Preview: Rob's Royals Ramblings
Rob's Royals Ramblings
General thoughts about the Royals and anything else
Well another baseball season is just around the corner
It only took until May last season before I no longer felt compelled to speak about the Royals, so let's see how long it takes this season.
If nothing else, the offseason has been busy for the Royals. Opinions are mixed about the Gil Meche signing, but I'm at least glad to see Glass and company giving Dayton Moore the chance to change this team to his liking. This signing could be the signature contract for Dayton, so I hope it turns out for the best.
I believe this upcoming season is the final year of Mike Sweeney's contract. Will this be the year that he finally stays healthy and shows everyone why he got that contract in the first place? And if he does, will he be gone by the trading deadline? My gut reaction is that Mike will be traded, if he's healthy.
Octavio Dotel. He's been an excellent setup man in the past, but correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think he's ever been an outstanding closer. Guess I should put in some research time on that, before I comment more...
Does Dougie Baseball understand now?
Welcome to Royals baseball purgatory, Dougie Baseball! Now do you understand why the fans were booing from the start this season?
This isn't a fluke thing happening here, Dougie, it's been this way for a long, long time now.
Still feel like telling the fans that they don't have the right to boo? If so, you should damn sure shut your mouth right now as well.
You've been in this quagmire for what? Two or three full months counting spring training? Now you know how the fans of the Royals, what few of them are left, feel about the players, coaches, front office and ownership.
But you know what, Dougie? You're getting compensated for being on this team and you won't have to be here long. It's not like you won't just go on to another team once your contract is up.
Royals fans, real Royals fans, don't have that luxury. We live and die a little bit with win and loss. Lately we've been dying more than living.
And it sucks, to be sure, Dougie.
At least you're not paying to watch this team of castoffs.
Barry Bonds Ties Ruth
One of the most revered numbers in baseball history has another name connected with it today and that name is Barry Bonds.
I'm not going to get into the "did he or didn't he" debate that has been swirling around him for the past months, but rather I'm going to look at it like this.
He's only the third man in the history of major league baseball to have that homerun number beside his name and that's really impressive.
Will we ever really know if Barry took steroids knowingly? I guess only time will tell, but I can tell you this much. On May 20th, 2006 the baseball world saw a little piece of history.
And the names Bonds, Ruth and Aaron will be inextricably linked forever.
Now, can Barry keep going and get to 756?
THAT is the question now!
It's been a couple weeks
Well, David Glass? Where are the sweeping changes that you talked about the past few weeks?
I guess it doesn't really matter at this point though, does it Mr. Glass? It's obvious that you don't really care how this team performs on the field or in the standings, only in the bottom line and as long as you have the luxury tax revenue to line your pockets, you're more than content to let the losing go on in Kansas City.
I remember being excited when the Royals got a new owner a few years back. I remember thinking that finally we'll have a direction to go now, rather than the directionless decisions that were made by the committee that ran the Royals between the time the Kauffman's died and when you were sold the Royals.
Unfortunately, I forgot that you were one of those committee members, Mr. Glass, and the direction this team took is one straight down into the ground.
And now, the Royals are nothing more than a punchline on Leno or Letterman and let's not even discuss ESPN's snide comments when even discussed at all.
And it's all thanks to you, David Glass.
Well, to be fair, it's also the blame of your son Dan Glass as well. Afterall, the jewelry tycoon must be able to run a professional baseball franchise, right David?
Thanks for nothing, David Glass. Why don't you go back to Bentonville...oh wait, that's right, you're probably still there aren't you.
Meanwhile, the Royals are the laughingstock of professional sports.
Don't go back to Bentonville, David Glass.
Go to hell!
April's finally over
And just in time for the Royals too. Yeesh, what a horrible start to the season. It's likely that the Royals will lose 100 games for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
Let's take a look at the gory offensive numbers so far on the season
Runs - 14th (last) in AL with 83 - next closest Minnesota 97
OBP - 13th in AL with .303 - next closest Minnesota .311
SLG - 13th in AL with .378 - next closest Seattle .389
AVG - 13th in AL with .244 - next closest Tampa Bay .247
Total Bases - 14th (last) in AL with 273 - next closest Minnesota 296
Add that together with the horrific pitching that's been done and you have the recipe for a 5-17 month of April.
Let's hope May isn't more of the same!
Something positive for a change!
Well, I think we saw a little of what Allard envisioned from Jeremy Affeldt today. His tempo was good, he kept the ball down for the most part and he worked ahead in the count. That's two consecutive nice starts for the southpaw, and while I gripe about him when he does bad, that just means that I should give credit when he does well. Nice job today, Jeremy. Please keep it up!
Johnny Buck (who is my favorite current Royal) is looking more and more like a frontline catcher in the majors. I'm sure his power will come, but he's more of a line drive hitter, so he might not hit much more than 15-18 homers per year. Add that to a .250-.260 average and hopefully 60-70 rbi's? I'd take that in a heartbeat. We haven't seen those numbers (which I believe would have him in the top ten of catchers the past couple seasons) since the days of Mike Macfarlane or Darrell Porter.
Angel Berroa continues to make the spectacular plays look routine. Another sparking double play today after last night's effort shows all the Royals fans why Allard and the Royals signed him to that extension a couple years ago.
Two out of three is a good start to the homestand. And after that winless roadtrip, it's a fantastic start. Hopefully, the boys got their really bad play (and luck when you consider all the injuries) out of the way early.
Okay, enough positive stuff for the day...it's just not natural for me!
I was at the game last night and while it was nice to see the Royals win for a change, I've got something I need to get off my chest.
I understand that people like to have a good time at the ballpark, but for crying out loud, do you have to shout out profanities to do it?
Maybe it was the fact that it was buck night that brought out some rude people (beer induced maybe?), but I cringed every time I heard the bs, mf or f words being bandied about.
I didn't even see an usher around to talk to about this and that's what's really annoying. So, I let them know that I didn't appreciate their vulgarity and tried to tune them out the rest of the night.
This is why I don't care to come to the park on buck nights. And I wouldn't have this time except my partial season tickets fell on it this day.
At least the Royals won!
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse
Well, if you're a Royals fan, you instinctively know that it can and will get worse, which is exactly the way this road trip unfolded.
9 consecutive losses on the road, 10 in a row overall. That's just ridiculous for a major league team.
I know, I know, the Royals aren't a major league team. Right now, I don't see how the players and coaches can even want to come back home after this road trip. Think about it for a second. Royals Nation was booing Mike Sweeney and his check swings before the first loss was official, so do you think the response will be cordial this Friday evening at Kauffman?
It's going to be brutal and rightly so. That is, assuming that anyone bothers to show up for the game besides the Royals, Indians, umpires, broad casters and stadium personnel.
What a statement that would send to David, Dan and Allard if nobody showed up AT ALL for the first game back after a winless road trip!
The thing is, I don't think it would even register in their pea-brains.
Same Old, Same Old
Well, it's 10 games into the 2006 season (otherwise known as Royals purgatory for the remaining KC fanbase) and the boys in blue are looking for another record-breaking season.
Unfortunately, it's looking like another franchise shattering record for losses at their current pace, maybe even a major league record if things don't turn around very quickly.
Who's going to lead them? Buddy Bell? HA! That's a laugh.
Right now, what's left of the Royals fans are seeing an exact duplicate of Tony Pena in Buddy Bell, as far as managerial brains are concerned.
Of course, you're only as good as the players you have, so thanks to Allard Baird and David Glass, Buddy's really behind the 8-ball, given his lack of ability to manage a game with any foresight whatsoever.
Mr. Bell had a career .422 winning percentage as a manager coming into the 2006 season. And so far this year, it's gone down even further after a scintillating 2-8 start that threatens to doom the Royals to their 11th losing season in the last 14.
It's obvious to any Royals fan that Allard Baird, David Glass, and Dan Glass hired the least expensive manager that was available.
How budget conscious of the Royals. After all, they are rolling back prices everyday! ****extreme sarcasm****
As a lifelong Royals fan, I have finally hit my limit with the amount of ridiculously inept and downright stupid decisions made by the front office and managerial staff of this organization.
When the Royals hired Buddy Bell, I was stupefied. I couldn't believe that they hired the worst possible manager for the job, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense.
Especially if they are trying to get the Royals to be contracted after the current deal runs out.
Negative By Nature
Well, the debacle that was the Yankees series is now complete. Leave it to the Royals to completely demoralize their fan base with a completely, utterly worthless effort in the Bronx.
I know, why do anything different in New York than they do in KC, right?
Well, on paper it would seem that their next opponent should give the Royals a chance to win, but we saw what "on paper" meant in 2004 didn't we?
I like Tampa's young core, but they're hamstrung like the Royals. Poor scouting, poor management and a distinct reluctance to spend much money can really hamper a team.
It ought to be interesting to see if Scott Elarton can make a third straight strong start. If not, nobody here in Kansas City will be surprised.
This road trip has a distinct possibility of being an oh-for.
Imagine that, the Royals 2-12 and 10 or so games out by the middle of April. Wouldn't that be fun?
I can't wait to see what the fans do when the blue boys come back after this road trip! If the players thought the fans were brutal before, they better be wearing earplugs if this road trip doesn't turn around quickly.
The matchup between the Royals and Yankees used to be the marquee matchup of the American League.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone and lately the only headlines involving the Royals aren't very complimentary. Nor should they be. This team has lost 486 games over the past five seasons (489 counting this year's losses coming into today's game) and averaging 98 losses per season.
Add today's loss to the Yankees in the Bronx to that list.
Joe Mays, pitching more like Charlie Brown, couldn't even get out of the 3rd inning in the Yankees home opener.
But, still the Royals managed to battle back and take a 7-4 lead into the 8th inning behind the relief pitching of Mike Wood and Elmer Dessens, who to this point in the young season has arguably been the Royals best offseason acquisition.
This is where the Royals managerial prowess is called into question by a lot of people.
Instead of leaving Dessens, who's only thrown 19 pitches in his 2 innings of work, in to pitch the 8th inning, Buddy Bell calls in the large lefty, Andrew Sisco.
Most baseball people would tell you it was the right move bringing in the southpaw to face Giambi, Matsui, and Posada. Two lefties and a switch-hitter. Heck, the next three were Cano, Williams and Damon, also two lefties and a switch-hitter.
It's called playing the percentages and Buddy Bell got burned because Andrew Sisco, after looking like a veteran southpaw most of last season, is looking like a rushed rule 5 guy this season.
Myself, I don't have a problem with bringing in a lefty at that point, but with Sisco's struggles so far, I would have liked to see Gobble come in instead. Maybe it would have played out the same way, but there's no way to know. Maybe Gobble shuts them down 1-2-3 in the 8th (hey, it's a hypothetical situation, it COULD happen!).
That obviously didn't happen, but the coup de grace was Ambiorix Burgos' meat pitch to Captain Yankee, Derek Jeter.
Say so long to your lil friend, Ambiorix, and also say so long to the Royals lead.
The Royals streak continues in the Bronx.
1. Resiliency of the Royals - Once they got down early, against the Yanks on opening day, it would have been really easy to just lay down. This team didn't and as a Royals fan, you have to like that. A lot!
2. Angel Berroa - Another solid day at bat and a good day in the field. Hopefully he keeps playing like this.
3. Elmer Dessens - Yet another outstanding performance from the journeyman hurler. Obviously this stretch of excellence probably won't last the season, but you take advantage of it while it does, Buddy!
4. Reggie Sanders - 6 games, 2 homers, 7 rbi's. Finally, we've got some legit protection behind Sweeney.
1. Joe Mays - He's had two starts and hasn't made it a complete 5 innings yet. His status in the rotation is shaky if Runelvys can get back to speed in the minors.
2. Buddy Bell - A manager has to know when to trust his gut and when to play the percentages. His overall record of 388-531 coming into the season doesn't give me much hope that he'll become the next Whitey Herzog or Dick Howser.
3. Mike Sweeney - The captain takes another horse collar and also gets plunked in the 9th, forcing him from the game. Mike's slow start isn't unusual, but we're just waiting for his annual trip to the DL.
Luke Hudson - April 8 vs Chicago
As I was watching this game, I realized that sometimes the results in the boxscore don't really match what happened in the game.
Just check out Luke Hudson's line in yesterday's game against Chicago.
1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Most of the time, you'd think that the pitcher in question was throwing the ball pretty good, right? Me too, except this time we'd be wrong.
AJ Pierzynski, who looked absolutely foolish against Denny Bautista, rips the second pitch from Hudson into right, giving the Sox only their second hit on the day.
Next up is Joe Crede. After falling behind 1-2, he lashes a drive to right center that Reggie Sanders is able to run down for the first out, primarily because it is slicing back towards him.
Rob Mackowiak is the next batter and he just turns on the first pitch from Hudson, nearly taking Doug Mientkiewicz's glove off, but luckily for KC, Grudzielanek is backing him up and is able to make the play as Dougie scrambles back to first in time for the throw. Pierzynski, meanwhile, makes it into scoring position at second base.
So, now it's two outs, man in scoring position for Juan Uribe. On the 1-1 pitch, Uribe launches a ball to deep left center that Shane Costa is able to run under only because the wind blowing in from left kept the ball in the park. Any other day, that ball is over the fountains, because that thing was mashed.
Sure, Hudson did get the job done in this case, but as you can see it could have been much different if it wasn't a very windy afternoon at the K.
Was it the breath of the baseball gods? Could the Royals finally be starting to get some breaks for them rather than seemingly always against them?
Nah, it was just a windy day, but I'm sure all of us Royals fans and the Royals will certainly take whatever help we can get at this point! :)
Curiousity got the better of me today.
After watching last night's stirring comeback by the Royals, I started thinking about the worst teams in baseball history. My criteria to be included in the "worst of the worst" was this: Either the team lost over 100 games or their winning percentage was .333 or lower.My way of thinking about a 162 game season is this. You'll most likely win 54, and lose 54, so that means the other 54 is where you really make your season, which coincidentally enough, matches up with the .333 winning percentage criteria!Most people think that the 1962 New York Mets (40-120 .250 60.5 games behind San Francisco) were the worst team in history, well that's not entirely true. At least, not if you go entirely by winning percentage. In my research(thanks baseball-reference.com) I found a couple teams since the 1901 season that could certainly lay claim to the worst of all time.The 1916 Philadelphia Athletics were a horrific 36-117 for a .235 winning percentage while finishing 54.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox.The 1935 Boston Braves were 38-115 for a .248 winning percentage while finishing 61.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs.Let's take a look at some corresponding categories, shall we?Runs per game1935 - Lge Avg - 4.71Boston's - 3.76 Sc0red - ranked last 5.57 Allowed - ranked last1916 - Lge Avg - 3.68Philly's - 2.90 Scored - ranked last 5.04 Allowed - ranked last1962 - Lge Avg - 4.48NY's - 3.83 Scored - ranked next to last 5.89 Allowed - ranked lastError/Fielding Pct1935 - Boston 197 total errors - Fielding PCT .967 - ranked third to lastTop Fielding team in 1935 - St Louis 163 total errors - .972 Fielding PCT1916 - Philly 312 total errors - Fielding PCT .952 - ranked lastTop Fielding team in 1916 - Boston 183 total errors - .972 Fielding PCT1962 - NY 210 total errors - Fielding PCT .967 - ranked lastTop Fielding team in 1962 - Milwaukee 123 total errors - .980 Fielding PCTWhat does this prove? Not much. While the Mets lay claim to having the most losses in history, I think there's at least two other teams that can certainly contend for the crown of "worst" team in major league baseball history.The list of worst teams ever (since 1901 & using AL, NL and Federal League info):1903 NL St Louis 43-94 .3141903 AL Washington 43-94 .3141904 AL Washington 38-113 .2521905 NL Boston 51-103 .3311905 NL Brooklyn 48-104 .3161906 AL Boston 49-105 .3181906 NL Boston 49-102 .3251907 AL Washington 49-102 .3251908 AL New York 51-103 .3311908 NL St Louis 49-105 .3181909 AL Washington 42-110 .2761909 NL Boston 45-108 .2941910 AL St Louis 47-107 .3051911 AL St Louis 45-107 .2961911 NL Boston 44-107 .2911912 AL New York 50-101 .3291914 AL Cleveland 51-102 .3331915 AL Philadelphia 43-109 .2891915 FL Baltimore 47-107 .3051916 AL Philadelphia 36-117 .2351917 NL Pittsburgh 51-103 .3311919 AL Philadelphia 36-104 .2571920 AL Philadelphia 48-106 .3121921 NL Philadelphia 51-103 .3311923 NL Philadelphia 50-104 .3251925 AL Boston 47-105 .3091926 AL Boston 46-107 .3011927 AL Boston 51-103 .3311927 NL Philadelphia 51-103 .3311928 NL Boston 50-103 .3271928 NL Philadelphia 43-109 .2831932 AL Chicago 49-102 .3251932 AL Boston 43-111 .2791935 NL Boston 38-115 .2481937 AL St Louis 46-108 .2991938 NL Philadelphia 45-105 .3001939 AL St Louis 43-111 .2791939 NL Philadelphia 45-106 .2981940 NL Philadelphia 50-103 .3271941 NL Philadelphia 43-111 .2791942 NL Philadelphia 42-109 .2781943 AL Philadelphia 49-105 .3181945 NL Philadelphia 46-108 .2991946 AL Philadelphia 49-105 .3181949 AL Washington 50-104 .3251952 AL Detroit 50-104 .3251952 NL Pittsburgh 42-112 .2731953 NL Pittsburgh 50-104 .3251954 AL Baltimore 54-100 .3511954 AL Philadelphia 51-103 .3311954 NL Pittsburgh 53-101 .3441955 AL Washington 53-101 .3441956 AL Kansas City 52-102 .3381961 AL Washington 61[...]
Well, I plopped down in the old recliner tonight and turned on the Royals game via the Extra Innings package.
Boy was that a mistake! The White Sox scored 5 runs in the first off our "outstanding" southpaw Jeremy Affeldt. 4 hits and 2 walks in the first 6 batters was simply horrific, but I couldn't turn away. In many ways, it was like watching a car crash. You know you should turn away, but you just can't.
I mentioned on the Royals fan forum, but I'll reiterate it here. I wonder if Jeremy, Joe Mays, and Doug Mientkiewicz heard the raucous cheers from the Kauffman faithful after Affeldt's two strikeouts in the second inning? After all, they heard the boos that cascaded down previously.
It's now in the third inning but Affeldt's in trouble again....sigh. I think I'll go take a shower.
Well, they didn't lose today
Of course, they didn't play either, but hey, when you've seen nearly 400 losses in the past 4 seasons, you take what little victories you can get! :)
I've seen several quotes from various players about how the Royals fans should back off in their booing of Mike Sweeney in particular, and the Royals in general. Let's take a look at this phenomenon, shall we?
The Royals have managed one winning season in the past 10 seasons. In fact, the last time the Royals finished above .500 in consecutive seasons was 1993-94. To give you some perspective, George Brett was still playing in 1993 and 1994 was the strike shortened season where Hal McRae was canned after leading the Royals to a 14 game winning streak right before the strike hit.
So, Doug Mientkiewicz, Joe Mays and Jeremy Affeldt have taken it upon themselves to "protect" their teammates from the heartless and ruthless Royals fans that would dare boo such a hard-working and dedicated team.
Quoting Joe Mays from the Royals website, "The fans need to back off a little." Huh? You've been here five minutes and you're going to tell what's left of the Royals fanbase to keep quiet? Tell you what Joe, once you've been through the purgatory that is Kansas City baseball, then you can tell the Royals fans what to do. Until then? Keep your nicely paid mouth shut and try to do your job a little better than you did on Wednesday.
Quoting Doug Mientkiewicz from the KC Star website, "Getting on your own team sends a bad message around the league." Say what? It sends the message that the fans are sick and tired of the status quo. This ain't Boston or New York, Dougie. This team hasn't been winning consistently ever since the explosion of salaries in the 90's. Again, once you've had to endure what the Royals faithful has, you can tell us to shut up. For now, take your World Series ball and shove it.
And then, of course, there's Jeremy Affeldt's quote from the Royals website, "Booing is not going to help." Jeremy, you would certainly know that booing doesn't help since you've gotten your share of boos from the crowds at Kauffman the past few seasons. But if you're so concerned with what sound is coming from the fans, then you obviously can't keep your focus on the field. But that's no surprise to anyone that's seen you pitch. Tell ya what, lefty, why don't you try to actually earn your money for a change?
Harsh? Maybe. Honest? Definitely. The time has come for Royals fans to be a little meaner, a little rougher and a little more demanding. Afterall, the Royals used to be the model expansion franchise. Now, they look more like a model contraction franchise.
April 5, 2006 : Royals 2006 - Zero and Two
Well, it's only two games into the 2006 season and it's already looking bleak for the boys in blue. While the home opener was a good game in defeat, it didn't take long for the Royals to show how ugly this season has the possibility to become.
8 home runs allowed in two games. EIGHT! That's on pace to surrender an astounding 648 homers this season. Obviously that won't happen, but it's disturbing to see the balls flying out of Kauffman Stadium at that rate anytime, let alone right out of the gate.
I'll admit to being one of the many people at Kauffman that booed Mike Sweeney in the opener. After much thought and reading many others same and dissenting opinions on the matter, I've come to the conclusion that I'd do it again. There's not many ways that fans can let the players, coaches and front office know how they're doing. Cheering, booing, coming to the games and staying away are pretty much it. As a Royals fan that's watched the putridity (is that a word? who knows!) that's come out of the Heartland the past few years, I think that the boos were more of a culmination of frustration at Mike and the team. Should Mike have gotten booed? Depends on who you ask, but obviously I don't have a problem with it.
I see that Angel Berroa is continuing to keep his head in the clouds as he booted his first ball of the year, but that's not what concerns me about him. The fact that he got picked off again today (how many times has he gotten picked off the past 3 years anyway?) is what's rubbing me the wrong way. Is it that hard to keep your head in the game? Apparently it is for Mr. Berroa. What's even worse is that no one on the Royals even tries to make him accountable for his screwups.
While I'm very skeptical about how the Royals will do, there's nothing I can do about it. Except cheer for them, boo them when necessary, go to my 20+ allotted games or maybe skip a few if they continue down the three digit loss road that they've managed to do 3 of the past 4 seasons.
All I can say is GO ROYALS!!!