Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Royal Thanks

As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches and the wounds of the Royals’ disappointing Game 7 defeat slowly heal, I thought it would be nice to take a moment and reflect on things that I am thankful for regarding the Boys in Blue that just gave Kansas City its greatest October since 1985. So below you will find a list of blessings provided by Alex Gordon and Co.

Blessing #1: A trip to the World Series. Only 2 out of 30 MLB teams make the World Series. Being one of the last two teams left was incredibly unexpected and so amazing. Kansas City has had so much disappointment (Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game in 20 years) and negative attention (Jovan Belcher suicide), and no city was more deserving of a World Series appearance than the Paris of the Plains.  

Blessing #2: The end of the playoff drought. What was a much-publicized point of embarrassment Kansas City’s history became moot on September 26, 2014 when the Royals beat the White Sox in Chicago and clinched a berth in the playoffs. Just remembering that night brings back a gamut of emotions. 9/26/2014: NEVER FORGET. 

Blessing #3: MLB playoff history. The Royals made MLB history by winning their first 8 games of the 2014 postseason, after sweeping the Angels and Orioles and defeating the A’s in their Wild Card matchup. Ned Yost became the first manager in MLB history to win his first 8 postseason games. And the Royals finished the postseason with an 11-4 record, the best possible record you can have and not win the World Series. I LOVE THE ROYALS.

Blessing #4: The emergence of Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura. Rather than re-hash these two pitchers’ season stats, let me just be a fan for once: These guys rock. Duffy was unhittable in 2014 and Ventura literally throws fire. If they stay healthy, OMG they are going to be freaking good. The (potential) impending loss of James Shields is truly softened by these young guns becoming Major League weapons.

Blessing #5: Success in the face of failure. What I mean by this is that several Royals players actually showed regression in 2014 (compared to 2013), yet the team as a whole was able to overcome that regression and prove that the whole is better than the sum of its parts. Billy Butler having the lowest batting average of his career? Alex Gordon slumping in several parts of the season? No problem. Baseball is a team sport and someone else will pick the team up. In fact, the Royals run through the postseason showed how great of a team they truly were, with multiple players having game winning hits or having a huge impact on the outcome of the games (rather than relying SOLELY ON MADISON BUMF***** LIKE THE STUPID GIANTS DID).

Blessing #6: Kansas City is on the map. I spent the most of my life in Blue Springs, a stone’s throw from Kaufmann and Arrowhead Stadiums, and I have immense pride in KC. However, Kansas City is mostly known as a part of flyover country, or a perennially bunch of losers, or just plain not good enough to compete with the Big Market Big Boys. WELL GUESS WHAT NEW YORK AND BOSTON? WE JUST MADE THE WORLD SERIES SO YOU CAN SUCK IT.  One of my favorite things from the past few months is that the World Series garnered a high television rating and is one of the most watched sports events of 2014. No one cares about the crappy Red Sox or Ancient Yankees. The Royals represent new blood and the new old  way to play baseball. I LOVE IT.

Blessing #7: The Chiefs are also good and Sporting KC and the Comets won their Championships in 2013 and K-State could win the Big 12 Title in football this year and OMG IT LOOKS LIKE KC IS THE CENTER OF THE SPORTS UNIVERSE DOESN’T IT? Great stuff.

There are countless other examples of blessings the Royals gave KC, and rather than post them all here, I challenge you to remember them on your own. And when you gather with family tomorrow think about those blessing that the Royals (and Chiefs) have given us, and be thankful that KC should now be a model for other cities and teams. We are WINNERS. WE ARE KANSAS CITY.

Below is a pic of Salvy Perez giving you a turkey for Thanksgiving. Just like Dwayne Bowe and Anthony Sherman did for KC today. What a fantastic city to live in. Happy Thanksgiving y’all.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bye Bye Billy

It has taken me awhile to process things and get over the World Series, but I think I am finally able to publicly state my complete and utter hatred for Madison Butthead and the San Francisco Giant Lucky Ducks. So here it is, Madison Butthead:
I wrote that in a font called Rockwell Extra Bold to indicate how boldly I hate you. I also wrote it in Royal Blue to indicate that I Royally hate your greasy hair and gi-normous nose. You are a fine pitcher but you did not win the National League MVP or Cy Young award and that is because you come from a gross dirty city and you are a total jerk. Instead of hogging all the World Series innings, maybe let someone else pitch ok?! Gawd I hate you.

I do not feel ready yet to analyze the World Series other than my hatred for the douche above, but I will chime in some thoughts on Billy Butler’s recent departure.

First of all, I think it was time for Billy to go. I loved every single player on the 2014 Royals’ team, but Billy but have been the one I loved the least. He was slow, hit into 21 double plays, had little power and was mostly worthless in the field. At only 28 years old, he was supposed to be in his prime, but as you will see below, his production is currently approaching Raul Ibanez levels.

Second, Billy entered the MLB as a First Round pick in 2004 and debuted in 2007. He had a slow but somewhat steady rise in various hitting categories up until 2010 or 2011 (depending on which categories you examine). For example, his home run totals increased his first 3 years then dropped off in 2010. His RBI totals had the same pattern. His batting average and slugging increased in 2010 despite a drop off in other areas. His generally slid down a bit in 2011 before having his phenomenal 2012, when he was the Royals’ lone All-Star and set career highs for home runs, RBI’s and slugging percentage. Since then? He has fell off the cliff. In 2014, he hit a full 20 fewer home runs than his career high, had the second fewest RBI’s since his second year in the league, had the lowest batting average of his career yet still had the fourth most strikeouts in one season in his 8 years in the MLB. He also hit into 21 double plays, further demonstrating his complete lack of speed and hustle.

Third, and this is a theme that I simply cannot get over, Billy HIT INTO 21 DOUBLE PLAYS in 2014, after hitting into 28 and 20 in the previous two years, respectively. That is 138 outs in just 69 at-bats! You SUCK! What a complete waste of an at-bat and someone getting on base in front of him. The KC Star columnist Lee Judge wrote a (very annoying) column about productive outs in baseball and guess what Billy? Grounding into double plays are basically the second LEAST PRODUCTIVE OUT you can make, besides hitting into a triple play (a feat that is basically so rare that through 2013, only 691 had occurred in the MLB since 1876, an average of only 5 triple plays per year). YOUR GROUNDING INTO DOUBLE PLAYS WILL NOT BE MISSED BILLY.
Lastly, I just want to mention that Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane said that Billy Butler will play first base versus lefthanded pitchers. Ha! The A’s are probably going to suck those days. I do think that Billy’s batting numbers will increase because Kauffman Stadium tends to suppress home runs, but I do not think Billy is worth the $10 million the A’s will be paying him. Based on his salary and numbers last year, each of Billy’s home runs in 2014 was worth $888,888.88 which is a considerable sum to pay for only 9 home runs. Bon Voyage Billy and best of luck in Oakland. Please bring your BBQ sauce with you.