It is hard to find a more optimistic Kansas City Royals fan than me. I love the Royals and sometimes have a hard time seeing their flaws. I think it is a defense mechanism for years of heartache and pain. I’ve been hurt so many times that I can’t help but try to see the best in the Royals so that I don’t have to think about the agony. But you are flawed and it is getting to where I can’t ignore the flaws anymore. I love you, but I’m not IN love with you. But, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
That is why it is so hard for me to tell you this. I’m breaking up with you. It is not you. It is me. I’ve changed and I need some time to figure things out. I just don’t see this going anywhere and can’t see myself with you in the future anymore. I just don’t feel the same. I don’t want to just see other people, this needs to be a clean break. I’d really like it if we can still be friends. You’re a great guy. You’ve got a lot going for you. You’re truly an amazing and special person. Someone else is going to be so lucky to have you. It just isn’t me anymore. I feel like you deserve an explanation, so I just want to give you an idea where I’m coming from. I know you’re blindsided by this, and I can tell by your uncontrollable sobbing that you are hurt and confused. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
When I said I’ve changed, you have to look at where I was when we first met. You see, the franchise was in a dark place without any real direction. A couple of 100 loss seasons had just been put on the books for the first time in franchise history and there was no real hope. Dayton Moore was hired to come in and rebuild the minor league system and, eventually and hopefully, restore the major league ball club to respectability and competition for the postseason. Moore’s first draft included you as the #1 overall pick after you refused to sign with the Dodgers after they drafted you in 2005. Somehow, though, Moore won’t claim that he picked you (due to his agreement with his previous employer-Atlanta-that he would not participate in the 2006 draft) and instead Deric Ladnier made you the #1 overall choice. Perhaps coincidentally, Ladnier was later fired. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
But here’s where things of changed, and how I’ve evolved as a Royals fan since then. In 2006, you were hope-the #1 overall pick. As you might have heard, the Royals have been starving for quality starting pitching for quite some time. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 we got to see you put together some inconsistent but sometimes promising stretches during your seasons as a young pitcher at the MLB level. 2010 was supposed to be that first year you were really going to put it all together and be a consistent significant contributor. But something happened along the way in there and it never happened. It never happened in 2011 either, despite you putting together a pretty impressive second half of the season. From the looks of it, 2012 isn’t going to be any different but things are different now. The Royals need something more than hope from you now. I’ve changed. The Royals have changed. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
You’re 28 now. Some of my friends have called you a head case who doesn’t deal with adversity very well. At first I denied this because I loved you and saw the good in you. Now, I’m starting to see what they’ve always seen though and I’m starting to think they’re right. Maybe it is because they don’t know you like I do. They don’t get to see all the good things in you that I see; things that are hidden from plain view. Maybe my feelings for you have clouded my judgment. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
Either way, 28 years old is a time when you should be in your prime. You shouldn’t be getting bombed in the home opener to put a wet blanket on a much-anticipated start to the season. You shouldn’t be out at all hours of the night; giving up 7 runs in a start at home or 9 runs in a start on the road. You shouldn’t be giving up 6 runs in 4 innings to a team with collective batting average just over .200. The team is trying to get to .500 or better now-not just looking to avoid 100 losses-and you are stuck in the middle. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
At this point in time, things aren’t working out. The Royals NEEDED this to work. I needed this to work. But it isn’t working. There is no more promise. There is no more upside. There is no more future. There is no more us. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
Right now the Royals could give your spot in the rotation to Vin Mazzaro (yes, the guy who gave up 400 runs in one inning last year) and it would be no worse and would probably have more of a long-term upside than keeping you in the rotation. When all starting pitchers are healthy who could return this year, it seems like giving your spot in the rotation to Will Smith has better short term impact and long-term potential. This isn’t necessarily a strike against you-it is more a testament to how far the Royals have come. 3 years ago, there would have been no other choice than to run you out there every 5 days and hope for the best. Now there are other options out there that make you a one inning guy or a mop-up guy in bullpen at best. I can barely bear the thought of where you fit on next year’s entire pitching staff after three pitchers who are lost for 2012 (Joakim Soria, John Lamb, and Danny Duffy) return from injury and at least one more (Jake Odorizzi) hits the big league roster. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
I don’t want to see other people (send you to the bullpen), though. This needs to be a clean break. You need to go somewhere else and find your own way in life without me holding you back. You need to breathe and live outside your own heart and grow like a moth grows into a butterfly. But you can’t do that here. Not with the Royals. Not with me. #OurTime has passed and things can never go back to the way they were when we first met and everything was exciting and new. You are the only #1 overall draft pick in Royals history. You have a special place here for that and you will never be forgotten. You will always have a spot next to Chris George, Jeff Austin, Dan Reichert, Ed Hearn, Jamie Bluma, and Glendon Rusch with the franchise and with Royals fans. You will never be forgotten for giving me everything you had. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
But now, it is time for you to go and for us to be apart. Maybe I’ll find someone like you. I wish nothing but the best for you. Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead.
P.S. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.