Apr 13, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas (51) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With the Royals Great Promise Comes Great Expectations

May 4, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals second basemen Omar Infante (14) singles against the Detroit Tigers during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

2013 was the type of season that we as Royals fans had been waiting for for a decade. The Royals, after their early season, specifically May, struggles, roared back to the edge of playoff contention, falling just short of the Wild Card. Yet, while the playoff drought remained, the Royals had won their most games since 1989, and it felt as though 2014 may well be the year that the Royals found themselves once again playing October baseball.

Dayton Moore and the Royals front office certainly appeared to embrace those expectations. Looking at the weaknesses on their roster, they went out and acquired Jason Vargas, Nori Aoki, Omar Infante and Danny Valencia. Vargas was tabbed to replace the departed Ervin Santana, filling in as the second starter until Yordano Ventura and the Royals top pitching prospects were ready to take over at the top of the rotation. Aoki and Infante slotted perfectly as the top two hitters, allowing Alex Gordon to slide back into a run producing role. Valencia was the perfect platoon partner for Mike Moustakas, someone capable of hitting left handed pitching while Moustakas could bat against righties. While it may not have been a traditional lineup by today’s measures, the 2014 Royals had the hallmarks of a team that could contend for the playoffs once again.

With a record payroll and what appeared to be a sudden commitment to winning, the Royals constant cry for patience had run it’s course. We had trusted, as much as possible, Moore’s process. We understood that, as a team with a decidedly limited payroll, the Royals would need to build themselves through the draft. We waited as the first wave of pitching prospects crashed and burned while the offensive players struggled to live up to expectations.

At some point, the waiting has to end. Last year appeared to be that moment, the time when the Royals had finally become the team that we had been promised for years. 2014 was to be the coming out party, when Kauffman Stadium would be rocking and the Royals would once again take their rightful place amongst baseball’s royalty. Instead, through the first quarter of the season, that has not happened. Inconsistent play, particularly from the offense, leaves the Royals a game under .500. While such a mark would be worthy of praise and a sign of better things to come last year, the Royals present 18-19 record is disappointing. We, and the Royals, expected better.

Yes, we, as fans, may be critical of the Royals as needed. That criticism does nothing to diminish our love for the Royals or the game of baseball. It speaks to our expectations for a team that set itself up for a run at the playoffs. It speaks to our frustrations when underperforming players are trotted out virtually every day without any signs of improvement. It speaks to our passion for the Royals and a desire to see playoff caliber baseball in Kauffman Stadium from the home team. And it speaks to our desire to finally, for the first time in a generation, have meaningful games played in October in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Royals, from their moves and actions this offseason, promised great things this year. The struggles of the past two decades should do nothing to decrease our expectations.

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  • jimfetterolf

    I wonder if Cardinals’ and Rays’ bloggers are rending garments and pouring ashes on the head at the moment.

    • cardsfanatik

      Actually John Moz, is already talking about making moves to make the Cardinal’s better. The difference between the Cardinal’s and the Royal’s is this, The Cardinal’s DO NOT allow mediocre for very long. As Royal’s fans, we have come to be comfortable, and even expect just that. But, that is a difference in ownership and management. Which is why the Cardinal’s will continue to go to the post season, and the Royal’s won’t. I love the Royal’s, but what I have stated is the absolute truth, and you can say whatever you want, the Cardinal’s are a much better run organization than the Royal’s. And you can hate them for it, or whatever, but if the Royal’s were ran like the Cardinal’s, they wouldn’t suck annually.

      • jimfetterolf

        And you folks are the best fans in baseball. My point was that at the same point the Rays and Cards also aren’t doing well. Baseball is funny that way.

        • cardsfanatik

          I am actually a fan of both. I don’t understand the hate for Cardinals’ fans by Royal’s fans, and vice versa. The Cardinal’s aren’t doing that hot right now, you are correct. My point was, the difference between the Cardinal’s and the Royal’s is, that if the Cardinal’s continue to suck, you will see some changes. The Royal’s will go with the same broken shit all year long, and expect something different to happen. Like I said, I love the Royal’s, and it pains me to watch them suck, and it has pained me for almost 3 decades, but until the franchise is ran like they ACTUALLY want to win, nothing will change. Take leaving Mr. .150 batting average STILL PLAYING THIRD BASE. Then you have dead head Ned acting like he’s the next coming of Babe Ruth because he got one god damn hit when it mattered. Give me a break. Freese by the numbers was actually better than Moustakas, but his off field antics, and his on field not measuring up to what the Cardinal’s call acceptable led to his trade. Had Freese put up the numbers for KC that he did the last year for STL, and fans in KC would have loved him. I guess my point is this, the Royal’s have sucked for so long, that anytime ANYONE does one little thing, that they SHOULD do on a daily basis, its a damn ticker-tape parade. I’m tired of Ned thinking he’s a damn genius because after he leaves someone in to struggle for 3 years, and they FINALLY get a hit, he’s acting like he “knew it all along”. Ned is a retard, DM is a dumbass, and Glass is a tightass. And until they are gone, the Royal’s won’t see October. Anyway, this got way off topic. I’m a Royal’s fan, and have been since I was old enough to start watching baseball, I can remember the 1982 season. I watched the 1985 Series on television, while my mom cheered for the Cardinals, I was a Royal all the way. Over the years I have gravitated towards Cardinal’s baseball, because frankly, watching the Royal’s made me want to puke. And because I can’t always get their games on television where I live, Now with MLBTV, its a different story. But I can tell you this, when I ask my son whether he wants to watch the Cardinals, or the Royal’s, I can tell you he enjoys WINNING baseball, so you know where that leads us.

          • jimfetterolf

            It’s a KC-StL thing, we just never have liked each other. I grew up listening to the Cardinals.

  • moretrouble

    It’s May, for goodness sake. Many of the top teams are around .500. David, you may be disappointed, but I’m not.

    • ccseifert