One hundred and sixty two games in one season is a handful. In this game, when played professionally, you play more contests in one season than any other sport- a stretch from the end of March, gently into October if lucky. Although the Royals historically never reach October, it’s still the mandatory season timeline that is all too much to handle.
I see a lot more positivity in the streets than years past. I’m currently in a Borders in Saint Louis. I’m taking a break, drinking a coffee and writing this story. Next to me, on a magazine rack, is a USA Today “Sports Weekly” edition. On the front page is a baseball player photographed in live action, sliding feet first into home. He wears all white, with a blue helmet and stitching.
It’s Eric Hosmer. The headline reads, “Young Royals on the Move –KC’s wealth of talent starting to spill into majors.”
A promising title indeed. It’s not a regional cover either; it’s all national news over here. If it were regional, Albert Pujols would have surely filled the printer pixels… not a young Royals prospect.
Royals fans can no longer yearn for positive national exposure. We are getting it more now than we have it the last twenty years combined. Most of the positivity isn’t even a result of production. It’s not like the team is playing lights out, and plowing through the division with ease. The record still reeks. We still win one, and then lose four, seemingly every week. Nothing has changed on that waterfront.
At the start of this season, I was incredibly optimistic towards a lot of issues. I publicly debated many readers and writers on how the Royals needed to start the youth trend NOW, instead of 2012. The team started on a roll. Big, late inning wins and it really seemed as if the Royals could hold their own in the division. With a surprising continual climb in the standings, the front office made the move to bring in Eric Hosmer and Danny Duffy. Heck, Aaron Crow was a shock. For the first time in years, the Royals were making moves parallel with my nail biting, over the top, frustrated optimism. I bought in, and took the ticket.
The sunshine has dimmed though as the grueling length of the season has caught up with our inadequacies… lack of depth and poor pitching I assume. These are the two excuses for 2011. Each year has a different one.
Last night the Royals fell victim to the Blue Jays. Vin Mazarro got into trouble early, giving up three first inning runs. The loss isn’t what hurts, it’s the trend of how we lose and when we lose. That stings. There is a lock of hope in areas where we could possibly win six or seven straight games. You just can’t imagine it happening. Like I previously mentioned, the Royals are a team that wins one, and then loses four. There isn’t enough consistency threaded into this team to hash out a winning streak of four or fives games. A winning streak like that is the type of thing this team needs. But when all else fails and the hopes burn out, think about the future. It’s a refreshing drink.
Tired of thinking about Hosmer? Think of Moustakas. Tired of thinking about Duffy or Montgomery? Think of Colon or Myers…or even Bubba Starling.
Make no mistake, the Royals are futuristically LOADED.
If we step forward two, maybe three years from today…here is what an opening day Royals lineup COULD look like.
1) CF Bubba Starling/Jarrod Dyson (utility)
2) 2B Christian Colon/Johnny Giavotella
3) 1B Eric Hosmer
4) 3B Mike Moustakas
5) RF Wil Myers
6) DH Billy Butler/ Clint Robinson (where to put this guy?) batting .351 with 13 homers in AAA!
7) LF Lorenzo Cain/Brent Eibner/Alex Gordon (utility)
8.) C Salvador Perez/ Lucas May
9) SS Alcides Escobar/Jeff Bianchi
SP Aaron Crow
SP Mike Montgomery
SP Jake Odorzzi/Danny Duffy
SP Yordano Ventura/Luke Hochevar
SP John Lamb/ Tim Melville
RP Jeremy Jeffress
RP Yordano Ventura
RP Chris Dwyer
RP Tim Collins
RP Louis Coleman
CL Noel Arguelles
The USA TODAY article, which you can find here, illustrates how DEEP the Royals organization is going to be. We all know this, but man I love national publication and exposure!
Dayton Moore receives a lot of credit in this article as well, which we can take with a grain of salt until proven otherwise. They make him out to be a baseball scientist, who originally planned success in 2012 from day one. If this turns out to be true, then we have a big time story. You can forget about the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis. This is no Billy Beane tune. Nor is it a formulation of sabermetric analysis.
If the Royals wind up becoming what everyone hopes, this could be the greatest story in franchise rebuilding ever recorded- a monumental task that could easily put Dayton Moore among the best ever in baseball management. Of course you have to lose a lot to gain a lot, but still a motivating, motion picture worthy tale.
Otherwise…it could all be a giant waste of time and energy.