Kansas City Royals Spring Zoomed-by-Us, We Ready for 2015


Spring Training for the Royals is coming to a close, and no matter what, they will finish Spring above .500.  Bring on the Postseason.

Let’s say that even if Vargas blows it against Texas, Kershaw pitches a perfect game on Wednesday, and in a repeat of last May’s complete act of ineptitude with the Astros sweeping at the K we lose back to back, the Royals will finish in Arizona with a winning record.  If there were such a thing as a Spring Training postseason, the Royals would unquestionably get a shot at the Wild Card.

But, it’s only Spring Training. 

As mentioned in countless articles, it’s all about getting stretched and focused, experimenting, and foolishly lifting or crushing the hopes of baseball fans across the country.  Many will outright dismiss any positive or negative that develops from Spring Training, but I think that’s oversimplification.

Yes, Spring Training doesn’t count in terms of record or stats.  And it’s never indicative of what is to follow during the season.  Baseball is, dare I say, the professional sport that most closely resembles the average human experience: It’s long, feels as if it will never end, incredible highs when least expected, bouts of bottomless melancholy, unbearable loss, ends far too suddenly and leaves you wanting for more.  Spring Training is merely time spent in the womb.

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As Spring Training developed through March, we’ve seen the Kansas City Royals rise and fall.  They started off boiling hot, leading off the first game with a trifecta of homers in an offensive powerhouse that thumbed their noses at doubters, showcasing feelings of unfinished business from the World Series.  During the second half, they’ve come closer to reality, displaying the Royals of the past two years if not worse.

Hey, it’s only Spring Training.

Forget the portrait as a whole and focus in on the simple strokes of oiled pigment: the individual players.  Mike Moustakas, whatever player he has been or will continue to be, has proven his ability to hit opposite field.  Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales, the new old boys in the clubhouse, have been anything but offensive dunces.  Even our beloved free-swinging Venezuelans, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez, have learned a modicum of plate discipline.

What’s been most impressive, to baseball aficionado and passing fan alike, is the development of the starting pitching.  In the last five days, the fab five have given the loyal fanbase much to look forward to in the wake of James Shields’ departure:  Against the White Sox, Jason Vargas pitched six full innings, allowed three hits and only one run, and struck out out a quad of Southsiders; Jeremy Guthrie outgunned King Felix Hernandez for just over five innings, allowing not one Mariner to touch home plate; wildman Yordano Ventura, souring our memories of 2014 with lack of command during most of Spring, no-hit the Seattle club for seven straight innings; Danny Duffy performed well, not his best of spring, but struck seven in just five innings; and our new number three man, Edinson Volquez, gave a complimentary performance against the Cubs with two earned runs and eight strike outs.  The fans needed that display of dominance.

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Spring Training is not a litmus test for the following season.  Nor it it is a divining rod.  We cannot predict if the the offensive premonitions of Dayton Moore will exceed 2014 or regretfully match. Will the Kansas City Royals have to send off one of their beloved bullpen arms in trade for a bat? If Luke Hochevar becomes the Hoch of 2013, will Wade Davis become trade currency?

I cannot say. I can’t even give an educated guess. That’s far too serious a topic to speak seriously about at the moment. Even when the Kansas City Royals lose in Spring Training, they don’t take it too seriously.  Even Ned Yost is busy focusing on NASCAR rather than Greg Holland dishing up four late game runs.

And that’s how it should be. I’m excited for 2015.  The impending start of April 6th against the White Sox fills me with fits of accelerated adrenaline and anxiety.

I’m ready.

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