
1. Texas (25-5, 12-3) Just a home victory away from clinching the #1 seed in the Big 12 tourney. In my opinion, just 4 wins away from a #1 seed in the Big Dance.
2. Kansas (27-3, 12-3) Still needing help, likely not going to get it. I guess they can call themselves co champs, whatever that is worth.
3. Kansas State (19-10, 9-6) The slide finally ended against Colorado...now that Cats need a win over lowly Iowa State to (in my opinion) clinch a birth in the tourney.
4. Texas A&M (22-8, 8-7) Who would have guess the Aggies would need a win over Kansas just to finish over .500 in conference? Can the Aggies get in the dance with an 8-8 conference record?
5. Baylor (20-9, 8-7) Surprise of the year in the conference needs a road win at Tech to solidify tourney hopes...and maybe one win in Kansas City to seal them. Scott Drew is at least a finalist for Coach of the Year.
6. Oklahoma (20-10, 8-7) Huge win over OSU kept their tourney hopes alive. Surely they'll handle Mizzou at home...right?
7. Oklahoma State (16-13, 7-8) Cowboys run has ended...but I doubt anyone wants to play them in Kansas City. Did Sutton do enough to save his job?
8. Texas Tech (16-13, 7-8) I challenge anyone to show me a more astonishing week than: 98-54 loss at A&M, 83-80 win vs Texas, 109-51 loss at Kansas...incredible.
9. Nebraska (17-11, 6-9) I predicted Sadler as the Coach of the Year...he may have went the other way. No way this team shouldn't still be in the hunt for the dance. Why aren't they? Start with a 55-51 loss to Colorado. Losing three out of four to Mizzou and Iowa State didn't help anything either.
10. Missouri (16-14, 6-9) Pretty much right where we all (except for the most optimistic of Tiger fans) expected them. Anderson brings in a lot of fresh meat next season and they need to be improved very quickly. It's the Show Me State and Anderson needs to show something next season.
11. Iowa State (14-16, 4-11) Cyclones have lost 10 of 12 since starting the season 2-1. McDermott may be right behind Sadler and Anderson on the hot seat next year...which seemed unfathomable when he was hired.
12. Colorado (11-18, 3-12) Terrible season from a terrible team. They won one more game than I expected, and still have one left. As much as I disliked Ricardo Patton, he may have been the only thing keeping this program afloat.
Next week I'll present the year end awards, project the Big 12 tourney and analyze how terrible my preseason picks were. For now, I'll tell you the finalists...
Player of the Year
Coach of the Year
Bob Knight retires
K-State end the streak
Athenagate at Mizzou
Baylor gets a bye
Think I forgot a category, or a nominee? Let me know in the comments...
Kansas - #1 seed
Texas- #2 seed
K- State- #7 seed
Baylor- #9 seed
Oklahoma- #10 seed
A&M- #12 seed
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Case in point: My photobloggrapher was recently trying to pick out her favorite Royal for this season. My favorite being Alex, she was trying to avoid him...and I fed her favorable information about several others, really not wanting to share him. Besides, everyone loves Alex, she should be more original. She tried...she failed.
It's just damn near impossible not to love the kid...Frank White loves him...George Brett loves him...the Kool Aid Drinker loves him...hell, Tony Muser may even love him (assuming he drinks Tequila). As a special tribute, an article I wrote back in 2005 when Alex was drafted...more of a letter than an article, but it still holds true:
Growing up a Royals fan I’m sure you have a general idea about what I’m getting ready to tell you. We need you Alex, and we need you to be great. Kansas City can be a great baseball town again, hardly anyone disputes that. What Kansas City needs, however, is a reason to believe. Tony Pena came close for four months in 2003; crowds started getting bigger, season ticket sales increased, and then poof! Like most smoke and mirrors tricks, Pena’s didn’t last long and in 2004 the Royals found themselves at the lowest point in franchise history. But this isn’t just about disappointments on the field. From trading away superstar talents, to draft picks busting like piñatas on Cinco De Mayo, virtually everything that could go wrong for Royals fans in the last 10 years, has gone wrong. We really need you to be different….soon.
The anticipation surrounding your development will rival that of Zack Greinke’s. When you say in interviews that you were a George Brett fan, when you talk about being excited to play for the Royals, we want it to be real. There have been too many people talking over the last 10 years about getting out of Kansas City. There have been too many free agents and tradees that have come in with a less than excited attitude about playing for the Royals. We need your excitement for our egos. Nobody wants to believe that Kansas City is too small a market to succeed. No one wants to think about the players counting down the days to their free agency, or premature departure to “play for a winner”.
Most importantly, no one wants to think about Juan Lebron(1995), Dee Brown(1996), Dan Reichert(1997), Jeff Austin(1998), Mike Stodolka(2000), Colt Griffin(2001), or Roscoe Crosby(2001) anymore. With our current phenom Zack Greinke struggling to keep his ERA below five, it’s hard to get excited about any of our prospects….but you can change that, and you can start by signing soon. The last thing we need is to hear about our owner being cheap in negotiations, or our future star being stubborn and playing hard ball. If you’re really excited about coming to the Royals, take the $3 million we’re going to offer you and get to A ball this summer. By next spring you’ll be in AA or AAA and by this time next year there will be fans clamoring about when your first start will be.
You see, it’s no fun to play in Kansas City when the fans aren’t excited. You’ve heard that Missouri is the Show Me State? Well, judging strictly by the baseball fans, that phrase must have originated on the west side of the state. Kansas City doesn’t have to have a dominant team like they did in the late 70s and early 80s, but they need good players to get attached to, and at least a glimmer of hope that a division title may be within reach. By the time you get here prospects like David DeJesus, Mark Teahan, Billy Butler, and Greinke should have already laid the foundation for a youth movement that should reach it’s peak when you arrive.
But you’ll be the icing on the cake. Fans will drive down from Nebraska just to watch you play. Kansas City fans will instantly fall in love with your George Brett like swing. The last piece of the puzzle, you will be. The most important puzzle in Kansas City sports history. It may seem like I’m overstating it a bit, but if this youth movement fails and Royals fans are faced with 4-5 more years of last place finishes, and underachieving prospects baseball may die in Kansas City.
Your coach at Nebraska was quoted as saying that you had “it”. Well we’re going to find out, because having it is the only way that you could possibly make the kind of impact that the Royals need from you. Think George Brett, with the added obstacles of payroll disparity, an absentee owner, and 10 years of previous losing. Okay, now I am overstating it.
Finally, Alex, welcome to Kansas City. I’m sure you’ll have a news conference here when you sign, and they’ll probably even have you at a ballgame this summer. That’s probably when you’ll figure it out. Chances are the game you attend will at best have 20,000 fans, and they probably won’t have much to cheer about….until they introduce you. Chances are even better that when you here your name called the next sound you hear will be the loudest cheer you’ve heard all night. Get used to it, because if you’re what we all think you are it won’t be the last game where the cheers are the loudest for you.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Has a team ever put up 109 with a lower high scorer than last night? The Jayhawks put up 109 on a hapless Texas Tech team, with Russell Robinson leading the way with 15 points. To me, that's incredible. What's more amazing? That Tech beat Texas on Saturday in the middle of a 44 point loss to A&M and a 58 point loss to Kansas. Regardless, Tech's season is done and the Jayhawks are still in the hunt for a #1 seed.
Joey Gathright had 3 stolen bases yesterday...John Bale threw three scoreless innings...and the Royals won. Bale has thrown a couple of early haymakers at De la Rosa in the battle for the lefty starting job. I'm just wondering if Mike Maroth is ever going to step into the ring. Gathright is doing exactly what I'd hoped he would, making it hard for the Royals to bench him. Seems to me that the odds of Teahan moving to first and Gathright moving to the outfield get better everyday...we can hope.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
1. Luke Hochevar threw 2 more scoreless innings today; meaning his Spring Training stats look like this: 4 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 BB, 2 Ks. Again it's really early, but Trey Hillman said Hochevar would have to out-pitch a lot of his teammates to make the team...he's doing it so far. Is it better to have Hochevar in the rotation or the pen? Ideally I'd say the bullpen, and that answer has nothing to do with Luke at all. For him to make the rotation, a lot of guys are going to have to have a bad spring. I think it would be a lot better sign for the team if Hochevar pitches well enough to break camp with the club, but has to start in the pen because the guys they expect to start earn their spots.
2. DeJesus, Teahan, Gordon, and Butler are all hitting. These four guys all need to have better seasons than they did last year. They could all benefit from a confidence boost early in the year as well (although I think Butler's confidence will be fine regardless). I said at the beginning of the year that I wanted to see Butler and Gordon in the middle of the lineup, as long as they keep hitting the ball they may be. Just wait until Jose Guillen joins these guys in the lineup...
3. Speaking of Guillen, a recent article in Sports Illustrated that those listed in the Mitchell Report may get a fresh start, without punishment from Commissioner Bud Selig. Guillen's suspension is currently being appealed and this could be huge for the Royals. Those first 12 games (almost all against expected playoff contenders) would seem much less daunting with Guillen in the lineup.
Sure, the naysayers will tell you about Joakim Soria and Zack Greinke getting bombed in their first appearances...or about the atrocious infield defense...I'll leave those downers, and others, to them. To me, that's not what spring is about; Spring is about believing that Jose Guillen is worth $36 million. That not only can Meche, Bannister, and Soria repeat last year's success...but that they can improve upon it. That Billy Butler can learn to play 1st base. That Alex Gordon is the next George Brett. That if Trey Hillman can manage a team to a Japanese World Series, he can do the same here. Finally, and most importantly, that the misery is over...No more 100 loss seasons, no more out of contention by May, no more bad trades and worse drafts... Yeah, that's what Spring is about to the Kool Aid Drinker.