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The Young Royals Are Not Ready to Win

It is hard to be a Royals fan. For a generation, no Royals team has made a playoff appearance, truly contended, or even retained a perennial All Star. Aside from the fluke 2003 season, the Royals would be approaching, or even owning, the record for most consecutive losing seasons in professional sports. In short, Royals fans have endured one of the worst professional franchises of our time.

In the offseason, Kansas City convinced itself it could win. What did it matter that the rotation would be headed by a career journeyman, Bruce Chen, and filled out with the likes Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy and Luis Mendoza? What did it matter than Ned Yost had a career record of 577-659? This was #OurTime. After essentially two decades of losing, the team was supposed to win. With the Mid-Summer classic coming to town this summer, Kansas City could finally have its coming out party on a national stage.

2012 was supposed to be different.

Key offseason acquisition Jonathan Sanchez has pitched poorly enough to merit a release.

It wasn’t. After the young Royals began the season with a 12 game skid, with 10 losses in a row at home, the season was effectively over. This team couldn’t pitch. This team couldn’t hit when it mattered. This team couldn’t win.

Recently, the Royals hit a stretch where they have swept the Milwaukee Brewers, won a series against the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals, and won a series against the Houston Astros. Winning 7 of 9 games, many coming from behind, the city has championed the team’s grit and fighter’s mentality.

Fans seem to forget the Pittsburgh Pirates swept the Royals in discouraging fashion before the 7-2 stretch, with the Royals showing little grit or resolve. The St. Louis Cardinals blasted the Royals out of their own ballpark this weekend. The Royals have had a season long battle to score run, exacerbated by Manager Ned Yost electing to bench young stud Eric Hosmer and continue to start underachieving fan favorite (and sabermetrician laughing stock) Jeff Francouer in the five spot of the lineup. With a slumping roster and questionable management, the Royals currently sit at 31-39, fourth place in (far and away) the worst division in baseball.

Fans around the metro went into this weekend full of hope. So far, this season has been a disaster, yet the Royals remained just 4.5 games back of the AL Central lead. As the weekend series played out, it became apparent the Royals are not prepared to contend in 2012. Although the Royals have shown some fight in recent games, this deserves not to be celebrated but expected. 2012 was supposed to #OurTime. The Royals were supposed to win. Winners are supposed to win series against the Brewers and Astros and steal a series against the Cardinals. This is the play and passion Royals fans should expect. The Royals are 31-39 and in fourth place. They do not deserve your praise or admiration.

Mike Moustakas is one of the Royals’ many young talents. Can the team harness his talent into on-field success?

The Royals are a losing ball club that has not met their preseason goals. Although possessing arguably the best collection of young talent in the game, the Royals have amassed nothing but a losing record. Eric Hosmer, the face of the franchise, has regressed more than anyone could have expected. Alex Gordon, while showing signs of coming to life, has stunk. Jeff Francouer has been Jeff Francouer. Yuniesky Betancourt is starting at second base. Bruce Chen topped out around 85 mph in his last start. Jarrod Dyson is a horrible player. Felipe Paulino has been lost to Tommy John. Jonathan Sanchez doesn’t care about the team. The position of catcher has been an absolute joke. Yost’s managing has made fans lose their appetite. The rotation has included no names like Will Smith. The player leading professional baseball in HRs is in AAA. This Royals team has a lot to figure it out for it to deserve our respect. And any team 8 games under .500 in the worst division of baseball does not deserve your respect.

The optimism surrounding this losing ball club, from within the organization and out, proves the Royals are not ready to win. Winners expect to win, to fight the hard fight, and to overcome adversity. This 2012 Kansas City Royals team has yet to do that. With continued strong play, this organization might do just that, but it has yet to show the ability to be a winner in 2012. The Royals, simply, are experiencing the growing pains developing teams face. While this is a positive sign for a team and a city that has become indifferent to losing, it is also a sign that the Royals are not ready to win. Kansas City is a team that will win in the near future; they are far too talented to continue their losing ways. Kansas City, you should cheer on the team you were told to expect; do not settle for a fourth place team in the worst division in baseball. We were told we were going to have a winner; DEMAND A WINNER.

12 Comments Say Something
  • Chris, I feel like my main point is that, as a fan base, it is time to switch from thinking about the future to thinking about the now. Well, at least that is what we were told to do by the organization. And then we are gifted with the garbage on field product we have seen thus far through the season. The fan in me just wants to die. The unbiased observer says this team sucks. I don’t know what to feel.

  • I’m amazed they let guys like you have pens.

    You obviously have no clue as to the potential of these new Royals players, and suffer from “conditioned opinion syndrome” which was pre-created from past seasons.

    This Royals team will surprise in the second half.

     

     

  • I suffer from conditioned opinion syndrome? No, I’m just waiting on the potential of the young talents to produce wins on the Major League level in the worst division in baseball. There is a distinct line between being a homer and being honest. As a writer, I choose to be honest. When the Royals are trotting out players like Jeff Francouer (.299 OBP in a power position) and Yuni Betancourt (4 BB on the SEASON), with a rotation including Luis Mendoza, Jonathan Sanchez, and spot starters, they can’t win. Simple as that.

  • When will they be “ready” to win?  Also, why not give them respect?  A 12 game losing streak can more than deflate the confidence of a team, let alone one as young as our (excluding you, Mark) team.  You are correct in saying that these growing pains are just one of those things that come with a young team, but respect is something they have earned.  Granted, they’re not out there scoring like the Yankees or shutting down the opposition with ace after ace like the Nats or Giants, they’re winning despite scoring fewer runs than anybody in the AL- minus the A’s and despite having “no names” in our lineup.

    Mark, it really seems like you expected a team to win a certain way and they have not met your expectations.  How did you come to those expectations?  Numbers? Media? A gut feeling?  Yes, it is going to take time before we put a polished product on the field where the team will contend year after year, but what is happening now is nothing to dismiss.  “Our Time” is the PR department telling the fans what to believe, they have to put butts in the seats somehow- it’s their job.

    As far as an unbiased observer (figuratively speaking) saying this team sucks, I’m not sure many “observers” who know a thing about baseball would say they suck.  It’s kind of an ignorant attitude to have, especially considering our 100-loss teams of this decade; if this team sucks then there’s no words that begin to describe those other teams.

  • D, I love your points and discussion. Great stuff. Personally, I think the wins this month have been a mirage. The royals have won 6 games this month scoring 2 or fewer runs. Last season? Zero. The pitching this month has been absurd and I didn’t expect it to happen. However, the royals have won games which is all that matters. I didn’t expect them to win a certain way; I saw their roster had too many long relievers in the rotation and an utter buffoon as a skipper to expect anything good. And anyone knowing anything about baseball knows a team that has Yuni Betancourt batting second in its lineup with Giavotella in AAA and Jeff Francouer with an OBP below .300 with 24 RBIs in the five spot blocking Wil Myers knows the royals and their management are not ready to win.

  • First off, “utter buffoon as a skipper ” is exactly right; however, I don’t know the exact definition of a buffoon, nor would I ever use it, but I get your point and even got a light laugh out of it.  And yes, winning the games is all that matters.

    Yuni in the 2-hole is a bit baffling, but I would rather have him than Giavotella offensively and defensively- sadly.  But the whole lineup goes back to the Yost comment, but, in all reality, if we can win with Yuni behind Gordon, then let’s ride that train til it runs out of steam (same goes with Francouer, but  I don’t think that a stat like OBP really tells how much Francouer is worth to this team).  Also, it ain’t gonna hurt Myers to be in the minors a little longer than most would like, especially if we’re not ready to win just yet.  Baseball, as you- a baseball-knowing-blogger- know, is more than just about stats.  There was no need for Hosmer to stay in AAA last year; he was raking and our 1B/DHs were Butler and Ka’aihue- no brainer you’re calling up Hosmer.  It’s totally different with Myers, Francouer brings more to the table as a whole than Butler (not a great player w/o a bat in his hands) and Ka’aihue (not even on our team anymore).  Francouer brings leadership, a cannon, and decent pop to a young team who needs good people present.  But the whole team chemistry thing is a whole other ballgame.

  • Mark,

    You’ve been waiting huh?  Well when you can remember sitting down the third baseline and caught foul balls off the bats of Campy Campaneris and Dick Green of the old KC A’s before Charlie Finley moved the team to Oakland and then became a dynasty, then watched the K rise from the rubbel, witnessed the 80′ World Series loss, suffered through 5 more years until we finally won one, and then witnessed a team fall to become the most losing team in the history of profressional sports for the next 27 seasons…if you’d been through all of that, then I might think you actually knew enough about this team to notice when something different is really happening.

    Until then, your “writing” rings of a new child on the block who arrives late to the party, and then thinks he needs to be in charge.

    In short, you don’t know what the HELL you’re talking about.

    Find a new city and a new team to pretend your a fan of, because you’re no Royals fan, and if we do win in 2012, which appears to be a real possibility as winners of 4 straight and a club that’s only a couple of games out of 2nd place and a couple more out of first for the first time in ten years….. and despite a season injury report that would have put nearly any other like sized market team at least 20 games under .500 by the All-Star break…..if we do win…you’ll be so invested in the negativity in your “writing” that you’ll be publicly pretending and privately embarrassed that you were wrong all along.

    In short, if you’re really a fan, which I don’t believe you are, because a true fan of the Royals would never, ever, write with such contempt for organization, and for the city the team represents, but if you are by some miracle you should can areful what you write, lest you become emotionally invested.

    By writing what you have, you are taking away your ability to enjoy the fruits of victory.

    But like I said, as a fan who arrives late to the party, you just won’t get it…for another 30 years…and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone….not even you. 

    You’re too young to really understand yet, that baseball, isn’t just about the players being good, and the team scouting great players for the future, or having the best ballpark, or having a team that can attain the most victories in a given year, or having a favorite player because you admire the way he can throw the ball, or hit for average…..it is, moreover, and I think more importantly about pride in the city in which you live, it’s about the guys who represent OUR city, in which you have not been alive long enough to have witnessed it’s growth from run of the mill cowtown, to destination greatness, it’s about for 3 hours a day and 81 days of the year, we get to have a large contingent of guests to host and  to showcase what we’ve built, to say…”see what we have built from nothing?” ….and its about the greatest gift of man that one can offer others, the gift of hope.  Hope of better days ahead, of victories and parades, and joyful kids, it’s about the ability to say and make the claim, that after a win, if even for just a day to our guests, that…see….I told you so…we won, the guys that represent our city have beaten the representatives of yours….It’s really about in it’s most basic form the need to be able to say to yourself, if only for today that:

    “See, for today, our town is better than your town” ….

    and then know that their guys have to fly on home and are gonna have a whole plain ride to ponder the place from where they’ve just left.

    It’s why we take so much pleasure in beating teams like the New York Yankees.  Why wouldn’t we…..they think they live in the greatest city on the planet. 

    We in KC, know better….and when those damn Yanks fly out to KC…

    we’re gonna prove it.

    ______________________________________________________

    (Just some advice for you son….try to make your writing interesting, have view or some facts that no one has considered before, and try to keep your readers attention by creating emotion and letting people know you have some as well.   No one cares about a scathing impersonal critique, but the author…especially when 90% of it, is simply forcing people to relive a painful past…..in short, offer hope instead of taking it away, and your fanbase might grow)

    Good luck in your endeavors.

     

  • and please for give my typos….plain vs. plane and your vs. you’re.  I wrote that damn thig in 3 minutes.

  • woops…lol….forgive….thing.   I guess my spell checking days are over.  But, don’t you ever stop.

  • I would advise anyone to consider suspect, the credentials of anyone who likens himself a professional sportswriter who would state matter of factly, that Salvador Perez as a catcher is an absolute joke. 

    He who would state this, surely does not know the game of baseball, and is a pretender.

     

  • This team is different than any Royals team for the past 20+ years. Any idiot knows they’re not going to win the World Series over night. If anything, they want to win too much and have been trying too hard, especially during their 12 game skid. Too bad guys like Mark don’t understand that, or don’t care to understand. I guess it’s probably just easier to complain.

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