Thursday, July 31, 2014

Trade deadline and voodoo dolls

Last night, the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins in their normal fashion: a few scattered hits, solid starting pitching, SHUTDOWN relief pitching, and a few pins jabbed into a voodoo doll of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. You can see Ned Yost smiling like an idiot right after he sticks a pin in that Gardenhire doll. Below is proof:
There is absolutely nothing new to discuss about the Royals. They are still plodding along at a few games above .500; they are still not hitting home runs (or anything really); they are still bunting a lot; they are still not making splashy moves at the trade deadline to bring in a player who can hit the ball with authority. Oh that’s right, today is the non-waiver trade deadline. The Royals have been rumored to be in the mix for several starting and relief pitchers which is funny BECAUSE THEY DO NOT NEED PITCHING. Granted, they could use a LOOGY (left-handed relief specialist), especially since Scott Downs sucks, but I think they are fine with what they have. 

Rather, they should be targeting a bat to beef up their lineup. And I am sorry but I have no suggestions for who they should target. The Royals traded Danny Valencia so they are sticking with Mike Moustakas at third base, so the only position they can really go after is right field. The only right fielders who are available (Marlon Byrd) are OLD and aren’t really hitting this season.  Plus Byrd costs too much. Maybe the Royals should go after Matt Kemp from the Dodgers and throw wads of cash at him. He wouldn’t come to KC though, and David Glass won’t be throwing wads of cash at anyone either. 

This is a tough part of the season to be a Royals fan; on the one hand, the Royals are in second place and 3.5 games out of one of the wild card spots. On the other hand, they are behind 4 teams for that wild card spot and are 5 games behind Detroit and probably won’t win the AL Central division. Adding the right player could boost their chances, but there seems to be a lack of players of available that they need. If they don’t add any players, they have to hope the current roster goes on a tear. The Royals have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the season (although they have 7 games against the MLB’s best team, the Oakland A’s), and barring any moves they might make today, KC fans have to hope Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez can hit well enough to win about 60% of our remaining games, and that James Shields, Bruce Chen, Ace Ventura, Danny Duffy and Jeremy Guthrie limit the damage from other teams enough to get the ball to Wade Davis and Greg Holland. And Ned Yost, PLEASE STOP PUTTING SCOTT DOWNS IN THE GAME. HE SUCKS.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it certainly feels like come September 30, Royals fans will be on the edge of the Kit Bond bridge threatening to jump into the Missouri River when they become fans of the franchise with the longest playoff drought in the history of the world. I personally will be looking for 1,000 pins and a doll of Ned Yost...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chiefs Bear>>>Royals Bear

Watching the Royals last night, one can’t help but feel like Grumpy Bear.
It feels like the season is already over watching the Royals play. They have no life. No one seems to be trying.

An optimist will say that there is still hope that the Royals will make the playoffs. A pessimist will say that the Royals have not reached the bottom yet. 

I think the Royals are going through a rough patch, one that every team experiences. It is clearly poor timing on their part as they have slipped from FIRST PLACE to THIRD, and another loss tonight will put them in FOURTH. I don’t want to dwell on that though, because it’s too easy to complain about them. It is also too hard to find positives about them so I won’t do that either.
Rather, I will focus on what Kansas Citians have had to do for DECADES at this time of year: forget the Royals and move on to the Chiefs.

In addition to this blog about (mostly) the Royals, I also blog about the Chiefs for (check out my posts here). All players will report to training camp on Thursday, and after last season’s ugly exit in the playoffs, I am excited to get this season going and end another stupid Kansas City record (8 straight playoff losses…ugh). The Chiefs have not won a playoff game in 19 years! 

Despite losing numerous starters from last year’s team, I think the Chiefs can make the playoffs again in 2014. Denver was very good last year but it might be very hard for them to replicate last year’s success, especially after every team got to watch Seattle’s defense dismantle the Broncos' offense and can mimic what they did this season. If the Broncos have any offensive line injuries and/or Peyton Manning goes down, they are toast. San Diego was surprisingly decent last season but their head coach is unproven and I can see them regressing backwards this season. And Oakland looks awful on paper (their starting QB is Matt Schaub. Really?!). The Chiefs added some defensive help this offseason, and if Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles stay healthy, and Dwayne Bowe puts up statistics like he is capable of, and they get more production at tight end (all of which seem very likely), the Chiefs can easily win the division and lock up home field in the playoffs.

The first preseason game against the Bengals is only 16 days away. For all you Royals fans like me, who may feel like Grumpy Bear today, turn that frown upside down and feel like the Chiefs Bear instead.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Most of the Royals game last night was torture. The Royals couldn’t get any timely hits. They were striking out all over the place. Ace Ventura, as is his custom, gave up costly home run. And the stinking Detroit Tigers refused to lose, threatening to extend their divisional lead over the Royals by beating the Dodgers for the second night in a row. I was ready to start writing another post about a lost season and the Royals-coaster we have been experiencing since April.

But then Raul Ibanez stepped up to the plate in the top of the 8th inning with two runners on base, losing by 2. I could feel one of his trademark pulled home runs coming. The tension rose. Sweat dripped down pitcher Jake McGee’s face. Then Ibanez struck out, looking like a doofus in the process. 

I turned the game off. 

No point in finishing it. Ibanez had ruined their best chance to win. The Royals were going to dig another huge hole right before the All-Star break and would forever miss the playoffs. However, as a lifelong Royals fan, I had to check the score first thing in the morning. I am usually not treated to thrilling and exciting finishes, but nevertheless, if I did not finish watching the Royals game the night before, I have to check the score right after I wake up. I think I bleed Royals blue.

Anyway, as the story goes, Salvador Perez stepped up to the plate in the top of the ninth and hit a high fly ball that slipped over the fence and the Royals stole a game from the Rays and salvaged their season while Wil Myers watched from the bench, looking more like a doofus than Raul Ibanez ever did (see below). Suck it Tampa Bay. And get a haircut Wil.

As it stands, the Royals are 4.5 games behind Detroit, who comes to Kauffman Stadium for the final 4 games before the All-Star break. A huge opportunity for Kansas City to make a statement about the second half of the season. LET’S KILL THOSE TIGERS. They have had enough division titles lately. 

KC is behind only Seattle and LA Angels for a Wild Card spot.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Winning the Royals Lottery

Last night, Americans watched fireworks as the Kansas City Royals throttled the Cleveland Indians. BEST FOURTH OF JULY EVER. There were quite a few noteworthy things from the game:

First, Ace Ventura came three outs away from the Royals first complete game of the year. That would have been his first career complete game shutout too. Despite the disappointment in losing the shutout (which was ruined by a solo home run from Michael Brantley in the bottom of the ninth), Royals fans have plenty to appreciate from it. Ventura is a rookie, so there should be plenty more chances for a complete game shutout. He never faced more than 4 batters in one inning, which is phenomenal. And he got a ton of hitting from his teammates, most notably Christian Colon, who was making his first big league start.

Colon was a beast, smacking 2 doubles and a triple while getting his first RBI and scoring 3 runs. He was playing second base for Omar Infante, who was scratched with a sore back. What a night though! He was the Royals first round draft pick in 2010 (4th overall), and I am very happy and excited to see him reach the majors. He can fill a valuable role as a utility player for the rest of this season.

Second, THE ROYALS ARE NOW TIED FOR LAST PLACE WITH 49 home runs. They are no longer alone as the worst in the MLB. That is worth rejoicing. Mike Moustakas hit a 3-run bomb last night, giving the Roylas 49 on the season, and someone needs to hit another tonight so we can move ahead of St. Louis.

Third, the Independence Day hats that MLB teams wore are beauties. For those of you who missed my birthday on Thursday, I will take one of these hats please. Size 7 1/4. You can buy them here. Below is a pic of them:
 Finally, my friend Kevin basically won the Royals Lottery last night. He is living in Ohio, and was able to attend the game last night in Cleveland. He sat next to Colon’s dad, and got an autographed ball from Bruce Chen and Jeremy Guthrie. AND HE GOT TO SEE THE ROYALS THROTTLE THE INDIANS. Below is a pic that he sent me of the ball from Guthrie. What an amazing night.
Currently, the Royals are 45-40, and just 4 games behind Detroit. They are still 1.5 games out of the wild card standings, but have won 5 of the past 7 games, which includes 3 wins against AL Central opponents. They are 17-17 against the AL Central, which is very respectable. A win tonight and they are going streaking again.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014


In 1994, the cult film classic Blankman, starring Damon Wayans as a nerdy superhero came out in theaters. The movie is great, not only because of Wayans, but also because it is full of dorky 90s fashion and hilarious costumes (it also has a pretty sweet soundtrack for those of you who like 90s R&B and hip-hop). The basic premise of the movie is that Darryl (Wayans) is a man-child and inventor and he finds a way to make his clothes bulletproof. Subsequently, he becomes a crimefighter, ultimately saving the city and winning the girl of his dreams. 
Even though the movie technically has nothing to do with the Kansas City Royals, it actually serves as a great analogy for this season’s ballclub. 

First of all, akin to dorky Darryl in Blankman, the Royals are perennial losers and have a penchant for being an underdog. Blankman has no superpowers and equally, the Royals do not have any “superstars” or leading vote-getters for the MLB All-Star game. 

Secondly, while Blankman invents bulletproof clothing, the 2014 Royals find ways to “run-proof” their games, by which I mean their pitching and defense are so good that other teams struggle to score on them. They don’t need bulletproof uniforms when they have Alcides Escobar acting like a levee at shortstop. They don’t even need Escobar when Wade Davis and Greg Holland combine to strike out 108 batters in ONLY 69.1 INNINGS. WHY DOES ANYONE EVEN TRY TO BAT AGAINST THEM???

Third, Blankman’s goal is to fight evil criminals, save his city, and win the girl he loves. The Royals’ goal is to fight the evil Tigers, save as much respect for Kansas City as possible, and win the World Series make the playoffs. Blankman was successful SO THERE IS HOPE FOR THE ROYALS!

Last and most obviously, the title of the movie could EASILY describe Danny Duffy, Jason Vargas, Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, and Yordano Ventura. As I mentioned here, Vargas and Duffy have the lowest ERA’s on the road in the American League, and it is so rare that Holland/Davis/Herrera give up a run that it is actually news when one of them does. The Royals blanked the Twins yesterday 4-0, and currently rank #15 in the MLB with 6 shutouts on the season. 

If you have not seen Blankman, you need to go and do so before the Royals take on the Cleveland Indians this weekend. It might even inspire you to wear some comical-looking long underwear and dress up as a superhero with no powers. Who knows, it might help the team win. And you can't look any more comical than this:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Torture by Greg Holland

Up, then down. Win, then lose. Rejoice, then bemoan. High, then low. Ecstatic, then…well you get the picture. This Royals-coaster season just won’t stop the tireless cycle of emphatic wins followed by lifeless losses. 10 straight wins, then lose 6 of the next 7. Sweep the Astros in Houston, then get swept by the same Astros in Kansas City. 

Of course, in a 162-game season, there are bound to be ups and downs, and this Royals team is certainly not going to dominate teams and run away with the division. One of the most frustrating things is that so many teams in the American League are so mediocre this year, barely above .500 just like the Royals, and the Royals could easily take hold of at least one of the Wild Card playoff spots with a little push here, a little timely hitting there, and if JAMES SHIELDS WOULD STOP PITCHING POORLY. Oakland is the only team with a win percentage over .600, so the Royals need to concentrate on either catching Detroit for the division lead, or chase Seattle, Baltimore and the LA Angels for the wildcard spots. Oh, and STOP LOSING TO THE MINNESOTA TWINS WHO ARE TERRIBLE. 

I have been negative enough on this blog, and would like to point out some positive stats about the Royals, in hopes of keeping the faith that the boys in blue might play October baseball this year:

  • The Royals are 3 games over .500 and it is already July. That is worth praising
  • The Royals are one of 7 American League teams, and 15 MLB teams with a positive run differential.
  • The Royals have finally started beating the AL Central, and are 15-17 against their division opponents, which is third best among the division. They are also 8-4 in interleague play. Bring on the National League!
  •  They have scored the more runs than 16 teams, have hit more doubles than 22 teams, and have the 4th best batting average in the MLB. They are still last in bases on balls and home runs, however. 
  • Alcides Escobar is among the top 30 MLB players with his .297 batting average, and also ranks NUMBER 1 AS THE BEST SHORTSTOP IN THE GAME BASED ON MY PERSONAL OPINION AND HAVING WATCHED HIS HUMAN HIGHLIGHT REEL FOR YEARS. 
  • Currently, Jason Vargas and Danny Duffy rank #1 and 2 in lowest ERA on the road in the American League (1.60 and 1.84, respectively). That is phenomenal. 
  • Duffy, Wade Daivs, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera DO NOT ALLOW RUNS AT HOME OR ON THE ROAD. I wonder what its like facing a pitch from them. It is probably horrible, and could possibly be used as a form of torture (“WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY?” “I’ll never tell.” “Holland, throw this guy a slider!”)

Plenty of positives despite the back-and-forth nature of this season. One last thing I wanted to touch on is James Shields. Last night was his shortest outing of the season (he only lasted 5 innings), and he gave up at least 4 runs in his third straight start. Not encouraging signs from the Royals’ supposed clubhouse leader. He will be a free agent after this season, so he is essentially pitching for a contract, and therefore, it is somewhat curious as to why he has had such a rocky season. It remains unlikely he will sign with Kansas City for 2015 because he will command too high a price, even with his issues so far this season. The All-Star break should come at a good time for him (and maybe Eric Hosmer) to get some rest and mentally (and physically) re-adjust for the second half of the season, which will hopefully include an actual pennant race. 

I would like to see the Royals win their series with the Twins this afternoon.