Thursday, May 19, 2005


This current baseball season for the Kansas City Royals has now passed the point of high comedy.

From the KC Star story about yesterday's 12-8 loss to the Orioles:

"So how big does a lead have to be for Royals veteran Jose Lima to get his first victory of the season?"

This is just pain now.

Let me say this: I never chose to be a Kansas City Royals fan.

I was born in Saint Louis and moved to Central Kansas as a five-year old. The Hutchinson News led with the Royals every day. Local television carried the Braves (who sucked back in the day, for you youngsters who don't remember) and the Royals.

So, I paid attention when National League Cy Young Winner Mark Davis was signed to close out games in 1990. I saved the Sports Illustrated cover with David Cone wearing our uniform in 1993. I hoped and prayed for the strike to be avoided in 1994 after my team ran off 14 wins in a row to pull within four games of the White Sox.

Of course, Hal McRae was fired and mediocrity soon followed.

Of course, mediocrity would be a Godsend these days.

This is the time of year that has always been the hardest for me over the last decade as a fan of the Royals. When mathematical elimination is still so far away, but any illusions of contention have been stamped into the cold, hard, unforgiving ground.

Right now, it looks as if the most entertaining story for the rest of the season will be finding out how much tail Tony Pena scored while hanging out in the suburbs.

Alas, this is the team I was given, and so I shall continue to check the box scores every day. I will try not to blink during our brief appearances on ESPN. I will check the records of every managerial candidate that the media throws out there.

Above all, I will try to remain optimistic.

And, I will read about Gunther Cunningham's new spot on the sidelines. Yeah. And the Jayhawks new recruits. Those guys look good. That'll help... yeah, that'll do...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

R.I.P. Tony Pena

I was in the Buck Showalter camp after the Royals fired Tony Muser a few years ago, but I won't say I wasn't happy with Pena after 2003. All numbers aside, he did infuse the team with a winning attitude that restored hope for a franchise in dire need of some after stumbling for a decade.

Unfortunately, Tony Pena couldn't sustain that attitude, and once the adrenaline from a few good slogans wears off, you've got to have the tactical chops to keep on winning.

Having a healthy roster last year, or even near-expected performance from the offense this year probably keeps Pena in the dugout for the boys in blue, but that is neither here nor there now.

He preached fundamentals and little ball, and whether you agree with his strategies or not, any observer of this team must admit that the players failed miserably at executing it.

So, I think Tony Pena made the last move he thought he could to help the Royals. In words a little more eloquent than this, he told the team they were playing like crap and he didn't have the stomach to watch them screw up anymore.

When Berroa got doubled off second last night, I was ready to quit on this team. Tony just beat me to it.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Two in a Row

So, this is what a winning streak feels like? Nice.

The best microcosm of the Royals season so far came in the ninth paragraph of the AP write-up:

"Lima held Cleveland hitless for the first five innings -- then gave up five runs and couldn't get out of the sixth."

In other words: They're great; except for when they're really bad.