So I had this brilliant idea for an article about the Royals after waking up in the middle of the night. In a haze, I jotted down a few notes on a tablet I keep on the nightstand before falling back to sleep, but when I woke up this morning, all I could make out from my sloppy scribbling was that it somehow involved Shania Twain wearing my green and navy KC Royals cap with the shamrock on the back (I guess the Irish really are lucky), a large container of cocoa butter, and a tropical island somewhere in the Pacific. So I came up with another idea. In light of the Royals performance on their latest roadtrip through Atlanta and Washington, I would create a Royals Fan Misery Meter. Brilliant. Unfortunately, much like the idea I had last week for a sitcom based on the highjinks of some wacky Wisconsin high school kids set in the seventies, I discovered that several versions of baseball fan misery indices already exist. One misery meter is even downloadable for your iphone (some sort of communication device, I believe).
At any rate, I’m fairly certain that none of the competing baseball fan misery meters use strictly Royals-specific data as the foundation for their rubric. Sure, wins and losses are part of the equation. And the number of years since the team’s last post-season appearance. And while those factors do impact misery, they don’t really tell the whole story. So in keeping with the spirit of the sabermetric revolution sweeping the world of baseball, I’ve been working on a formula which involves a number of categories I believe have a significant impact on our collective misery:
* Ned Yost’s Insistence On Playing Kendall Every Single Inning of Every Single Game (NIOPKEIESG). Ned reports that Jason fits the ideal mold for a second spot hitter “perfectly.” He also let slip his opinion that OJ really was innocent, and pigs might someday indeed learn to sing. Three points of misery every time Jason bats second (currently hitting .193 in that position in the batting order).
* Each Day Jose Guillen Remains a Royal (EDJGRR). My hat’s off to him for getting in shape. And he’s swinging a good bat so far this season. But there is little point in having him on the roster. Much more important to the Royals future is the fact that Ka’aihue needs big league at bats. One point of misery for each day Guillen remains a Royal (ten points maximum impact).
* Broadcast Production values (BP). Every time the Royals TV camera crew holds the shot of an attractive female fan for more than five seconds screen time during the broadcast, subtract two points from the misery index. Add three, however, each time they focus on a nice looking lady, only to block most of the view with some ridiculous banner about an upcoming promotion (I’m still waiting for that “Buy Your Best Bud a Bud Night” two for one beer promotion I suggested in 1989), or fail to show the pitch tracker after the obviously biased home plate umpire refuses to call a close strike on the opposing hitters, or calls a ball Stevie Wonder could see was outside a strike on one of our guys. For radio listeners, subtract a point of misery for each inning called by Denny, Ryan, or Steve. Add five points of misery for each inning called by “Shouting Bob” Davis.
* Moustakas and Hosmer’s Combined BA, Number of Days Mike Montgomery Spends On the DL, and Derrick Robinson’s stolen base total (CANTMISSPROSPETS, NO REALLY). Every knowledgeable Royals fan knows our next great team is already in the minor league system. Subtract one point of misery for every ten points those two guys combined batting average is above six fifty, add two points for each day Montgomery is on the shelf, and subtract a half point for every stolen base racked up by Robinson.
This is an admittedly rudimentary index, still in its development stage. But by my early calculations, on a scale of one to a hundred — one being happy as a Philly fan while throwing up on a litle girl in the seat below, a hundred being akin to unexpectedly spotting your psycho ex-girlfriend whom you haven’t seen in three years holding a toddler as you prepare for the taping of your guest appearance on the Maury Povich show — I would estimate my Royals Fan Misery at about fifty eight right now. But what can I say, I’m a hopeless optimist. How else to explain a forty two year obsession with the Kansas City Royals, a completely irrational calling? I voluntarily allow my emotions to be influenced in part by something over which I have absolutely zero control. How smart can I be? (rhetorical question – no need to answer).