I started out the season with little to no expectations for the player I had not so secretly labeled a “bust.” I struggled for hope by attempting to convince myself that Alex just hadn’t enough time to adjust to the big leagues yet. I tried to convince myself that we had put too much pressure on him too quickly….that he just needed more time.
But since I’m being honest, I’ll tell you that I was ready to give up on Gordo from the beginning of the season. I suppose I could fall back on the excuse that being a Royals fan often makes it easy to despair about players ever being good, but that’s a cop-out, so I won’t.
Opening day came and Alex was slotted to bat third in the lineup. I was amazed and a little apalled. This was the guy who had hit .215 in a paltry 74 games in the big leagues the year before. I closed my eyes and hoped this was a bad dream. Then the guy showed me up. He hit .339/.395/.541 in March and April and everyone was raving about him. I wasn’t convinced though. “It’s a fluke,” I said. My hopes, continually dashed, weren’t up to being smashed upon the rocks of life another time. May rolled around and I felt justified. Alex hit .234/.301/.441 and I smirked and thought, “Here’s the Alex I know and love. Here’s the guy who couldn’t be George Brett.” I pretended that I still had hope but settled in and waited for the completion of the implosion of what I believed would be Gordon’s last year as a Royal. Then he bounced back and in June and July batted .306/.395/.449 and .330/.415/.544 respectively. Now it’s not as if 4 months of stats are necessarily any indication of a complete turnaround, but I’ve decided to drink the Alex Gordon kool-aid. Before you label me as wishy-washy as that beloved bald-headed kid with the zig-zag on his shirt,* let me explain to you why I feel this way now. I recently got ESPN updates on my phone. It’s nothing special. They send me texts about scoring plays, who gets the RBI’s, who scored the runs, and all that good stuff.
*Poor Charlie….sadly his continual pitching woes seem familiar. But Alcides Escobar is at LEAST as good a shortstop as Snoopy.
Every time I get a text about us scoring, Alex Gordon’s name comes up.
Every time his name came up, I felt convicted about my doubt. It felt like Alex was sending me the text himself. “Hey Ethan, look what I did.” I decided to look at some stats starting from the All-Star break.
Since the break, Alex Gordon sits here on the American League leaderboard:
2nd in doubles (12)
Tied for 5th in walks (17)
Tied for 2nd in runs scored (23)
These stats (and his overall statistics from the entire season) were and are impressive, but in all honesty, I’m not a guy who can be COMPLETELY convinced by stats. I have to recognize change.