Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A few links and a plea to Dick Kaegel

I'm feeling linky today, so let's share some cool stuff from around the sports Interwebz.
1. Fascinating 2-part series from Roto Authority. You know how, every spring, MLB players swear they've lost weight, gained muscle, or improved their body through some radical new workout system? These articles put those claims to the test.
Part I - Players who claim to have lost weight, gained muscle, or lost body fat percentage.
Part II: Vision improvement, new exercise routine, finally healthy, working on a new pitch, expected to run more

2. A horribly fascinating list of pro athletes who have illegitimate kids. Yikes.

3. Jonah Keri brings us this hilarious video of Pat Burrell showing off his condo. The video's old, apparently, but it's a hoot.

4. Royals Review's own devil_fingers makes his debut at Driveline Mechanics by awarding Gold Gloves...to designated hitters. He works in a Justin Huber reference, so you know it's good.

5. This wouldn't be a true Baseball and Other Things link post without a link to some of my own work offsite, so here are 7 little things I miss about baseball season.

6. Dick Kaegel is again unrealistically optimistic at Royals.com. The money quote is the very last paragraph, which I will post here in case you don't want to read the whole article:
Everyone seems ready to surge into '09 after a super September lifted the Royals into fourth place, ending a four-year stay in the American League Central cellar. If there's to be a new version of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, fans in Kansas City have a candidate in mind.

Sigh. Oh, Dick Kaegel. You honestly think that the '09 Royals and the '08 Rays are similar things? That's...cute, but horribly misguided. I'm amazed there are still so many baseball journalists - people whose job it is to know about baseball - who still refer to the Tampa Bay '08 season as "a total surprise" and things like that.

I'm no professional sportswriter, but I wasn't totally shocked by the Rays. You know why? I spent 20 bucks on a Baseball Prospectus book, and then read it. It's not that hard to be somewhat educated, and if mainstream writers continue to insist on staying in dark caves where only grit and RBIs matter, they are cheating their readers. It's not noble to hang on to antiquated sports ideals at the expense of actual expertise. Not when your entire job is to inform fans about a sport.

The Royals can not, and will not, have the kind of season that the Rays just did. The Rays spent years acquiring talent and building up a young core, and made a small number of moves last offseason that, in the words of the '08 Baseball Prospectus book, "[made] the Rays more of a real baseball team rather than a random assemblage of talented youngsters."

The Royals do not have an assemblage, random or not, of talented youngsters. They have a few elite pitchers, and a few sundry parts on offense who are either "solid," "unproven," or "horrible." Kansas City can't just make one trade, like the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza deal, that will allow everything to fall into place for a playoff run. The Mike Jacobs acquisition isn't going to boost this team from the depths of hell to a 97-win season. Ditto for Coco Crisp. And signing Kyle Farnsworth for such a huge salary might actually damn us all to more hellfire.

So no, Dick Kaegel, don't try to say that the Royals are a candidate to do what the Rays did last year. That's an uninformed, hacky, stupidly optimistic proposition that does no good for anyone. False hope isn't enough to float a fan base that's been this far from goodness for this long. Please...just stop. You're hurting me.

...Wow, that got a lot more bitter than I thought it would. One more link for you:
7. Keith has supplied us with the latest profile of a Royals prospect: 2008 third round draftee Tyler Sample.

K, I think that's all. Happy Tuesday!


mike perry said...

Wow...cheer up buttercup. I know Dick gets a little carried away sometimes, but I think if he reported how he really felt about the Royals on a daily basis, he'd be found hanging from shower rod with a rambling suicide note about Steve Balboni's moustache. Even guys like Rany get opptimistic when talking about "next season". That's the fun of being a fan of a team like the Royals...there is always next season. I'm glad I don't have to be a Mets fan where I don't get to start dreaming about upcoming seasons until September...I get the joy of creating future seasons in my head starting in May!

Sure, I think trading for Mike Jacobs was a wasted move. We got a guy to play a position that we're deep at, and he's not smart enough to take a ball, but at least I can dream now that "maybe he'll learn!" And Coco is a good enough pick up, but I can dream that he's the guy that will jumpstart this offense, steal 40 bases and play so much defense that Zach and Gil will be battling each other for the Cy Young. And obviously this will be the year that Alex and Billy get things figured out, Mark Teahan remembers how to hit a line drive, Mike Aviles continues his hitting from last year (and proves his fielding wasn't a fluke), David DeJesus stays healthy for a full season, hits .300 and is clutch with runners on, Alberto takes a cab and plays a decent 2nd base while continuing to not strike out and there will be a catcher that doesn't end every rally that gets started. This is the year!

At least I can think that until its not.

Minda said...

As a fan, I do hold on to hope that "there's always next year." I've always been that way, and probably will stay that way for a very long time (or until "next year" actually gets here). But Dick Kaegel's JOB is to inform fans about the team, and he's basically lying.

I *get* that MLB teams are going to try to keep things pretty PR-friendly on their official sites, but I don't see any actual value in it. There are many, MANY fans out there whose ONLY source of Royals news is royals.com. I just think it would be more beneficial to the whole of Royals Nation if even lukewarm fans understood that no, the team is not quite "there" yet, and a little more patience will be required. Comparing the Royals, who bungled almost every single draft of the last decade (until their amazing job this year), to the Rays, who used their draft picks wisely before making a few keen roster moves to put everything together, is a flat-out falsehood. The two clubs cannot be compared, because the Royals haven't been able to use their top draft picks wisely like the Rays did for so long.

It's irresponsible of Kaegel to keep doing this. He could be a lot more truthful without being overly negative - trust me, I'm actually fairly positive compared to some Royals fans on the web.