Thursday, December 31, 2009

Royals Ten Best Moments of the 2000s

Say what you will about this being the worst decade in Royals' History, but there were still plenty of moments that reminded us about why we are fans. The following is a list of those moments. After this post, I'm cleansing myself of the 00s, and moving on to the 10s. Here it is, folks, your 10 Best Moments of the Royals This Decade:

Carlos Beltran's catch against Dan Wilson July 19, 2003- Beltran vaulted himself into iconic status when he robbed Dan Wilson on perhaps the greatest defensive play in Royals' history.

Ken Harvey walks off against the Tigers April 18, 2003- An unknown at this point in his career, the future All-Star hits a mammoth homer in the 11th inning vs. Detroit to push the Royals further into the lead in the AL Central, sitting at 12-3.

Zack Greinke sets franchise record for strikeouts in a single game August 25, 2009- A long standing record finally fell as Greinke mowed down the Cleveland Indians, 6-2 while striking out 15, strengthening his case for the Cy Young Award.

Opening Day 2004 April 5, 2004- Coming off of a miraculous 2003 campaign in which they won 83 games, the Royals entered the 2004 season as a favorite to win the AL Central and got quite an emotional start to the season. Trailing 7-3 to the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the ninth, the Royals engineered a six-run ninth inning, ending with a tying homer by Utility Infielder, Mendy Lopez and a game winning 2 run shot by Carlos Beltran.

Zack Greinke Wins the 2009 AL Cy Young Award- For a franchise that has been notorious for losing, at least one Royal was victorious as Greinke was awarded the franchise's first Cy Young Award in over 15 years.

Unveiling of "The New K" April 10, 2009- Long considered one of the great venues in sport, Kauffman Stadium received a facelift in '09. $250 million worth of renovations were complete by Opening Day, which saw the New York Yankees come to town to face the Royals in the Grand Re-Opening of "The K". The only downside: the game was started by Sidney Ponson for the Royals.

Royals Extend Zack Greinke- With former star players like Dye, Damon, Beltran, Ibanez, Appier and others leaving for free agency in the past, Royals fans only awaited the inevitable with Zack Greinke. Until GM Dayton Moore re-signed Greinke to a 4 year extension through the 2013 season.

Mike Sweeney breaks franchise record for RBIs- In 2000, Mike Sweeney terrorized the opposition with one of the greatest offensive seasons in Royals' history, swatting 29 HRs and batting in 144 RBIs.

"We Believe" 2003 Season- Coming off the first 100 loss season in team history, the Royals were reeling. Manager Tony Pena took a mixed bag of prospects, veterans and all stars to an 83-79 record, including a 17-7 April, and a 3rd place finish in the AL Central. It was the only winning season in the decade.

Denny Matthews Receives Frick Award and Is Inducted Into The Baseball Hall of Fame- The voice of the Royals since the beginning, Denny is recognized as one of the greatest announcers of all time.

Royals Kingdom Radio Show Launches!

Exciting news for all of us Royals fans. With the help of James Puester and JPeg Sports, The Royals Kingdom Radio Show will host its first broadcast this Sunday (January 3) at 4pm on KCXL 1140 AM (Liberty).

Also, if you are interested in appearing on the show, please email me at or

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from Royals Kingdom!

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, Happy Festivus, and Happy Boxing Day to our neighbors to the north!

Royals Kingdom will be back after the New Year. Keep coming back for updates on the Royals Kingdom Radio Show, which will launch in mid-January!

Have a blessed Holiday season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Dayton Moore's Moves Mean

Well, just about everyone and their mother has weighed in on what they think about the recent signing of veteran Catcher Jason Kendall. I don't hate the signing, I really don't. Kendall had the best OBP out of this offseason's crop (almost wanted to say crap) of free agent catchers. Kendall is signed to a two year deal worth $6 million. Now Dayton Moore says that Kendall was the best fit for the price. Sure he was. But DM didn't have to go out and get a Free Agent catcher. JR Towles, a once super prospect in Houston's minors (sound familiar?) was made available by Houston through trade. John Buck would have been cheaper than Kendall, but Buck's defense was just too bad last year to justify keeping him on the roster. I'm glad that DM has kept Brayan Pena on the roster. I don't think Pena is capable of holding down the starting role unless he sheds some pounds and adds some durability and muscle in the offseason, because I honestly think that he has some half decent potential. Either way, he was somewhat of a bright spot on the roster in 2009.

Now, what does this move mean in the short term and the long term. Short term, it means that we have acquired a catcher who has been spoken highly of his entire career and has been a solid defensive catcher. It also means that we have another hole in the lineup. Jason Kendall cannot provide power. He just can't. He used to hit a decent number of doubles a year, but that number has fallen and he is essentially a singles hitter now. He still walks quite a bit, but his batting average has dropped so severely in recent years that his OBP is no longer a strong suit. It seems that Dayton Moore still doesn't even understand his own OBP philosophy. Last year it was Mike Jacobs, who had mashing ability, but couldn't walk to save his life. This year, it is Kendall, a guy who can draw walks, but also can't seem to make contact any more. But the good from this acquisition and others is that the Royals are trying to solidify themselves up the middle defensively. Kendall only had four passed balls in 133 games in 2009.

Dayton Moore was right, there weren't that many options out there at catcher this offseason. But was it really necessary to get rid of John Buck? Were the Astros asking too much for JR Towles? Is there a Royals catcher banging on the door at AAA? No. There isn't. We all may argue that John Buck should have gotten the nod over Kendall, but lets be honest. John Buck was a disaster. His best season came 3 years ago. I think many of us didn't want to see Buck go because maybe we had that fledgling hope that the Beltran trade wasn't awful, that Buck could put it together for one more year. Fact is, he probably wouldn't have. The Royals may have overpaid for Kendall, but in reality, you have to look at this through Dayton Moore's eyes. This team was devastated by poor defense last year. How many times did we see balls go through Miguel Olivo's legs last year? How many times did John Buck miss the target at second base? Kendall is what he is. This team is better defensively with the Kendall signing, but a lot worse offensively.

But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. When Dayton Moore arrived in 2006, he preached pitching and defense, claiming that if you take care of those, then the offense will take care of itself. We'll see Dayton, we'll see.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Catcher in the Why?

I don't know what to think about the Royals lack of moves, yet the plethora of rumors surrounding the team have been somewhat entertaining. Ivan Rodriguez, Felix Pie, Milton Bradley, Jason Kendall have all been names associated with the Royals. None so far are actually wearing Royal blue.

It is obvious that Dayton Moore is treading lightly, not making bad trades...yet, and getting a feel for the market. I would hope that he stays away from overpriced vets like he did with Ivan Rodriguez, and perhaps stick with actually better options that he already has on the roster like Brayan Pena and John Buck. Pena's OPS+ was 100 last year, while Buck's was 103. Pena caught steals at a rate of 35% in 2009, while Buck had a career low of 16%. Here now are the OPS+ and Caught Stealing rates of Royals' suitors Jason Kendall, Bengie Molina and Rod Barajas from 2009:

Kendall: 72 OPS+, 20% CS
B. Molina: 88 OPS+, 23% CS
Barajas: 73 OPS+, 34%

Put those numbers up against Buck and Pena's and it is clear that the Royals have a better catching tandem already on their 25-man roster than Free Agency can provide them. Buck and Pena should enter Spring Training as the two candidates for the starting catcher's job. It's not like the Royals have a rookie laden rotation that needs a veteran to teach them the way of success. Buck and Pena showed that they could handle the pitching staff with relative ease last year. There is no need to change this. There are much bigger problems that the Royals should be addressing. Like re-stocking a depleted bullpen, adding a lefty power bat to compliment Billy Butler and take pressure off Alex Gordon. Lefty starter anyone???

Once Dayton Moore gets over his love affair with overrated, awful, old catchers, then the Royals automatically become a better team.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Arguelles Deal Benefits KC

Dayton Moore promised several things when he came to Kansas City. Organizational depth, responsible spending, a parade on the plaza and more emphasis on signing latino players.

So far, one of those things has come true.

This weekend, the Royals allegedly signed "19 year old" Cuban pitcher Noel Arguelles. Next to Aroldis Chapman, he is the biggest international free agent out there. So much in fact that a few experts even had him listed in the top ten Free Agents amongst the likes of John Lackey and Jason Bay.

This signing is a big sign of progress. Heading in to 2010, our lower minor league system is stocked with talent. The point is, you can only build so much through the draft. The best teams in baseball go down into the Carribean and South America and find the next Johan Santanas and Miguel Cabreras. Is Arguelles going to be as good as Santana? Doubtful. But we won't know that until you get the kid into your system and start breeding him as a big leaguer. We have yet to see ANY of Dayton Moore's draft picks come up through the system to the big leagues. Arguelles has the potential to fly through the lower minors and be knocking on the AA or even AAA door by the end of the 2010 season which would put him on the heels of Aaron Crow, if Crow can develop quickly. If Crow and Arguelles can be on the same page development-wise, then the Royals rotation looks very solid heading in to the final years of Zack Greinke's contract.

This is why I still have one foot on the Dayton Moore bandwagon. We haven't seen any of HIS players yet. Lets wait and see, Royals fans. Maybe Dayton Moore has drafted the players to compliment and maybe even outshine Zack Greinke and Billy Butler. For now, there is still some reason to hope.

Dayton Moore hasn't given up yet and neither should you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Border War Deserves to be in KC Forever

Should there be any doubt to it? The last three years of this rivalry have been more exciting than any in College Football. Ohio State routs Michigan each time. Notre Dame can't run with USC's horses anymore. Florida and Georgia had a nice run for a couple of years. Is there any other rivalry that crosses over from football to basketball and carries just as much clout in each sport? Duke/UNC is strictly on the hardwood, Michigan/Ohio State is on the gridiron.

But honestly, is there any other rivalry in the past three years that has exceeded expectations in every single game? Every game that has been played in Arrowhead has been decided by less than one possession. 36-28, 40-37, 41-39.

This isn't coincidence. Lew Perkins, Mike Alden and the Hunt family should sit down and figure out a way to have this game played at Arrowhead Stadium for the next 100 years. The pure magic of this event is just that: pure magic. I use the word event because this isn't a game anymore. It is an unofficial Kansas City holiday. All of the Kansas City MU and KU students are back home for Thanksgiving. The same kids who were raised on the 1990s Kansas City Chiefs, Marty Magic and Arrowhead in December. This game needs to be played here. A neutral battlefield on which the ghosts of the Civil War can play out their final battle. Where two schools, two community, two lifestyles clash in a war that will be faught even when our childrens' childrens' children have grown to know what this game means to Kansas City.

The Border War is now as much a part of Kansas City as the Plaza Lights or the American Royal. It deserves to be here forever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Time To Believe In Todd Haley

I know its a little overdue, but it's time for my first Chiefs post of the season. I think it is pretty well deserved after we saw Arrowhead come back to life after spending the last 3 years in a coma.

We all know the story, Chiefs show toughness and grit, come back in the 4th quarter and win the game in overtime. Several heroes were wearing red and gold on sunday. From the front line big money players in Matt Cassel, Derrick Johnson and Jamaal Charles, to the little guys, LB Andy Studebaker, LB Jovan Belcher and rookie kicker, Ryan Succop.

Todd Haley and Scott Pioli have built a team that may not be the most talented in the world, but it is deep and hard working. You could make the argument that the reason the Patriots had so much success this decade is NOT because of Tom Brady, but rather because their 2nd and 3rd string players were the best in the league. Perhaps thats why they have won more Super Bowls instead of teams who are laden with star players like the Cowboys, Saints and Redskins.

Sunday's game against the Steelers was not a game where Pittsburgh handed the game over to the Chiefs on a dumb interception or fumble in the red zone. It was a game where the Chiefs battled, never gave up and pried this victory from the jaws of defeat. This team is starting to reflect its coach. They won this game, not by luck, but by determination and great coaching. They were outgained by nearly 200 yards. But the Chiefs never let this game get out of reach. The offense and defense made plays when they had to.

Todd Haley and Clancy Pendergast deserve credit for this victory. I look to two plays that changed this game:

1. Steelers' ball on the KC 10. 1st and goal in the 3rd quarter. Pendergast calls for OLB Tamba Hali to blitz, and drops the rest of the linebackers into coverage. The outside rush forces Ben Rothelisberger to pass to his left where the Chiefs have flooded the field with coverage. Andy Studebaker intercepts the ball and runs it down to the PIT 7-yardline. KC ties the game at 17 with a field goal. A brilliant play call since Big Ben had already thrown two TD's in the exact same area of the field.

2. Chiefs' ball on the PIT 2. 1st and goal in the 4th quarter. After being stymied in the red zone on several rush attempts earlier in the game, Todd Haley called for a play-action cutback pass to Jamaal Charles. The Steelers' defense bit horribly on the play and Matt Cassel dunked the ball down to Charles for the easy score.

This game was not won by luck. I'm not saying it's time to let your guard down and come back to the Chiefs, but I am saying, give Todd Haley a chance. He showed brilliance on Sunday. The kind of brilliance that can bring the noise back to Arrowhead. The kind of brilliance that can bring back Red Friday. The kind of brilliance that can win championships.

It's time to believe.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Perspective on Greinke's Historical Season

I'm 23. I consider the high point of my 23 year pro sports fandom to be when the Royals finished a magical, yet mediocre 2003 season with an 83-79 record.

23 years.

Wars have been fought and "won", I've seen five presidents in office, I've nearly completed all of my schooling, I have attended 2 universities, and nothing. Nothing has made me smile in professional sports in Kansas City in 23 years. Until yesterday...

Zack Greinke is my generation's George Brett. He is our Len Dawson, our Tom Watson, our 3-run homer off Goose Gossage into the 3rd deck. He's a shining beacon of hope on a franchise that has otherwise proven to be worth no more than wasted summers and sleepless nights for the few true fans it has left. He is the face of the lost generation of Kansas City baseball. He has college kids at Mizzou rivaling Albert Pujols jerseys with #23 jerseys. He is uniting a city's young population. Nights that Zack pitches might as well be quarter draws at Harpo's or Saturday night at The Hawk.

We've been searching for a long time. We had trouble relating to Mike Sweeney. We couldn't understand Carlos Beltran. Zack is our guy.

He's 25 years old. He's dealt with anxiety issues that so many young people are dealing with in today's fast moving world. Some of us feel that we will never be good enough, that we will always be beaten by someone else. That our best will never be good enough. We've all wanted to drop what we're doing and join the PGA tour or go mow lawns in Hawai'i for the rest of our lives, or at least we had the thought.

He symbolizes what so many young people are seeking: Hope. The hope that we can overcome our inner demons and become what we truly strive to be. The hope that a hapless and dormant fanbase can rally around a 25-year-old phenom who has the potential to lead this franchise and this city into an age of greatness and success. Much like a 26-year-old who captivated this town in a chase for .400, much like a 21-year-old who anchored a World Series rotation.

Zack is more than a Cy Young winner. Zack is our guy.

And he's going to be our guy for a long time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Royals, Dayton Moore Trying to Improve

It seems like it was a month ago, an article was published on the Royals' website stating that a roster overhaul was "unlikely". Now, a month later, all signs are pointing to a complete stripping down of this roster. Arguably the face of the franchise, Mark Teahen, was traded to Chicago for a couple of league average, cheap, and somewhat unproven infielders in Chris Getz and Josh Fields (I'll break this down later). And now this week, rumors have surfaced that much offensively improved 2B Alberto Callaspo has been reportedly shopped around by the Royals, allegedly to the Dodgers for 28 year old minor league catcher, A.J. Ellis. Ellis is an OBP machine. He obviously would assess the need for a team that ranked in the bowels of the league in that category. But it would be a negative move for the Royals. Callaspo is under team control for the next several years, still cheap and seems to have kicked his off the field issues. Hopefully if this trade is made, A.J. Ellis is not the only piece involved in this trade. The Royals can use some bullpen and outfield help. 

The fact of the matter is that the Royals cannot afford to hold on to players who contributed to the mess that was the Royals last year. Offensive stats aside, Alberto Callaspo contributed to this team's struggles last year. He is an enigma. His body type is not suited for the 2nd base position. He seems to have trouble timing dives and leaping stabs for looping liners or hard hit grounders. He is good for a spectacular play every now and then, but that is almost a given for every major leaguer.


Outside of Billy Butler, Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria, this team should be making every effort to flip this roster and place pieces around these three core players that give this team the best chance to get back on the wagon. I used to include Alex Gordon on this list of "untouchables" but my faith in him is waning. Alex showed some promise in the last week of the season, but the promise needs to turn into production. This will be his fourth major league season. The injury issues have bugged me. Maybe he is similar to Billy Butler that he needs some time. The Royals have time. It is obvious that they are going to use 2010 as a stepping stone to 2011, which is a MUST win year for the Royals or Dayton & Co. could be out of a job and Glass & Co. could be out of fans. Is Alex Gordon deserving of one more year to prove that he belongs on this roster? Absolutely. Should the Royals shop him around to see if they can improve this roster by acquiring some "one-year-away" prospects in exchange for him? Absolutely. If Alex Gordon breaks out this year, it only increases his value, whether on this franchise or on the trade market. If Alex Gordon gets hurt again this year or only performs at a league average level, it only hurts his value. Dayton Moore is in a tough spot. Holding on to Alex Gordon and seeing if he finally turns the corner seems to be the right decision. That is unless a blockbuster deal is put on the table. If Gordon plays well this year, you can trade him at the deadline, you can hold on to him, you can sign him long term, etc.


As far as Fields and Getz go, I like the trade (then again, I liked the Mike Jacobs trade). This trade is different from others because it is dumping salary and gaining players who are both five years away from free agency. Let's face facts: Mark Teahen was a league average player who was getting expensive (the Royals probably would have paid him $5 million this year). Chris Getz and Josh Fields are both players who still have upside, whereas Teahen had already peaked. Getz was the White Sox sixth ranked prospect in 2008 and Fields is a former first round draft pick who is a natural athlete,  hit 23 home runs in just 100 games for the Southsiders in 2007, and sports a solid .286 career average against left handed pitchers. Not to mention his career OBP is 73 points above his batting average, many experts say that a good OBP is 75 points above the batting average. That being said, could Josh Fields be Kansas City's version of Carlos Pena or Jack Cust? Lets hope so, but my brain is telling me that Getz is going to be the most productive and contributing player out of this trade. My gut is telling me that Fields is a guy who needed a new start and can succeed here.

Lets hope my gut is right.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reasons Why the NHL Can Succeed in Kansas City

Well, here we are again. Just a few short years ago, we had the most promising young team in the NHL just about packed and ready to move to KC. Mario Lemieux had enough in Pittsburgh. Local government did not approve financing for a brand new arena, and Mario was ready to cut his ties with the Steel City and move to the City of Fountains. He came and visited the arena during its infancy. Even his old buddy, NHL Hall of Famer Luc Robataille was announced as the team's VP. Then we had the rug pulled from under us. Pittsburgh and Lemieux made nice and the Penguins have made consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup finals and have the game's most recognizeable star.

BUT FEAR NOT! There's trouble in the desert....The Phoenix Coyotes are a mess. They've lost over 400 million dollars since the franchise started operating, and the owners applied for bankruptcy. Now when a major corporation goes into bankruptcy, it is put into public auction, and ANYONE can bid on it. Several billionaires have put in bids on it, including Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and BlackBerry Mogul, Jim Balsille. I'm sure there are some other low profile bidders out there too.

But the news is now that Reinsdorf has pulled his bid and Balsille got his bid denied by the rest of the NHL owners. Now the tables have turned. There is no outright winner yet. Someone needs to step in. The bankruptcy judge has already said he will award the team to the highest bidder, even if they wish to relocate.

If they relocate the Coyotes to KC, there are several reasons why the NHL will settle in nicely in the KC sports scene:

-The Sprint Center: This is a brand new state of the art arena. Plus, KC has never really had a major league indoor team for an extended time. Imagine Arrowhead indoors. This place is just aching to get LOUD

-Natural Regional Rivalries. It is most likely that if a team is moved to KC, they would play in the Western Conference in the Central Division. Guess which teams are in the Central? St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit. Can you imagine the insanity at a Blues/KC game? Blackhawks/KC? Wings/KC? Oh yeah, not to mention, they would play a team from Denver at home twice a year...

-League Parity. The "New NHL" has implemented several rule changes such as luxury taxes, revenue sharing and salary caps to make the game more competitive. Many argued that this would water down the game, but I think it has made it better. Look at the Penguins. Pre-lockout, they were one of the worst teams in the league. Three years later, they raise the Stanley Cup. The examples are endless, Chicago, St. Louis, The Rangers, Columbus, Nashville. In fact, since the lockout, only five teams have not made the playoffs.

-The Stanley Cup Playoffs. Many well respected media personalities, including Jim Rome and Dan Patrick, have said that the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the greatest tournament in sports next to the NCAA Men's Tournament and World Cup. I couldn't agree more. Having been to a few playoff games, there is really nothing like it. I've never heard buildings louder. I've never seen more passion and desperation. Not to mention that Game 7s in these playoffs are unlike anything you will ever see.

-There is literally nothing to do here from Monday-Saturday, October-April. We love the Chiefs, but the professional sports scene is almost dead during this time of year in KC. Not to mention, it would be nice to get our minds off the Chiefs during the winter...

-Corporate support. There are several Fortune 500 companies based out of KC, ready and willing to help. When the Penguins nearly moved here, the suites sold out in a week.

-NHL21. There is no other group like it. A grassroots organization dedicated to growing the game of hockey in KC. Essentially, this would be the equivalent of the Red Coaters or Royal Lancers when the team got here. It is a group that is passionate about the game, and would stop at nothing to make sure the team succeeded here.

-The fans. You could make the case that KC has the best fans in sports. The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since the first George Bush was in office. Yet Arrowhead is still full on Sundays. The Royals set their attendance record in a year in which they didn't even make the playoffs. Kansas City is ready for this. There are 2 million people in the Metro area, not to mention close to 7 million living within a 3 hour drive. You can't deny the fact that KC and the surrounding region has the income to support a team here. If the team was a winner, it would be the toughest ticket in town.

Looking back on when the Penguins were knocking on the door, I remember a guy calling in to Soren Petro's program. He wasn't the most well versed man on the planet, but his excitement was real. He wasn't a huge hockey fan, he said himself he couldn't name 10 players in the league, but he was just so excited because he knew that hockey is the single greatest live spectator sport in the world. I share his excitement. I know I may be biased about this, I'll be honest, I grew up with the game. But believe me Kansas City, this city, this community, will absolutely fall in love with this game. There is something about the smell of the ice, the sounds, the sheer power of the men in skates that cannot be fully appreciated when watched on television. It is truly unbelievable and I hope to share it with you someday.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Top 10 Moments of FAIL This Year for the Royals: No. 6

Sending Alex Gordon to Omaha for No Apparent Reason

I was having trouble filling this list, but the Royals sure did help me out...

Yes there was no APPARENT reason to send him down. Sure he had been struggling at the plate, he had just come off major surgery, etc, etc. But the real reason this happened is WAL-MART. The Royals trying to skim a few dollars off the top, by sending Alex Gordon down to Omaha to save a few bucks. Currently, Alex Gordon is 13 games away from being arbitration eligible. With this move, the Royals now control Alex Gordon through 2013. Funny part is, that if he wasn't called up for the start of the 2007 season (which he SHOULDN'T have been), the Royals wouldn't have this problem.


Shutting It Down (kind of) for 2009

Hey guys,

Just a heads up, I'll be writing less here on Royals Kingdom. The fall semester is upon me and I don't think I'll be able to keep this up while trying to finish up my senior year of college. But don't panic! I'll still be back around about once or twice a month to post some updates on here. If anyone would like to write guest columns on here, just leave a comment and I'll get in touch with you.

Anyways, thanks for reading! I'll be back to writing full-time around the Winter Meetings and I'll be sure to keep the blog updated on any big Royals news.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Reasons to stay a Royals Fan: Looking Ahead to 2010

2009 is over and the Royals very well could lose 100 games. This team cannot win a division with the current "talent" on the field. This team is surrounded with question marks headed into the offseason. With just a couple of months left in the season, it is now time to evaluate players and coaches/manager and decide which ones just don't fit in here. That shouldn't be too difficult.

But fear not, this team CAN contend in 2010. It is quite simple. The skeleton of a division contender is presently wearing Royal Blue. Dayton Moore must find the pieces to fill in around the foundation of this team and put them in a position to win a very winnable AL Central in 2010.

Here are the pieces that are for sure going to be the "meat and potatoes" of the Royals next year:

Zack Greinke- Ace is a position that most teams do not have, but most division winners have them.

Gil Meche- Grizzled vets are a dime a dozen, but hopefully a healthy Gil Meche can finally receive some much needed run support in 2010 and significantly have more wins than losses next year. Gil is a very solid No. 2 WHEN HEALTHY.

Brian Bannister- If Banny has finally figured it out, then the Royals have absolutely the scariest 1-2-3 top of the rotation in the AL Central.

Luke Hochevar- If Luke becomes the second coming of Derek Lowe, then the Royals have the scariest rotation in all of baseball.

Billy Butler- Billy is going to hit 30 home runs next year. Looking for a hitting equivalent of Zack Greinke? All of the signs are pointing to a break out year for Billy next year. Oh yeah, I would a little bit of money on Billy hitting close to .350 next year, but I would put money on it...

Yuniesky Betancourt- I wasn't impressed with the trade, but Dayton Moore may have fooled us all with this one. In a small sample size with the team, Yuni has proven to be an above average shortstop. Not to mention he's hitting .313/.353/.563 in August. 1 error in 23 games makes us all take another look at this trade too.

Keep the faith. You don't have to watch this crap, but I'm telling you, things could be different in 2010. Or Trey Hillman could still be the manager and we're right back here again in a year.
. . .

Monday, August 3, 2009

Big 12 Preview: North

The North will most likely be decided by which team is the "least bad". Many experts are picking Nebraska or Kansas to win the division. To which I have to respond: Why? Is program tradition (Huskers) and recent relative success (Jayhawks) enough to crown a team already? I say no.

6. Iowa State- Is there anywhere more difficult to recruit than Iowa State? Record 3-9. No Bowl.

5. Kansas State- Bill Snyder is going to need more than one year to see his reclamation project succeed. This team couldn't win with Josh Freeman, so how in the world could they win with out him? Record 4-8. No Bowl.

4. Colorado- Dan Hawkins trying his best to get this team back to the top of this league. This program is still a year or two away. Record 6-6. No Bowl.

3. Kansas- They have a prolific offense, yes. But their defense is going to be just not very good. Todd Reesing can throw for 400 yards a game, but if the defense is giving up 500 on the other side, how can this team win the division? Plus an incredibly weak non-conference schedule will damage this team later in the season. Record 8-4. Insight Bowl.

2. Nebraska- Bo Pelini is well on his way to making Nebraska a powerhouse again, but they don't have many big playmakers on offense. In college football, you have to score points. I think that will be Nebraska's biggest problem. Record 8-4. Gator Bowl.

1. Missouri- The only programs that have won more games than Missouri over the last three seasons are USC and Ohio State. You can attribute that to the successes of Daniel, Maclin and Coffman, but this team is going to benefit from a run-heavy offense with a big athletic line and a couple of darn good scat-backs in Derrick Washington and De'Vion Moore. The defense has the potential to be very very good. Record 9-3. Cotton Bowl.

Big 12 Championship: Texas beats Missouri, 44-31

Border War
Missouri beats Kansas, 38-31

Sunflower Showdown
Kansas beats K-State, 45-6

Battle for the Bell
Missouri beats Nebraska, 35-17

Nebraska beats KU, 47-42

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Big 12 Preview: South

The South will rise again....and again, and again. With three possible candidates for a bid to the BCS Championship, the Big XII South division has once again proven that it is possibly the most difficult division to win in college football. Here are my predictions (including rivalry games!) on which team will take down the South this year and possibly be playing in Pasadena come January. For the others, I will predict their records and which bowl they will go to.

6. Texas A&M- Mike Sherman has quite a bit of rebuilding to do. This once proud program has been struggling to find something for the 12th man to cheer about. Record: 4-8, No Bowl.

5. Texas Tech- Mike Leach is a brilliant football coach, but the losses of Harrell and Crabtree cannot be replaced in just one year. They will yet be a good football team, but nowhere near enough to win the South. Record 8-4, Sun Bowl.

4. Baylor- Now before you all write me off, just wait a minute. Robert Griffin is the next big thing in the Big 12. He's a beast, Brad Smith 2.0. Plus with a pretty good O-Line protecting him, I expect big things from this reeling program. Record 8-4, Texas Bowl

3. Oklahoma St.- Mike Gundy is going to lead this team to a BCS bowl bid this year. They are definitely my sleeper pick to take it all down, and no, I don't mean the Big 12, I mean the National Championship. Record 10-2, Holiday Bowl.

2. Oklahoma- A great team, but if they want to return to the National Championship game, they'll have to beat Texas. Record 11-1, Fiesta Bowl

1. Texas- Colt McCoy will be unstoppable this year. Texas is undoubtedly a team of destiny this year. The only team that can stop Texas is Texas. Record 13-0, BCS Championship

Oklahoma beats Okla St., 40-37

Red River Shootout
Texas Beats OU, 45-35

Texas/Texas Tech
Texas beats Tech, 54-35

Texas/Texas A&M
Texas beats A&M, 55-24

Top 10 Moments of FAIL This Year for the Royals: No. 7

Royals give up 2nd round draft pick for reliever Juan Cruz

After Dayton Moore completely destroys a pretty darn good 2008 bullpen, he realizes his mistake and signs Juan Cruz to a 2 year deal worth over $6 million dollars. Cruz was considered a "Type B" free agent, meaning if a team decides to sign him, the forfeit their 2nd round pick to said player's former team.

Cruz was coming off of a year in which he posted his lowest ERA in his career, 2.61. The ERA looked good, but he had a below average WHIP for a reliever at 1.258. Plus, he had been pitching in the soft hitting NL West. Also left out in the Royals research of Cruz was a 7.44 ERA he had posted in the American League in 28 games with Oakland.

Now we are seeing that his stats in the National League do not necessarily transfer to the American League. Cruz was slated as the Royals main setup man out of Spring Training, but has posted a 6.41 ERA since then.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

O-Royals, O-Royals, Where For Art Thou, O-Royals?

Lets face facts:

-The season is lost.
-Trey Hillman can't manage.
-Zack Greinke likely won't get 20 wins this year.

Ok. Now we have to ask. What can Dayton Moore do to fix this in the short term? All season, players have not been held accountable. And if they have been held accountable, they have been held accountable about 2 weeks too late. It's time to blow it up. The Royals need a make over, because it has been obvious for too long that this team does not have what it takes to compete. Now this isnt a few years ago, where the only guys we could call up were Justin Huisman and Shane Costa. We actually have guys in AAA Omaha who are having very good seasons and can make an impact RIGHT NOW and replace guys up here who are not getting it done.

The following is my suggestion to Dayton Moore/the 10 people who read this blog, on what the Royals can do IMMEDIATELY to fix this team in the short term, because if something isn't done, this team is on the verge of losing a good chunk of its fanbase.

DFA Mike Jacobs>>>Call up 1B/DH Kila Kaaihue- The OBP machine is hitting a respectable .260/.402/.459. The average at the Major League level will drop obviously, but the walks will likely remain and KK will create more runs and be a more versatile player than Jacobs.

Mitch Maier back to AAA>>>Call up LF Scott Thorman- Hitting .280/.351/.527 with 17 hr and 50 RBI. Maier is an ok defensive CF, but he's just not cutting it up here. This lineup needs an injection of power. Thorman is 27, and has never gotten a real shot at the ML level.

Trade Olivo/Buck>>>Call up UTIL Tug Hulett. Tug has been mashing at AAA this year, .316/.403/.506. Once again, another guy who hasn't gotten a real shot in the show. This team cannot afford to carry 3 catchers, and with Trey Hillman saying B. Pena will be getting more reps at catcher, Buck and Olivo are both dispensable. I love Miggy, but he will likely field the most return in a trade.

DFA John Bale>>>Call up Lenny DiNardo- Hillman's mancrush has folded like a bad tent in the 8th inning this year, yet Trey keeps running him out there, thinking that he is a good option in those situations. Meanwhile, DiNardo is putting together a nice little season on the bluff, the 3.26 ERA doesnt blow my mind, but the 93 K/23 BB ratio and 1.12 WHIP does....

Trade Juan Cruz>>>Call up Chris "Disco" Hayes- Juan Cruz has lost most of his value, but some teams are still supposedly inquiring about him. Chris Hayes has become an internet sensation and gained a cult following due to his popular blog. But what really is impressive about the righty submariner is that he has only allowed TWO walks and one HR in 27 IP.

And last but not least, TRY to trade Yuniesky Betancourt. I know the Royals just traded for him, but this guy does not have any upside whatsoever. This isn't a "must" move for the Royals, as he would be an "ok" stop gap if SS Jeff Bianchi continues his current tear.

There. This team has pieces in the minor leagues that deserve a shot. The guys we have are not, and will not get the job done. It's time for an overhaul at The K. I'm on my last nerve with this franchise. Your mission, Dayton Moore, if you choose to accept it, is to fix this problem.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top 10 Moments of FAIL for the Royals This Year: No. 8

Sidney Ponson Pitches the Home Opener

A week before the season started, the Royals finally announced their starting rotation. Gil Meche would once again be the Opening Day starter followed by Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies. Most people were wondering who would start the Home Opener and be the face of the first game at the New Kauffman Stadium of the New Kansas City Royals. Would it be Brian Bannister? Spring Training surprise Lenny DiNardo? Former first overall draft pick Luke Hochevar?

Nope. It was a bumbly, alcoholic, portly guy from Aruba, journeyman Sidney Ponson.

"Welcome to a new era in Royals baseball, Kansas City! We've got a new stadium, a chance at a division title, a Cy Young candidate in our rotation, and now your starting pitcher: Sidney Ponson!"

*Cue The Price is Right FAIL sound.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chiefs season preview: Part 2

In part one, I visited on the Chiefs defense and what improvements they made. Obviously a complete makeover in the linebacker positions, with the additions of Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas, and the switch of Tamba Hali from DE to OLB. All of these moves, I believe will do wonders for the Chiefs defense, mainly Derrick Johnson.

Now, on to the offense. The biggest story in the past few weeks was Matt Cassel signing a 6 year deal. But there is another story that most people have failed to pay attention to: Larry Johnson.

Let's face it, LJ has been awful the past two seasons. Sure you can give him the benefit of the doubt, as he isn't running behind the likes of Willie Roaf and Will Shields anymore. But Larry seemed to have lost his edge. He wasn't "running angry", he bought a $300,000 car and didn't show up to games when he was placed on the injured reserve.

But guess what folks? LJ is now playing for essentially the league minimum. He lost over $3 million on his contract, due to behavioral and criminal issues in the offseason. He isn't a self proclaimed superstar anymore. He's got something to prove finally. I would pick LJ as a sleeper for comeback player of the year. Plus, with Haley and Gailey's pass heavy offensive plan, the pressure will be off of LJ's shoulders. But he might be looking over his shoulder pads at Jamaal Charles at some point in the season.

The receivers aren't that great. Yeah, Dwayne Bowe had an off year last year, but you could attribute that to Tyler Thigpen only having eyes for Tony Gonzalez in the second half of the season. Bobby Engram has lost a step, but he's a guy who will go over the middle and fight for those precious yards after catches (the most underrated stat in the game of football). Mark Bradley should be a nice fit in the 3rd receiver role, but I wouldn't expect much from him. Brad Cottam will make us miss Tony G...Antonio Gates would make us miss Tony G.

As far as QB goes, what can I say about Matt Cassel that already hasn't been said? Can he be as good with the Chiefs as he was when he was throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker? Maybe. Or is he the guy who took an 18-1 team and turned them into an 11-5 team? Doubtful. Remember how awful the AFC East was in 2007? The Dolphins won one game. The Jets were 4-12 and the Bills were 7-9. The Pats went undefeated in their division that year. Turn the clock ahead to 2008, the Dolphins are completely remodeled, the Jets have Brett Favre, and the Bills stayed idle at 7-9. What I'm saying is that the Patriots were a morally depleted team in 2008. Their captain, Tom Brady was hurt. The division was better, Matt Cassel performed magnificently for a guy who had been riding the bench since high school.

The point is, Chiefs fans, that Matt Cassel will be a good, maybe great quarterback. Plus, with the weak defense in this division, I would go as far to say that Matt Cassel could throw for over 3500 yards this year. I expect good things from him this year, and great things in 2010 and beyond.

So, what do I think the Chiefs record will be? My head says 6-10, but my heart says 9-7. Look at what the Dolphins did last year. They completely stripped down everything, added All-Pro veterans on defense, and boom boom pow, they won their division. What did the Chiefs do this offseason? Got rid of the crap they had at linebacker, and added Pro Bowl talent to the linebacking corps and secondary. I think the Chiefs go 4-2 in the division and FINALLY win their first game at new Mile High Stadium, with yours, truly in attendance, freezing my buns off on January 3rd watching the Chiefs break the Donks for the AFC West title!

Top 10 Moments of FAIL This season for the Roilets: No. 9


Only at Kauffman Stadium, right? After numerous questionable injuries to stars like Alex Gordon, Coco Crisp and Joakim Soria, renowned blogger Rany Jazayerli calls for head trainer Nick Swartz to be fired. The Roilets go on a tyrannous rage and ban Rany from the Royals clubhouse (even though he lives in Chicago). They also go as far to say that media outlet that speaks to Rany shalt be banished from speaking to any Royals players indefinitely.

The incredible part is that the fans revolted against the Royals. You know things are bad when the fans stick up for a blogger rather than an organization. Soon after the organization realized they made a boo-boo, they accepted Rany's apology and went their seperate ways.

One fan even staged a William Wallace-esque battle cry after being on Crownvision during an in between innings gameshow, bellowing: "Rany rules!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

AFC West/Chiefs Season Preview

You could make an argument that the Chiefs had the biggest offseason of any team in the AFC. Acquiring Matt Cassel from the Patriots for a 2nd round pick.

Other than Cassel, the Chiefs have more holes on offense than most teams in the NFL. But as we head in to Training Camp, we can allow ourselves to dream (hell, it worked with the Royals in March). In my mind, the AFC West can be won with a 9-7 record this year. A .500 team won it last year...

The Chargers are definitely better than 8-8, I could see them going 9-7, but with the West playing the NFC East this year, I doubt it. LT is likely to continue breaking down. If he has a repeat performance of his 2007 season, then he is officially a freak of nature.

The Broncos are without a quarterback. Yes, Kyle Orton is a decent QB, but I doubt he can help the Broncos defense, which is almost as bad as the Chiefs.

The Raiders. Ha, oh the Raiders. Al Davis continues his "commitment to excellence" by drafting Darius Heyward-Bey, a guy who was predicted to go in the 2nd round, but drafted because he ran a 4.3 40 yd dash. Jamarcus Russel has one season to prove that he isn't a bust, but I think we already know the answer to that question. Tom Cable as head coach? Yikes. Just when you think things have gotten as bad as they can be, just remember, at least we're not the Raiders.

On to the Chiefs. If Matt Cassel can lead this offense like Tyler Thigpen did in some games last year, then I think the Chiefs have a winning 5 games. If this team is going to win more than 5 games this year, the defense has to have a complete turnaround. Heres the good news, we only have to worry about three down-linemen instead of four this year! The combo of Jackson, Dorsey, Boone doesn't sound scary, but lets not forget that Dorsey and Jackson wreaked havoc on the SEC two years ago. Maybe Jackson's prescence is what could bring out the beast in Glenn Dorsey. Tamba Hali's move to outside linebacker is a smart move. I think the move to the 3-4 also takes pressure off of Derrick Johnson. Look folks, just because his first name is Derrick, does not mean this guy will ever be like Derrick Thomas. Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas give this linebacking corps an All-Pro look rather than a journeyman look.

On to the secondary. The cornerbacks were ok last year, Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are future stars in this league, no doubt, but the problem lies in our safeties. Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page looked lost last year and more concerned with de-cleating people than breaking up passes and disrupting routes. The addition of Mike Brown is a perfect move. I know a few Chicago Bears fans, and when I asked them about Mike Brown, they ranted and raved about this guy. In fact, they went as far to say as Brown was the anchor of that Super Bowl defense, not Brian Urlacher. I see Brown as the 3rd safety and a special teamer. But if Page or Pollard continues playing like last year, we could see him switch roles with one of those two. Of course, this is all contingent on Mike Brown staying healthy.

The offensive side of the football raises just as many questions as the denfense. I'll get to that tomorrow along with my prediction of the Chiefs' record and whether or not this is FINALLY the year that we win at Mile High.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Top 10 Moments of FAIL This Year for The "Roilets"

10. After long time organist, and KC favorite, Sam "The Man" Beckett unexpectedly quits after the 2008 season, the Roilets decide to not hire a replacement/not pay Sam Beckett a reasonable salary. So after a whole offseason of acquiring marginal talent, the Roilets decide not to provide crowds with live organ music at the New K, and instead subject them to awful mp3s of synthesized organ music. Not to mention, a horrendously awful version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" that sounds like it was downloaded off LimeWire.

It's almost August and the Roilets still havent even found anyone to play the organ. They say they're looking, but I won't be holding my breath.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mr. Perfect: Mark Buehrle

Wow. Just wow. This guy has got to be one of the most underrated pitchers not just this decade but EVER. Today, with a teeny bit of help from Dewayne Wise, Mark Buehrle vaulted himself into legendary status. He's dominated the AL Central for the past decade and belongs in a White Sox uniform.

I'll be honest, the White Sox are not one of my favorite teams, but watching Buehrle work his magic today had me mesmerized. No one can take anything away from Mr. Perfect today. Yeah, sure Wise robbed that HR, but that is just what happens when things are going your way. The ball finds its way into gloves, foul territory, the catchers mitt, etc. And the amazing thing, is that the ball goes nowhere else during a perfect game. That is what makes it "perfect". Baseball is the most imperfect sport in the world. We put guys in the Hall of Fame who fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate. That is what makes the perfect game so special. A bit of perfection in a non-perfect game.

If I had a vote, Mark Buehrle would be a first ballot Hall of Famer in my mind. He's got a chance to win 300 games. But even if he doesn't do that, I still think a guy with two no-hitters/one perfect game on his resume absolutely deserves to be among the game's elite.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Tribute" to Tony Pena Jr.

Well, an era in Royals baseball is finished. Tony Pena Jr. has officially been designated for assignment* by the Royals.

*This means that Pena will be put through waivers. If none of the other 29 teams in the MLB want to claim the rights to Pena's contract, then he will decide whether to accept his assignment to either AA NW Arkansas or AAA Omaha or become a free agent.

TJ's career with the Royals started out incredibly promising, as he hit two triples in his Royals debut against the Red Sox on Opening Day in 2007. He finished the year batting .267 and was gaining comparisons to great shortstops like Ozzie Smith on the defensive side of his game. Dayton Moore looked like a genius with the move, acquiring him from the Atlanta Braves (go figure).

2008 began the notorious rise of Pena in a Royals uniform. He started as the Royals Opening Day shortstop, and provided the go ahead single against Detroit in extra innings on Opening Day. But after that, much didnt go right for TJ.

Finally, the Royals decided enough was enough with TPJ and called up Mike Aviles to replace him. Aviles hit .325 that year and the rest as they say, is history.

Later on in '08, the Royals staged probably their most infamous giveaway: a Tony Pena Jr. bobblehead doll. Sellout crowds usually attend these games and lineup hours before the gates open to ensure that they get the collectible. A crowd of less than 16,000 was announced and there were stories of people actually declining to take the doll.

Tony made a brief relief appearance for the Royals in July of 2008. In the late innings of a July 21st game against Detroit, in which the Royals were being blown out by the Tigers, Tony Pena came into the game and got 2 quick outs. He completed the perfect inning by baffling future Hall of Famer, Ivan Rodriguez.

After that, there really isn't much to talk about. Tony Pena Jr. has gone down as the worst offensive player in Royals history and will live on far past these horrendous years of Royals baseball (if they ever come to an end).

That being said, here is what I think the Royals should do. If Tony Jr. is not claimed off waivers (rumor has it that 21 teams have filed paperwork to claim him. SUCKERS!), the Royals should place him in AA and have him start working on pitching mechanics. It may have been a small sample size, but TJ looked very impressive in that small sample size. He has a 90+ mph fastball with cut on it, and a pretty wicked breaking ball in the mid 70s. Try it. If it fails, then what have we lost?

Monday, July 13, 2009

NHL in KC (Part 2/Anti-NBA)

Like I explained in my previous NHL post, KC has the right combination of corporate and community support to justify an NHL team being placed in our fine city.

Now, for those of you who counter with a Pro-NBA argument, I will shoot back in the least biased way that I can.

I'll be honest, I really cannot stand the NBA. I think it is more spectacle than it is sport. It is popular because Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are considered more celebrity than they are athlete. I don't like the league, I think it has become a circus, more like a hip hop concert than a sporting event, with music going on during the games and huge pyrotechnic displays before games.

I used to be a pretty big Chicago Bulls fan in the 90s (who wasnt?) and still follow the team on a casual basis, but other than that I hardly pay attention to the NBA.

Those of you out there may argue that I am just not a fan of basketball. Untrue. I am a HUGE college basketball fan. When the Big 8/12 tournament was held in KC, I went every year. I go to Mizzou and have attended at least 10 games a year since my freshman year, and that was during the Quin Snyder/Melvin Watkins era. I love college basketball that much.

I've been to NBA games too. I went to see LeBron James play the Memphis Grizzlies a few years ago. I went in expecting a packed house, full of excited fans ready to see the next Jordan. I paid $25 to sit in the very last row of FedEx Forum. That was the first thing that set me off. The atmosphere in the arena was awful. On a Saturday night, with the game's biggest star in town, and the Grizzlies in 5th place in the Western Conference, a crowd of 13,000 was announced. LeBron vs. Pau Gasol drew 13,000 people in a basketball hotbed.

That being said, I think the NBA just cannot draw in smaller markets where college basketball is king. I don't think anyone will argue that college basketball could make a case for biggest sport in KC, even over the Chiefs and Royals.

Lets say that the NBA relocates to KC*. The team is awful, but the arena is mostly full on most nights. But what happens when Kansas, Missouri, K-State, Wichita State, Creighton, Missouri State, UMKC, Nebraska, and Iowa State play on nights that the NBA team plays? Those fans are going to make the trek to that University to watch their team play. Good luck getting even a half full building if the Border War or Sunflower Showdown fall on the same date that the Milwaukee Bucks are in town.

*By the way, I think it would be awesome if the Kings relocated here. That is the only way I would support the team.

Basically, what I'm saying is that people in this town prefer college basketball to the pro game. Look across the country at the 3 biggest collegiate areas in the country that have NBA franchises. North Carolina/Charlotte, Indiana and Memphis all finished in the bottom 5 of attendance last year. Sure, you could argue that the teams are awful and no one wants to go see them, but did anyone see how awful the Hoosiers were this year? Each game looked sold out to me though. Whenever the Grizzlies play home games, FedEx Forum turns into a mauseleum, but when the Memphis Tigers play ANYONE, you would think that FedEx Forum is Cameron Indoor or Allen Fieldhouse. And Charlotte already had a team in the Hornets, but they moved on to greener pastures and guess what? The NHL's Carolina Hurricanes have vastly outdrawn the Bobcats since they were expanded.

My argument is that just because KC is college basketball Mecca, doesn't mean that the NBA is a viable option. In fact, I think it would fail miserably, unless the Sacramento Kings relocated here, but Kansas City is nowhere on the NBA's radar for relocation.

KC is at the front of the line for the NHL. The arena is ready, people have already bought tickets for a team that doesnt exist, and there is an organization dedicated to growing the game (NHL21). The fact of the matter is that basketball fans in this town don't care about the NBA in comparison to college basketball. The Jayhawks, Tigers, Wildcats, Shockers, Huskers and Cyclones are royalty here, and the NBA would have a tough time competing with that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yuniesky Betancourt

Well, I don't really know what to think of this trade. Dayton Moore's OBP philosophy has fallen flat on its face this year. But on the surface, this trade raises a few question marks, good and bad.

The Bad:
-Dayton Moore has once again acquired someone who can't get on base.
-He gave up one of the organization's top pitchers.
-Betancourt has had issues off the field.

The Good:
-This means that Tony Pena Jr. is likely off the roster.
-Betancourt has a very good defensive skill set, his errors come in bunches though.
-His best seasons came when Jose Guillen was his mentor.
-Dayton Moore now has 3 players from a team that won 88 games in 2007. (Bloomquist, Guillen, Betancourt)
-Tony Pena Jr. will be moved off the roster.

If Tony Pena Jr. is not DFA'd after this move, I will have no choice but to fully lose all faith in Dayton Moore in that he really does not have any idea how to measure a player's value.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Royals First Half Report Card

Well, 81 games down, 81 games to go. As we've seen in the 1st half of 2009, a season can start out as promising as the day of prom and end up being more disappointing than prom night.

We all know the Royals started the season 18-11, their best start since going 16-3 in 2003. They had a 3 game lead at one point. Zack Greinke captivated the nation with an ERA lower than AJ Pierzynski's sperm count. Mike Jacobs looked like a Mack Truck at the plate, hitting homers to ALL fields, something he hadn't done ever in his career. Alberto Callaspo batted well over .300 and was ok on defense. Coco Crisp was walking and stealing bases. Willie Bloomquist was doing his best Jose Oquendo impression.

Then, May happened. Mike Jacobs has hit 1 homerun since then. Willie Bloomquist has returned to being Willie Bloomquist. The defense looks like the remake of the Bad News Bears. Its gone bad quickly. Now before I get too depressed, here are my grades for the 1st half of '09:

Starting Pitching Staff:
Zack Greinke: A+. Zack is the leading candidate for the Cy Young. Any questions?

Gil Meche: B-. Yes, Gil has been misused by Trey Hillman, but that doesnt exclude a horrendous stretch in may in which his ERA ballooned over 4.75.

Brian Bannister: B. Banny has been a pleasant surprise. I think starting out in Omaha was the right choice for him. The 3.93 ERA and 0.9 HR/9 make him a good candidate for a July 31st farewell.

Kyle Davies: D. MGD failed. M and G were pretty good, but the D sums up his performance. I'm glad the front office sent him down to Omaha to work it out. ERA+ of 75 is unacceptable for your #3 starter.

Luke Hochevar: C+. Luke's ERA of 5.08 is deceiving. His WHIP is a very respectable 1.286. Plus, that 80 pitch masterpiece against Cincy puts Luuuuuke from a C- to a C+.

Sorry, but I'm not giving grades out for Bruce Chen and Sidney Ponson.


CF Coco Crisp: B. Coco's OBP was at a career high and he was on pace to shatter his career high in walks until that mysterious shoulder problem showed up. I would be interested to see where this team would be with a healthy Coco in the lineup.

LF David DeJesus: C. DDJ has started hitting lately, but that average with RISP has slumped since last year. His defense in LF has been average, but that is expected. Looks like he's settled back into the leadoff position nicely boosting his average from around .220 to .250.

1B Billy Butler: B+. Billy has been better than anticipated on defense this year. But I was really hoping for a bigger jump in his homerun and RBI totals. But it looks as if Billy will surpass all of his career highs in a majority of offensive categories.

RF/DH Jose Guillen: D. Ugh. I'm not going to waste any time on him, as the Royals have already wasted too much money on him. OBP has dropped an incredible 80 points since June.

UTIL Mark Teahen: B-. Mark has had a good season so far. It would be nice to see him eclipse 20 homers this year. I don't like how Mark gets ragged on for not being THE guy. He never will be. Mark will always be a good ball player, but he isn't the savior people are hoping for.

2B Alberto Callaspo: C. Bert would get an A if his defense was better than it has been. He's one of the league leaders in doubles, but his defense is overshadowing his great year at the plate.

C Miguel Olivo: B+. He should get an A, but when he's drawn only 3 walks this year, he just isnt worthy. Not to mention he's been having an awful time with balls in the dirt.

SS Mike Aviles: D. Oh Mike, we all knew thee so little. This begs the question, was he healthy? Hope to see him back in action some time next year in a big league uniform.

DH Mike Jacobs: D-. Oh Jakey, Jakey boy. Where have you gone? He gave us hope that he would destroy Balboni's record this year, but he has yet to hit a homerun in nearly a month. Can't get on base. I feel for the guy. BRING BACK THE GOATEE.


C John Buck: D. Buck once again proving that he is going to be a career backup.

OF Mitch Maier: D. Sorry kid, you're just another failed Baird experiment.

UTIL Willie Bloomquist: B. Bloomers has been great as a bench player. He was doing everything right from April to late May. I like having guys like Willie on the bench. His 14 steals out of 16 tries is impressive too.

SS Tony Pena Jr.: F-. Tony Pena Jr. gets an F- on his 3rd straight report card. In most schools, no wait, in ALL schools that is generally grounds for dismissal.

UTIL Tug Hulett: Incomplete. Never really got to see much of him.

C/DH Brayan Pena: B. I love what he is doing with Luke Hochevar. Also making great strides at the plate with solid contact and occasional power. Isn't that all you want out of your catcher? I think the plan is for BP (Better Pena) to be the DH while Jacobs tries to get back to what he was in the early season.

SS/2B Luis Hernandez: D. Once again, an overvalued "defensive specialist" who can't hack it.


John Bale: D+. Misused as a setup man. He's got "grit". But the last time I checked, grit doesn't show up on the back of baseball cards.

Jamey Wright: C. For consistent.

Roman Colon: C+. Been doing nicely in long relief and mop-up duty. 3.21 ERA is better than expected. Likely to regress, but I would like to see him establish a little more control and take over a set up/late inning role.

Ron Mahay: Incomplete. Underused by Trey Hillman. I just don't understand why John Bale takes prescendence over him.

Kyle Farnsworth: C+. It isn't his fault we're paying him 4.5 million dollars. Was doing pretty well after an awful start. Didn't allow a run in 19+ innings.

Juan Cruz: D-. Not worth a 2nd round pick. Maybe he'll pick it up in the 2nd half.

Joakim Soria: A. Mexicutioner making us all believers that 2008 was not a fluke. Leads the team in ERA (1.74) and WHIP (1.02).

Total Team GPA: 1.95


Manager Trey Hillman: D. Mismanagement of the bullpen and lineup makes you wonder how many games he has lost us. Too many starts for Jacobs vs. LHP. Use of Kyle Farnsworth. Use of Gil Meche. Use/lack of use of Joakim Soria in the 8th inning. Plus, that mustache is pretty weak.

1B/OF Coach Rusty Kuntz: B. You gotta love Rusty. But how many cutoff men will be missed this year?

3B/INF Coach Dave Owen: D. Has sent runners home when they should have been held. The infield defense has been atrocious this year.

Pitching Coach Bob McClure: B+. Mac has done a terrific job. Zack Greinke has given him praise. The Royals pitching staff has allowed only 70 homeruns this year, the lowest in baseball.

Hitting Coach Kevin Seitzer: C. The hometown boy seemed to have gotten through to the hitters in Spring Training and early on in the year. Especially with Coco Crisp and Jose Guillen. Mike Aviles struggles could be attributed to Seitzer, but they could also be from the WBC or the lingering elbow injury. His true test will come when Alex Gordon makes his return later this month. If Seitz can turn him into the 40+ HR threat, then his job is secure into the next decade.

Front Office

GM Dayton Moore: B-. Dayton did all he could to assess the needs on this team in the offseason. He added speed, power and defense with the Crisp and Jacobs additions. Now they haven't really panned out, but that doesn't go on DM, it goes on the player. Extending Zack Greinke was his crowning achievement so far in his Royals career, but giving Farnsworth 4.5 million is a question mark, as is the signing of Juan Cruz. The draft was good. Aaron Crow could possibly be on the Major League roster by this time next year, and Wil Myers was a steal in the 3rd round. If this team loses over 90 games this year and a change at manager is not made, then DM's grade could receive a serious drop.

Royals PR Department: The only reason I include this is due to the absolutely mind boggling job the PR department has done this year. From poorly timed articles to "RanyGate", this season has turned into a disaster, both on the field and off. Grade: F.

Owner David Glass: D. He got his stadium renovation and has been absent from many games. Showed up in Houston with his BFF to catch the series with the 'Stros, but still the owner's box sits empty on many nights. His grade can improve if he gives Dayton Moore the proper cash to sign all of our draft picks.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

NHL in Kansas City (Part 1)

For years this town has been craving an NBA or NHL franchise. From what I can draw on the internet and just talking to people, it is split down the middle, but leaning towards the NHL.

Now most people will say that KC had its chance with the Scouts in the 70's, but I say the Scouts are the poorest of examples. The 70's were an awful time for expansion, as professional sports had yet made the crossover into corporate sponsorship and marketing. The Scouts had a poor ownership structure, zero marketing outside of local media, and oh yeah, THEY WERE HORRIBLE. The team was also announced just months before the NHL season began and gave ticket boosters very little time to sell season tickets. Also fueling the wildfire was the Scouts beginning a 9 game road trip to start their inaugural season due to the American Royal Rodeo. The Scouts went 0-8-1 during the stretch. Not exactly a team that is going to gather interest. The Scouts never sold out a game in the brand new Kemper Arena.

The Scouts also suffered due to a shallow talent pool, as the World Hockey Association was gathering more high quality players (Ala Wayne Gretzky). The WHA merger with the NHL all but sunk the lowly Scouts. The nail in the coffin came when the Scouts were just 1 point back from the St. Louis Blues late in 1975, but the team won only ONE game in a 44 game stretch and finished in last. The team then moved on to Colorado for six seasons, until they finally moved on to their permanent home in New Jersey, where they have won three Stanley Cups* and seen several Hall of Fame players in their uniform*.

*The Devils won the Cup in 1995, 2001, and 2003. Defenseman Scott Stevens was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2007, Martin Brodeur is a lock for the Hall as he is the career leader in shutouts in the NHL.

So the Scouts are not even a plausible example of why Kansas City is not deserving of an NHL franchise.

Hockey was dormant in Kansas City for decades until Canadian businessman Russ Parker purchased the rights of the idle Toledo Blades of the International Hockey League and decided to place the team in Kansas City. The team kept the name, Blades, and soon became the primary affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.

The Blades saw early success, as they won the IHL Championship in only their second year of existence. After that, they were consistently in the top of the IHL standings and attendance figures. The Blades made the IHL Finals once more in 1995, but lost to the Denver Grizzlies in 4 games. The last crowd of over 16,000 to see a hockey game in Kemper Arena was on hand to watch the Blades lose their last Championship game.

16,000 people. For a minor league hockey game. 16,000 people in a dumpy arena in the West Bottoms. For a hockey game. In Kansas City.

The team was sold in 1996. They never made the playoffs again and became somewhat of a joke in the town and were contracted when the IHL merged with the American Hockey League, and pro hockey has been absent in KC ever since.

That is until the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks got together for a preseason game in 2003. The game sold out in under a month and was recorded as the largest crowd to ever see a hockey game in Kansas City at a crowd just under 18,000 in an antiquated Kemper Arena.

That game drew the attention of the NHL. Kansas City had shouted: "WE WANT HOCKEY!" and the league had heard it. So did the city. Soon legislation was put on the table for a new downtown arena and entertainment district.

After that, the KC based group NHL21* put on a few exhibition games in Kemper Arena. The Blues and Nashville Predators drew a crowd of 13,000+, and a game between the Florida Panthers and the Predators was cancelled due to the 04-05 lockout. But that game had sold nearly 10,000 tickets before the game was cancelled in late August.

*NHL21, a "grassroots" organization, was developed by local businessmen Paul McGannon ond Tom Reiger. The organization has over 150 members and is dedicated to bringing the NHL to KC.

From 2003-2007, Kansas City had the highest TV ratings for a non-NHL market, getting a 4+ share from ESPN, ESPN2, Versus, ABC, Fox, and NBC. After that, Commissioner Gary Bettman and other NHL executives have made multiple trips to Kansas City. After The Anschutz Entertainment Group* joined with KC government to built the $250 million Sprint Center* in the heart of downtown KC, a skeleton front office was constructed for a potential NHL franchise, with NHL Hall of Famer Luc Robataille named as the Vice President of Hockey Operations and plans put in place for NHL exhibitions to be put on every year until a team is located in KC. A reported crowd of over 12,000 watched the Blues play the Los Angeles Kings in late September of 2008, although it was reported that over 14,000 tickets had been sold for the game. That was on a Tuesday with two of the worst teams from 2007-08 playing and a majority of the teams' star players being scratched from the lineup.

Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) put up $50 million for the construction of the arena and surrounding entertainment district, KC Live! The CEO of AEG, Phil Anschutz, is a majority owner of the Los Angeles Kings and a member of the NHL Board of Executives. The Sprint Center drew over 1 million people in its first year of existence for concerts and sporting events

Kansas City has the fanbase. If an NHL team were placed here, I have no doubt that season tickets would fly out of the window. All of the Sprint Center suites sold out when Mario Lemieux contemplated relocating the Pittsburgh Penguins to KC. The suites still remain sold, yet the building remains empty.

Now multiple NHL teams have cited that they would consider relocation due to financial difficulty. The New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Phoenix Coyotes have all mentioned Kansas City in relocation talk.

The most likely is the New York Islanders. Owner Charles Wang has stated that if an arena zoning is not completed before the 2009-10 season, that he will move the team. The Islanders have already scheduled a preseason game in KC in late September. Many in the hockey community are viewing this as a "tryout" for Kansas City, to test the waters in the market to see if it is ready to support NHL Hockey. The game has been scheduled for Sept. 22, a Tuesday. If Kansas City can draw over 15,000 fans for an exhibition game on a Tuesday, with two regionally irrelevant teams, who finished in the bottom half of the league last year, then why wouldn't Kansas City be an option?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Optimism Coming Up Short After a Loss Like This

It seems like every time the Royals have a promising win, where they do most things right, they come back out and prove once again that this team has no chance at .500 again this season. I hope I'm wrong, but at this point it is ludicrous to think otherwise. I'll use bullet points, because....well because I just don't feel like typing full sentences and I'm having trouble stringing together thoughts.

-Every game started by Tony Pena Jr. should knock off a week of Trey Hillman and Dayton Moore's careers with this franchise. I think he is literally the worst player in Major League Baseball right now.

-Trey Hillman's lack of...what is the word?...ah yes, BALLS is absolutely incredible. I rarely see a manager who is 10 games under .500 get kicked out of LESS games than Trey Hillman. Where is the fire, man? Arguing that horrendous call in the 9th inning for about, oh 10 seconds really shows your players that you are right behind them and will gladly stand up to any umpire*.

*Sidenote: These umps have to be investigated. They will not confer with eachother to get calls right and are as stubborn as any officials in any sport that I've seen.

-I honestly think that there are better options in AAA than what we have up here. I think that Jacobs has fallen off the wagon and is pressing way too hard. Kila deserves a shot. The bench players on this team are laughable. At least we had Matt Stairs off the bench in 2005...

-David DeJesus' baserunning skill and discipline is some of the worst I've ever seen.

Long story short, this game was extremely winnable. We just did not execute. This team looks as dead as Michael Jackson did 2 years ago. Barely alive, but looking like they had been dead for ages.

Twins Fans Used to Not Bother Me....

Now they do. I've always wondered why Chicago Bears fans hated Minnesota Vikings fans. The Vikings haven't really been too relevant in the past 25 years, so I always wondered why. Now I know. They're like every other sports fans in the country, they're obnoxious and loud. I remember Twins fans used to come in to the K and they were nice! They talked baseball with their fellow AL Central brethren, about how much we hated White Sox and Tigers fans, and how the Indians are destined to never win anything.

But last night, something clicked. I was annoyed. There were at least 5,000 twins fans in attendance last night. I had been expecting this as many of them make the 8 hour trek down I-35 to watch their team play outside. I like people from Minnesota, they are generally nice, love hockey and say funny things like "eh". But when things aren't going their way (Like when they are .500) they can get a bit nasty. Last night, for the first time in my life I saw Twins fans acting like Cardinals and White Sox fans. Loud, obnoxious and ignorant. The "Lets go Mauer" chant was the coup de grace, and I lost it. Twins fans usually sit and cheer when something goes their way and are respectful of being in a visiting ballpark. I saw two guys taunting fans around them when Joe Mauer came up in the 8th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out (He then grounded into a DP, finishing the day 0-4. HA!). I saw a guy flip off a father of two when he asked him several times to sit down.

Another thing, those STUPID "Circle Me Bert" signs. They are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Look folks, this isn't your ballpark. It was cute the first few years, now its just annoying. Literally, almost 50% of the Twins fans had some sort of neon yellow posterboard that said something like "Circle me Bert, I'm outside!" Ok we get it.

I'm really starting to despise these people. My despisition will probably grow next year when they open that RIDICULOUS ballpark in MINNESOTA that DOESN'T HAVE A ROOF. I'll enjoy seeing the Twinkies set a major league record for weather postponements, double headers and mosquito bites.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dayton Moore is Listening

Looks like the Royals are willing to listen to offers for "Non-Core" players. And I could not be happier. Non-Core basically means "Non-Greinke/Soria/Gordon/Butler/Meche". Which is great, because outside of those players, this team is horrible. I would love it if this team is absolutely blown up. Several contenders are looking for bullpen help, which the Royals could supply with Ron Mahay, Juan Cruz, and Jamey Wright. Teams looking for bullpen help include the Mets, Phillies and Angels. I think it would be interesting if we could start a bidding war with the Mets and Phils. And if the Phillies offer Jason Donald, then we have to pull the trigger. Donald, a AAA Shortstop who is blocked by Jimmy Rollins, could provide immediate impact at the Major League level. Philly inquired about Mahay last year, but I wonder if they were not ready to part ways w/ Donald. This year they may be desperate enough to move him.

On to the starting rotation. Kyle Davies has lost tons of value this year and I doubt anyone will bite unless they want to take on the KDP*. Brian Bannister has to intrigue several teams. I think he would be a great addition on a team seeking rotation help. The Yankees look like they need some help in their rotation, Sabathia could miss some time and Wang looks lost on the mound. Interesting returns could be CF Brett Gardner. Luke Hochevar is doubtfully being shopped, but he could have a high return, as teams usually don't like parting ways with 1st round picks on the ML roster. But I would be interested to see what some teams would be willing to part with for Hoch.

*Kyle Davies Project

Offensively, I would expect Mark Teahen to be high on a lot of teams' lists. The Cardinals are dying for a 3rd baseman. Would they be willing to part ways with SS Brendan Ryan? Ryan has had a great year (.308/.346/.411) and is pretty savvy with the glove. Miguel Olivo would probably interest most teams looking for a catcher with some pop. The Giants could be interested as could the Brewers. David DeJesus has to interest several people who are looking for OF help or even looking for a 4th OF.

Jose Guillen is a problem. He needs to be moved. Shouldn't be too easy though, unless a contender is looking for a malcontent who fields poorly, strikes out too much, has lost almost all of his power and can't run for $12 million dollars. If Guillen is moved, the Royals will have to eat a majority of his salary. $5-8 mil is my guess. He'll most likely be used as a bench player/4th OF in the NL, and a bench player/DH in the AL and I don't think too many teams would be willing to pay $12 million for that.

Either way, it should be a fun July as far as trades go!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brayan Pena vs. John Buck

I think it is a well known fact that John Buck has established himself as a career backup catcher. Which is a shame really. This is a guy who hit 18 home runs just 2 years ago. That was a great year for him. It was the year he introduced that high leg kick into his stance and drew a lot of power from it. We didnt see too much power outside of the homers though, Buck only posted an *OPS+ of 90 that year, 8 points above his career average. He really fell off after he got rid of the leg kick and I feel like he lost a lot of power and is still trying to get it back. Hey Bucky, why not bring it back???

*For newcomers: OPS+ is a stat that takes into account how a players On-Base + Slugging Percentage (OPS) compares to other batters in Major League Baseball. A good OPS+ is above 100. Ex: Tony Pena Jr.'s career OPS+ is 46, Albert Pujols is 172.

On to Brayan Pena. First off, I love this guy. He is all smiles and hey, he handles the bat well. He is a guy who has never really gotten a fair shot in the bigs. His career numbers in the minors aren't eye popping, but they aren't horrible either. His minor league career numbers:
.303 /.353 /.403 /.756
25 HR, 133 2B, 271 RBI over 9 seasons

Now, John Buck's career minor league numbers:
.271 /.339 /.431 ./770
64 HR, 142 2B, 351 RBI over 7 seasons

Now, John Buck has displayed more power over the years, but as far as being a pure hitter for contact, Brayan Pena is ahead of John Buck. Two guys with very similar numbers, one who has overstayed his welcome on the big league level, and one guy who has never gotten his shot. I think it is definitely time for the Royals to give Brayan Pena a fair chance.

As for Buck, he's an ok ballplayer. His problem does not lie in his offense, but rather his defense. Buck can't throw people out. He's got a plus arm, but his delivery is long. I haven't really gotten a chance to see B. Pena flash his arm, but it can't be worse than Buck's.

If we can get something in return for Buck, say a PTBNL, cash, or a low level pitcher, then I say pull the trigger. If not, then that leaves the Royals a tough choice. Give John Buck one last chance and risk sending Brayan Pena through waivers AGAIN this season? Or do we keep Brayan Pena in the backup role and send the longest tenured Royal packing?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

1st entry

Well, my transition from moderate baseball discussion board contributer, to full blown baseball junkie has begun. Welcome to my blog.

The topics of my blogs will be about Royals baseball. But I may throw in some Mizzou football and basketball, a dash of the Chiefs, maybe even some NHL and NBA talk. I'm probably going to talk a lot of trash about teams I don't like, but at the same time, give praise where praise is due.