Stuck in August


Late August is the hardest time to be a Royals fan. They’re out of any type of race other than a race for top draft picks in 2013.

They’re not calling up any young prospects of the future for at least a few days and maybe not even then. They’re stuck in this state of mediocre baseball and near hopelessness.

By now, we pretty clearly have a sense of who the 2012 Royals are: an extremely inconsistent team with players still learning what it takes to be successful at the major league level. Eric Hosmer has disappointed to a level I’ve never seen before when we consider expectations (granted I’m only 26). Mike Moustakas has been decent but not jaw dropping. He continues to struggle with left-handed pitching, and watching him swing and miss at the same pitches over and over again makes me want to throw objects at a television … my television to be specific.

I point to Hosmer and Moustakas only because they are the poster children for this new wave of talent meant to push the Royals back to prominence. But of course they are not the sole holders of blame. Starting pitching has been terrible (as most thought it would be). Jeff Francoeur has been atrocious (as many thought he probably would be). And some of the moves made by Ned Yost and Dayton Moore have been awful (as anyone with brain cells knew they would be).

Now, we’re stuck in this purgatory, a holding pattern, and it feels like eating plain bread. Nobody knows what Moore will do with Wil Myers. Nobody knows what Moore will do with Jake Odorizzi. Right now, all we have are dreams of the future, and those dreams are opaque at best.

That’s why I hate late August for the Royals. When we get to September, we can at least sink into the warm delusion of our strong Septembers. Last season the Royals went 15-10 with what many considered to be a glimpse into their lineup of the future. Salvador Perez, Johnny Giavotella, Hosmer, and Moustakas were all in the majors, and the Royals started winning. Fans could then delude themselves into thinking that this was proof of future success. I want that delusion to get here already. Much like in the movie Inception, I need the dream world because it’s much better than the real world (or something like that … I don’t know that movie was super confusing).

The only pieces of the puzzle left are Myers, Odorizzi, and a pitcher to be named. Maybe that pitcher will be John Lamb or Yordano Ventura or Kyle Smith or Kyle Zimmer. Who knows? Maybe it will be a free agent (I doubt it). But for now, we’re left only to stew in this place of wonderlessness.

You see, wonder is what drives the passion of Royals fans. We wonder what the future will bring (I’m using “wonder” as a double entendre). We look at our future with a sense of wonder. We look at players like Myers and Odorizzi with a sense of wonder. It’s what keeps us going as fans. If we can’t wonder, morale drops like Francoeur’s batting average after facing a righty for one game.

The wonder is off both Hosmer and Moustakas. I’m not saying they won’t be great players. They might be, and if they do become great players it will be wonderful. But it won’t be the same thing we feel when everything is possibility, as it is with Myers and Odorizzi, as it is with next season.

I need September to get here. I need to see the future Royals so I can replace the sense of stuckness I feel now with a sense of wonder.