Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tampa Bay Freakin' Devil Rays

For a recap of an awful weekend of baseball, visit us at Royals Authority.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Locked-In Zack

For a recap of the brilliant performance by Zack Greinke, please stop by Royals Authority.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


You didn't think Allard and the Royals would stand on the sidelines as the trading deadline approached, did you?

Here we go...Deal #1.

Tony Graffanino to the Red Sox in exchange for OF Chip Ambres and LHP Juan Cedeno.

Ambres is a former #1 draft choice of the Florida Marlins who was signed as a minor league free agent last winter. He's known for his speed and above average plate discipline.

Cedeno features a mid 90s fastball and is working on a curveball/changeup combination to go along with the heat. Some control issues, but nothing we haven't seen before.

Sad to see Graff go, especially when you consider the type of season he is having. He's the type of player that should help a contender. Best of luck to him.

If both Ambres and Cedeno are added to the Royals 40 man roster, that will make 39 with room to add one more player. Something tells me the Royals aren't done dealing.

Hop over to Royals Authority for some more analysis.

When Did The Royals Switch Leagues?

Is this just because of that Greinke home run in Arizona?

That screen grab was taken Monday at around 4 PM from the Royals website. Good for a laugh on a rainy Tuesday.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bring It On

Yesterday’s Royals-Tigers tilt brings to mind several other bench clearing incidents through the years. Here are my top five most notable Royals bench clearing incidents in reverse order:

Round 1:
Mike Sweeney gets MidEvil on Jeff Weaver August 10, 2001

Weaver calls the Royals first baseman a choice name and Sweeney goes after him. Weaver’s a punk. Sweeney’s a good guy. A classic battle of good vs. evil. Who knew, Sweeney had that kind of fire in him?

Round 2:
Brian McRae charges the Texas Ranger dugout, July 29, 1993

After Ranger starter Charlie Liebrandt hit two Royals (including McRae) in the game’s first five innings, tensions were high. When Bob Patterson hit McRae in the eighth, the centerfielder had had enough and decided to confront who he considered to be the source of the pitches…Rangers manager Kevin Kennedy. In walking toward the Rangers dugout, McRae starts one of the strangest fights in baseball history.

Round 3:

Felix Martinez goes Daniel-San vs. the Angels

An otherwise ordinary bench clearing “meeting” gets intense when Royals shortstop Martinez freaks out and lays a drop kick on an unsuspecting opponent. As if his career .214 average wasn’t enough, the Royals sour on the young shortstop and he is released the next season.

Round 4:
Ed Farmer wipes out the Royals May 8, 1979

In this game, Farmer hits Frank White in the hand in the first inning, breaking it and causing the second baseman to miss 33 games. Not done yet, in the fifth Farmer drills Al Cowens in the head, fracturing his jaw and causing him to miss 21 games. Cowens gets revenge the next year when he charges the mound after hitting a ground ball against Farmer. I have never and will never forgive Farmer for what he did. Clearly not one of my “favorites” but included on this list for the way it altered the Royals season.

Round 5:
George Brett vs. Graig Nettles, Game 5 1977 ALCS, October 9, 1977

Brett slides hard into third going for a triple, Nettles kicks at him, Brett comes up swinging and all hell breaks loose. One of the best moments of the Royals/Yankees rivalry. I remember watching in horror as it unfolded, fearing that Brett would be tossed, but that didn’t happen for some reason. The fight was also notable when Yankees catcher Thurmon Munson was lying on Brett at the bottom of the pile and tells him, “Don’t worry George. I won’t let anyone hit you while you’re down.” Years later, Brett would recall that Munson was a man of his word. Considering the situation, the opponent and the combatants, it is unlikely this fight will ever be topped.

Today on Royals Authority:
My recap of the weekend and round by round breakdown of the Hernandez-Guillen tilt.

Friday, July 15, 2005


On Monday of this week, I alluded to an upcoming announcement regarding WTP.

Here it is:

I'm pleased to report that I, along with cfos from the always excellent OP-ED Page, have been asked by the guys at Most Valuable Network to provide them with Royals content on their site formerly known as Royals Court.

We have spent the better part of this week getting everything lined up, including renaming the site The Royals Authority. I'm excited to collaborate with Clark and look forward to working with him in bringing you the best Royals content on the web.

The best part of the move is I don’t have to give up my writing at WTP. When I began this blog back in April, I really didn’t know what to expect. After all, this is the Royals we’re talking about. Not exactly a glamorous team by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and kind words I’ve received from so many readers, I’m not ready to go Lima (i.e. give up completely on) on WTP.

WTP will still be updated with some random Royals thoughts, maybe expanding my scope just a bit to include some other teams. I’ve got some ideas kicking around my head, so we’ll all just have to wait and see.

If you like what you’ve been reading over the past three months, please add a new bookmark to your list of “must-visit” Royals sites:

Thanks for visiting WTP. We'll see you at Royals Authority!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Idler's Dream

Here is our wish list for the second half of the season:

• Allard Baird resists the temptation to trade Jeremy Affeldt.

• Jeremy Affeldt gets healthy, stays healthy and finds a defined role.

• Mike Sweeney gets healthy, stays healthy and continues to crush AL pitching.

• Sluggrrrrr continues his disappearing act from the K.

• Buddy Bell turns in the correct lineup card every single game.

• The Royals sign Alex Gordon.

• Mike MacDougal gets 20 saves (I can’t believe I just wrote that.)

• Emil Brown doesn’t wake up.

• Allard deals Terrence Long for an actual prospect.

• Ambiorix Burgos returns to the bullpen.

• The K is packed for the 20th anniversary tribute to the champs, August 12-14.

• Zack Grienke figures it out.

• Mark Teahen starts hitting more doubles.

• The Royals retire that awful “dance-off” between innings.

• Matt Stairs finishes the season as a Royal.

• Lima misses his exit to the K on I-70, continues east, and ends up at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals miss the playoffs.

• Rob and Rany officially give up on the team for the 216th time.

• DJ Carrasco keeps doing whatever it is he’s doing to get hitters out.

• Guy Hansen quits being quoted in the papers and actually works to drop the team ERA below 5.50.

• The Royals sweep the Yankees in New York to go 6-0 against them on the season.

• The Yankees to miss the playoffs by one game.

• Angel Berroa doubles his walk total to 22.

• Leo Nunez gets sent to the minors.

• The Royals actually adopt the slogan: “It could be worse. It could be the Devil Rays.”

• Calvin Pickering figures it out.

• The Royals rediscover how to correctly use Andy Sisco.

• Andy Sisco continues kicking ass.

• Ruben Gotay begins to feel comfortable fielding his position.

• Angel Berroa has at least one game where he doesn’t swing at a pitch in the dirt.

• John Buck hits .270.

• Buddy Bell learns how to use his bullpen.

• David DeJesus continues his recent trend of NOT attempting to steal bases.

• Angel Berroa doesn’t get near the leadoff spot.

• JP Howell gets sent to the minors and gets his confidence back.

• Runelvys Hernandez gets stronger.

• Denny Mathews and Ryan Lefebvre have a conversation…On the air.

• Matt Stairs leads by example and the Royals raise their team OBA.

• The Royals announce the Tony Pena era never happened and lobby MLB to expunge all records from the previous two seasons.

• Mike Wood continues thriving in the bullpen.

• A Royals pitcher hits triple digits on the stadium radar gun.

• Denny Bautista heals.

• The Royals go 33-42 to avoid 100 losses for the third time in four seasons.

Hey, it can't hurt.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mid-Season Report Card (Part 3)

Here are the managers.

Managers. Damn, that's sad.

Manager Buddy Bell

What an uninspired choice for manager of this team. It’s been over a month since his hiring and we’re still trying to come to grips with the fact that Bell will be in charge of this team for at least the next two years, maybe longer.

An 11-4 start was quickly forgotten after a 2-14 fade. And Bell has already opened himself up to second guessers against the Twins when, with a plethora of southpaw relievers at his disposal, several times opted to go with a righthander when the Twins bench is loaded with left-handed bats. We could excuse that if Bell had been in the NL before coming to Kansas City, but he was in Cleveland for crying out loud.

Or how about the time when he filled out his lineup card wrong and it cost the Royals a leadoff single? A boneheaded blunder to be sure. The problem here is, this isn’t the first time it’s happened to a Buddy Bell team. (See 6/2/97)

Royals fans were told that Bell would be the right manager for this team because he has experience and has learned from whatever mistakes he made in the past. At least they got the experience part right.

Manager Bob Schaefer

The man who elevated Angel Berroa to the leadoff spot. And Greinke’s struggles began on his watch.

Manager Tony Pena

The reasons he quit aren’t important, we’re just glad he decided to leave. The worst manager in Royals history. And when you’re preceded by Bob Boone and Tony Muser, that’s saying something.

Pena was costing the Royals wins. Schaefer was never a serious candidate for the opening created by Pena’s departure. And Bell so far has made some boneheaded moves that will open his hiring up to questions.

Not an inspiring bunch. If this were the military, we’d say there isn’t a guy in this bunch that is officer material. I guess sometimes that’s what you get when you go for the youth movement.

We’ll wrap things up tomorrow with a look at what needs to happen in the second half.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mid-Season Report Card (Part 2)

Today, it’s the pitchers. If you have a weak stomach you might want to skip this entry altogether. But then again, if you have a weak stomach, you shouldn’t be reading a Royals blog to begin with.

Same criteria as yesterday. The numbers under each entry might be a bit unconventional, but we thought it was as good a way as any to measure a pitcher’s worth. The numbers are ERA/K per 9 IP/BB per 9 IP.

Proceed with caution.

Mike MacDougal
3.76 ERA /9.52 K per 9/4.20 BB per 9

Talking about saves makes me queasy. But we have to give some serious props to MacDougal. Over the last month and a half, with the game on the line, there hasn’t been anyone better. Since May 31 when he was anointed the Royals “closer,” he’s nine for nine in save opportunities with an ERA of 2.87. He hasn’t given up a run in a save situation since June 1. If you’re looking for a feel-good story, this is your guy.

Andy Sisco
2.72 ERA /9.42 K per 9/5.44 BB per 9

We anointed him our favorite early on, and nothing he has done has made us change our mind. An absolute steal in the Rule V draft, the Cubs loss is the Royals gain. He has struggled at times, but when he’s on it’s lights out for the hitters. His delivery makes it look like he’s releasing the ball about 40 feet from home plate. I pity the lefty that has to stand in that batters box. Currently being mishandled by the Royals as a LOOGY. His future is in the rotation so he would be better served entering the game at the beginning of an inning rather than with runners on base.

Mike Wood
3.59 ERA /5.64 K per 9/4.27 BB per 9

After his early season success from the bullpen, we lobbied for Wood to rejoin the rotation. But after some careful research where it was revealed that hitters pound the ball after he goes through the lineup once, we are changing our position. Opponents are hitting almost 300 points higher the second time through the lineup against Wood. A terrible stat, to be sure, but that doesn’t diminish his value in pitching up to three innings of middle relief.

DJ Carrasco
3.57 ERA /3.71 K per 9/3.04 BB per 9

Another Rule V success story (so far) for the Royals, Carrasco has shown flashes of brilliance since being converted from the bullpen. He’s faltered of late, having given up 10 base hits in each of his last two starts. Another concern is his low strikeout rate, (3.71 K/9 IP) by far the lowest on the team. The Royals will have to watch him very closely after the break to make sure he doesn’t tire and break down. Given the Royals track record with young pitchers, we’re not particularly optimistic.

Runelvys Hernandez
4.53 ERA /5.35 K per 9/4.20 BB per 9

He’s going to give you about six innings, 10 baserunners and hopefully keep you in the game. He followed a mediocre first two months of the season with an outstanding June where the opposition hit only .185 against him. Since he’s coming back from Tommy John surgery, he’s a strong candidate to fade in the second half of the season.

Jeremy Affeldt
3.21 ERA /7.71 K per 9/4.50 BB per 9

Is this the Mike Sweeney of the pitching staff or what? Just one season where he stays healthy and has a defined role on the staff. That’s all we ask. Currently, he’s being labeled as trade-bait, but we think it would be asinine to give up on a left-handed pitcher who can hit 96 on the gun. Stay well, Jeremy.

Jimmy Gobble
5.40 ERA /8.10 K per 9/6.30 BB per 9

Currently the third lefty in the pen. Damn, is this a messed up pitching staff or what?

Ryan Jensen
7.11 ERA /6.39 K per 9/2.49 BB per 9

When he came up the first time, we had him pegged as a useful fourth or fifth starter on a last place team. Today, we have our doubts…

Leo Nunez
6.98 ERA /5.16 K per 9/2.73 BB per 9

In a nice touch of irony, Nunez was called up from the minors the day after the Pirates released Benny Santiago. The Royals are doing him no favors keeping him in the bigs. If the only pitch you can throw for a strike is a straight, 98 mph fastball you’re not going to get too many hitters out. Pitching is a difficult craft to learn, especially at the highest level.

JP Howell
8.65 ERA /5.54 K per 9/5.88 BB per 9

Here is the worst-case scenario for pitchers who are rushed to the big leagues. Currently, there’s not a hitter in all of baseball he’s fooling. Hell, he makes me want to grab a bat. Get this kid to Omaha or Wichita before he freaks out and barricades himself in the clubhouse with Greinke’s lucky necklace and Lima’s CD collection.

Zack Greinke
6.20 ERA /5.36 K per 9/2.40 BB per 9

OK, this is getting serious. He was the Royals best starter the first month and a half of the season. Through May 15 he was dealing, with a 3.09 ERA but his record was 0-4. That's fine. Wins for pitchers are overrated, and besides he was the victim of an unbelievable lack of run support. Everything was alright…He was pitching well and it was understood the wins would come eventually. But something happened. Something horrible. And since then he’s been a disaster. From May 20 onward, his ERA is above nine, his walks per 9 IP has doubled, his HR allowed per 9 IP has tripled and he has yet to pitch beyond the sixth inning. Not the kind of struggle you want anyone, let alone your future ace go through.

Jose Lima
7.33 ERA /4.44 K per 9/3.28 BB per 9

WTP is beyond the point where we can rationally discuss this.

As you can see, WTP feels there aren’t many bright spots on this pitching staff. The starters have been a disaster (5.83 ERA and second-fewest strikeouts in the majors) and the relievers have been inconsistent.

Quite frankly, we’re worried. Royal pitchers are dropping quicker than an amateur poker player going heads up against Fossilman. One week we’re encouraged: Kyle Snyder, Brian Anderson and Denny Bautista were all in minor league rehab and were progressing nicely. No, those three aren’t world beaters, but they can spare us the carnage of another Lima or Howell start.

Suddenly, Snyder is going to be limited to 80 pitches per outing the rest of the season, Bautista hurts when he throws a breaking ball and Anderson is out for the year. Exactly what the hell is going on? Were these guys hurt worse than we were led to believe? Were they rushed into rehab before they were fully healed and then reinjured? Or when it comes to pitchers, is this organization just hampered with old-fashioned bad luck? It sure would be nice for someone from the Royals to address this problem with the pitching. It’s bad and it’s getting worse.

There is reason for some optimism. The bullpen is stocked with some really good, live arms. Future starter Sisco, MacDougal, Nunez, Affeldt and, when he returns, Ambiorix Burgos all tickle the radar gun at 95+ MPH, a luxury the Royals have never had. The problem is, we’re not convinced the Royals know what to do with these live arms. The track record isn’t encouraging.

Damn, this is fun. And we’re not stopping. Tomorrow grades are due for a couple other areas, including the manager(s).

And don’t be shy. Click that comment thingy and let us know how we’re doing.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mid-Season Report Card (Part 1)

It’s midterm time.

Here’s how this works. Today, we are only looking at the hitters. The grades for the pitchers will follow later in the week. Also, we are limiting our grades to only the players who are currently on the roster. Given the revolving door that was installed in the Royals clubhouse, this would be dissertation material if we had to critique every single player who wore a Royals jersey this year.

In assigning the grades, we tried to look at the big picture. How are they doing compared to expectations entering the season? How are they doing in relation to their salary? And, how are they doing in relation to their entire career?

Let’s get started.

Mike Sweeney

The Royals captain is also their leader in slugging and in OPS. His grade would be even higher if his attendance were better. You hope and you hope, but it just seems like the guy can’t catch a break and stay healthy. There’s been some debate among fans whether or not you trade Sweeney and we have to admit, we’ve gone back and forth on this issue. Right now, the answer is no. Keep him a Royal. The guy is a warrior and a leader and someone who knows how the game is played. He’s simply too valuable on too many levels to deal for some prospects.

Matt Stairs

Sometimes we feel like Stairs is the pupil who brings the teacher a shiny red apple every morning. We like him, we really like him. WTP gave Stairs a ton of credit during the Royals hot streak back in early June and deservedly so. The man knows how to get on base. Stairs is currently second on the team in OBA and third in OPS. He and a healthy Sweeney are the main cogs in the Royals offensive machine. A slow start to the month of July bumps him down.

Emil Brown

The surprise of the season, Brown is currently second on the team in SLG and OPS. A non-roster spring training invitee, Brown made the club after he was one of the hottest hitters in all of Arizona. A slow start led to some early season grumbles about how, “Once the games start for real, spring training numbers mean jack.” The Royals player of the month for June, Brown had a 16 game hitting streak and has currently reached base in 30 of the last 31 games. He’s made some nifty defensive plays in right field as well.

David DeJesus

No he’s not Carlos Beltran. But here’s what he is: An above average defensive center fielder and an above average leadoff hitter (when the Royals actually let him lead off.) DeJesus is still terrible as a base stealer (2 for 7) but at least Buddy Bell appears to realize that fact. And remember, being a bad base stealer doesn’t mean you’re a bad base runner. DeJesus can go from first to third with the best of them. He struggled a bit at the plate in May, but other than that he has been the model of consistency.

Tony Graffanino

Super-utility man who has played every infield position this season. Graff has been terrible at the K going .224/.327/.294 but he’s a different man when he can order room service hitting .385/.443/.510 on the road. His versatility has to make him trade bait for a contender.

Mark Teahen

Whether it’s Moneyball or the fact he’s the centerpiece of last year’s Beltran deal, all eyes will always be on Teahen. The verdict so far: He’s doing all right. His defensive numbers (10 errors and a RF around 3) compare favorably to other third basemen. Most impressively, he seems to be making the adjustments needed to succeed at this level. His batting average and OPS have improved every month of the season.

Shane Costa

Costa has had a promising start to his big league career. Part of the youth movement that would be better served in Wichita or Omaha, he is proving that he can handle himself at the highest level. The progress of Billy Butler will determine his future with this team.

John Buck

Keep repeating the WTP Official Mantra of John Buck: “The hitting will come. The hitting will come. The hitting will come.” Does it make you feel better? The one-time top prospect in the Astros organization, Buck is distinguishing himself for his performance behind the plate, rather than at the plate. His defense is above average and will get better. Strong, accurate arm. Quick release. Good at keeping the ball in front of him. And pay close attention to whenever a Royal starter pitches a good game. One of the first things they say when they address the media post-game is something along the lines of, “I have to give credit to John Buck.” The hitting will come. The hitting will come…

Ruben Gotay

Is there some way we can give Gotay two grades, one as a left-handed batter and one as a right-hander? Really, isn’t it about time for him to ditch this switch-hitting thing? It’s not working! Defensively, he’s getting better at turning the double play and has shown the ability to flash the leather on a couple of occasions.

Terrence Long

What you see is what you get. And in this case you’re getting a corner outfielder with a .317 career OBA. Hopefully, a hot June made him a tradable commodity.

Alberto Castillo

Our favorite “stat” of the year was something along the lines of the Royals being 3-0 in games Castillo started. Why, start him every game! Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.

Joe McEwing

No reason for him to be on the club.

Angel Berroa

We’re much happier now that Berroa has been moved down in the batting order. Nobody in the league with as many at bats has taken fewer walks. That’s not a good distinction to have, especially when you spend a month and a half of the season batting leadoff. Mentally, he just doesn’t seem focused on the issues at hand. The problem is, we doubt that we will ever see the 2003 version of Angel Berroa again.

So that’s it for the offense.

Now is your turn to grade WTP. How did we do in assigning the grades? Someone too high? Someone too low? Or did we hit the nail on the head and get everyone right? Use the comments to let us know.

Don’t forget, we’ll follow up with pitchers tomorrow.

And later this week, there should be an announcement concerning the future of WTP. It could be exciting. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 08, 2005


What's more unlikely?

--That the Royals, after looking so horrible the last two weeks, will win three in a row.

--That Lima will win another game.

--Or that the Royals will beat the Twins, one of their Central Division nemesis, for the second time in a row after losing their first eight meetings of the season.

I feel like the Royals hit the Powerball.

Lima's Last Stand
We know, we know. We've been down this road before. But this time, all signs point to this being Lima's final start for the Royals. Kyle Snyder is due one more rehab start on Monday and after that the Royals will have to make a move. The prediction here is Lima is thanked for his half-season of inflating the team ERA and shown the door.

So if this was Lima's final start, he did quite well for himself. His line of 6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO compares favorably to the recent starts (and wins) the Royals have received from DJ Carrasco and Runelvys Hernandez. Good, but not great. But most importantly, good enough to help the team win the ballgame.

And credit to Lima for keeping his cool in the first inning when it could have all gone wrong. After surrendering a one out homerun, Lima gave up a single and a two out walk. This is where WTP begins wondering if we were going to see a spectacular Lima crash and burn, but he recovered and got the final out of the inning. Nice job, Lima.

Mmmmmmm, Donuts!
After Wednesday night when 10 of the Royals 12 hits were singles, they reached perfection on Thursday. 12 base hits, 12 singles. Unlike the previous two wins when most of the hits came from the lower half of the lineup, on Thursday the hits were more evenly distributed.

Four Ugly Swings

That's how Twins starter Kyle Lohse describe Angel Berroa's first four at bats which resulted in four singles. Moving up one spot to number six in the lineup, he was 4-5 with two runs scored. Berroa is trying hard to get out of the WTP doghouse.

Yes, we are making a comparason between 25 games and seven games, but still... You can't ignore Berroa's hot start to the month of July. And like we've said before, if we're going to pile on we have to acknowledge when things go his way. Even if it's just for a handful of games.

Coming Soon
Monday the grades are coming. Be sure to check back for the Royals progress reports from the first half of the season.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Let The Good Times Roll

Baseball is a funny game. The Royals, after looking so horrible in the first game, win the next two and take the series from the Mariners.

For the most part, a great night at the K. Let's get straight to the bullets:

• Starter Runelvys Hernandez stepped up and pitched well on Wednesday. He did give up nine hits, one off his season high, but was able to work out of every jam he found himself in. A one out triple in the second, a leadoff walk in the third, a one out double in the fourth, a leadoff single in the fifth and a one out double in the sixth netted the Mariners only one run.

• The Mariners didn’t help their cause by running into outs. Catcher John Buck twice gunned down would be basestealers and Hernandez picked another runner off second. For the season, Buck is throwing out 31% (17/55) of the runners attempting to steal.

• Only one day after writing about how we are displeased at the way the Royals are using WTP Favorite Andy Sisco, they were at it again. This time bringing him in the eighth inning with one out and a runner on second. Sisco was brought in strictly as a LOOGY to face Raul Ibanez and promptly issued a walk. Please, we beg you, stop using him in this manner. He’s not effective in this role and is not learning anything from it. Stop!

Mike MacDougal, on the other hand is becoming quite good as the appointed pitcher who makes appearances late in the ballgame when his team has a slight lead. (Yes, the “closer.”) Good ‘ole MacDougal. Always able to interject some fun in the proceedings. Wednesday night it was back to back walks with two down in the ninth inning, but he was able to get the third out and seal the series victory.

• Offensively, the Royals singled the Mariners to death. Of their 12 hits (whoooo, free donuts!) 10 were singles. In fact the Royals first couple of runs came early in the game when they were able to string together at least three singles in the second and third inning. Not too shabby for a team that was struggling to get anyone on base over the weekend.

• For the second night in a row, it was the bottom of the lineup getting it done for the Royals. Long, Berroa, Teahen and Buck combined to go 7-14 at the plate with three of the five runs.

• And to show that we don't always hate on Angel Berroa, we will happily tip our cap to the Royals' new number seven hitter on his three for three night at the plate.

• It couldn’t be a happy Royals post without some bad Mike Sweeney injury news. Sweeney left the game after his at bat in the first when he was hit on the wrist by a pitch. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays and at the time of this entry, the results were unknown. What is known is that the injury is to the left wrist, the same one that caused him to go on the DL last month with a torn ligament. This is like one of those recurring nightmares. Someone make it stop!

Up next, the Twins. The Royals will send Lima to the mound on Thursday to try to make it three in a row. Let's not spoil a good evening. No comment.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Win? We'll Take It!

A rare occurance these days.

Any win is a good win, but there were in particular a couple of positives to take from this one.

The six runs the Royals scored in the second and third innings all came with two outs. Impressive for a team that hasn’t been hitting. Particularly the second inning where Matt Stairs leads off with a single and is followed by back-to-back strikeouts. You can forgive the Royals fan who, at that moment, wrote off the Royals’ chances in that inning. Kind of amazing what two singles, a walk, a wild pitch and another single can do, isn’t it? In this case it was good for turning a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead.

Starter DJ Carrasco was not sharp and was working around trouble all evening. The warning sign was early when he walked Ichiro on four straight pitches. He put at least two runners on base in every inning but the first, but he was keeping the ball on the ground and staying out of trouble for the most part. Of the 16 batters he retired, 10 were on ground ball outs. That’s how you stay in the game for a little over five innings when you allow 12 baserunners.

It was good enough for the win, something the Royals have been needing over the last two and a half weeks.

Some other notes:

• Steve Penn, a columnist for the Metro section in the Kansas City Star had a piece in Tuesday's paper about putting Buck O'Neil in the Baseball Hall Of Fame. WTP is very much in favor of the enshrinement of Mr. O'Neil into the HOF. Frankly, it's an outrage that a true pioneer and ambassador like Mr. O'Neil is not already in the Hall. WTP is currently investigating the steps that need to be taken to move this issue forward. We'll keep you updated on what you can do to help. Let's work together to do something positive.

• We’re not liking the way the Royals are using WTP Favorite Andy Sisco these days. It seems Sisco is entering a number of games in the middle of the inning with runners on base. That wouldn’t be such a big deal, but these runners eventually score. His ERA is still a sexy 2.89, but he would be better suited coming out of the bullpen at the beginning of an inning.

• We haven’t touched on this earlier, but we are thrilled, THRILLED that Angel Berroa was dropped in the order. Seventh is a good spot for him, but we’d really like to see the Human Out Machine dropped to eighth or ninth.

• Of course you already know this, but that stench drifting across the Midwest is the Royals performance at the plate. In Buddy Bell’s first 16 games as manager (remember, when they were winning?) the Royals had nine players with an OBP above .388. In the last 16 games Emil Brown has the highest OBP at .373. Look at this breakdown in OBP:

A few things stand out from this table. First of all, hats off to Mark Teahen who was the only Royal to have a better second half of June than the first. Second, we don't think it's coincidence the Royals recent slide coincides with the drop in Matt Stairs' production. And third, those percentages are abysmal across the board, but special mention must go to Berroa and John Buck. To only get on base roughly 21% is truly noteworthy.

All-Star Time
There was a time when the All-Star Game meant something to us. We remember spending those early summer nights at Royals Stadium, punching our Gillette sponsored ballots for George Brett at 3B, Frank White at 2B and Amos Otis in the OF. The Star would print the early results and Brett would always be leading, but stiffs like Graig Nettles and our own Buddy Bell would always be too close for comfort. What would we do if our beloved number 5 was not voted in by the baseball-loving public? The very possibility of that happening kept us awake at night.

Maybe it age, but priorities have shifted over time. Mike Sweeney is the Royals lone All-Star representative? Yawn. It’s just too damn hard to give a flip about this kind of stuff anymore.

But in some sort of small way, we’re relieved that Sweeney will be representing the Royals for the fifth time in his career. Look at it like it’s a multiple choice test.

The Royals All-Star representative will be:
A) Emil Brown. Career minor leaguer and non-roster invitee who has already doubled his career high for plate appearances in a season.
B) Andy Sisco. Rule V draftee who before this season never pitched above A ball.
C) Mike Sweeney. Career .305/.374/.498 batter.

We’ll take C every day of the week.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lost Weekend

Hope everyone had a better holiday than the Royals.

What a brutal weekend. If not for a couple of timely basehits on Saturday night, we're talking about four consecutive shutouts.

Since returning home from a dreadful road trip the Royals have played four games. In those games, they have scored a grand total of three runs.

Some more numbers from the current homestand:
.159 Batting Average
5 extra base hits (all doubles)
3 walks


I was an embarrassing weekend from the beginning when, due to a dugout mixup, Angel Berroa was listed as the leadoff batter but David DeJesus took his turn. Angels manager Mike Scoscia did exactly what he was supposed to do...Let DeJesus take the at bat, get a base hit, then point out the error to the umpires. The result: A leadoff single is erased and Berroa doesn't get to swing the bat. Maybe one good thing came out of that after all.

Probably the best starting pitcher of the last four games was Lima. Another reason to keep him around, I guess.

The Buddy Bell honeymoon is officially over.

Friday, July 01, 2005


The Royals finally return home to finish out the first half of the season against Anaheim, Seattle and Minnesota.

I’ve got ticket to the game on Saturday night and see that Lima is pitching. It’s always extra special when you go to the ballpark with the chance to witness history. In this case I’m hoping the history is Lima’s last ever game in a Royals uni! Keep your fingers crossed.

Since the Royals are off today and work has actually picked up this week, I’m doing kind of a hodgepodge sort of thing.

Inspired By Lima’s Impending Start On Saturday
Top 5 Moments I’ve Witnessed At The K:
1) 10/27/85, Game 7, 1985 World Series
2) 10/26/85, Game 6, 1985 World Series
3) 9/29/93, George Brett’s final home game
4) 9/16/96, Paul Molitor’s 3,000 career base hit
5) 10/4/78, Game 2 ALCS, KC 10, NY 4 (My first playoff game)

Do you have a top five? Post them in the comments!

Ever Get The Feeling You’ve Been Had? is moving more and more of it’s writers behind their “Insider” wall. It now costs money to read John Kruk. Unnnnnngggh.

The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Anyone?
By far, my favorite class while an undergrad at KU was Literature of Baseball taught by James Carothers. I took the class in the fall of ’91, but still have all the books. The reading list included:

“You Know Me Al,” Ring Lardner
“Eight Men Out,” Eliot Asinof
“Babe,” Robert Creamer
“The Natural,” Bernard Malamud
“The Southpaw,” Mark Harris
“The Universal Baseball Association, Inc.,” Robert Coover
“I Had A Hammer,” Hank Aaron
“Once More Around The Park,” Roger Angell
“The Bill James Historical Abstract,” Bill James

The final exam included a question on the lyrics to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” Not a bad way to burn three credit hours.

Just Give Us Your F-ing Money!
1985 was a huge year for a number of reasons (World Series!) one of which was Live Aid. Twenty years on, they are trying to recreate the magic with Live 8. I’m a believer that you can never go back, but this should be a good show.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?
This week Apple released it’s latest version of iTunes, which integrates podcasting into the program. I’m a bit divided on this. On one hand, I think it’s cool that I can download clips from various radio networks. But on the other hand, it’s only a matter of time before those same networks begin charging money to access their downloads.

What Do You Have To Do To Be A Buff?
Happy Independence Day to everyone. By the way, if you are a history buff I highly recommend David McCullough’s 1776.

The preceeding was composed while listening to U2.

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