It’s getting bad out there—like, regular Royals bad. Gone are the days of “fun team to watch!” and, “lookit the little roses bloom!” Everything has been replaced by a typical, smelly old Royals team rife with mental errors, lackluster performances and an obscenely visible talent differential-gap.
At the beginning of the season, back when hope still sprung eternal, I tried to figure out the best way to cover the Royals.
We’re not the Star, and my regular engagements (the actual job where I make real paper money) prohibited me from covering them on a daily basis. Plus, daily coverage would have likely constituted me recapping what Bob Dutton had already said. Kind of boring. I toyed with the notion of a weekly recap, but decided that this too was probably a bit much. So I settled on a monthly recap—a “broad strokes” time capsule that was meant to capture “the month that was,” or something like that.
But I wanted an angle, too. Simply saying “THE ROYALS ARE GARBAGE. DAN GLASS IS A CLOWN. WALMART. LOSING BUNCH OF LOSERS,” over and over again is not only boring to write, but it’s boring to read. So I decided to put on my optimist-pants and pretend to be Mr. Brightside. Anyone can focus on the bad, and in fact, most people already do. I didn’t want to, though.
So I started a positive outlook endeavor, meant to find the touch of grey in every silver lining.
But man, it’s getting tougher with each passing month.
July flat out sucked. Hard. It sucked worse than Harley at Buddies on Polar Bears Drink Free Night. The
lovable band of misfits went all the way to the cellar like… well, again, like Harley at Buddies on Polar Bears Night.
Check this out—on June 30th, the Kansas City Royals were 6 games under .500 and 5.5 games back of the division leading Chicago White Sox. Their then-winning percentage of .461 was better than: the Twins, Mariners, Phillies, Brewers, Astros, Cubs, Rockies and Padres. Now, if the season ended today (deargodplease), only the Astros and Rockies would be worse.
All of the Hai Karate in Glazer’s cabinet can’t cover the stench of that shit.
But again, I pledged to myself that I’d put on a happy face, goddamnit, because life with this team is just too painful otherwise. So here’s who did their best to keep us from being the absolute worst team in baseball, at least for the month of July. Everyone else can go fuck himself.
In a previous piece earlier this month, I extolled the importance of Cain’s need to contribute. I basically said that he needs to be at least a little Beltran-ish if we ever expect to win with him on the clock. He read my column, I’m sure, and took it to heart. He went out and hit .302 with 3 HR and 15 RBI. He came up big in clutch spots—driving in a run with a triple in the 9th off of Kevin Millwood in last Saturday’s game, for example, which gave the Royals a shot– WHICH THEY COULDN’T CAPITALIZE ON, however—and has looked good enough in the field.
Lorenzo Cain is good. If we had a cloning machine, and we could clone several Lorenzo Cains, I would recommend cloning several Lorenzo Cains. (I’d teach the Clone Cains to pitch, too, just so you know)
According to Elias Sports Bureau: Lorenzo Cain, batting fourth and playing center field, had two RBI-singles and a run-scoring double in the Royals’ 7-3 home win over the Twins (July 21). Cain became the fourth different Kansas City player to produce three different RBI-hits from the cleanup slot while playing center field. The others were Amos Otis (1982), Bo Jackson (twice in 1990) and Carlos Beltran (2003).
I like that, ‘Zo. I like that a lot.
Duh. Butler’s busy being Butler. He hit four homeruns during July while driving in 16 and hitting .327. On the season, he’s at 20/64/.306, so he’s still on pace to hit over 30 and drive in close to 100.
If we ever trade Billy Butler for prospects, I’m going to have Hearne get me press credentials, drive down to Kaufmann, and kick Dayton Moore right in the ballsack. (I should probably also leave this off of my “Why Do You Deserve Credentials?” portion of the application).
Butler is the best thing we’ve got going, and he’s 26 years old. Billy Butler is king.
Alright, it stands to reason that Perez isn’t REALLY a career .331 hitter. He made it to the show by virtue of his accomplished defense. He—like fellow Venezuelan native Alcides Escobar—wasn’t supposed to hit so good, so soon. But you know what? Who gives a shit? Every time you turn on FSN, Perez is singling back up the middle, or banging a double off of the wall. He’s today’s Sandy Alomar Jr., only he’s bigger, and stronger. And 22.
I was circumspect when people bemoaned his absence during the team’s April swoon. “If ONLY we had Perez!” the folks exclaimed. I dismissed their cries because at that point, we’d only seen him on the stage for a couple of months. To me, he had a lot to prove.
Boy, has he.
Perez has instantaneously become one of this lineups most potent offensive weapons. And it’s been awhile since we had a CATCHER like that. You’d have to go back to… well… never? John Buck had the size, but was incapable of hitting over 25 homeruns. Macfarlane could slap the ball around like a bastard on occasion, but he was never much of a threat to go deep. Ditto Boone, Sundberg and Porter.
(Total aside: Favorite story about Porter? From Wikipedia: “Porter told the Associated Press that during the winter of 1979-1980, he became paranoid, convinced that baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, known to be tough on drug use, was trying to sneak into his house, and planned to ban him from baseball for life. Porter found himself sitting up at night in the dark watching out the front window, waiting for Kuhn to approach, clutching billiard balls and a shotgun.” Second favorite story? I worked with his cousin at Pizza Hut when I was 18. She was TOTALLY Darrell Porter’s cousin… enough said)
Alex isn’t the savior, nor will he ever be. Hopefully, most reasonable Royals’ fans understand that at this point in the game. He’s not George Brett, despite The Pitch’s assertions otherwise. That’s right, from a posting dated July 25, Jonathan Bender writes, “Because right now, there’s a left-handed bat in the Royals lineup who looks like he could chase .400. And this time, the name on the back of the jersey says Gordon.”
Dear Jonathan: if Gordon EVER hits .400, I will come down to the office and fellate you personally with my mouth. You have my word, friend.
That said, Gordon is bouncing back from early woes to have a decent season. It’s SUPER discouraging that his HR power has apparently gone the way of the do-do, but he’s leading the league in doubles, his OBP is phenomenal and he continues to turn in Gold Glove caliber defense in left.
So there it is. This month’s installment written solely to keep the diehards from the ledge. I hope that each and every super fan reading this (ha!) has found at least one thing to hang their big, number-one foam finger from.
It’s not all doom and gloom, guys. It’s mostly just despair and shit.