Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Maybe Obama could kick in some stimulus money for the Royals? Here is how it would work. The Royals would receive subsidies for getting rid of old, underperforming, inefficient players and replacing them with newer models that get good on-base mileage and don't stink up The K. This, in turn, would boost the morale of several people in parts of Missouri and Kansas who root for the Royals and are probably jobless or under-employed. Just a thought.

P.S. How come nobody has made "Trust the Process" T-shirts yet?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Chosen Ones

Every move the St. Louis Cardinals make turns to gold. It must have something to do with God being a St. Louis fan, which would obviously make Him the best fan in baseball. (I wonder where He went to high school?)

Does anybody think John Smoltz would have been good at this point for any other team? And check out what Julio Lugo and Matt Holliday have been doing since joining the Cards for the inevitable World Series run:

Lugo .303 .357 .500

Holliday .398 .457 .694

But don't worry about it. Your Kansas City Royals have made some dazzling in-season acquisitions this year: Yuniesky Betancourt, Ryan Freel and Josh Anderson!

P.S. Even American League loser Joel Pinero has a 3.15 ERA in St. Louis, where water in the Mississippi turns to wine on game nights.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The dubious duality of Butler and Gordon

Well, we've heard over and over that the Royals need(ed) Billy Butler and Alex Gordon to have breakout years and big time careers. At least one of them is the real deal.

Alex may still end up having a good career, but the whole idea of him ever being great is starting to seem silly. So it goes. Sure, the Royals probably needed Butler and Gordon to have breakout years if the Royals wanted to contend in 2009. But what I want to consider today is the myth that the Royals reallly did/do need BOTH Gordon and Butler to be saviors (or at least very good MLB ballplayers) in the long term.

Let's think of the Royals top prospects as pairs, much like Butler and Gordon have always been mentioned together.

The obvious Butler-Gordon-like pair is Moustakas and Hosmer. But I'll just throw some others out for fun: Melville and Crow, Montgomery and Duffy, Bianchi and Giavotella, Parraz and Lough, Dwyer and Coleman.

If one of the players in each pair turns out to be a darn good MLB ballplayer and if the other is a bust...would you take that as a Royals fan?

If that were to happen, your big disappointments could look like this (for the sake of this argument): Hosmer, Crow, Duffy, Bianchi, Parraz and Dwyer. But, on the other hand, you could conceivably add the following to the MLB roster within the next three years: a big bat (Moustakas), two solid starting pitchers (Melville and Montgomery), a good middle infielder (Giavotella), a starting outfielder (Lough), and a good reliever (Coleman).

P.S. This is probably not going to happen. If I know the Royals luck (and skill or lack thereof) in developing prospects, there's no way half of these guys are going to make it. Maybe two of them will have some kind of lasting impact at the Major League level. The magic trick is identifying the right two, and trading the others.

P.P.S. Callaspo is so godawful bad at 2B. The defense up the middle is too brutal for words. But, of course, trust the process.

P.P.P.S. Our everyday No. 2 hitter (and today's starting right fielder) has an on-base percentage of .300, and, according to Trey and DM, he's having a solid year. Hey, he plays hard and has a carer high of four home runs!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thoughts about 1983

I watched the 1983 Pine Tar Game the other day. I would have missed it -- but my brother decided to text me 17 times about U.L. Washington's toothpick and afro while I was trying to take a nap. So I got up and watched most of the game.

And the game that I knew and loved has definitely changed. Of course, I already knew that. But seriously, almost everybody could actually field the ball, people were good at bunting, and there weren't many really huge players. Geez, Craig Nettles used to be something of a power hitter, as I recall. He looked like he weighed a buck fifty. And the Yankees had Bert Campaneris (born in 1942) and a bunch of light hitters out there. The only exceptions were Don Baylor and Dave Winfield (both African Americans), who both could crush the ball in any era. Then there was Lou Pinella out in right field. I love Lou, but he was already on his way to growing that huge beer bellly by 1983.

Anyway, here's the main thing that you can't help but notice. I've mentioned it before; but this is the most dramatic change that has happened to baseball in the past 30 years. The 1983 Royals had U.L., Frank White, Hal McRae, Willie Aikens and Wille Wilson. All African Americans. They also had Amos Otis; I'm not sure what he is, but he always had a nice afro. (The Yankees had Baylor, Winfield, Oscar Gamble, Willie Randolph, and Ken Griffey, etc.) By way of contrast, the 2009 Royals had Coco Crisp. That's it. I think.

Obviously, latin players have taken the place of black players in today's game. It wasn't on purpose, but it's true. If you listen to people who claim to know about these things, it's because black kids don't grow up with baseball at all anymore. They play basketball. (More and more white kids don't grow up with baseball anymore either. They play video games.)

Without going too deep into the race factors, baseball is much worse off -- not because there are a lot more latin players these days, but because there are almost no black players anymore.

P.S. George Brett was the man. This is the second time I've watched a Royals game on Classic lately, and those old games really remind you why George is in the Hall of Fame. The Royals would have been a interesting team without him, but they wouldn't have been good enough to win a bunch of division championships.

P.P.S. I still love Billy Martin!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Have you ever been to the doctor with a Royals-related ailment?

The Royals are the Royals...So let's talk about something else that is so screwed up that nobody will ever be able to figure out how to fix it.

What do you think about this whole health care plan?

Don't we already have national health care? Isn't the government already in charge of the health care for everyone with an AARP card? Isn't the whole thing (government + insurance and drug companies) way too corrupt and expensive? Isn't the whole thing in need of reform?

How the hell do you reform anything in this country these days? The good news is that there's no social security money left, so all of us will work, regardless of our ailments, until we drop dead. Penniless.

I have awesome insurance, so I don't really give a shit about the health care debate. I guess I'm not happy about paying higher rates to cover all of those who are uninsured, though, so it does seem to me like all of us have a stake in this, even if you take out the compassion factor. I say at least try to fix the damn thing in a bi-partisan way. The other side of the argument, it seems to me, boils down to wingnuts shouting the same old thing they've been shouting forever: Get a job!

Obviously, getting a job these days isn't as easy as it used to be. Especially a job with good insurance.

Anyway, like I said, I have awesome insurance. The thing is, though, I never go to the doctor. I am afraid of needles. I am afraid of the crazy diseases I am probably already polluted with...and I just don't want to know. Therefore, I am all the time on the Internet looking up symptoms and remedies, basically diagnosing myself with exotic stuff. This is the reason why I soak my feet in apple cider vinegar. This is the reason I actually got interested in colon cleansing (it's totally bunk) after hearing advertisements on XM radio all the time. At some point, I'm sure I'll want to try out one of those male enhancement products, if for no other reason than curiosity...Do you want to perform better? Sure, it couldn't hurt. Do you want to be larger? I am not opposed to the idea...I mean, it's no wonder they're selling the hell out of those pills, even if they don't actually work.

But I would never go to a doctor in my right mind unless I had a compound fracture or some kind of laceration that definitely required stitches. In those cases, the reason for going to the doctor is perfectly obvious and the wounds are somehow masculine. In other cases, you're going to the doctor because something MIGHT be wrong. And there's always the chance of needles or really bad news.

I should mention that I did go the emergency room a few years ago because I was having a heart attack, which seemed like a good enough reason to go at the time. But as it turns out, I was having a panic/anxiety attack. So I only ended up at the hospital that time because I was CRAZY. (I blame the Royals.)

Anyway, everyone should be more like me. Then health care wouldn't be quite as expensive. Until you get really sick.

In conclusion, I think the best way for us to frame this health care debate is as follows: Just give all of us an opportunity to get the same health care that the Kansas City Royals enjoy from their mediocre (at best) medical training staff. It wouldn’t be great care, by any stretch of the imagination, but if we could get it (on the cheap) for everyone who can’t afford insurance, I think that would have to be considered a win.

NOTE: I am not giving up my awesome insurance and going with the Royals option.

P.S. I haven't been bagging on the Obama haters, even though I want to really bad, because I did expend quite a bit of energy going after Dubya. Fair is fair. And I do see where Obama screws up. People have a right to express dissent. But I have to say that this whole Limbaugh-Palin crowd and their followers really, really scare me. More and more every day. The things they believe in and advocate are shocking.

P.P.S. At the risk of jinxing him, the Big Donkey (Butler) is really hitting the ball well these days.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Callaspo Conundrum

Alberto Callaspo is too good at hitting not to be in the Royals lineup, but he's too bad at fielding to play 2B. Callaspo is arguably the worst fielder on the team. That would be fine if the Royals had a bunch of gold glovers at other positions. But they obviously don't. So how do you make him playable in 2010? The Royals would have to have a better fielding shortstop than Yuniesky "Can't Find a Better Man" Betancourt. You'd have to find a really good defensive CF. Those two things might make Callaspo and the Royals a tolerable defensive team. Yet, even with Callaspo's bat, the Royals offense is still going to suck in 2010 without major changes.

I say trade him in the off-season. He might be worth something.

Yuni's going to play no matter what. If it looks like Aviles might make a healthy and productive comeback at some point next season, he could play 2B. So we still need a CF who can really play the position and hit...somebody like Coco Crisp in his un-hurt prime. Pena could be the full-time catcher and Kila could be in a DH platoon with Guillen, who will probably come off the disabled list some day while he's still under contract with the Royals.

Anyway, the offense is going to suck again in 2010. Even if Butler and (hopefully) Gordon blossom, the lineup is still going to suck. And so, probably, is the defense. Also: the team will still be slow.

Which is why they should trade Dejesus (or move him back to CF) and somehow get an OF who can really mash. (Good luck with that, Dayton!)

If they fix the bullpen, maybe the 2010 team will play better than the 2009 team. But DM has screwed up the roster and there's really not much hope in sight. Again.

Somebody tell me how to fix this team. If you're DM, what do you do? Given financial constraints and roster realities, what moves need to be made to make the Royals competitive in 2009? It's going to take a lot of creativity. And a miracle.


Dayton loves him/He don't want to see him this way/He needs him/That's why he'll be back again/Yuniesky Betancourt! Yuniesky Bentancourt! Yuniesky Betan coooo ooo ort!