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View Full Version : Why The Royals Will Win The AL Central In 2003


AJKCFAN
04-11-2003, 08:45 PM
The year was 1991, and a young team came out of baseball purgatory to experience success; one which was based on a huge influx of young talent, especially in pitching.

This team was a true nightmare to be a fan of in the mid 80's, all the way up until 1990, finishing in last place year after year, losing about 100 games each and every year.

When 1991 was over, this team celebrated a surreal division championship.

That team was the Atlanta Braves. That team had young pitchers named Smoltz, Glavine, Avery, and Stanton; and young hitters like Justice.

No one really saw 1991 coming and if it was said before 1991 began that not only that the Braves would be winning the division that year, but would win the next TEN after that, you'd be checked into a mental asylum faster than you could say "John Scheurholz".

But it happened, didn't it?

Not to say the 2003 Royals will end the year in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series like the 1991 Braves, or they could win even 1 division championship besides perhaps this one here in 2003.

But

The Royals sure seem like they have this look about them that this isn't going to be a flash in the pan experience.

Why you say?

These Royals can pitch, baby. There's so much reason to be ecstatic about this fact. Runvyles Hernandez certainly looks like someone who should've been up in 1984 with the Royals kids then; you know Saberhagen, Leibrandt, Black, Jackson, and Gubicza. Remember 1984? People expected nothing from the Royals that year; everyone was still gung-ho on the "Winning Ugly" White Sox, but the Royals most unlikely division title occurred because of their young arms giving them excellent starting pitching and to have a closer like Quiz protecting leads.

And the next year, the young pitchers... well everyone knows what happened in 1985, right Cards fans? :toast:

Hernandez, Affeldt, Ascencio, George.... we've been down this road before and could it be that we're about to experience some 1984 style deja vu? Shoot, even the shopping malls saw this one coming, as the 1984 powder blue Royals jerseys are selling like hotcakes in the throwback stores as we speak.

Getting back to protecting leads. Tell me what MacDougal reminds you of... Ricky Bottalico or the Quiz? Who's better? MacDougal or Roberto Hernandez? When was the last time you felt this comfortable with a closer wearing Royals blue? I'll tell y'all when.... nearly 20 years it's been. No direspect to Monty, but he'd get his saves in heart-attack style. Since the Quiz sputtered out, there have been 2 truly good closers for the Royals since... Monty and Steve Farr (when he got the chance in the late 80's). What Farr did best was giving the Royals a great bridge from the starter to closer and we may have a couple of Steve Farr's on this year's team. Jason Grimsley is Steve Farr reincarnate. DJ Carrasco looks like another trustworthy fella.

This pitching staff is young, talented and solid all over. Also, and in this day and age, MORE IMPORTANTLY, they're ours; lock, stock, and barrell for the the next 4 years :D No free agency to take these guys away from us. No Steve Boras leverage to worry about.. They'll all be staying here awhile, with a pipeline running pitching prospects out the wazoo still in the minors.

Mike Sweeney is not George Brett, but he does mean as much to the Royals offense as Brett did to the 1984 Royals. In other words, both are/were the total focus of the opposition. Stop Brett in 1984, there's not much offense. And the Royals won the division title in 1984 with Brett having a piss-poor season (under .300 and under 10 HR's for the year). Wilson was a top notch leadoff hitter, White was still known for his glove more than his bat, McRae was starting to wind down things, Balboni was good, but far from great, Lonnie Smith was still in St. Louis, Sundberg was still in Texas.... had a lot of Pat Sheridan, Darryl Motley, Greg Pryor (due to Brett injuries), Onix Concepcion, and very little else to work with.

Now, Sweeney (Brett) has hopefully Beltran (as his "Wilson"), Ibanez (as his "McRae"), Dee Brown/Brandon Berger (as his "Motley/Sheridan"), and Harvey (as his "Balboni").

Perhaps the biggest reason to believe in the 2003 Royals is why the 1984 Royals won. Cause the 1984 AL West was amazingly awful that year. The 1984 Royals went 84-78 and won the AL West with 2 games remaining. Now, tell me who's gonna win 85 games this year in the AL Central? The Twins? Perhaps, but without Milton, let's see them try it. The White Sox? They could do it, but the Royals weren't exactly quaking in their cletes seeing them on Opening Week, were they? The Indians? Doubtful, but it's not impossible. The Tigers? Well, they'll sign on for 65 wins right now.

In other words, there's no Yankees anywhere here. No AL West featuring the A's, World Champ Angels, or Mariners to be found. No NL division which features trouble wherever you go. The one benefit of staying in the AL and not going to the NL is being cushioned in the weakest division of all. The AL Central is designed for the Royals to become winners once again; if only they can learn how to win.

It looks like in 2003 that they've finally learned how to win

DaWolf
04-11-2003, 09:30 PM
I'll get back to you after the All Star break, but I like the way you think! :toast:

This division sure does give us hope though...

grandllama
04-11-2003, 10:41 PM
I agree with everything... I'm trying so hard to keep my enthusiasm in check, but I'm sure enjoying the ride...

Plus, add onto our horrible division, you get these kids pumped and to the playoffs, who knows what will happen....