The rare wild bearded Aaron Crow was sighted at Kauffman Stadium today. (via David Holtzman on Twitter)

If Opening Day Were a Full Season

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Treanor takes one for the team. (via David Holtzman on Twitter)

What a game, huh?

I watched Opening Day. Had I been in Kansas City, I would’ve gone. However, I had to settle for MLB.tv, which is fine for me.

I love Opening Day. It creates so many hopes while squashing so many others. It’s a truly decisive day for no other reason than it’s the first game of the year. Based on the fact that so many base so much on this initial game, though, I started thinking about judging the whole season through the eyes of this one game.

So, what would the 2011 season be like if it played out like Opening Day?

First, I want to look through the eyes of the game progression on the defensive side.

First Inning:
Groundout, double, strikeout, error, hit-by-pitch, groundout.

First 20 days:
Well, that was rough, but we made it out relatively unscathed. I am concerned about the rest of the season, though.

Second Inning:
Strikeout, strikeout, groundout.

Next 20 days:
Hey, these guys aren’t so bad! This could actually be a fun season!

Third Inning:
Groundout, strikeout, groundout.

Next 20 days:
This is great! There are no big defensive lapses and the pitching is solid! Let’s get our hopes up some more!

Fourth Inning:
Homer, double, double, line-out, groundout, flyout.

Next 20 days:
Oh, right. So, maybe they have some slight deficiencies with their pitching. But when they’re on, they still pitch well!

Fifth Inning:
Groundout, groundout, single, groundout.

Next 20 days:
See, the defense is solid and the pitching is capable enough to handle most teams. We’re doing better than expected!

Sixth Inning:
Groundout, strikeout, homer (after error), circus bunt (with two errors), single, strikeout.

Next 20 days:
Well, these are the Royals I expected. Everything seems to be going well and then they give it all away. They go on a double-digit losing streak and set a new league record for errors in a month. They’re also officially eliminated from the playoffs.

Seventh Inning:
Flyout, strikeout, strikeout.

Next 20 days:
Hey, this bullpen is great. We went 9-6 in a 15-game span and passed the Indians! It’s been a tough year, but at least the young guys are watchable.

Eighth Inning:
Groundout, groundout, double, single/out at the plate.

Next 20 days:
The youthful bullpen continues to achieve and, after the Royals traded away some of the older, overachieving pitchers, have made people wonder why they ever dreaded the relievers. Jeff Francoeur‘s defense is yet another point in the organization’s argument for his importance to the team. All-in-all, it’s a normal end of the season.

Ninth Inning:
Single, sacrifice bunt, walk, strikeout, flyout.

Well, this is how September goes in Royals-land. Nothing too great happens, but nothing too horrible either. The Royals are just sliding along well enough to force people to cite their momentum in September as a reason to be excited for 2012.

As for the offensive production, I think we can all expect a few things. Melky Cabrera will be more productive than expected, qualifying him to be traded midseason to a sucker West Coast team. Sure, his on-base percentage may hover around .320, but he’ll hit better than his career average. Just don’t mention to anyone that they’re almost all singles.

Dayton Moore will be commended on finding diamonds in the rough, as Jeff Francouer will follow in the path of Cabrera, having a decent season. He’ll club something like 37 home runs, setting the new Royals record and aggravating mathematically-inclined fans. Like Cabrera, some team will trade for him for no apparent reason, giving the Royals another cog for their unstoppable farm system.

Alex Gordon, despite the love some Royals fans (myself included) toss his direction in hopes that he’ll turn it around, will have a normal Alex Gordon season. He’ll hit something around .260 and strike out a bunch of times, forcing many remaining fans to give up on him. He won’t be with Kansas City in 2012.

Mike Aviles will go on frustrating hot and cold streaks that seem to have no rhyme or reason for happening. He’ll also set a new Royals record for errors in a season.

Kila Ka’aihue will make Dayton Moore say “slider-speed bat” more than 400 times over the course of the season. Even though he’ll hit home runs 550 feet away and rack up walks like no one knew he could, he’ll be sent to Omaha or traded, making way for Eric Hosmer.

Chris Getz will be Chris Getz, getting on base at a reasonable clip. He’ll have no power and will compete with Cabrera for the singles title for the season. But hey, his defense is solid.

Billy Butler will hit .315 with 20 home runs and an on-base percentage of .400, but will be spurned by fans and media for setting a new record for hitting into the most double plays in a season.

Alcides Escobar will make people say “Wait, shortstops are allowed to do that?!” He’ll also be an offensive copy of Chris Getz with slightly more power.

Matt Treanor will hit some singles, throw like Jason Kendall, and make us count the days until Salvador Perez reaches Kansas City. Brayan Pena will be unseen.

Wilson Betemit will realize that he’s Wilson Betemit and shouldn’t have hit like that last season. He’ll also have a complex about defense at third base, seeking to compete with Aviles for the most errors.

Mitch Maier will be the invisible man until Alex Gordon trips over a piece of gum and tears his ACL. After that, he’ll hit better than Alex had to start the season.

Jarrod Dyson will be fast.

Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer will crank, making fans angry that the organization didn’t just start them in Kansas City to start the season. Nonetheless, neither will win Rookie of the Year thanks to Jeremy Hellickson destroying Yankee batters.

So, there you are. There will be spurts in the season where the Royals give some hope and make us believe they have a shot at accomplishing something. But there will be many moments when we wonder just why we submitted to being fans of this team.

But hey, that’s just one game. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Keep the hope, folks.

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Tags: Aaron Crow AL Central Alex Gordon Baseball Billy Butler Chris Getz Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals KC Kila Kaaihue Luke Hochevar Mike Aviles Mike Moustakas Mitch Maier MLB Royals

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