Everybody loves the Royals*... this is a lot like a team in the Championship (or a team that's rapidly ascended from League One or Two making an FA Cup run... it's game seven... Extra Time!!!
*Except the Fox Sports broadcast crew, which has all but asked the Giants to marry them.
Kansas City folks have always had something of an inferiority complex... trying to hard to impress folks on the coasts. But the Fox crew (and some would argue ESPN has been bad too, though I prefer their TV broadcast to Fox's because Gary Thorne isn't a Cardinals apologist and Rick Sutcliffe is a KC native (though never played for the Royals)... But even nonpartisans have commented about Fox's bias in Game 5.
Shame, was a romantic story. One any sports lover can relate to. Just missed the final happy ending.
Like you say though - what a ride. I can't imagine even the most optimistic of Royals fans thinking at the start of the season that they'd be playing in the World Series.
I just hope the Royals don't now go and sell all their good players, but from what I can tell, there are no real standouts, just a lot of good young players who clicked (you can correct me if I'm wrong).
Most of the roster is secured for 2015, but there's a few key guys that may or may not get re-signed. Billy Butler's option for next season was declined, making him a free agent. If we can get him cheaper, all the better, since his performance at the plate this season was lacking (hence going FA). That leaves a DH hole, of course. I haven't seen who else might be available though, unless we did something like put Dyson in right permanently (never liked putting him in center and shifting Cain) and making Aoki (who is a FA this winter and would need to be re-signed) a DH.
We exercised the option of Wade Davis for $7M, the middle of the relief hydra. Holland goes to arbitration next year and will likely command too much money (and closers are a shaky bunch anyway) so I say get something (DH, 3B, a middle rotation starter) for Holland move Davis to the closer (he's better anyway IMO) and make Finnegan or John Lamb the next 7th inning arm. Shields has about a week to accept his offer. Duffy should be back into the rotation next season once he heals up, but I'd like another arm in the rotation.
As far as who else to sell besides Holland, yeah, there's not much. Moose has been disappointing, and Hosmer almost as much. I blame the removal of Kevin Seitzer as batting coach two years ago (spent this year with Toronto and will be in Atlanta next year),as both of their plate progress stalled after that. We even had George Brett as the hitting coach in 2013 for a couple months, but the players apparently didn't listen to him (or things just got lost in generational translation).
Spring Training started this week. First official workout is Friday. Royals didn't make a lot of decent moves and lost James Shields and Billy Butler, replacing them with Edinson Vólquez, Álex Ríos, and Kendrys Morales... I am, of course, eternally optimistic.
Royals record sweeps over ChiSox and Angels to start 6-0. Pitching is solid as always and the bats are phenomenal (except for Alex Gordon, who is struggling). We are hitting homers and also leading in getting hit by pitches. We're also in the middle of the AL rankings in taking walks, which is a phenomenal improvement over last year. Fielding is the best in the league and Salvy hasn't allowed a stolen base yet (only three attempts, but folks just don't run on him because they know better).
Unfortunately, Detroit has swept Minnesota and Cleveland, and so the Royals and Tigers are the only 6-0 teams in the Majors... they just happen to be in the same division.
They are now the most hated team in baseball. Why? Because they didn't roll over.
Everyone was charmed by the narrative last year... but now the Royals are expected to return to their spot at the bottom of the American League. That's not happening. As a result, the meat of their order is getting thrown at. A lot. Moustakas/Gordon/Cain have been hit by more pitches this season than every other TEAM in MLB except one. Alex Rios gets his hand broken with a pitch and is out indefinitely. Brett Lawrie slides into second spikes high on the shortstop Escobar last weekend and puts him out for a few days.
What do the Royals do? They throw back. Lawrie gets hit the next game on a 100MPH pitch by Ventura (who is ejected). Everyone knew it was going to happen, and seemingly it's game over. Then Cain gets hit in the next game and we respond to the escalation by having Herrera throw hard inside, then put the next one at 100 MPH three inches BEHIND Lawrie. The benches clear, but we aren't backing down. Herrera is facing a five game suspension but it's under appeal
Last night the Royals are in Chicago and Ventura starts jawing with Eaton in the seventh after the third out. Benches clear. Five ejections - 3 KC, 2 Chisox.
The national media have the Royals wearing the black hats because they only see the scores each night and not what's happening in game with all the HBP. Last night in Chicago was a continuation of the season opening series back in KC when the Chisox hit Royals four times in the first two games, including Cain twice following Moustakas HR's and RBI doubles.
Oh, and the Royals have the best record in the American League. Our reliever corps has an ERA of 0.54 in 50 innings of work. The bats are much stronger than last year, leading in BA, OPS, and not getting struck out... If we can get Ventura to calm down a little and focus then they'll be very hard to beat.
Well, the world is really hating the Royals (and their fans) now. With the All Star Game approaching, energized Royals fans have taken to the ballot box. As of the current vote counts, out of the nine starting position players, eight are Royals.
In 1957 the Cincinnati Enquirer flooded the ballot box with pre-filled ballots distributed in their Sunday paper. Only five Reds got voted in and two (Wally Post and Gus Bell) were replaced with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays by the league commissioner... who then banished fan ballots for thirteen years.
Now, you are allowed to vote each day, online, 35 times (per email address). Somehow, the smallest market in the AL (and 2nd smallest overall) has managed to get a second baseman with a .225 OBP (the lowest full-season OBP among qualified hitters since 1969 is .228) to the top of the ballot. As it stands now, only Mike Trout will get to start among non-Royals.
Of course, it is okay when big market teams (*coughcoughNewYorkcoughBostoncoughChicagocoughcoughLosAngelescoughcoughcough*) have gotten their injured players elected as starters... but apparently having the best record in the AL while defending champs isn't good enough.
As defending American League champs, Royals manager Ned Yost gets to pick the reserves, pitching staff, and lineup. I'm guessing that reliever Wade Davis and possibly starter Chris Young will make the roster as well.
Whatever happens, methinks there will be some changes next season.
I've always sort of followed the Yankees. Although I am a very passive baseball fan and will watch it if I stumble upon it. Never been to a game! that is an ambition of mine. take in the whole experience.
Just checking in... Royals still have the best record in the AL, barely. When you have the division locked up by the All Star Break it's hard to stay focused, and there's been some injuries here and there. Still, one milestone was passed last night as the Royals earned their first division crown since 1985, and they managed it with ten games left. Still lots of work to do though, as they're only two games up on Toronto for home field advantage in the playoffs. Then there's the playoffs themselves, with the divisional round, AL Championship Series, and World Series still to come. I might get lucky and catch the Royals in a playoff game. I never would have anticipated it, but the Texas Rangers are surging, having overtaken Houston in the AL West. The way things stand they could meet in the ALCS, assuming the Royals take care of the Wild Card winner (likely the Yankees) and Texas beats Toronto. I have my fingers crossed.
Game one of the World Series is tonight... in Kansas City(!)... vs. the New York Mets.
Houston took my Royals to game five (of a best of five). The Astros were up in the series 2-1 and were at home up 6-2 in the 8th inning of game four, but after the governor of Texas prematurely posted the Astros a congratulatory tweet the Royals put up five that inning to take the lead and two more in the 9th to slam the door. Game five back in KC was no contest.
Toronto fell to KC in six games in the ALCS. Royals took the first two at home then destroyed the Blue Jays 14-2 in game four before coming home and finishing the series in a 4-3 nailbiter.
Time for the Mets.The K will become the first ballpark to host two consecutive World Series Game 1's in 80 years (1934-35 Detroit's Navin Field)...
They came so close last year, losing a one-run game with a man sitting on 3rd base. Crossing my fingers for this year.
Been a little busy so the final update is a little late... My Royals took out the Mets to win the World Series in five games. It. Was. Glorious...
The word most used to describe the club this season was "resilient." They never quit. No one has ever seen a club in the post-season come from behind in the late innings like the Royals have. At some point in their 2015 postseason games, they had win probabilities of 18%, 1%, 25%, 8%, 10%, 16%, and 5%... they won every one of those games. Down two runs in the 8th? Yeah, we got 'em right where we want them. The only way you were going to beat the Royals in the postseason was by getting up early and by a lot.
I knew things were going to be good when the VERY FIRST PITCH against the Royals in Game 1 was hit to left-center for an inside the park homer (first inside the park WS homer since 1929, and the first WS homer by the lead-off batter since 1903). Still, the Mets managed to have a lead going into the 9th, but the Royals tied it up with a solo homer before winning in 14 innings. Game 2 was all Royals. Game 3 in New York was an ugly affair won by the Mets. Game 4 saw the Royals score 3 in the 8th to win 5-3... which brings us to Game 5... Royals were down 2-0 in the top of the 9th in New York, but the Mets left their starting pitcher in to get the complete-game shutout, which was a total mistake... and when the Royas tied it up with clutch hitting and some VERY aggressive baserunning, I knew this game was ours. You could see it on the faces of the Mets and their fans, that the Royals were simply not going to be denied. The game went to the 12th, when the Royals slammed the door with five runs in the top half of the inning, the stadium emptied as the Mets fans knew there was no way they were coming back against the Royals' closer Wade Davis. Three strikeouts by the cyborg later, and the Royals had earned their second crown.
Unfortunately, I missed the celebration in Kansas City, but 800,000 of my friends still managed to show up (KC proper has a pop of about 470,000, and the metro is about 2M total). School was canceled for the day, and with that many folks packed in that small a space they had cell service like it was 1985. It was epic... it's what happens when you city hasn't won a title in 30 years. If you're not too allergic to the color blue, I suggest looking up some of the pics. I can't imagine the entire hill from Union Station to the Liberty Memorial packed like that, but it was.
I haven't done this all justice, but it's all I have time for right now. Looking forward to the Royals opening next season by raising their World Series banner against, yes... the New York Mets (just worked out that way)...