Miracles do happen?

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It was June 4th 2010.

That was the last time Felipe Paulino won a major league baseball game.

Thirteen months and 120 pitches later, he wins again- on an away field, against a division opponent. What a relief.

It wasn’t easy but Paulino and the Royals finally pulled it off. The box score numbers even look good for Felipe with nine strikeouts and only two walks. It was without a doubt, an above average performance. The Royals will take the money and run.

My problem is this:

After the late inning victory in South Chi town, Paulino was quoted in the locker room stating, “I’ve worked so hard for this, and my arm feels good. I’ve shown the last three games that I can do this.”

Are you kidding me? Really…are you kidding me?

This is absolutely absurd and clearly identifies everything that is STILL wrong with the Royals.

Yeah sure, it’s great to spark debate when the days aren’t so gloomy. It’s always a thrill to jump on the Royal bandwagon when they find a hot start. But there is always a point around midseason, when the gas tank runs annoyingly dry.

We have already seen this first hand. Look at the standings. Desperately treading up stream, swallowing any trace of air we can find- all in effort to avoid swapping titles with the Houston Astros. The ill-timed employee that just can’t make the cut. The red headed stepchild of the big leagues and public laughing stock of executives alike. Major League Baseball’s most embarrassing slug.

When a player goes off making comments like that, how can you really respect him? When a player makes a comment like Paulino did, you can’t help but be thinking why in the world he is playing at this level. It’s almost like Paulino himself knows he’s overvalued and it’s a miracle he’s been granted this opportunity. It’s often too easy to single out players and coaches in the Royals franchise. I’m not a member of the New York media, so I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to suck the blood from a man who is walks a batter. But when any professional lacks confidence like that, there is an urge to speculate.

Come on Felipe! You just won a game! That’s all! That’s what you get paid big money to do. Win games! Plural!

Plural pal.

Look at the Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff. Does Cliff Lee say after a win against the Braves, “Gee wiz, I’ve worked so hard for this… I’ve shown the last three games that I CAN DO THIS.”

Does Roy Halladay make an absurd statement like that? Hamels? Oswalt?

NO!

Wins are expected at the level. If you won, you did NOTHING MORE than your job requirement. We shouldn’t celebrate Paulino’s victory. We shouldn’t be excited that he got the “monkey off his back.”

He didn’t even pitch seven innings. He left after six! Thanks to Misty May Treanors husband, he actually left with a lead. What a headache. Too many players on this team feel they are “owed something.” That makes me sick. Honestly.

Yes, thirty six million dollars to fuel a team throughout a season is shear stupidity. The blame starts there. But man this is pathetic. There are a lot of players on this team who can’t believe they have this opportunity. Could Chris Getz hold his own on the Phillies, or Yankees, or Braves? Maybe the Mets, Red Sox, or Angels? How about Treanor? Could Felipe Paulino be a fourth starter in San Francisco, Texas, or Saint Louis? Get real!

The heavens answered when Treanor snuck a ball in the outfield to score the go ahead run. When I say heavens, I truly mean it…seemingly so, in Matt Treanor’s mind, nothing but a holy super power could have helped him in that situation.

Treanor responded to his sacred assistance by stating after the game “ My prayers were answered. That’s what I hear; prayer is the answer. I hit a slider. In a perfect world, I’d want to hit that ball over second base, but I got around on it. It was a decent pitch and I found a hole.”

Is this Angels in the Outfield, Royals edition? What’s going on here? Why are these guys thinking that their successes are derived from miracles? Shouldn’t an interview response be something like “ well yeah, we won…what do you expect?”

That is the type of lingo I prefer to hear.

Baseball isn’t more of a physical game than it is mental. Psychology plays a tremendous role in the results of a player. There isn’t much time to plan or blueprint an outcome in this game. You practice after hours. You think confidently. You perform well. You don’t have much time to think at the plate, you don’t have much time to react in the field and you certainly don’t have much time to think about the next pitch to throw to Jose Bautista. Life is tough in baseball. It requires a chaliced, confident mind. The moment you start wishing, crossing fingers, and thanking your stars above for how well you did, you already lost. Why are these players looking elsewhere for success? They are the ones that won the game. They should be confident about that. Why look for an excuse to why they lucked out? Don’t they already work “so hard” in the offseason to just go out and short themselves like that? Bouncing back from an injury and winning after rehab shouldn’t be celebrated.

Trust me on this…Albert Pujols is now eligible to return to the Cardinals lineup. He told doctors he feels great and x rays prove he is healing faster than normal. He fractured his wrist just a few weeks ago, but his team needs him and he knows that. He will return to the third spot in the lineup, hit a walk off homerun and get back to leading Saint Louis in a division race.

Will Albert be grinning with joy, explaining to the press how lucky he is? How this is all one big miracle?

No!

He is Albert Pujols. He’s healed, ready to go, and back to consistency. No time for whining, praising, or celebrating how he’s can still compete at this level. He will return quietly, do his job, and continue his walk towards the Hall of Fame.

While on the other side of the state we have to hear comments of miraculous fortune.

I want winners. I want confidence. I want results and in Kansas City, we find a vacancy.

“I think I deserved this. I deserved to win this game. I fought too much from last year to now. Finally, this win, maybe it turns things around.”

-Felipe Paulino

Words like “I think” and “I deserved” and “finally” and “maybe.”

Those are the ones that get me.

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