Leftridge: Ladies and Gentlemen, Your First Place Kansas City Royals

win“Nothing gold can stay.”Robert Frost

It’s too early to get excited. I get it.

I get that the Royals are in first place at 6-3, but it’s NINE GAMES. A lot can happen in nine games, and even the most embarrassing squad of malcontent goons can appear to be something they most decidedly are not.

And I know that on more than one occasion, they’ve looked abysmal and flat against good pitchers, only to make their hay against washed out rejects like Chad Durbin. So far, they’ve only played teams who are mediocre to bad, and the true test will come against the likes of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers of the world, serious contenders who won’t trot out a hive of scrubs. I understand that the starting pitching won’t be this dominant for the remainder of the year, nor will the offense continue to rally each night after it looks like it’s curtains, and yes, there will be many costly defensive missteps down the road.

But as it stands, on this gilded April perch, the Royals are in first place and I’ll be damned if they don’t look like they belong.

RexHudler-1For the first time in forever, they’re fun to watch again (provided you find some alternative commentary to the awful Rex Hudler [Recommendations include “the radio,” or “mute” or even “open the window and listen to the knife fight between the two schizophrenic hobos who live in the alley beside your building .”] ). Unlike years past—recent years, and many of them—being down by two, or three or even four runs in the 6th inning and beyond doesn’t feel like a death sentence. There’s an unshakeable faith that these guys can claw back and still get a win. They’re (cliché alert) scrappy, and full of heart, and to trot out something that the aforementioned Hudler said FORTY-FIVE TIMES OVER A NINE GAME SPAN (ISWEARTOGOD), “they play for a full nine innings, Ryan, man. It’s like Charlie Manuel said in Philly in the post game, man, this team doesn’t quit, man, blah blah blah, I need a fucking muzzle, bro. Wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, these games feel different, and good, even IF everything hasn’t been completely Mogen David and carnations.

Closer Greg Holland is having issues and, well, maybe even isn’t the closer at this juncture? (Don’t look to manager Ned Yost for an answer—you’ll likely hear the well-worn “He’s our guy in the ninth. That hasn’t changed. But we’re taking things on a day by day basis.”) He picked up a save Monday night, but relinquished his duties to Aaron Crow on Tuesday, and the most-popular-guy-in-town-aside-from-the-backup-quarterback, Kelvin Herrera on Wednesday.

I still like Holland, and I think his strong performance over the latter half of last season warrants him a pass on at least a couple of hiccups this year (but that choke chain needs to be TIGHT, and ready to yank at any moment). The good news, however, is that the bullpen is strong and most of the guys in it are capable of closing out a game. I’m comfortable with Herrera, Crow, even Tim Collins. (I’ll pass on Luke Hochevar, though, because, come on.)

It would also be nice if Wade Davis can figure out a way to NOT throw 50 pitches in two innings, as that is clearly no way to be an effective starting pitcher.

So yes, there are bumps, but they are few and far between, and ultimately, the Royals are banging on all cylinders. At the very least, it appears that they are slowly working their way out of perennial punching bag status with victorious little baby steps.

Ponyboy-ponyboy-curtis-31837819-500-371I still don’t think they win the Central this year—I’m not certifiably crazy, after all—but I think they stay in the race for a majority of the year and end with their first winning season since 2003. I’d be okay with that this year, and expect real contention next.

Stay gold, Ponyboy.

 

I’m on Twitter @StanfordWhistle

http://www.mb-kc.com/
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10 Responses to Leftridge: Ladies and Gentlemen, Your First Place Kansas City Royals

  1. Super Dave says:

    But just what is a winning season? Anymore it appears if you’re not in last place it was a winning season. Or is it if you have more wins than loses it’s a winning season? To me a winning season is when you are in the playoffs and win the World Series.

    The word winning is over used way to often. How about lets hope they have a good year and if they finish better than last place they had a good year.

    • Well, I see what you’re saying, and I agree… what *I* meant by “winning” season is “better-than-.500-baseball,” which is something they haven’t done in 10 years. Which is gross.

  2. Orphan of the Road says:

    Everybody should be able to dream of a pennant in April. The chill of the air is warmed by memories. Campy playing all the positions. Reggie hitting the wall before the warning track was there.

    The KC baseball fan has memories. And the time of the season when all things seem possible.

    That was the only time I can think of when I saw him without that defeated, suspicious look in his eyes.

  3. Jess says:

    Rex is just not good in the booth. I really don’t see the draw. But, I guess it could be worse?

    The real story should be that Denny Matthews should have hung in up a long time ago, the Royals constant losing has made him broken and unfeeling to anything that happens on the field, I mean when Billy Butler hit the homerun to break the 0-0 tie the other night his “the pitch, gone” had as much feeling as when I super size my fries. Well, I guess less feeling, because I REALLY love large fries.

    • That’s too bad about Denny. I used to be a big fan, but to be honest, rarely find myself around a radio these days. I’m kinda stuck w/ Rex. I thought he’d grow on me– that’s what everyone apologetically said upon his hire– but it’s gotten worse.

      • Jess says:

        I hear you. I had an open mind, but when Ryan takes shots at you every 30 minutes without you knowing? You have an issue.

  4. chuck says:

    Lefty, take heart.

    Turning and turning on the ball,
    The fans hear the falconer,
    Things DON’T fall apart this year,
    The center holds Lefty, the Center HOLDS!

  5. the dude says:

    Give it a while lefty, like they say in baseball it only really matters how you are playing in September and October.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Oh, believe me, I know. It’s just much more fun to watch–even in April– when they’re not going a month with winning at home. I’m not delusional enough to think it’ll last, though.

  6. Kerouac says:

    Didn’t we already have this discussion in 2012? And 2011, and… for what it’s worth, how would Jonathan Broxton look right about now, closing for KC? Still about 310 according his bio; old friend Joakim Soria is on the 15 day DL for the Rangers, btw.

    When do the Chiefs start ‘anew’, again? I’m having withdrawal symptoms not being able to see berry torched again in pass coverage, football door-matt getting his back cracked chiropractic style & anxious for another #1 draft choice fails to be ‘Domino’s.

    And the KC Blues Veneruzzo et al, and when we were Kings, Lacey and January 1970…

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