Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Judgement Day (and superstitions)

Last night’s win was very satisfying. Even though there is still one more game to play, boy did it feel good to lay a smackdown on the Giants. It was a statement game almost, with the Royals boldly stating “We are still here and we are not going down without a fight.”

All nine Royals starters had at least one hit. Moose set a new franchise record with his 5th postseason home run. Eric Hosmer tied the franchise record with his 20th hit of the postseason. Yordano Ventura looked like a seasoned veteran with ice in his veins, refusing to be rattled even after loading the bases. And the best part is that Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland all got the day off, leaving them fresh for tonight. 

And tonight is Judgment Day:
I am nervous, but proud. The Dawn of a New Age in Kansas City begins tonight. Everything rests in the hands of Jeremy Guthrie, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and the rest of the Boys In Blue. No matter what superstitions you believe in, no matter the coincidences below, one game decides whether we all rejoice and revel tonight. 

For the Royals, the following coincidences exist:
Bret Saberhagen won game 7 in the 1985 World Series. He will throw out the first pitch tonight. Saberhagen’s son was born during the 1985 World Series, and that son later played on the same college team as Greg Holland. Holland just gave birth to a son during this World Series.

Also, the Royals were down 3 games to 2, then won the final two games at home in the 1985 World Series. They are one game away from repeating that. 

As a control variable to consider, this year marks the end of “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks being played at Kauffman Stadium during the 7th inning stretch. Do you think that song has any effect on the game? 

For the Giants, the following coincidences exist:
The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and missed the playoffs in 2011. The Giants won it again in 2012 then missed the playoffs in 2013. They are one game away from continuing the trend. 

As a control variable to consider, Taylor Swift released an album in 2010. Then released an album in 2012. Then released an album yesterday. Do you really think that Taylor Swift has any effect on who wins the World Series? This is a completely pointless example of how trends and coincidences have no meaning on tonight’s game. It is up to the Royals to win that championship!

I will admit to having minor superstitions and I have tried to avoid jinxing the Royals this postseason. In reality, what they have accomplished is completely independent of what shirt you are wearing, what you ate for breakfast, and whether you sit in the exact same seat wherever you are watching the game. Superstitions take away from the fact that the team made it this far by playing good baseball, BUT FEEL FREE TO DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO HELP THE ROYALS WIN. Wear your lucky shirt or hat or socks, eat THE EXACT SAME FOODS YOU ATE YESTERDAY, sit in the same spot on your couch, and do WHATEVER ELSE YOU CAN to help Dem Roys win this World Series!!!!! Please. I would like to attend the potential victory parade in KC, and I can't do that unless the Royals win. 

The Royals theme song all postseason has been We Ready. So are YOU and your superstitions ready? 

Let's Go Royals!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Respect Dem Roys

This weekend was pretty darn tough for Royals fans. Two straight losses in the World Series put their title hopes in danger. Stupid Hunter Pence has been playing out of his mind like the meth-head that he resembles. James Shields cannot strike anyone out and the Royals’ shutdown bullpen finally showed its human side. 

The Royals’ backs are to the wall and face elimination and a second place finish with a loss tonight. BUT THAT MEANS THE ROYALS ARE THE SECOND BEST TEAM IN BASEBALL. At the absolute worst, the Royals are the best American League team and second best team in all of the MLB. That is amazing. No one predicted this, few of us thought we would make the playoffs, much less beat the Oakland A’s.

But the Royals made it this far and it is time to pay them the respect they deserve.

Currently, Mike Moustakas has the most home runs in the playoffs (4). Who predicted that?!?

Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer have the most RBI’s (10) among all playoff players this postseason. 

Greg Holland tied an MLB record with 7 saves in one postseason (he can still get two more!), and was third overall in the MLB with 46 saves. He also won the inaugural Mariano Rivera award, given to the best American League Relief Pitcher. 

Alex Gordon finished the regular season worth 6.6 Wins Above Replacement, better than all but 6 players in the MLB. 

Rookie Yordano Ventura had the 10th lowest ERA in the American League (3.20), and James Shields was right behind him at 3.21. Jason Vargas was also in the top 25 lowest ERA's.

Ventura also averaged 97 MPH on his fastball this season, highest in the Majors and just insane to think about. 

Four Royals players are finalists for a Gold Glove – Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Salvy Perez, and Alcides Escobar. All but Escobar won Gold Gloves last season, and the Royals best fielder didn’t even make this list. Lorenzo Cain was left off, even though he led AL outfielders in defensive Wins Against Replacement. They had the most players selected as finalists in the American League, tied with the Dodgers for most overall. What an accomplishment. 

They finished 4th best in the league with 40 defensive runs saved.

The Royals as a team had the fewest strikeouts and 4th highest batting average in all of baseball, by far had the most stolen bases of every team, and had the fifth most total hits, including the seventh most doubles. 

And of course, they ended a 29-year playoff drought, set an MLB postseason record by winning their first 8 playoff games, tied the record for most stolen bases in one playoff game, and have endeared themselves to all of America while simultaneously making Kansas City the Greatest City Ever.

No matter what happens tonight (or even tomorrow night), I am immensely proud to call the Royals my favorite team, and I will never forget the 2014 Royals, those Boys in Blue who made October the best month KC has ever experienced. 

Please go to The K tonight, cheer on Dem Roys as loud as you can and be proud of a great season.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Postseason Productivity

As the Royals prepare for Game 3 of the World Series (still feels weird that Royals are in the World Series), I decided to provide an in-depth analysis, complete with a graph, of my work productivity since September. Below you will see how productive I am on a daily basis, using a scale of 1-10. To stay in line with the World Series, 1 represents the least productive player and 10 represents the most productive (Lorenzo Cain). A 0 represents that I am unable to do any work because I am completely incapacitated. Any negative productivity values represent Hunter Strickland, the racist Giants pitcher who has given up 5 home runs in 5.1 innings pitched this postseason. Just awful.

As you can see in the graph, my productivity lately has been as up and down as the Royals were this season (excluding the playoffs). **Please note that the Giants’ Hunter Strickland is smiling because he is an idiot.**  
September 1-28. This is the first September of my life where playoffs are a (potentially) real thing. I say potentially because the Royals did not clinch a spot until September 26. So most of the month was sort of normal, working and wondering if the Roys would lock up a postseason berth. Thanks to the A’s and Mariners sucking down the stretch, WE DID IT! And my productivity at work was at Lorenzo Cain levels. AND I got married at the beginning of September. Pretty darn productive month.

September 29-30. After the Royals’ insane Wild Card win over the A’s, I could not work. You could not work. Kansas City could not work. Productivity grinded to a halt. We were all at Hunter Strickland levels, being so unproductive that it was draining our economy of precious labor and resources. AND WHO FREAKING CARES?!?! Dem Roys won a playoff game!!! And I was unproductive, just like Hunter Strickland's fastballs.

October 1. I was back to normalcy. Eric Hosmer levels. Solid, dependable, not quite Lo-Cain but very good. Then the Royals beat the Angels…

October 2-3. I couldn’t work. I was too excited. My productivity slid faster than Jarrod Dyson into second base. The Royals kept winning. Life was AMAZING. That weekend was so much fun, especially as the anticipation built up to Sunday’s game 3 versus the Angels, meaning the Royals had a chance to sweep the series WHILE PLAYING AT THE K. The stage was set for the biggest party of all time. And it did not disappoint. After the Royals clinched that game, my wife and I partied like it was 1999 and Y2K was real. We partied like it was 1985 and Daryl Motely had just caught the final out of Game 7. We partied like the 1980 US Hockey team just beat the Soviets and Osama Bin Laden was captured and America just won back-to-back World Wars. GREATEST NIGHT EVER. Which lead to a precipitous drop in my productivity…

October 6. Twenty-nine years of happiness and joy exploding resulted in my least productive day ever. I was back to Hunter Strickland levels. I think it was because I ate too much pizza* while celebrating the Royals win the previous night.

*for honesty's sake, feel free to replace ate too much pizza with "drank too many adult beverages"

October 7-10. Slowly but surely, the excitement of the win wore off and I was able to trudge through and increase my productivity. Very Alcides Escobar-like: consistent and dependable, making some highlight plays here and there. Mostly helped by the Royals not having any games during this stretch.

October 13. This was a Monday. That dreaded day for workers everywhere and the Royals victory on Saturday did not help at all. But like Mike Moustakas, I sacrificed my body and took one for the team. Kept that productivity high. Emails were being sent at a quick pace. Data was analyzed, meetings attended. I was trying to be a postseason hero.

October 14. Productivity dropped because of anticipation for the Royals third game against the Orioles. The Royals were up 2 games to none and looking sharp. It was hard to focus at work, but I was a respectable Jarrod Dyson. He wasn’t playing much, but was making his time count. Then the Royals won AGAIN.

October 15. At this point, I was tired. No sleep after all those dramatic wins. Productivity had been all over the place. Luckily no one was placing demands on me. I fought through again, just like the Royals gutting out a 2-1 victory, setting up the stage for ANOTHER potential sweep. In Kansas City AGAIN.  At work, I was a Salvy Perez – getting things done but slipping at the plate.

October 16-21. This period is hazy. A dreamland. Nothing felt real. If I was productive at work, you will have to ask someone else. Whatever is on the graph during these days is purely for entertainment BECAUSE THE ROYALS SWEPT THE ORIOLES AND WON THE AMERICAN LEAGUE PENNANT AND ARE NOW IN THE WORLD SERIES OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDD

October 22. Productivity slipped a bit after James Shields pitched that stinker and the Giants dominated beat the Royals in Game 1. I was heading towards Jayson Nix levels of zero productivity. Not because he is a bad player, but because he wasn’t playing. And I wasn’t working much.

October 23. AND WE’RE BACK! After stomping DESTROYING the Giants in Game 2, my productivity is down to Travis Ishikawa levels. He is batting 1 for 5 with two strikeouts in the World Series and he sucks. Guess that tells you a lot about me at work, huh? Hahaha, jk*

*not really 

I am glad the next 3 games will be during the weekend because who knows if I could afford another huge drop in productivity. Here is hoping the Royals do work tonight and either bring the series back to KC or finish the Giants in San Francisco!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Acronyms of destiny

In case you missed last night’s World Series game, below is a synopsis of what occurred:

Innings 1-5:
Score = 2-2. Game = tight. Royals bats = missing.
Innings 6-9:
Score = 7-2. Game = AMAZING. Royals bats = powerful and explosive and clutch and caused the Giants to become racists.

What a fun night. I have truly enjoyed this Royals season, and especially the postseason as there have been COUNTLESS stories of love and devotion and faith and kindness emanating from Kansas City. For example, Wade Davis’ wife left a waiter World Series tickets as a tip. The Royals have adopted several cancer patients and given them a chance to see the World Series. And the Royals have made it possible to bring back super-fan Sung Woo to America. Has there ever been another city with that much love and respect and awesomeness?!? My wife and I are so jealous of everyone who gets to experience Kansas City every day during this Glorious October.

Last night, while watching the Royals shutdown trio of relievers, I realized something. All of the Royals players’ names stand for something awesome, and I decided to share what their names mean with you:
Alcides "Esky" Escobar: what a stud at Short Stop
Alex Gordon is not doing much this series, but teams are afraid to run on him. And he catches everything hit his way
I pity the fool who tries to hit a Greg Holland slider.
Jacobim Mugatu: "That Kelvin is so hot right now."
Wade Davis does not allow hits. Nor does he allow walks. You cannot hit his pitches no matter how hard you try so just give it up.
Omar's home run last night was one of the most beautiful hits I have ever seen. Gone as soon as it left the bat.
This is what I imagine Ned Yost thinks about in the dugout...
Aren’t these great? Acronyms of destiny! Let’s get them in San Francisco!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Royal Pride


That one stings a bit. I had to turn it off after 5 innings. Heard people complaining about fans leaving the game early. Other people pointed out that TV ratings were really low. And we might have seen James Shields last game as a Royal.


They are still the Royals that we all love.

They still have at least 3 games left to play.

They are still playing for the WORLD SERIES TITLE.

They have gone farther than the New York Yankees and their $800 billion payroll.

They have lasted longer than those bullies from Detroit and their 3 CY YOUNG PITCHERS.


They have brought people together, added joy to our lives on a daily basis, doused our city in BLUE everywhere. 
They are our Kansas City Royals and no matter what happens we can be proud of them because KANSAS CITY BASEBALL IS ON THE MAP. 

Just look at what America thinks about our small-town baseball team!!!
NOTE:These stats are from ESPN and I found them this morning AFTER WE LOST LAST NIGHT. America still loves Dem Roys
And for all of you who don’t follow baseball very well, Madison Bumgarner (the Giants pitcher last night) is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and is having an incredible postseason. He has dominated every team he has faced in the playoffs, so it is not a huge blow to lose to him. It is not time to panic. The rest of the Giants pitching rotation is equal or worse than the Royals rotation. There are still (potentially) 6 games left to play. The Royals still set a postseason record by winning their first 8 games. And ESPN has pointed out that the last 3 teams who lost the first game of the World Series by 5 runs or more went on the win the whole thing. So there is hope for us yet!

Tonight Yordano Ventura takes the mound as the Royals attempt to tie the series at 1 win apiece. For all you Royals fans out there, keep the faith, SHOW YOUR PRIDE and enjoy the ride as much as I am doing below: