Monday, May 26, 2008


Question: If you are Dayton Moore, what do you do with this Royals team that has lost, what is it, 358 straight games? These are the three choices that Clark Fosler presents in the linked article:

1. Stay the Course

2. Get Better Now

3. Get Better Later

Obviously none of these three is the right answer on its own. If running a baseball team were that easy, they could have hired me or you as GM instead of having to hire one of the more brilliant baseball minds out there. (Actually, it occurs to me that one or two of you ARE among the most brilliant baseball minds out there, so re-read that sentence but pretend you're me.)

Part of me wishes there were an easy answer, because after today's game I feel certain that this team will never win another game. It's a crappy feeling, one that I was hoping to avoid this season, and one that I want to go away immediately now that it's here. Those hopes, it seems, were for naught, and I must once again retreat into my bunker of bad baseball and start repeating the old "next year" mantra.

I was playing Mario Kart Wii with my brother a few minutes ago, and I was nearing the end of one of those races in which nothing went right. There's a bridge over a high gorge at the very end of this particular track, and right as I was about to pass the end of the bridge and cross the finish line, I was disqualified because more than 30 seconds had passed since the 1st place racer finished. As this message appeared on the screen, my motor bike careened off the bridge and into the gorge, as if to say "You suck hopelessly, so we'll throw you into the abyss. Don't even think about finishing a race, much less winning it."

That's how it felt today when Alex Gordon was thrown out at home. And yesterday, when Guillen, Pena, and Gload were thrown out at home, third, and caught stealing at second, respectively. Not only will the Royals never win, it seems, but another Royal will never cross home plate safely*.

*Disclaimer: I know we'll win again; it may even happen tomorrow. But I have not felt this badly about my Royals yet this year. Sometimes I play the "last year at this time" game to make myself feel better, but when I peeked back at the standings for this date last year, the Royals were only 2 games behind their current record, and in the very same last place as they are right now. So I have to play the "2 years ago at this time" game, and I see that on this date in '06, the team had only won 11 games, and was already a horrifying 23 games out of first. Looking back on that, I wonder how the team has any fans left. Seriously. 23 games out, before June? Yuck.

Point is, I hate losing. I wanted more this year. No, the Royals won't contend; I get that. But I can't be a laughingstock anymore. I am no longer equipped to handle losing streaks of epic proportions. I've moved beyond those meek days of accepted loserdom, because I thought my team had too. So how about it, Royals? Why don't you catch up to me?

1 comment:

mike in omaha said...

So, as an amateur GM, here is what I do to fix the Royals.

1) Send a pitcher to the minors (Peralta or Yabuta) and call up Mike Aviles. I know that he's 27, which is ancient for a rookie. I know that he doesn't play a great short...but he can rake, and his 2 homers tonight show that he's deserves a chance at the Major League level. Stick him at first, second, short or third...just get him at bats while the regulars rest. Plus, Teahan's bat might need a couple of extra days off.

2) Platoon the shortstops. TPJ's glove really is great, but his bat is maybe not even at AAA level. The only time his glove is needed is with a small lead late in the game, or when a groundball pitcher is starting. Any other time, his bat is costing us more runs than his glove is saving.

3) Draft the player with the most major league ready bat and sign them no matter what the cost. We need to get a power bat working their way towards the club ASAP.

4) Rethink hitting all the way through the organization, starting at rookie ball. Its easy to blame Mike Barnett, but if you look through the organization, OBP are not a lot higher than batting averages. Sure, Mike Barnett should be fired too...but hitting needs to be re-worked throughout the organization.