View Full Version : Posnanski: Royals are hard to love, but don't cheat on them

04-06-2005, 01:23 AM

The Royals are hard to love, but don't go cheat on them


DETROIT — A letter to an angry Royals fan:

Thanks for your letter about the Kansas City Royals. It's always good to hear from real baseball fans, and you obviously have a lot of passion for the game. You also have a lot of anger about the Royals, and that's understandable, too. The team has lost a lot lately. They have traded away their best players in recent years. They've done stupid things like drop their payroll $10 million after losing 104 games.

They may very well be the worst team in baseball at the moment.

You want Royals general manager Allard Baird fired. You want manager Tony Pe๑a fired. You want Mike Sweeney traded, you want several players released, you want the mascot shipped out. You want owner David Glass to spend money or sell to someone who will. You say there's no plan, no direction and no future. I know that you are writing from the heart. You're not alone. I get letters and e-mails like yours just about every day.

But then you ask for something.

You ask me to tell you why you should stay a Royals fan.

I don't know if you really want an answer. But I'll give it a shot. You love baseball. And you love the Royals. That's why.

Fanhood is not like other relationships. There are no divorces. There are no breakups. You pick your team, and you stay together, through sickness and health and Botallico, until death or moving van do you part. You were there when Bret Saberhagen jumped into George Brett's arms. You are there when Jose Lima inexplicably starts on opening day. That's how it works. Fan for life.

There are no substitutions, exchanges or refunds.

Hey, look, nobody says it's easy being a fan, especially in Kansas City these days. You give your heart to a team unconditionally, and that team almost always breaks your heart. They do not sign any defensive free agents or they fire up three-pointers rather than get the ball inside to their star or they trade their all-star outfielder for Neifi Perez.

Then, every so often, your team will surprise you, come together, win some games, take you on a magical ride. And, for a few minutes, it all seems worthwhile.

You talk about the Royals — well, let's just say it: The Royals are trying to win games against a stacked deck. Nobody likes to talk about that — everybody's so sick of the small market, big market chatter — but it's true. The Royals are constantly trying to beat teams that have a lot more money to spend on players. The Royals are constantly trying to figure out what to do with their own players who become too expensive.

The Royals are constantly trying to overcome the fact that Kansas City is a small market, barely big enough to be major league, and the system spits out the small markets.

An educated guess: David Glass would have to spend $30 million out of his own pocket to give the Royals a payroll the size of the St. Louis Cardinals. He won't do that. And I can promise you, nobody is out there standing in line to do that.

So how can the Royals win? There's only one way: They have to be smarter and luckier than other teams. And it's not easy to be smarter and luckier.

The Royals do have a plan. It might not work. But they have one. They are going with young and inexpensive players they believe can be great. They trade for Denny Bautista with his 97 mph fastball and big curveball. They rush Zack Greinke, with his four good pitches and childlike genius for throwing the right one. They build around Mark Teahen and Jeremy Affeldt and David DeJesus and Runelvys Hernandez and Andrew Sisco and a whole lot of other young guys that nobody has heard of.

The Royals really see something good in those guys. They really believe that with a little luck, this group could make the Royals into a real contender for a few years.

Maybe they're right. More likely they're wrong. That's the game for Kansas City. No, it's not particularly fair. But this is how baseball is played right now.

So what are you going to do?

You could, as you say, stop going to games. But that wouldn't be much fun.

You could, as you say, throw out your Royals stuff. But what would you wear?

You could, as you say, go root for the Yankees, where “at least you know George Steinbrenner cares.” That would be a shame. There are enough Yankee fans in the world already. But there are no laws against it. You certainly could go out and buy the Derek Jeter jersey, paper your wall with Randy Johnson posters, inject a little New York accent over the Midwestern in your voice.

I don't think that you would feel real good about it, though.

No, I think in the end, like so many others, you're stuck rooting for the Royals, a poor team in a rich team's world. You're stuck hoping that this time, the youth movement will take. You're stuck wishing for Greinke and Bautista and other kids to become stars.

Then the Royals will lose 11-2, and you will want everybody fired again.

It's a Royals fan's life.

big nasty kcnut
04-06-2005, 02:07 AM
Hey the royals can be good just keep getting the propects and keep playing.

siberian khatru
04-06-2005, 06:22 AM
A decade's worth of terrible drafts has nearly destroyed this franchise. Just at the time when MLB payrolls began heading in opposite directions between the haves and have-nots, the Royals did a spectacularly poor job of developing their own talent.

These next 3-5 years could very well prove to be the turning point for the franchise in KC. If they draft and develop well, and have a good nucleus of young players in place for 2007-08 with more percolating in the minors, we'll be the next Twins or A's. If we crash and burn, I fear the team will leave town.

04-06-2005, 06:36 AM
During the good old days, the Royals had a great farm system. What has happened to it? They have drafted like a bazillion pitchers in the last decade, it amazes me when they are still trading for them and recycling pitchers like Lima. :(

Dr. Johnny Fever
04-06-2005, 08:23 AM
This article is about me...... and it pisses me off.


Dr. Johnny Fever
04-06-2005, 08:23 AM
Hey the royals can be good just keep getting the propects and keep playing.
God love ya nut. I wish I still believed that.