I want to be positive…I wish I could be as upbeat as Rex Hudler…but I can’t. As a fan, I feel, as most of us do, pretty hopeless right now. The Royals are navigating the seas of Major League Baseball on the SS Minnow…and I don’t think anyone on board can stop this three-hour tour from turning into a modern day Gilligan’s Island.
Hell…when I put it like that…it’s almost too perfect. We’ve got a Gilligan’s Island doppelganger for nearly all our key Royals characters…it’s like a show within a show with David Glass as Thurston Howell III, Dayton Moore as The Professor (smart guy, but never could get them off that damn island), Ned Yost as The Skipper, and Jack Maloof can play Gilligan. That’s even more perfect, as Yost forced a move at hitting coach, literally making Maloof the Gilligan to Yost’s Skipper…welcome aboard little buddy! Oh…and remember the TV Movie “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island”? We got a taste of Thurston Howell IV in that one (hello Dan Glass).
I feel like I’m off track here, much like Uncle Hud telling a local radio show (in one of the more bizarre interviews I’ve heard in some time) that he’s “sphincter free.” I don’t even know what that means (although I think it trended on Twitter), which is fitting considering the Royals have gone into some kind of “try to confuse everyone with our stupidity” spin mode. I think they all passed around a bottle of tequila when hatching their plan…because…nobody is this good at making absolutely no sense.
Getting back to the original point: this franchise is SO clueless, it has to come from somewhere. It’s got to be a trickle down effect (there we go…finally go to my point) with all fingers pointing to Dayton Moore. This is Moore’s staff…he hired Yost and Maloof, and the way these two have acted is so bananas, not only does it reflect on them (although I don’t think they have a clue what to do at this point), but it really shines a light on the lack of leadership coming from Moore. Surely a better run organization puts someone in place (should be our wise Professor) to guide these two…help them survive the choppy waters of press conferences and interviews. Given what we’ve seen in the past 24 hours, though, apparently the Professor is too busy building a radio out of coconuts to keep things under control.
Jack Maloof (recently highlighted in a piece by Jeff Parker) came out and said the following:
There is just no reward here (for us) to try and hit home runs. We try to stay down on the ball, be more line-drive oriented, and do more situational hitting at least through the first two or three rounds (at home) here. That’s why I’m not overly concerned because I think we’ll lead the league in fewest home runs again this year.
Okay. That’s fine…he’s just telling what type of hitters we have, right? He knows what he’s got to work with, and it’s not a bunch of power hitters. But…he was brought in to coax that power of the players he calls incapable. However, Yost wanted a philosophical shift towards more power. So…there’s that.
But that’s not all Gilligan had to say…he went on to place the blame on the home stadium. How can we possibly hit home runs in this stadium? IT’S NOT POSSIBLE! Oh…and then he said this:
Billy Butler is a doubles machine. No one has told me he is a home run hitting guy. If we try to do it too much, we’ll get ourselves in trouble. Same thing with Alex (Gordon). They’ll hit home runs on the road, and yes, they’ll hit some here.
Wait. What? Nobody told you Butler is a homer run hitter? Oh man…classic Gilligan!
If someone told you, would Butler become a home run hitter? Can I please have your phone number? I will tell you. If that’s what you need to hear…I’ll be that guy. They’ll hit homers on the road sure…just don’t expect them at home. Well, then, riddle me this: why does EVERY OTHER TEAM manage to clear the wall at The K? Well Skipper…what do you think of your little buddy now?
But it doesn’t stop there. Let’s go back up the ladder to Ned Yost. He’s probably got something more rational to say, right? Of course he does, he’s the Skipper. So tell us, what do you do to hold these struggling hitters accountable?
What are you asking me to do? Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them? Scream at them?
No! Just asking what could be done to make guys accountable for their lack of production? I mean, maybe you can yell at ‘em a bit…but spank them? What?
Both of these guys came off as a couple of coaches who are out of ideas. They have no answer. And the whole “Hey, it’s a long season, there are ups and downs, we’ll turn the corner if we just keep playing games” excuse? No. Not so much. That kind of speech can work at times, maybe for a team sucking to a lesser degree…like many Royals teams of the past…but not anymore.
This whole things reminds me of that time Skipper and Gilligan built that raft and sailed for help, only to land right back on the island! Sailing in circles…what’re you gonna do?
So, what the heck is happening with this team? The only conclusion I can come to brings me right back to the general manager’s office. It pains me to say so…because I like Dayton Moore. I’ve met him a couple of times…super nice guy. I think he’s a really smart guy who knows the game of baseball. And of course I want everyone in this organization to succeed, because the outcome of that is the product on the field succeeding (trickle down, remember?), but at this point, I’m having a hard time finding much success to hang my hat on as a fan. You know…the Professor was ridiculously smart, too…but they still spent three seasons on that island with his brains at their disposal. And they got stranded there again in the first TV movie…I mean…how smart is this guy, really??
I already posed the question about a disconnect in the organization stunting the development of players, but it runs deeper than that. The “Failure Virus” is spreading into every limb of this organization faster than the “Rage Virus” wiped out the UK. How do we keep it from choking the life out of a team on life support? Fire Maloof? Fire Yost? Nah (well, yes, but that’s not step one). That’s like using band-aid to stop the bleeding caused by a gunshot wound. It might be time, rather than starting at the bottom, to start with Dayton Moore and work our way down. For all the times Gilligan and Skipper were made to look like the idiots…maybe the Professor should’ve stepped up and taken charge from time to time.
Time will tell. I don’t expect any big moves for another month (at least), but if things don’t take a positive turn pretty quickly…someone might be voted off the island. Wait. Wrong show. But you get the point.
So…Professor…you better fashion an offensive remedy from bamboo and coconuts pretty quick, or you guys may never get off that island. And the Howell’s HATE wasting their money.
Wait. Gilligan’s Island can’t be so depressing. The good news? By the time they made the second TV movie*, the gang (with funding from the Howell’s) turned the island into a resort! Success!
*I probably shouldn’t mention that second movie came along 15 years after the pilot episode. I say we expedite the timeline. Send Gilligan, Skipper, and the Professor out to sea (make sure they DO NOT circle back to cause more problems) and send someone else in for the rescue.