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ChiTown
04-17-2006, 10:51 PM
I always get a good laugh reading these guys. Rany's comments on Glass are SPOT ON!


Monday, April 17

# Rob: Just a few of the things amusing me lately… The renovations to Kauffman Stadium, paid for by the recent ballot initiative in Jackson County, will result in the addition of roughly 2,500 seats where the bullpens are now. Because, you know, of all those games where the team runs out of tickets…
# Remember Mike Stodolka, the fourth player selected in the 2000 June draft? His career officially stalled last year, when he went 4-11 with a 5.92 ERA with Wichita. No problem. The Royals have turned him into a first baseman, and sent him back to Class A. Hey, it could work; he’s only 24!
# K.C. pitchers issued seventeen walks in their first two games against the Yankees. Afterward, pitching coach Bob McClure came up with a solution: “We’ll sit down and talk about it.” Buddy Bell dispensed his own brand of wisdom: “We’ll get better at that. Our guys will get better.”
# Last Tuesday, I watched the Portland Beavers host the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. C-Springs’ three pitchers? Miguel Asencio, Jaime Cerda, and Nate Field (who gave up a walk-off piece in the bottom of the ninth). You should’ve been there.

Rany: Apparently the Royals are determined to turn 135 years of professional baseball tradition on its head. They're doing even the off-the-field stuff completely ass-backwards. Adding seats? The latest meme in baseball among well-run teams is to decrease the number of seats available; the Athletics have tarped off their entire upper deck. Why? As this article points out, by lowering the supply of seats, you may actually increase demand because fans won't have the security blanket of knowing there will always be tickets available at the last moment, and so they may commit to buying tickets well in advance.

The only exception to the rule is in Boston, where the Red Sox could move their games to Foxborough and sell out every game, so adding a few hundred seats here and there to extract as much revenue as possible is understandable.

# I remember when Stodolka was drafted, and scouts were saying that he could be a third- or fourth-round pick as a hitter. Knowing that he would be drafted by the Royals, I should have counted on that piece of information becoming relevant once his pitching career inevitably got snuffed out. Anyway, through five games he's hitting .353/.400/.765, leading the regulars in OPS! Of course, it's High Desert. It's still a sweet piece of hitting for someone who hadn't swung a bat in anger in six years.
# I really wish I had collected all of Buddy Bell's quotes since he was hired. I don't think he's a stupid man, but he says some of the most stupid non-sequiturs I've ever heard. After Thursday's loss to the Yankees, he said, "This is a good time to get out of here."

Really, Sherlock? It's a good time to leave after you've been lost your 12th, 13th, and 14th straight games at Yankee Stadium? Me, I would have said it was a good time to leave the moment the plane touched down in New York. But that's just me.
# Speaking of ex-Royals, I got the shock of the season last week when Joe Sheehan sent me this email...

"Remember that NASA draft [a Strat-O-Mmatic league we've both been in since the early 90s] when you kept changing your nick to all these random Royals pitching prospects, none of whom turned into anything?

I just watched Ken Ray throw a 1-2-3 inning at the Giants, including making Barry Bonds look bad."

That probably doesn't seem all that shocking to read, but you have to understand, I remember Ken Ray. I thought he had retired years ago. And I thought I had repressed all my memories of him.

Ray got a lot of attention as a prospect in 1994, when as a 20-year-old he went 10-4 with 1.82 ERA in the Midwest League. Knowing what we know now, we could say he was just really DIPS-lucky, but at the time, a 1.82 ERA? At age 20? Sounded good to me.

Then reality set in; Ray threw really hard but had no movement on his fastball and no secondary pitches. He reached Double-A the following year, but over the next five years he never posted an ERA less than 5 in the high minors. He got moved to the bullpen in 1999, and pitched well enough to finally get called up to the majors. He started his career with five scoreless innings, albeit with not a single strikeout.

The Royals were in Detroit, and at old Tiger Stadium you could stand about five feet from the players as they warmed up before the game.

"Hey, Ken, great start, keep it up!" I yelled at him from the first row. He looked up and briefly acknowledged me with a nod; he looked as surprised by his success as I was.

With good reason. He would face 43 more major league hitters that season, and 24 of them reached base. In total, he faced 56 hitters in his call-up, and not one of them struck out.

Seven years and a number of independent league stints later, he found himself back in the majors as a first-week callup in the Braves bullpen. The first batter he faced was Barry Bonds.

He struck him out, getting Bonds to swing and miss for all three strikes, only the second time Bonds has done that in the last five years.

He finished with two perfect innings. As I write this he's thrown 5 innings for the Braves, having allowed one hit, two walks, and no runs. And he's struck out five.

Ken Ray may mean nothing to you. But to me, he is the most striking example yet of why the Braves are who they are. And why the Royals are who they are.

Rob: I initially wrote you after the first two losses in New York. Since then, of course, the Royals completed that sweep, then added another in St. Petersburg.

I hope nobody's particularly surprised. On paper, the Royals were the worst team in the major leagues before the season started, and since then more things have gone wrong than right. They've now been out-scored 76-44. They've been out-homered 17-9. They've been out-walked 56-27. And these numbers are not wildly flukish. This, after an extensive off-season roster remodeling that cost a decent amount of David Glass's pocket change, is an accurate reflection of the talent on hand.

In the four games since Bob McClure said he would "talk" to his pitchers about throwing more strikes and fewer balls, Royal pitchers have walked twenty-three batters in thirty-two innings. McClure, I'm sure, will be the first scapegoat of the season, thus joining a distinguished list of pitching coaches who took the fall for the organization's general ineptness.

Of course, the problem is not the pitching coach. Nor is it the manager (you're right, Buddy Bell isn't stupid; he's not any dumber, ill-informed, or incurious than the average American male). The problem is rooted deep within the organization, which essentially is bereft of managerial and intellectual ability. That's what is so frustrating about this team. It's not a matter of exceptional people strangely doing stupid things; it's a matter of perfectly ordinary people doing perfectly ordinary things. And it's why I have zero, absolutely zero hope for success while Wal-Mart Man and Ordinary Son are pulling the strings.

Rany: To be perfectly honest, the only things that have been surprising about the Royals season were their two wins: coming back from 6-0 down against the White Sox, then eking out a one-run victory on a late homer the next night.

I had a pretty strong feeling before the season began that the Royals were on track for a truly historic season. After 104 and 106 losses the last two years, I really felt that the Royals could continue to elude the pull of regression to the mean and continue to decline, losing 110 or more games and possibly even giving the 2003 Tigers a run for their money.

It's way too early to say whether such a scenario is likely or even possible, but the Royals are certainly on their way with a 2-9 record against a reasonable swath of the American League (two playoff teams from last year, and two of the worst teams in the league last year). All that money spent in the off-season has been about as well-spent as advertised. Joe Mays, who has sucked since the end of the 2001 season, continues to suck. Scott Elarton has been as homer-prone as expected, and Mark Redman got in the act with two bombs surrendered in his first start.

Reggie Sanders has been a nice addition, Mark Grudzielanek has been predictably decent, and Doug Mientkiewicz has wielded a strong glove and an impotent bat.

No, the Royals can't play this bad all season; I imagine the pitching staff will eventually get their opponent's OPS down under 900, Mike Sweeney will get his average over the Mendoza Line, etc. But this team, by and large, is what it is. And as you say, the roots of the problem extend very deep, but the branches also extend very high, all the way to the top.

I haven't been nearly as critical of the Glass family as a lot of Royals fans, in part because it's hard to argue that ownership is the problem when the Twins won three straight divisional titles under Carl Pohlad, and in part because you can't fire the owner, so criticizing him serves no useful purpose.

But if David Glass is half as committed to winning as he claims to be, he absolutely must do two things:

1) Clean house. Bring in a GM from somewhere else, and give him the mandate to absolutely blow this organization apart. A team so fundamentally bad that its pitchers can't throw strikes even when given a mandate to make that their highest priority is a team whose coaching staff is incompetent almost to a man. If it means whacking two-thirds of the team's on-field personnel, so be it.

2) Stop meddling in team affairs. Allard Baird didn't create this mess by himself. Baird may be nice enough to take bullets for his owner, but all that has done is obscure the reality that the Glasses are much more responsible for the team's predicament than the average fan realizes.

Unless and until these two things happen, everything else about this team -- from Zack Greinke and Denny Bautista to Alex Gordon and Billy Butler -- is irrelevant.

Rob: Right. I need to get out of here and get this thing posted, but on the way home today I was trying to come up with a list of bad owners who became good owners after a significant number of years. I came up with exactly one: Ted Turner. And David Glass ain’t Ted Turner.

Deberg_1990
04-18-2006, 01:10 AM
1) Clean house. Bring in a GM from somewhere else, and give him the mandate to absolutely blow this organization apart. A team so fundamentally bad that its pitchers can't throw strikes even when given a mandate to make that their highest priority is a team whose coaching staff is incompetent almost to a man. If it means whacking two-thirds of the team's on-field personnel, so be it.

2) Stop meddling in team affairs. Allard Baird didn't create this mess by himself. Baird may be nice enough to take bullets for his owner, but all that has done is obscure the reality that the Glasses are much more responsible for the team's predicament than the average fan realizes.

Unless and until these two things happen, everything else about this team -- from Zack Greinke and Denny Bautista to Alex Gordon and Billy Butler -- is irrelevant.


How many of us have been saying these exact same things the past few years?? Lord i pray that after this misbegotten season is over with, the housecleaning truly begins. and yes, i know its eearly but this season will be horrible. It will probably get worse before it gets better...sigh...

CoMoChief
04-18-2006, 01:39 AM
that article pretty much sums up why we suck.

kcfanXIII
04-18-2006, 03:11 AM
only 151 more to go. i'm not as doom and gloom, the team minus the pitching staff is decent. but the pitching is absolutely horrible. it hurts to watch.

HemiEd
04-18-2006, 05:36 AM
Back in the 70s and 80s I used to wonder how a team could be so pathetic as the Cleveland Indians. How could anyone be a fan of that team? Well it all came home to roost, damn.

ROYC75
04-18-2006, 08:18 AM
Anybody missing John Shurholz now ?

Mecca
04-18-2006, 08:30 AM
We should cheer for the Royals to set the losses record, atleast that's something.

HemiEd
04-18-2006, 08:32 AM
Anybody missing John Shurholz now ?

I have for a long time.

Deberg_1990
04-18-2006, 08:38 AM
Anybody missing John Shurholz now ?

I wonder what it would take to lure him back to KC? or any competent GM with a proven track record for that matter??

ChiTown
04-18-2006, 08:39 AM
Anybody missing John Shurholz now ?

Only since he left..........

It's been a miserable existence since he left and Mr. K died. Since then, it's been like leaving a multi-million dollar inheritence to a drug addict. They've pissed it all away, and now we're homeless. The only difference is that at least the drug addict had a few good times now and then. The Royals and their fans......................not so much.

shakesthecat
04-18-2006, 08:42 AM
Anybody missing John Shurholz now ?

Not trying to defend Baird, but when John Schuerholz
was GM, the Royals had one of the highest payrolls in the league.

Your question implies we Royal fans were happy to see him leave in the first place.

beavis
04-18-2006, 09:20 AM
How many of us have been saying these exact same things the past few years?? Lord i pray that after this misbegotten season is over with, the housecleaning truly begins. and yes, i know its eearly but this season will be horrible. It will probably get worse before it gets better...sigh...
The only thing I've ever seen you, peterpuffer, or the like ever say on here is that we suck because Glass won't spend any money. That is NOT what he's saying here. In fact, quite the opposite.

chiefqueen
04-18-2006, 10:09 AM
We should cheer for the Royals to set the losses record, atleast that's something.

Why, so the ESPN talking heads can beg for he team to be contracted?