The Kansas City Royals have several leadership issues. Almost weekly, we watch Ned Yost make inconsistent, gut decisions that fly in the face of logic. Last week, Dayton Moore beautifully articulated his lack of understanding on base percentage value. We can now see this weak leadership on full display from a key player, Billy Butler.
Billy had a revealing week. Read the following quotes from this interview in the Kansas City Star.
“I definitely don’t like pinch-hitting, I don’t think anybody likes it. It’s extremely hard to do.”
“I’ve been really hot. I’ve been known to stay on hot streaks for an extended amount of time. Unfortunately, the way to cool a hot hitter off is to not give him at-bats. Hopefully that’s not what happens. There’s nothing I can do about that.”
“He knows I want to play. I don’t want to be sitting. I don’t think he wants to be sitting me, either. That’s his decision to make. Like he says, he’s putting a defensive lineup in there. He’s the skip. He’s the manager. That wouldn’t be the good team thing for me to do, to go in there and say something.
“Anything you ever go in there and say, it never really turns out good. You really gain nothing from that. It turns out bad. It gets turned on you, as you’re a selfish player, or whatever. I’ve talked to managers before, in the past, and that’s just my experience with it.”
Country Breakfast pounded the word “I” harder than his grounders to shortstop with a man on first. He pats himself on the back for being really hot. Really hot? Really man? He then says it’s not good to speak to the manager about the manager’s decisions because it never works out, and he’ll look selfish. However, he clearly thinks it’s ok to air his qualms to the media. Butler also let’s it be known that if he was to cool off due to being sat against the National League’s Padres, that it’s not on him. It is not his fault.
In Saturday night’s game, Butler almost got thrown out chortling back to first after stretching a double into a single. It was physically and mentally lazy. First base coach, Rusty Kuntz, reacted exactly as someone named Rusty Kuntz should. Butler was in no mood to have his mistake pointed out to him, and got right into Rusty’s face after getting the Kuntz tongue lashing.
In Butler’s defense, he does take some responsibility when asked about the incident. However, the quote from the MLB article deserving attention is the one from Kuntz. “He finally made a hard turn and that’s what we were trying to make him do forever.”
Why has it taken the Royals forever to get their one-dimensional hitter to take hard turns? Why is Kuntz saying that to the press? The Royals go to great lengths to never say anything that could bruise their players egos. Has Butler’s act graduated to new, unacceptable levels? Has Rusty realized what many know already? Playtime is over, and it’s time to be big boys?
Billy Butler has been a great and consistent hitter for the weak hitting Royals over the years. He has also been allowed to not take the field, not get into professional shape, and not be even be below average on the base paths. Country Breakfast has an entitled air to him that’s impossible to digest when he’s not slugging. Well, last year he slugged a little less. This year? He is slugging a hell of a lot less, and has made it clear it’s anything, but his fault. Doesn’t go down so well, does it?