Thursday, January 29, 2009

Will Billy Butler ever bunt again?

We are obviously thrilled about the Zack Greinke extension. Nothing Royals-related would have made us happier. It might be time for us to trade in our Wichita Wranglers' Greinke T-shirt for a Royals' Greinke jersey. Having said that, we're still very fond of the Wranglers shirt.

There's only one thing that really worries us about the 2009 Kansas City Royals. It's not Mike Jacobs' on-base percentage. It's not Willie Bloomquist's contract. It's not Jose Guillen's temper. It's not even the threat that Trey Hillman will ask Billy Butler to bunt. Here is what really worries us: the infield defense.

Maybe we're just too old school...

The outfield defense is looking strong, but groundball pitchers (which are usually a good thing) like Hochevar are going to suffer when Mike Aviles-Mark Teahen/Callaspo/-Mike Jacobs try to turn a double play.

P.S. We were driving through Waldo in the snow the other day, after eating Gates for the second day in a row, and we heard "Let's Groove" on the radio.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's cold in Kansas City

We are in KC for a conference. This will probably be the last time in a long while that we get to go somewhere for work, seeing as how nobody will even be able to figure out how to transact currency in this country -- for things like hotels and food -- in another two weeks. We predict a big comeback by the barter system. Anyway, we are going to sneak away at noon and go to Gates for lunch (on our own dime), assuming we can find our car. (When we last saw the car, it was parked somewhere in the bowels of the Crown Center complex.)

We hate doing trendy touristy things, but we are probably going to check out the Power and Light District tonight. We haven't been down there yet.

We are worried about the weather, especially south and east of here. How's it looking where you're at?

P.S. Trust us: Mark Teahen is NOT a second baseman.

P.P.S. Places like Crown Center and the Hyatt Regency will probably go out of business by spring. People are going to be killing each other in the streets for food soon. We wish we were kidding.

Friday, January 23, 2009

F is for Fisicks

We fancy ourselves as an amateur physicist. This is mainly based on the fact that we used to enjoy reading about the Manhattan Project and we once read a really good biography on Richard Feynman. Anyway, we went to a lecture on the physics of football yesterday. Turns out, the guy is a big Feynman fan. ANYWAY, we had to file a report elsewhere, and this is pretty much it...

Dr. Tim Gay is known as the guy responsible for the largest physics classes ever taught. Those classes, which were very short, were held at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Gay is a faculty member at the University of Nebraska, where football is Everything and where the N on the helmets stands for Nowledge.

Gay wanted to give some of those nowledgeable, rabid football fans an introduction to physics -- so he made a series of really short, very funny videos that were displayed on the jumbo-tron during Nebraska home games. In this way, he subjected more than 70,000 people at a time to lessons on things like momentum, force and pressure.

Gay also wrote a book: The Physics of Football. (The forward to the book was written by New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick.) Yesterday, Gay gave a guest lecture on football physics in Missouri.

"It's important to relate scientific topics to something people really care about," Gay told those of us in the audience(which was somewhat smaller than 70,000 people).

During yesterday's lecture, Gay used a honeydew melon and a tall ladder to illustrate the pressure exerted on the human head upon contact during a football game. First, he put the melon in a modern football helmet and dropped it. The melon came out of the collision with the floor intact. Then he dropped a helmetless honeydew. The predictable result was messy, and Gay used the cracked melon to illustrate why it's important to wear a bike helmet.

Among other things, Gay also explained why you can kick a ball further in Denver than you can at sea level.

Before coming to Lincoln, Gay studied and worked at the University of Chicago and Yale. In college he played for a very bad football team at Cal Tech.

P.S. Though much smaller, yesterday's audience was decidedly more nowledgeable about physics than the crowds at Memorial Stadium.

P.P.S. We understand that in some places (probably Arkansas or St. Louis) the letter F stands for fisicks.

P.P.P.S. We like (and trust) offensive baseball stats. But we're sick and tired of eggheads trying to come up with metrics for baseball defense. The only way to evaluate a player's defensive ability is to WATCH a player play defense.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some black dude became president today

Great speech. We are in love with this country again.

That's what a smart leader sounds like. All of our presidents should be this worthy of such a high honor. How did we endure the last eight years?

Sadly, most of us in Royalsland just take bad leadership for granted.

P.S. When are the Yankees going to stop signing mediocre free agents and spend the big bucks?

P.P.S. We have been trying to grasp just how far this country has fallen into a deep, depressing hole. But it's almost impossible to process. Today, we captured a brief understanding of how bad it really is. Then we got filled with hope. Sure, that's a dorky thing to admit, but so what?

P.P.P.S. We're trying to let the Bush thing go and concentrate on the amazing thing the American people did. We know kicking the ass on his way out of town is petty and small, just like Bush himself, but goddamn the fool. We can't forget again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gathright, Vietnamese food and boob pictures

So we were taking a look back at this blog to see if it was ever any good (not really), and we came up with a selection of our greatest hits (half-way funny random sentences). These are basically soundbites. They're in order, more or less, going back to near the beginning of the blog -- so, when we say that Meche has an 8.00 ERA, that's going back to very early last season.

Gathright at bat is like a one-armed man with a pitching wedge in a long-drive contest.

TPJ and Gathright batting back-to-back is like sending out the armies of Luxembourg and Albania to fight off the German Luftwaffe.

We found out this weekend that the state motto of Kansas is "To the stars with great difficulty." How can you not like that? Especially when you compare it to Missouri's motto, which is this: "If things don't work out, there's always the hot dog race."

Butler fielding the baseball like it has fangs.

Have you ever tried Vietnamese food (non-dog)? It's the worst!

In no way do we mean to seriously compare our pseudo-sports injuries to years of suffering in a Vietnamese torture prison, where prisoners were likely sujbected to Vietnamese food.

Have you listened to popular hip hop music lately on the radio? It might be time to put the Taliban in charge of American culture for a while.

If we did run our vehicles on urine, Big Donkeys would drink twice as much beer and we'd be able to top off our car, the lawn mower, and the neighbor's SUV every night. We're willing to take up the slack, people.

Hillary and O'Reilly are almost certainly going to have a torrid love affair. The chemistry between those two is unbelievable, partly because they're both Butch Lesbians. Good for them. Big Donkeys wishes we had a foil to turn us on like that, but Ann Coulter won't return our calls.

The Royals showed a lot of grit but couldn't quite get it done in last night's 15-1 loss to the Indians.

If Gil Meche's 8.0 ERA was a New Madrid earthquake, it would be ringing church bells in Boston right now.

While we're listening to the game, we like to "keep score" on a big piece of white watercolor "canvas" (in pencil, of course), according to a complex system of communist and sanskrit symbols and letters from the Greek alphabet.

Congratulations to the Jayhawks for winning that basketball tournament some people have been talking about.

We're setting the over/under for the number of times Butler hits a ball off the wall AND gets thrown out at second trying to "stretch" it into a double at 15.

PREDICTION ALERT: The economy is about ready to seriously tank.

Big Donkeys is testing out a new idea we call Formal Friday. From now on (until we get called on it), we're going to wear business-appropriate attire on Fridays, which means we get to wear sweats and Chuck Taylors Monday through Thursday.

We've got boobs, baseball and beer on our Big Donkey brains -- because we know how to MULTI-TASK, people.

We'd like to make boob pictures a regular feature of this blog, but we've only painted two of them so far.*

*That would be two paintings, four boobs.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We liked Moneyball, too, but geez

The Royals signed Bloomquist because they needed a bench guy not named TPJ who can play shortstop. It's not that big of a deal. They traded for Coco because he's a good CF, a switch hitter, and a decent bat. They traded for Jacobs because he can hit the ball a long way. We don't know why they signed the Meaty Sweathog for the bullpen, but the total meltdown in Royalsland is beyond us. Sure, we would have approached some things differently, and we'll probably be complaining as loud as anyone if things don't work out better than they've been working out for the past 20 or so years. But the 2009 Royals have a chance to compete for the division. Let's wait and see how things go in April.

We were watching Game Seven of the 1991 World Series between Minnesota and Atlanta last night. That series featured guys like Scott Leius, Rafael Belliard (lifetime OBP .270), Mark Lemke and Brian Hunter (lifetime OBP .298). Of course, both teams had some pretty excellent pitchers.

Here's the thing with the 2009 KC Royals...Three guys have to hit 25-plus home runs...Dayton knows Gordon, Guillen and Jacobs are capable of doing it. If that happens, a lot of other things will fall in place and a lot of these complaints about how the offense is constructed will be hollow.

P.S. Can't wait for Rickey Henderson's Hall of Fame speech. Somebody was telling a minor league story about him on XM last night. The game was out of hand and the manager had taken the steal sign off. Henderson proceeded to steal second and third anyway. The manager asked him if he got the sign, to which Henderson replied: "Rickey got the take off sign, so Rickey took off."

P.P.S. Yes, it would be more than nice to have an OBP guy like Rickey on the Royals. Rickey was one of the greatest players we ever got to watch play in person.

P.P.P.S. Our favorite outfield to watch was the mid-1980's Toronto Blue Jays (Moseby, Bell, Barfield). Those guys covered ground. Our favorite infielder to watch was Frank White. Our favorite guy to watch in batting practice was Dave Kingman (at Wrigley Field). These are all guys we saw live. Our favorite hitters to watch besides George Brett were John Olerud and Harold Baines, maybe Edgar Martinez. We also liked Chet Lemon a lot for some reason. (Also, here's a guy we always liked: Bip Roberts; he was better than people think.) Our favorite pitcher of all-time is Zack Greinke. Our favorite left-hander to watch in person was Randy Johnson. One of our favorite baserunners to watch, believe it or not, is Mark Teahen. The best shortstop we ever saw in person, including Ozzie Smith, was Omar Vizqel when he was with the Mariners.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New theories of relativity

Now and again I get the feeling
Well if I don't win, I'm a gonna break even
Rescue me, should I go wrong
If I dig too deep, if I stay too long

-- Tom Petty

We have learned a lot about losing from the Royals. But everything we learned about losing we learned way back when the Royals were good. The Chris Chambliss home run was our first real lesson in losing and heartbreak. Even in 1985, after going down three games to one against the Blue Jays and Cardinals, we weren't all that concerned with winning. We just desperately didn't want to lose again, and winning came as a huge surprise and a great relief. This attitude/mentality has come to inform and define our life. It's an old world way to go, and we are fine with it. It makes us tragically funny, and we know that we can make a living off it, in part, so to speak, such as it is, and whatnot. Sometimes we feel a lot like Woody Allen.

So can the Royals win this season, or at least resemble a team that is, you know, CAPABLE of breaking our hearts? We actually don't see why not.

OK. So the AL Central is down, and now we're slouching toward optimism. It's a key ingrediant for getting your heart broken.

Does any team in the AL Central have a superior rotation to the Royals? Seriously.

Sure, there are a few potential warts in the lineup. But a lot of those guys could play for a serious contender.

And we have Soria!

Now onto a non-Royals related rant. People with advanced degrees in academia are mostly insufferable. They play around with ideas that don't actually work, aren't very curious about the big picture, and then they try to hide behind language that only obscures the fact (or illustrates the fact) that their not-so brilliant ideas are totally meaningless to everyone but a few of their colleagues. Here are some academic titles for real research proposals that have actually been FUNDED.

EFRI-RESIN: A Multi-Scale Design and Control Framework for Dynamically Coupled Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructures with Applications to Vehicle-to-Grid Integration

Maintain and Run Web Database for NSF FSP-IUCRC

Impacts of Acid Mine Drainage of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon Cycling in Receiving Streams

Inter-American Materials Collaboration (CIAM): Stability, Durability and Crystallization of Iron Phosphate Glasses

Corrosion Finishing/Coating Systems for DOD Metallic Substrates Based on Non-Chromate Inhibitors and UV Curable, Zero VOC Materials

Multi Laser Beam Open Atmosphere Surface Coating Techniques Based on Precursor Excitation, Photodissociation and Controlled Cooling

Sure, some of these projects might have real merit. But who would ever be able to tell? This is one reason why taxpayers and legislators aren't always thrilled about supporting higher education, which is a real shame.

P.S. We are scrapping the morning music project, just like we scrap most of the half-baked ideas on this blog, which exists almost entirely to amusue us (me). But the reason we are scrapping this project is because we've already gotten to the bottom of it. The songs are all songs that we've heard recently but didn't actively listen to. That explains why most of them are bad songs. We are ignoring the songs, but our subconscious is filing them away in case we need them for something. While we sleep, our subconscious retrieves the songs one by one and pops them into our conscious brain just as we are waking up, just as an FYI.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A note from Eckstein's mother

Dear Mr. Moore,

Please don't sign my son David to play for the Royals. While David is a good little player, you already have a much better shortstop in Mike Aviles and a better second base option in that Callaspo guy. I still believe that David would be a decent bench player for some team, but I'm afraid your manager, Mr. Hillman, would give my David more plate appearances than he deserves. If you're determined to sign a middle infielder, go with that Willie Bloomquist guy. He can play all over the field and fits in better as a reserve. So leave my David alone. He is sick today.

Thank you,

Eckstein's Mother

P.S. Why did you sign that meathead sweathog Farnsworth? I could have warned you about him too.

P.P.S. Is German still on the team because you think you can trade him?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Self-reliance and the art of ear wax removal

This morning's song was Ozzy Osbourne's "Momma, I'm Coming Home." Who needs a therapist? We just need to get to the bottom of these songs in our head. Actually, we recall hearing this song on the radio last week while driving with Junior. So it's not like these songs are really popping into our head out of absolutely nowhere. Still, it's interesting that our brain generates a new song (and defenitely not always a good song) every morning right on schedule.

We used self-reliance and took care of something that's been bothering us last night. We are very proud. We have a long history of ear problems, and the left ear has been clogged for weeks now. It usually gets so bad that we have to go to the doctor. We have tried to clean it out before with no luck. But yesterday we went to our favorite local pharmacy and got a really nice ear wax removal kit. The guy there (same guy who gave us the free reading glasses) suggested drops and a high-powered water shooter thing. We left the drops in for a while, then filled the water shooter thing up with hot water and then shot it into our left ear. Much to our surprise, the wax started coming out. We shot up about five times with increasing success. Then, finally, a huge nugget of wax (or possibly brain matter) came out. It was like mining for gold. If ear wax had value, we'd be rich. And just like that, we could hear again.

P.S. There are still tons of players available to MLB teams, and the teams are starting to get some bargains.

P.P.S. We won four free tickets to the Mizzou basketball game tongight by answering a stupid trivia question on the radio. But we can't go to the game and we can't find anybody to give the tickets to. Now we feel guilty for answering the stupid question. Oh well. That will just be four more empty seats in a largely empty Mizzou Arena.

Monday, January 5, 2009

At least sake doesn't sucky

This morning's song was "Down by the River," the Neil Young version (sorta). We confess (happily) that this one wasn't entirely random. We did hear a cover of the song just last week during a small bluegrassy concert. Otherwise, the subconscious meaning (Down by the river/I shot my baby) would have been more than a little disturbing.

We had a really sucky holiday season. But it was pretty much expected; so at least the suckiness didn't come as a total surprise. The good part about hitting bottom at the end of the year is that it's all up from here to start 2009.

We hope (we think) the Royals 2009 bench looks like this: Teahen, Shealy, German and B. Pena. That would leave TPJ (if he accepts the assignment), the Hawaiian 1B, some 3B guy we picked up and House stashed in Omaha in case somebody gets hurt.

Yes, we're still kind of obsessed with the Royals bench for some reason, and our opinions about it change daily.

Do we have any decent outfielders in Omaha?

P.S. This means we would trade John Buck before the season starts. This also means that we would have to dump Gload somehow. This ALSO means Teahen would be the only backup OF. This also MEANS that we wouldn't have a back-up SS on the big league team. (We're so screwed.)

P.P.S. We bought a bottle of Fu-Ki sake just before Christmas.

P.P.P.S. So far, so good on most of the New Year's resolutions. At least the ones we have control over right now. (We already switched from Marlboro Lights to Ultra Lights, which wasn't even part of the original resolutions.)

P.P.P.P.S. We are aware of the fact that we can't spell Callaspo. We're working on it.