Ken Harvey To Save The Day!
Jeffrey Flanagan, otherwise known as the president of the Kansas City chapter of the Ken Harvey Fan Club, has to be smiling. His man finally(!) got called up to the big club on Thursday of last week. And within days SuperKen inspired his team to their first winning streak of the season. Somebody get the movie studios on the phone. This is better than Hoosiers!
OK, so that above paragraph was a bit on the sarcastic side.
But those of you who read the Kansas City Star are well aware of Flanagan’s infatuation with certain players who can “help” the Royals. As the April losses began piling up for the Royals, Flanagan began his pining for SuperKen:
“OK, so this whole Calvin Pickering-Ken Harvey experiment is looking more strange as the weeks pass by…And here's the kicker to the whole situation: No one can really explain why Harvey got beat out of the job in the first place. What did Harvey do so wrong the last two years, except win a bunch of dramatic games as a rookie and make the All-Star game last season?”
“So Cal Pickering is sent back down and still no Ken Harvey, even though he continues to hit around .350 at Omaha and had a two-homer game over the weekend. This is getting crazy, Royals fans. A guy who came up with clutch hits time after time his first two years in the major league, and he can't even get called back up on this team?”
“Harvey keeps pounding out hits at Class AAA Omaha, and the organization does not seem to be making any movement to bring him back to the big-league club. Harvey, through Monday, was hitting .382 with three homers and 14 RBIs. That's right, .382.”
The argument here seems to be that Harvey is: 1) Clutch, 2) An All-Star and 3) Raking in the minor leagues. Only one of these has any validity. Let’s address each of these points.
1) SuperKen is clutch.
Yes, Harvey has had several “dramatic” plate appearances for this team over the last couple of years. I don’t think anyone who saw the 11th inning, game-ending Harvey bomb against the Tigers in April 2003 will ever forget it. It was a great moment for a team where great moments have been in short supply over the last 20 years.
I do believe in the myth of the clutch hitter. In fact, it’s damn near impossible to have grown up in Kansas City in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, watching George Brett and not believe in the clutch hitter. But is Ken Harvey clutch? Please. Big hits in April are nice and even necessary if your team is going to contend, but hits become “clutch” in September and October.
SuperKen might actually be clutch, but his second half slides preclude us from finding that out.
2) SuperKen is an All-Star.
This is the argument that will forever make the least amount of sense. Harvey had a solid start to the season last year and was the Royals lone representative in the All-Star game. A nice honor to be sure, but it has absolutely zero value in determining his worth to the team. And as long as every team has to be represented in the game, it doesn’t carry the meaning it actually could. You know, Junior Spivey was an All-Star once.
3) SuperKen is raking in the minors.
This is the only valid argument for his promotion to the big club. To Harvey’s credit he didn’t sulk when the Royals sent him down. It looks like he used it as motivation and took out his frustration on PCL pitchers. I like that. It shows a certain level of maturity other Royals (Dee Brown anyone?) were lacking the last few years. And as the Royals are on a quest to avoid record-breaking losses, it makes sense for the I-29 shuttle to be in full swing. Come on up and hopefully get a few more at-bats than Calvin Pickering. If you do everything average, you can stay…If not, let’s try someone else. I’m fine with that. It’s Harvey’s turn.
So Flanagan is happy. As of Sunday, he’s firmly now firmly on the Royals’ side:
“Royals fans have heard the mantra of a Royals youth movement for almost 10 years. In truth, the Royals never actually committed to a youth movement before. They stuck their big toe in it a few times, but never actually dived in headfirst. They have now, and that's the message the Royals need to get out. They are committed this time around. “
Glad you finally figured it out, Jeff.
But beware fellow Royals fans. Here’s who Flanagan has tapped as the next guy that can help our team to 100 losses:
“Jeff Conine was drafted by the Royals, developed by the Royals and spent two stints with the Royals. Now he's sitting on the bench with the Florida Marlins. And he's not too happy about it. Here's a crazy thought: Why not bring him back to Kansas City?”