2009-04-07T10:57:29.797-05:00It seems strange to me to realize that, after a couple of years of inactivity, there's actually been an increase in the number of people that both link to and visit your humble editor here at Royal Blues. I'm not sure what to make of that.
2009-04-06T16:54:06.871-05:00I am updating this blog.
2007-03-03T01:57:29.500-06:00I've been waiting 2 ½ years to finally be able to draft people for my baseball team.
2006-10-28T00:42:25.503-05:00That's enough to make you puke. Plus some.
2005-12-08T18:46:21.266-06:00I deserted you with an abrupt lack of posting about the Royals season that I, you know, wasn't really even talking about anymore. That much was ok (did anybody even notice?). But leaving you without a conclusion to my adult baseball league team's season...now, that just wasn't right.
2005-07-30T01:29:44.116-05:00I owe you an update.yes: all three of you. you are getting the sad remnants of my grand idea of keeping track of my adult baseball league team. honestly, between you and me, the 'lil lady kind of kills my online time once I get home and -- wait, you laughing at me? -- anyway, honestly, I kind of forget what I've done from game to game (it's all pretty similar, for the most part). and, seeing as how just about every game seems very similar, stats aren't my strong point at this point. yeah, it's sad to say – I mean, if I was single and lonely, I'd probably update this shit and sort it like there's no tomorrow...and have all kinds of stupid numbers for your consumption – but that ain't the shit you're getting here, so...here are the latest updates (from what I've written down / remember):game 10: Them 10, Us 4 (6-4)game 11: Us 12, Them 5 (7-4)game 12: Them 16, Us 6 (7-5)game 13: Us 11, Them 1 (8-5)game 14: Them 11, Us 1 (8-6)game 15: Us 5, Them 2 (9-6)game 16: Us 7, Them 6 (10-6)game 17: Them 12, Us 2 (10-7)game 18: Them 11, Us 9 (10-8)game 19: Them 6, Us 2 (10-9)game 20: Us 1, Them 0 (11-9)game 21: Them 12, Us 2 (11-10)game 22: Them 16, Us 3 (11-11)game 23: Us 8, Them 6 (12-11)we've made the playoffs, as either a #3, 4, 5, or 6 team. strangely, it's all still up for grabs. honestly, by some dumb fuckin' twist of fate, we could still end up #2 as well (which we were all season until we decided to play all of our rain-out games against -- instead of the worst team in the league (which our rainouts were against) -- the TOP FUCKIN' TEAMS in the upper division instead (managers' fuckin mistake there)). when i am manager, there is not a chance we will play teams on a hot streak and WAY ABOVE OUR FUCKIN' HEADS. tards.somewhere in there we beat an elite division team (two divisions up from us – the top division in the KC area), schooled another upper division team, and got run-ruled (losing by 10 or more after 5 innings) against some scrubby teams from our own lowly division. this team frustrates me: we can, apparently, hit well enough to make the other teams make errors and give us runs, but, when we don't, it's shitsville city on the bench. as in: the guys that strike out the most make a concerted effort to go up and down the bench and rip into our shit about how we need to get the bats going and score some runs off of the "shitty" pitcher that we're inevitably facing whenever we can't hit or score runs. never fails.on the plus side, I've moved up to leadoff batter for pretty much every game. that part rules.honestly: every game I start, (which is now 8-9 out of every 10) I bat first. again, this is awesome. too bad I'll be moving to a completely different city in about 6 weeks. that, plus the fact that I wouldn't possibly play for this team again, dooms me to having to prove myself all over again. except I'm totally going to run my own team next year, so, there. take that.I'm sure glad I don't have to put myself back in the draft pool next year...though, after last weekend at the Show-Me-State Games, I'd think about it. more on that in a later entry..in this particular league (or, on this particular team, anyway), hitting the ball is considered the ultimate accomplishment. I think. long gone are the days I would possibly take a walk (billy beane, sabr guys, turn away – I want at-bats, goddammit..) the only time I purposely take a strike is on 3-0 (some habits you just can't break). otherwise, I just don't swing at balls. which means I swing at the first pitch on probably about 40% of my at-bats, barring the lead-off at-bats I get pretty much every game these days. honestly (and I am not exaggerating a bit), I can't remember the last lead-off at-bat I've had that didn't result in a full count (I tend to foul off a lot of pitches after strike 1) and, of all the times I've led off a game, I've only struck out once on a bullshit generous strike-zone call. again, *[...]
2005-07-17T18:16:23.673-05:00mlb.com approved video (click on 56 or 350k link)
2005-07-15T15:23:11.290-05:00heya kids. no quicker way to kill your recondite little site than to not post for a month. um…I've been busy.no, really. work has taken on epic proportions of new crap to do, and I've been a witness (and unwilling participant) in playing a lot of an uncoordinated, derelict style of baseball, and I'm usually just too damn exhausted to post anything worth anything when I finally get home. plus, the royals suck. or, here, let me make a new post for google to point to for the most common search engine term people reach me by:THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS SUCKthere. though you don't really need me to tell you why, so I'm not sure what, exactly, people are looking for with that kind of search. but they do suck. my baseball team has scraped out a few more wins, and sustained some of the most embarrassing spectacles I have ever been a part of. it's a little shaming to even wear the uniform around the complex when other teams are playing sometimes. well, let me give you an example…the "all-stars" for this team:1. pregnant man2. he who cannot play outfield3. the guy who doesn't play unless he pitches, and he can't pitch4. random guy who gets injured every other gameI think we picked our "all-stars" based on whoever the lady who runs the team could reach with a phone call, but it was still all the old-time players who have been with the team for a while…and who, coincidentally, are the exact reason this team will never, ever win against a team who knows better than to field their positions with oven mitts. honestly: if we play a team that knows enough to face the right direction in the field, we lose. our pitchers throw sequences like this pretty much every time:1. ball (over the batter's head)2. ball (wild pitch in the dirt)3. ball (wild pitch in the dirt)4. borderline strike5. ball (wild pitch over the batter's head)every other batter walks, and every walk turns into a run before the next batter even swings the bat. it's ridiculous. denny matthews always talks about the fact that you can't expect your defense to be on its toes at all times when your pitcher can't throw strikes, and it's completely true. I mean, I really pride myself in the fact that I'm able to concentrate and focus pretty well on every pitch, but if 90% of the pitches aren't even hittable, and 95% of the batters aren't good enough to drive the ball to left field, it's hard to maintain focus. yet, when you draw left field duty, with either the sun or the short 20-foot high lights beaming in your face, no one seems to realize that fielding one ball every 2-3 games (without any practice whatsoever) doesn't lead to highly effective outfield defense.oh yeah, tonight – instead of making up our two rain-out games against the absolute worst team in our division (and we're in the bottom of the 3 divisions) – we have instead rescheduled with a team in the elite division. fuckin brilliant. I hope we liked being in distant 2nd place for one day, because we're gonna be ran out of our two games tonight in probably about an hour. for both games. other teams schedule rainouts against teams that are winless. we take on elite division teams that will smoke us twice before it even gets dark outside. I would not play for this team next year…even if I wasn't moving in like a month. in fact, I'm totally coaching my own team next year. "Moneyballs", here we come!Two games tonight, and one game tomorrow morning at 9:30. In honor of 1/3 of my teammates showing up pre-drunk to our last game, I'm returning the favor tonight. I've learned my lesson about playing when I'm hung over; might as well play before that shit happens. hope they have the dugouts stocked with air sickness bags, because I already feel a little coming on..So, here's to a night full of first-ball swinging (and missing)! Hope nobody can actually throw a curveball..Tipsily,Joe Blow[...]
2005-06-18T00:22:54.490-05:00June 16, 2005Royal Rethink (6/16)A look back at the Royals -- through their own wordsnote: this post originally appeared on BrownBullfrog.com..And, that brings me to a little site note before we get to the post...I don't actually know much about the Brown Bullfrog site, though it seems promising. All I know is I've been invited to participate, and that ain't bad. One part of me feels like there should be some kind of exclusive content either here or there...though, at this point, I'm not exactly sure where it would show up. Rest assured that there will be plenty of links between the two – and, uh, why not visit the BrownBullfrog site while you're at it? Go!In the meantime, here's my first post over there (in case you were wondering why the last post was a little generic...well, that *was* going to be my first post over there, but I decided it wasn't very good, and, uhhh...well, I spent so much time writing it that I felt like it should be posted somewhere, heh..)on to the Royals quotes: "I'm throwing strikes, but I'm also not throwing strikes."Zack Greinke, on his recent pitching struggles.Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about the Royals this year – aside from a horrific, season-piercing start, an oft-injured superstar, and a painfully low place among baseball's "have-nots" (among other things) – has been the rapid deterioration of the sparkling gloss Zack Greinke came packaged in. Oh, sure, things like an inordinate amount of home runs given up last year, a sub-par spring, and a few shaky outings here and there had caused a couple of rough patches to appear on the exterior, but nothing seemed to prepare Royals fans for the past five starts, in which Greinke has given up 31 runs over 22 2/3 innings, including a Royal Record 11 runs allowed vs. Arizona in his last outing. I gave Zack a lot of credit when he refused to meekly accept Guy Hansen's attempts to seemingly tinker with every single pitchers' every single motion in spring training, but fans are just now being let in on the fact that Greinke has, apparently, been shunning just about all attempts by others to help him correct any potential or perceived errors. While the best judge of what will work for you is always yourself, and change won't happen without a complete commitment from within, it doesn't mean others can't help you in some ways. You just have to digest what they say and then decide whether they're full of shit. Young Zack apparently has a little more maturing to go before that fact truly sets in.. “It’s not that easy to throw it away at the knees and up and in at the corner. Those pitches he’s talking about — 75 percent of the time they’re called balls anyway. Low and away part of the zone — and especially up and in part of the zone. No one swings at any of them.”Zack Greinke, on the "low and away, high and tight" pitching philosophyNow, on the other hand, I like hearing things like this out of him. While it's true that "up and in" makes for a tough pitch to hit, it's just not a feasible goal with the current state of MLB umpiring. There is no strike-zone above the belt – in fact, a pitch *at* the belt still runs a high-percentage chance of being called a ball. A breaking curveball is usually judged by its height when caught, instead of the elevation when it's a couple of feet in front of the catcher's mitt where the plate actually sits. It's very tough for pitchers that don't possess consistently overpowering or tricky stuff to succeed for very long, and a lot of it has to do more with the difficultly in getting a called strike on pitches not in the batter's wheelhouse than in their inability to "throw strikes", as is often attributed to their struggles. It seems obvious to me that this is one of the reasons certain batters' (and teams') philosophies consist of fouling off a high number o[...]
2005-06-15T10:30:56.860-05:00Some Fans Naturally Blame Manager for Both Losses"The Royals should have swept this series."So echoed the inevitable segment of fan board posters after the Royals took two out of three games at Arizona. The one defeat? A 12-11 loss in 10 innings, after the Royals had come back from an 11-3 deficit by scoring 8 runs between the 8th and 9th innings. The same chorus had sung after the previous series, where the Royals had again won two of three, this time against San Francisco. In the third game of the series – after scoring 4 in the top of the 6th to tie the game – a rookie pitcher one month-removed from single-A gave up 5 runs in the bottom of the inning to give the lead back to the Giants. The game eventually ended with the Royals batting, bases loaded, down by 2. The Giants held on 9-7. Not bad, huh? You at least have to like the (new-found) ability to score runs and come back again and again. Basically, great efforts combined with awful runs of pitching. Then again, this is the Royals, right? Regardless, there's always a contingent that, far be it from crediting the manager for much of, well, anything, will openly blast every decision made that doesn't turn out well. If something turns out to work or be correct, it's usually lightly noted, ascribed to good fortune or random occurrence, then followed by a doom and gloom prediction while wallowing in the failures of the past (I call this the Neyer Syndrome). Well, unless it's another team winning or performing well, then they'll highlight it as a measure of success (which the Royals will, obviously, never achieve). Well, the Royals of late are not really the same as they've been, even earlier this season. They actually seem to be able to pull out wins in what looks like a real baseball game. They're still not great, but they weren't supposed to be. This was to be yet another year of the "youth movement", another season of inconsistent rookies and a puzzling collection of veteran placeholders. And Mike Sweeney. It was known from the beginning that the pitching's not always going to be there, but that's why most teams spend a lot to buy it. The rookies aren't going to consistently tear the cover off the ball, but that's why veteran sluggers cost so much. This team is not a superstar bunch – it's just a low-dollar mix of journeyman veterans and rookies that are supposed to be handled carefully. It's pretty much a given that there are going to be poor performances from some guys every few games, all in the name of "learning." And this is somehow Buddy Bell's fault? I mean, thank (insert invisible deity) at least Tony Pena's gone, right? Nope, apparently it's like he's still here to some fans! After the Royals pulled out a roller-coaster of a 12-inning game on Sunday in which Bell used the only pitcher in his bullpen that wasn't fresh off of consecutive game appearances and/or shaky outings (and/or pitching in single-A, though the two pitchers used in the 7th-9th innings both started the season there as well), there were still the fans that feel like every loss is the manager's fault (and close wins are just lucky). Here's a post as the Royals pulled the game out in 12: "Well, we're seeing Buddy Bell's true colors here. Against even rudimentary wisdom, Bell throws Jensen out there, who promptly blows two consecutive one-run leads. Earlier in the 11th inning, Silverio cost us the win by sending Graffanino for no apparent reason. Feels like the Pena days again!"Good god, no! It does not feel like the Pena days at all. From all appearances, Tony Pena was a smiling, dopey, anti-intellectual manager who loved to play favorites with marginal players (i.e. Desi Relaford, Jason Grimsley, etc.) and try to cheerlead them to victory. Not to mention (ok, I am) that Silverio is still a holdover from the [...]
2005-06-10T11:50:28.673-05:00Is it really Friday already? You'd think that playing basically one game in the past 3 weeks would lend itself to posting frequently. not so! I wish they'd schedule these things a little better – after playing Monday night (for the first time in almost two weeks), we play two on Saturday, then don't play again until next Sunday. It's hard to actually get into a rhythm, or even work on parts of your game, when the games themselves are so infrequent. Ah well, on to this week's daring tale, in which we play a team from the Upper Division…and win!Game #9: Us 10, Them 7Team Record: 6-3OffenseBlow, Joe: 1-3 (single, K, 1 RBI)Season-to-Date Totals (through game 9 – on a side note, I seem to have misplaced the official season totals, and I think the last update was missing a game…these look better, too, so let's keep 'em):Avg: .250 (5 for 20)OBP: .464 Slg: .250OPS: .714RBI: 6Back to the ghetto park this time, which had surprisingly been dragged and had about 3-4 inches of dirt removed. Somebody from the league had been there! It's too bad the "dirt" is still more like running track rocks. And, unfortunately, with all of the rain that fell a couple days before, the outfield had turned to mush.My assignment: right field.Batting Position: 6th.Before the game started, I was presented with the official (though slightly used) team hat! Well, one version of it, anyway – no more than 3-4 guys actually wear the same style of "team hat" to any given game. And, you know, I was more than ok with playing right field – despite the fact that He Who Cannot Play Outfield started over me in left – because the twilight games at this field are absolutely brutal in left until the sun goes down (I wrote about that in the last entry). The sad part is this guy starting in left forgot to bring his cleats. Yeah, that's right – he's coming to a baseball game, and can't even remember to bring his shoes! Jesus Christ.So, my spot was taken by a chucklehead wearing someone else's shoes, who took the first couple of innings to loudly talk to everybody on the field about playing Bases Loaded and Excitebike on Nintendo. You think I'm kidding, but I am not. He stood in left field and shouted to everyone his favorite parts of the games, and how a glitch in Bases Loaded was almost exactly like this play that happened in the first, when the SS caught a line-drive just above the ground, but threw it to first base just in case (yeah, that surprised me, too – the SS making a play, that is.) Apparently in Bases Loaded, sometimes the computer would call the throw to first an additional out! And now everybody that was at the park knows.I liked right field even more when I got to make the first two putouts of the inning: one on a long running catch in foul territory, and another on a drive hit to deep right-center. I tracked it back and started calling for it, when I heard a soft "Ok!" from a little ways away in centerfield. He obviously had no interest in going for it. The footing was terrible – I stationed myself a little to the left of the puddles that had formed in some tire marks in straight-away right – and it seemed like it took forever to get to any fly balls. But, hey, apparently I had forever and a couple seconds to get to each of the first two.Anyway, always good to get the first couple of nice plays out of the way, just in case of any screw-ups later. Which, there was one…sort of. First, my at-bat in the 2nd inning…with nobody out, one run in, and a runner on third, I proceeded to take 5 pitches: 4 balls and a borderline strike. One of the balls – clearly outside and low – was called a strike. If there's one thing I've learned repeatedly in the first 8 games, it's that the umpires are very, very generous. I really have to start[...]
2005-06-03T16:52:34.573-05:00Straight up, apparently.It's been a few days since none other than Buddy Bell was named the new manager of the Kansas City Royals. Kind of a surprising choice, really...at least to anybody that followed post after post of conversation on any of the Royals-related message boards. And, prior to the SWEEP OF THE YANKEES (always gotta repeat that when it's actually true), you were hard-pressed to find much of anyone saying anything positive about Allard Baird's choice in manager. With that in mind, I'll run through a few thoughts on Buddy Bell (so far), both good and bad. And, seeing as how he's not a popular choice, we'll start with the bad!The Bad:The Royals have one glaring problem that doesn't seem to crop up in discussion much, but is always present: they are very, very poor at presenting themselves to the public. The Buddy Bell hire is a prime example. The team on the field, whether it's a budding version of a future force to reckon with, or another year of an unsuccessful, perpetually almost-rebuilding squad, is generating close to zero excitement from fans. The owner, whether you agree with his strategy or not, is unwilling to spend more on the team than it brings in (that is the topic for a very long, bitter post, though it won't be this one). The general manager, though he has registered a few minor successes as of late, has also triggered on a few disastrous deals that have, in one way or another - whether through poor choices or plain bad luck - rendered this team unable to consistently compete day after day. I think it's wrong to hold up two outlying examples in the Twins and A's as proof that low-payroll teams can also compete in this day and age, though that goes along with my much longer post alluded to above (not to mention, what about the A's this year? 21-32?) Anyway, the shorter point is, the Royals needed to do their best to generate some level of actual fan interest with their hire. I thought it would be bringing in a big name as a manager, though I've lately come to realize that 1) None of the candidates out there are actually known names to most casual Royals fans and 2) All that really matters is winning.So, at first, the Buddy Bell hiring seemed like a mistake to me. What are the Royals doing? Why are they bringing in a guy with a terrible career managing record, with no local ties, with barely any name recognition, without much of anything visible to support their decision that this is the best guy for the job? Just another bizarre mistake, it seemed.But winning cures all, really. Is Buddy Bell the right guy? Who really knows? You can twist and turn, look at record here and sac bunts there, manager's effectiveness percentage or failure to show enthusiasm at his press conference – whatever stat you want to create to try to quantify what makes a good manager. And, what you're left with is...no idea. Because there's not a way to measure what makes a good manager in any guaranteed way. There is no guideline, and there is no measurement that tells you. a manager can choose the "correct" answer to any question he faces in a game (regardless of who's deciding what is "correct", just pretend like it's you..), and still fail 10 out of 10 times. A manager is as good as you think he is, and what you think isn't what other people think. Some managers are better than others (subjectively, at least). Some have had more success, and by "success", most people mean they've won more games. Sure, that's a good thing, but it's not necessarily up to the manager to go out and pick up the save or hit a base-clearing double. Is Buddy Bell who I would have picked as a manager? I don't know, I didn't interview any of the guys, and neither did you. Allard Baird did, and I think the fact that he ma[...]
2005-06-03T09:06:10.856-05:00(note: this was written before the Royals decided to do something like go out and sweep the yankees. great timing -- a post about what is likely the worst game I've ever been to the day after one of the best series I've seen in a long time..) * * * * * Well, Anaheim was nice.Of course, after spending a couple days sitting on the freeway in L.A., anywhere with a nice row of palms and moving lanes of traffic seems almost, uh, "magical" -- even if it's a pre-fabricated, commercially created little spot. It was still a breath of fresh air (in many ways). That's the only kind thing I really want to say about it. After witnessing last Friday night's debacle – in person – I think you might feel the same way.The day started nicely. After spending the morning walking around Hollywood, then dropping $150 at Amoeba Records (I would have spent more, but we were on a time and luggage space limit), we slowly crawled our way to Anaheim. The drive there was not particularly smooth, but, then again, apparently everywhere in Los Angeles is the most horrible place to drive to ever. I don't remember it being quite as bad last time I was there, but it seemed no matter what time it was or where we were going, there was a whole lot of idling and a small amount of slow coasting. I think the mood upon our eventual arrival in Anaheim (mine, at least) was helped by the fact that the night consisted of enjoying a few fine microbrews I had picked up the day before (the Smoked Porter and Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co., and the Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing). The Hop Rod Rye was my favorite (Bear Republic also makes a great IPA), though the Arrogant Bastard was very good as well. The Smoked Porter was decent, though, uh, where's the "smoked" part? I guess I just got used to my introduction to the genre, the smoked porter from the O'Fallon Brewery in O'Fallon, Missouri, which is extra thick on smoke flavor. Strangely, not a flavor I actually enjoy that much, which makes my taste for it odd..Hey, wait, we were getting ready to talk baseball here, right?Anyway, after a small microbrew session, there was to be the Royals game and a night out at the ESPN Sports Zone in (ugh) Downtown Disney to follow. So, I was pretty excited. I had the local news on, and during a segue from a story about Rickey Henderson's return, the sportscaster said, "And, turning to a team that Rickey's new team probably wouldn't have a hard time beating, Major League Baseball's worst team, the Kansas City Royals, are in town to begin a 3-game series." Fuckin smartass little dude.. Can we start winning and put an end to this shit? Edison International Field in Anaheim is, well…it's just not that impressive. With the recent refurbishments, it's taken on some of the characteristics of a few of the newer stadiums I've been to (Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Comerica Park in Detroit) in that most of the decorations seem plastic and aimed towards entertaining 3 year-olds. The giant helmets on both sides of the entrance are large and gaudy, and the large "baseball bat" support beams scream, "We're trying to pretend like this ballpark is new!" The best part was the large "A" with a halo in the opposite parking lot. Naturally, it's not a part of the stadium itself. And I haven't even mentioned the "rock spectacular (with water)". Not only has Anaheim (along with Detroit) ripped off the fountain(ish) idea from Kauffman Stadium, they've done it in less than impressive ways. Detroit's fountains are on top of an ugly concourse tunnel behind right-center field, and Anaheim's are on those awful, ridiculous rocks. At least they've taken those hideous ghost-player pictures off of the outfield walls.Other than that, i[...]
2005-05-26T06:32:44.216-05:00Well, I'm off to L.A. and Arizona for a couple days, where I will be visiting Edison International Field to watch our boys take on the Angels. Hopefully they can take 2 out of 3 in Anaheim again, though I'll settle on at least Friday night (when I'm there). I'll be fortunate enough to catch the D.J. Carrasco show as the opening act.
2005-05-26T06:23:23.426-05:00In which I go from batting 11th and getting yanked after 3 innings to batting 1st and becoming a game savior. Who knew?First, we take care of the necessary clean-up:Game #6: Them 5, Us 2Team Record: 3-3OffenseBlow, Joe: Did Not Play (trip to St. Louis)My on-base skills were sorely missed.Game #7: Us 12, Them 4Team Record: 4-3OffenseBlow, Joe: 1-2 (walk, ground out to 3rd)Season-to-Date Totals (through game 7):Avg: .214 (3 for 14)OBP: .450 Slg: .214OPS: .664RBI: 5I was a late scratch from my original starting spot in left field, being replaced by He Who Cannot Play Outfield. I was fortunate, though, that the powers that be threw a few crumbs my way and allowed me to drag my lowly self to right. I caught the only ball hit to me, walked to load the bases my first time up, then broke up a double play, which allowed a run to score. Naturally, it was time to take me out.Continuing the streak of insane batting lineups and inane player substitutions, I started, played well, and took a seat on the bench after three innings. Needless to say, I was furious. In the last four games, I had been the Extra Hitter twice, switched positions during the game (without warning or need), batted in the last spot 3 times, and was taken out after 3 innings. Wouldn't want the room mothers' (managers) kids to have to sit out a whole game or anything like some of the other guys. No sir.So, I handled it in my normal way – I sat on the bench and wouldn't talk to anyone. Honestly, I started wondering what I was doing, why I was there, and why it never seems to fail that no matter what sports venture I set out on, it always ends in bitterness and an acute sense of foolishness. As in, why do I delude myself into thinking I'll actually find a team that knows what the fuck they're doing and doesn't play favorites with all of their buddies that I have no interest in being? I didn't really give a shit what happened on the field, and I sure didn't want to talk to the ladies that run the team at that moment; they would have done well to stay clear of the dugout. I didn't want to be there at all. While I was on the bench, I packed up all my stuff, put my keys in my back pocket, and prepared to make a mad dash out of there as soon as the game was over. And, after the obligatory handshake, I did just that. The main manager was handing something over the dugout to some of the guys. She started to offer whatever it was to me and remind me that the next game was the following night until she caught the look of disgust on my face and heard my abbreviated reply. "Are you all right?" she asked."I'm fine," I said, as I continued walking towards the gate."You sure? What's wrong, is something wrong?""I'm fine.""See you at the game tomorrow?"I nodded and continued on. It was obvious to her that I was very pissed off. I'm not one to make a scene most of the time, so that small (non) event above is usually about the extent of it. I thought on the way home of what I would say the next day if she brought anything up. Basically, it would have been along the lines of, "I come here to play, not to watch every other game from the bench. I've been through that bullshit enough, and I'm really not interested in going through it again. If there's no spot for me, then why did you pick me up?" I was still mad the next day when I got up. Since I didn't get home until after midnight the night before and had to work all day, my uniform was still covered in dust and dried blood. I remembered having to peel my sock from my knee when I got home after the game, as it had dried to the large abrasion that, apparently, will never heal. Especially if I keep sliding on it (note to self[...]
2005-05-24T16:40:23.033-05:00I fully intended to update once I reached my hotel on Thursday night. Yep, a lone man in a new town with some fine hand-crafted beer and nothing better to do – sounds like my idea of posting time. Instead, I spent my eagerly anticipated wandering-around-a-strange-city time (ok, so st. louis isn't strange, just crappy) and my sitting-around-a-free-hotel time…well, sitting on I-70. Seems a cement truck driver found the one-lane construction-reduced highway outside of Columbia to be a perfect place to lose his mixer and set his truck on fire. That was fun. At least the Royals won, so the sports talk radio wasn't too unbearable while we sat. And, once I finally arrived in town, I lucked into finding some Schlafly Coffee Stout at a Schnucks down the street from the hotel. I really didn't think there would be any left of the coffee stout (it's a seasonal) – plus, it wasn't too bad. I've never had a great Schlafly brew, but some of their stuff is pretty decent. And, really, you can probably consider yourself lucky I didn't try to post towards the end of my coffee stout experience. but I sure was tempted.Anyway, how about those Royals? They've actually been playing pretty decently. I don't buy into any part of the "well, teams always play better for an interim manager when the old manager is fired/quits" (how often do they quit, anyway?) idea that seems to be the agreed-upon explanation on the local message boards. That, basically, is ridiculous. Not much more than that.I do like a lot of the things Bob Schaefer has done lately, as far as the new lineup and some of the day-to-day pitching moves. It doesn't always work, but you've seen the team the Royals put together this year, right? Exactly. I think there's a lot to be said for the amazing coincidence that the Royals started hitting a lot better once there was someone actually putting the team together in a sensible order. And no more of this Dee Brown / Calvin Pickering / etc. nonsense, where the guys that are up from the minors to be given the opportunity to prove themselves end up playing in 2 out of every 7 games, with a few random pinch-hit at-bats sprinkled in at the end of lost games. A guy will never succeed like that, yet that's been Standard Royal Procedure for-goddamn-ever. Batting averages based on less than 50 at-bats are notoriously brutal – I'm going to point to my JBABL stats so far to lend credence to that. Speaking of which, both of those concepts – lack of regular playing time, ridiculously small sample size of at-bats – are currently working together to make my adult baseball league experiment extremely frustrating at the moment. After last night's game, I'm just about fed up. Just like a lot of marginal Royals prospects have experience upon reaching the big leagues, knowing that each and every step you make is going to be micro-analyzed and result in the next 4 days off if it's not wildly successful makes it a little hard to even play, let alone succeed. And, sometimes, just the fact that you're not a prospect dooms you to never getting a real opportunity. It's amazing what's happened to Emil Brown, Matt Diaz, David DeJesus (last season), and even Raul Ibanez a few seasons ago when they were actually allowed to play almost every day without having to look over their shoulders constantly. When you're always doing that, it makes it hard to pay attention to what's in front of you. And, yes, I realize that Diaz and Brown have only stepped up in a very limited number of games so far, but I've definitely noticed a difference in both now that they've been allowed to play regularly. Hopefully they'll succeed – of course,[...]
2005-05-18T22:22:25.910-05:00This will be the last other-baseball-league update before we get back to the regular Royals noise around here - mostly because I'll be leaving for a short trip to st. louis and have to skip my own game tomorrow night. So, while I'm (hopefully) enjoying a nice Schlafly beer and (hopefully) watching the Apprentice season 3 finale in my hotel room tomorrow night...i'm hopefully wishing for rain! Sure wouldn't want my team to have to play without me..And, since I won't have any of my own baseball to concern myself with until next week, maybe I'll take advantage of the hotel's free high-speed internet and actually say a word or two about the Royals..Anyway, a double-header last weekend - of which we won both! Down to the nitty-gritty:Game #4: Us 11, Them 5Team Record: 2-2OffenseBlow, Joe: 2-3 (2 singles, K, 2 RBI)Season-to-Date Totals (through game 4):Avg: .273 (3 for 11)OBP: .467 Slg: .273OPS: .739RBI: 5This game, I finally started getting back into the habit of actually remembering to try to hit the ball out in *front* of me while I was still at-bat, rather than on the long, slow walk to the dugout after triggering a hair too late and letting the pitch eat me up, as has been the case so far. I also made a conscientious effort to make sure I'm watching the ball all the way from the pitcher's hand, instead of picking it up after it's already been released. coincidentally, two two-out RBI base-hits! although, after hitting a solid single up the middle on the first at-bat, I hesitated coming around first, saw the centerfielder misplay the ball when it hit the lip on the infield grass, and made a lame duck attempt at trying to take 2nd. of course, you only realize you've really bit it about ¾ of the way there, and I was out by a good 3 steps. hey, at least the run scored!I also promised myself this game that all sliding would be done head-first, since I got a nice strawberry on my knee last game trying to steal a base, and it hadn't healed yet. so, then I slid feet-first trying to take 2nd, and returned to the dugout to find a nice, uh, "full" band-aid on my knee. luckily I had plenty of time to nurture myself back to health......because I was the goddamn Extra Hitter again. it's not as bad right now because I know I'm the new kid on the team, but it burns me up when the same guys get an automatic spot no matter how they play. the worst part about being the EH is that, aside from watching kids screw up your position, this lady automatically bats you last. I was pretty steamed during the game, and I sat on the very end of the bench to make sure the managers wouldn't talk to me. I mean, I do that anyway, but I think it was a little more noticeable when I was the only person on it. A pretty good game, though. What could top it? Why, Game 5, of course..Game 5: Us 9, Them 7Team Record: 3-2OffenseBlow, Joe: 0-2 (BB, K, ground out, 1 run scored)Season-to-Date Totals (through game 5):Avg: .231 (3 for 13)OBP: .444 Slg: .231OPS: .675RBI: 5The good: I led off the top of the last inning and drew a walk when our team was down 7-4.The bad: I'll be remembered for two things in this game -1. Dropping a fly ball in the bottom of the 6th after losing it in the sun (allowing 2 runs to score)2. Not attempting to score on a wild pitch in the top of the 7th (last) inning with the bases loaded, nobody out, down by 3Pretty rough. I actually got to start in left field, where I began the game by slightly misplaying an odd bounce on a line drive (nobody took an extra base, though), and pulling up short of a couple potential shoe-string-catch line drives that, obviously, everyone else on t[...]
2005-05-14T01:20:54.063-05:00Three scheduled games since the last update; 1.4 actually played! We will begin with the ok one, followed by the good one that didn't count..Game 3:Final Score: Us 14, Them 6Team Record: 1-2Joe Blow's Offensive Stats:Game 3: 0-1 (K, 2 BB)Season Totals:Avg.: .000OBP: .400Slg.: .000OPS: .400RBI: 1You know, I just carry the bat to the plate to give off the illusion I might hit the ball. No hitting actually occurred in the playing of this game. I managed to stake my claim this time to the demeaning role of "extra hitter", as we had 10 guys show up for the game. never mind the fact that some of these guys show up to about 1 of every 3 games, or that a few of them can't possibly play the field at any position. yes, the new guy gets to sit the bench until it's his time to hit. add to that the insult of not just being the extra hitter, but batting 10th out of 10, and you can extrapolate my mindset once this game started.I don't know why I even try to keep statistics. it's really just for my own amusement. one of the manager ladies for this team keeps a scorebook, but she constantly has to ask about actual rules of the game, so I can pretty much guarantee you she has no idea how to accurately score the game. not to mention the guys on the team; during game #3, one guy on the bench actually said this:"Yeah, I have an on-base percentage of 1.000. I've either got a hit, or walked, or got hit by a pitch every time up so far."let me just take a second here: hahahahahaha. ok. give me a break. dude, nobody on this team can hit, and you guys RARELY reach base. not every time: more like, barely *any* time. he also said, "well, I've only been up 5 times anyway." um, I batted 7 times in the first two games alone, and he hits ahead of me in the order. do outs not count as at-bats? that would probably explain it. but, then came this gem from another guy:"Yeah, I have a .533 batting average, and a .667 on-base percentage. of course, I don't count errors or anything in my calculations." ha. .533 batting average – um, I don't remember *any* of your hits, let alone the idea that you've been on base more than, like, once in the games so far. and, you know, errors count for something, i think. these are the eggheads I have to deal with. trust me: despite the fact that I had been on base as much as anyone in the lineup at that point, the idea that I reached on walks means i never reached base at all, and (for the other guys) the other teams' errors/fielder's choices/dropped 3rd strike at bats were "hits". because the guys on my team swung the bat. I'm surprised those guys even knew the term "on-base percentage". of course, I wouldn't actually expect them to know how to calculate it.anyway, you know, there I was on the bench, getting steamed about being the "extra hitter" at the bottom of the lineup. sure, put the pregnant looking guy at shortstop, put the guy that always wants a "courtesy" runner to run the bases for him in left field. god forbid you put a solid defender in the game at key positions. luckily, my clumsy slow replacement got bored of standing in left field after two innings, so I got to play the remaining 5 innings standing around, doing a whole lot of nothing. apparently, guys in this league haven't caught up to the 55 mph fastball yet, so nobody ever pulls the ball. I fielded a grounder that got by the pregnant man at shortstop, and a line drive on two hops. that was it. when I fielded that line drive, the batter took a big turn around first just as I grabbed the ball. I was going to softly toss it in to the cut-off (pregnant) man – just [...]
2005-05-12T15:32:03.096-05:00It's certainly been an extremely busy week for all things outside of Royal Blues -- which means it's been pretty vacant here. Has it been over a week since I posted? That's not really the plan, but, you know, "free entertainment" and all that. Thankfully, in the meantime, someone was nice enough to list my humble little site on Baseball Blogs, which has like doubled my page views while I haven't been posting (whatever that's supposed to say..). yep, one day I even made it to double-digits! I've truly reached the pinnacle.
2005-05-12T15:36:12.956-05:00Cleveland 6, Kansas City 0Royal Record: 5-18Kansas City 9, Cleveland 1Royal Record: 6-18Kansas City 6, Cleveland 5Royal Record: 7-18Nothing like a two-game winning streak to quiet the chattering masses of Royals fans – seemed to be a noticeable drop-off in posts on the message boards and weblogs in general. count me among those – not really much to say about the weekend, I don't think. always nice to see them win, even if I only caught parts of two games. I listened on Saturday as I drove to my game, catching Harvey's grand slam and Marrero's follow-up shot. great moments, of course, though it's moments like these that hover in people's minds a little too long when it comes to arguing Royals-related points. not that I'm one of the types that's absolutely convinced harvey can or can't succeed, or that marrero was a giant waste of money – they're just nice moments in a long production of a season. that's about all I have to say right now. I don't have any kind of point to prove about the relative worth of either of them. I'd just like to see them succeed, that's all.I listened Sunday as lima had a no-hitter through 5 innings, then left to take a bike ride through the local neighborhoods with the 'lil lady. yep, right after the 5th. I figured, sure, I'd be all over the place if I had missed lima throwing a no-hitter – and he is pretty much one of the only two pitchers (anderson being the other) who would possibly be allowed to pitch a full nine innings given how limiting the royals are with the other guys – but, you know, what are the chances of that? all I ended up doing is saving myself from watching the five-run 5th. I came back to see burgos close it out, and while I'm never going to complain about a 1-2-3 inning, it's obvious there will be nights he'll walk guys just like all the other royals relievers we've grown fond of. not much more than that.* * * * * *Official JBABL stats: Game 2Them 15, Us 5 (stopped after 6 innings due to score)Team Record: 0-2OffenseBlow, Joe: 0-3 (K, pop out, ground out)Season:Avg.: .000OBP: .286Slg.: .000OPS: .286RBI: 1I hate odd stat lines like that at the beginning of the season. My hitting was pretty bad Saturday. I got rang up on a borderline outside pitch on my first at-bat (I'm learning that umpires in this league are very generous when pitches come somewhere around the plate). the second time I swung at a low, outside pitch and *almost* dropped it into right field, and the third time I just barely hit a roller about halfway between third and the pitcher's mound. I'm afraid next game I'm gonna have to play like a real asshole. yep, I'm just going up there hacking. no one knows the difference anyway, and at least if they see me swinging they'll think I'm up there trying to hit a home run every time just like everyone else. I mean, I'll still be selective, but at least for the next game, there's no more taking close pitches early in the at-bat and trying to work the count. I'm up there swinging away from pitch 1. I mean, when I'm not swinging and missing, I can ground out with the best of them – exactly like the rest of the team!I'm really, really disappointed with how this team is turning out. apparently the flashes of "decent team" I saw in the preseason games were a great illusion. Once this team gets into the regular season, I don't know, they just panic. they can't make pitches or plays worth anything. no wonder they've been so horrible the last couple years before now.At least I've been absolutely solid in the field so far: n[...]
2005-04-29T16:33:13.600-05:00seeing as how I get half of my, like, 6 hits a day off of odd web searches (most dealing with my very drunken all-star game ramblings last year concerning players not on the royals), I figured I'd try to help out my fellow web surfers on their search for further enlightenment. so, with my random readers' best interests in mind, here are some answers to your various queries:how the fuck much money does that carlos pena guy make?well, in fact, he's making $2,575,000 in 2005. for future reference, this site seems to be a good one for finding this kind of information. speaking of carlos pena, remember when he was the favorite whipping boy for sites like baseball prospectus? well, ok, "whipping boy" is more like a guy taking punishment. I meant, more like, one of those guys that (especially since he was on the Oakland A's) just about every saber-type site hyped like there was no downside to him. not that I want to spend too much time searching, but he was all over the top of the heap of "potential break-out stars" a couple years back. even rany loved him (you have to scroll down for the pena love). yeah, he's certainly torn up the league since then – who's to say we couldn't have gotten him for jeff suppan?anyway, looking at trades such as last year, where the A's sent mike wood and mark teahen to the royals in the carlos beltran trade and all they got was octavio dotel – who, besides making $4,750,000 this season, didn't contribute much when he initially pitched for the A's (his end stats look a lot better than I remember them being in important A's games when he came over), the A's also make deals where they acquire guys like mark ellis for angel berroa (oh, sure, there was that Johnny damon for Roberto Hernandez for Ben Grieve thing, but all of those guys kinda suck and washed out for the A's and Royals and Devil Rays). and, after a couple non-productive seasons from ellis, you'd have to say the royals got the best of that deal so far.and then there's this about our man Carlos Pena:July 5, 2002: Traded by the Oakland Athletics with a player to be named later and Franklyn German to the Detroit Tigers for Jeff Weaver and cash. The Oakland Athletics sent Jeremy Bonderman (minors) (August 22, 2002) to the Detroit Tigers to complete the trade. so, let me get this straight: the A's traded former saber-superstar Carlos Pena, Franklyn German, and Jeremy Bonderman for Jeff Weaver and cash. WTF? let's see, for Jeff Weaver they ended up getting:July 5, 2002: Traded by the Oakland Athletics to the New York Yankees for Ted Lilly, Jason Arnold (minors), and John-Ford Griffin (minors).for lilly, they got bobby kielty, who's been a part-time player; they sent Jason Arnold to the Blue Jays for Erubiel Durazo (indirectly), and traded John-Ford Griffin for Jason Perry, who has done fairly well at the A level, and is currently in AA. so, basically, they sent three current major leaguers to the tigers (and, in bonderman, a potential 1-2 starter) for a $5 million DH, a 4th outfielder, and a player in AA. so, they managed to find three star pitchers at the same time. they managed to get some top prospects for two of them (mulder and hudson, obviously), and zito's been average so far this year, but getting prospects for those guys is a product of finding them in the first place, not necessarily a further reflection of their skill at finding talent. they make mistakes, too; it would be nice if people weren't so inclined to glorify them on every move they make.anyway, random person, hope I[...]
2005-04-29T11:56:36.226-05:00Minnesota 9, Kansas City 4Royal Record: 5-16Minnesota 6, Kansas City 5 (11 innings)Royal Record: 5-17I think one of the hardest things about being an intelligent baseball fan is overcoming the fact that most of the players aren't. As you move up the ranks of baseball, you expect this to be less of the case, which is why it's frustrating to see major league baseball players make the same mistakes as my adult rec league team.Yes, it's a little dramatic to make the leap from comparing the royals to my team, but if you've played or watched baseball at the lowest levels (we're talking about my team here), you understand the mentality that a lot of these guys take into their professional careers – the aggressive, offensive scheme of hitting, diving, and attempting to be spectacular at all times, completely disregarding the more subtle, intelligent approaches that breed winning baseball teams. They seem to be pretty widespread things, the type of things that have to be coached out of a player – whether it's from outside coaching or simply from within the player himself – and you expect that when you watch professional teams, the players should possess an excellent knowledge of the game. In some, this is true. Unfortunately, by the time you reach the major leagues, sometimes it's not through understanding and knowledge, but simply through physical talents (i.e. "tools" players). The combination of these two, baseball intelligence and physical talent, is seemingly rare. It's still not an excuse. I'm sure other teams have players do the same things quite a bit, but since most fans watch their team much, much more than other teams, it seems like your team makes many more mistakes than others. Which, in the case of the Royals, may very well be true. In the last game I watched, I saw Matt Diaz (not to single him out, it's just the most recent thing I noticed) take a terrible path to field a line drive to left. Instead of moving laterally and getting in front of a hard-hit ball before charging forward, he took a strictly diagonal path, which resulted in the ball bouncing just out of reach of his glove, all the way to the fence, resulting in a double and runs scored. While dropping a fly ball is easily noticed as an error, this is just as much of one, as you're giving preventable free bases. It doesn't show up anywhere, though.The most frustrating thing is that it's exactly something I see happen during my teams' games.By the way, in our last game, we lost 12-11 in 8 innings (standard games are 7 innings). Here's my official *Regular Season* stats through one game:Team Record: 0-1OffenseBlow, Joe: 0-2 (2 BB, K, reached on error, 1 RBI)Season:Avg: .000OBP: .500Slg: .000OPS: .500RBI: 1Can you say, "sample size"? I love odd stat-lines like that at the beginning of the season. On defense, I again made no errors, but I also only had one put-out opportunity, which was an adventure in fighting the lights. Unfortunately, I got kind of screwed on that strikeout – I came up to bat first in the top of the last inning, our team down by two, and the clock reading 11:30 P.M. Our home-plate umpire, who, by the way, was getting paid to be at this game, apparently decided anything close was going to be a strike, since if we failed to score two the game would end. So, after taking two pitches at eye level, the next two pitches were a good 5-6 inches outside. Strikes, of course. With a 2-2 count, I ended up swinging a pitch so far outside I couldn't reach[...]
2005-04-27T15:16:30.200-05:00In the last week or so, someone at ye old Royalboard has apparently taken to posting under the obviously catchy but slightly-used nickname "Royal Blues". just in case there's any confusion, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out: that royalboard poster is not your humble editor here at Royal Blues (wait, did I really need to link to my own site? eh, maybe I can give myself more hits..). Just in case anyone was wondering.
2005-05-12T15:37:21.840-05:00Oh yeah, in the interest of…well, me, here are the final pre-season stats (by my calculations) for the 3 exhibition games I played in:
1: 1-5 (infield single, 2 Ks, two ground-outs)
2: 0-3 (1 BB, 1 K, pop-out, ground out)
3: 1-2 (1 BB, bloop single, fielder's choice), 2 runs scored
2005-04-27T11:47:17.096-05:00Chicago 8, Kansas City 2