Sometimes, when you hope and dream about something long enough, it can come true. A mysterious boil on your privates retracts, allowing you to sleep a little easier. The utility company made a mistake and they owe YOU some money instead, chief. The stink that had you contemplating the cost of an exterminator? That was just your daughter’s hamster decaying softly behind the bookshelf.
And one morning you wake up, and the Kansas City Royals made all the moves you wanted them to make.
Jeff Francoeur, jettisoned.
Chris Getz in Omaha.
Kelvin Herrera, ditto.
All is right with the world except for the fact that the team is still maddeningly inconsistent and, despite an early June flurry of success, no closer to being a true contender than before.
The punchless offense remains ever innocuous, even under the tutelage of George Brett. Wade Davis still sucks. Luis Mendoza still struggles on the regular. Tim Collins, well… what in the hell happened to Tim Collins?
But I digress. It wasn’t all shitcakes out at the K in June. There were some bright spots, provided you knew where to look. Take, for example, Eric Hosmer.
Be it the Billy Butler inspired BBQ sauce or adjustments suggested by Brett and co-hitting coach Pedro Grifol, the Hosmer of June was more like the Hosmer of 2011 and a lot less like the Hosmer that we all grew to despise during the entirety of last year and parts of this.
Rightfully named Royals offense player of the monthfor June, he hit .303 with six home runs and 17 RBI, all while scoring 21 runs. In an absolutely inspired assault against Minnesota pitching on June 28th, young Eric hit two—TWO—home runs in a game for only the second time in his career. (The Royals hit four home runs total in that game, which was only 10 less than they hit in THE ENTIRE MONTH OF MAY.)
It’s still too early to pretend that all of his lingering woes are gone, but seeing prolonged success—meaning at least a month of achievement—is certainly encouraging.
(Now maybe he can give some tips to Mike Moustakas who, despite a decent June average-wise [he’s all the way up to .211 on the season, folks!], is still exhibiting all the power of a crippled Victorian orphan.)
But what’s all this offense without pitching, right? And while Jeremy Guthrie blew his share of goats in the month, and again, WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH TIM COLLINS? the true Master of the Mound was Greg Fucking Holland, an almost assured shoe-in for the Royals All Star requirement.
“Dirty South,” as I’ve heard him called by like, three people, quit screwing around with his nauseating tight-rope shit he’d been perpetuating earlier in the year and reaffirmed his status as Most Bad-Ass Major Leaguer with a Patchy Beard That Most Closely Resembles Mine. He was virtually unhittable in June (okay, if five hits in 13 innings constitutes “unhittable”) going nine for fucking nine in save opportunities, holding opponents to a .119 average and striking out 24 while only walking three.
Now That’s What I Call Dominance, Volume #56!
Is it too late to try and turn him into a starter, I wonder? Or teach him how to play third base and hit for power? I mean, closers are cool and all, but why bother masturbating if you’re only going to finish every fourth or fifth time?
In any case—and as previously mentioned—he’ll likely be representing the Royals at this year’s All Star game, following in the footsteps of other great former KC closers like Mike MacDougal, and, well, Mike MacDougal. (Okay, okay, I know… AND Joakim Soria, AND Jeff Montgomery. But MacDougal—still one of my all-time favorite pitchers, by the way—was an All Star. A FUCKING ALL STAR! I have an authentic MacDougal jersey AND I was friends with him on MySpace, so beat that.)
So congrats in advance to “Dirty South,” even though I don’t like your nickname.
And so the season waltzes on, sluggishly, through the haze of a thousand spent bottle rockets and paper plates piled high with chunks of gristle from discounted steaks your brother in law bought from the back of some Mexican guy’s Ford Festiva.
I offer one final bit of encouragement, pilfered directly from Grantland contributor, Royals fanatic and Chicago dermatologist Rany Jazayerli: “It’s July 2, and the Royals are 4.5 games out of first. Since 2003, they hadn’t been within 5 games of first on ANY day from July 1 on.”
It may be a tug-job from a cousin, but as a fan of perennial disappointment, you learn to make do.
Find me on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle