The KC Royals, and their hot dogs, have been all over the news. I didn’t think I would weigh in, but after reading Brett Lawrie‘s latest comments, I knew you just had to hear from me on these matters. You can read Brett’s “thoughts” here, but let me para-phrase.
He says the Royals and their fans are bush league and the rest of MLB agrees. He said he can’t do his job while worrying about getting hit by Royals relievers that throw 100mph, and he shamed the antagonistic fans.
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It is good if d-bags like Lawrie are afraid to hit against the Royals pen, and find our fans a distraction. It’s good that teams know that if they keep plunking Royals hitters, the Royals will not only retaliate, but may over react. It’s good to see the Royals say enough is enough, after wearing over a dozen baseballs in the season’s first two weeks. It’s good to see the Royals stick up their middle fingers and say, “We are good now. We are not that nice team that is going to be good soon. Last year wasn’t a fluke. Beat us or deal with it”
It’s bad if the league, the umpires, and the MLB office think the KC Royals are immature and “in the wrong”. We saw some ramifications in the series against Oakland.
Until Kelvin threw behind Lawrie, both teams had hit one batter, but the Royals had an injured player and several more ejected. Why? Because Yordano Ventura, for no good reason, decided to pick a face fight with Mike Trout the series before, and also handled the plunking of Lawrie poorly. That, fair or not, is why the umpire was inclined to hand Kazmir only a warning, and the Royals coaching staff went all Omaha Beach.
Ventura probably should have hit Lawrie in the butt, or lower, in Lawrie’s first at bat. I am still fine with him waiting until he was getting drummed by the A’s, but he then had to go bravado dog. He steps towards Lawrie after drilling him. Again, I think he did the necessary thing by hitting Lawrie, but his hot dogging put the team in a tougher spot than necessary.
Kelvin Herrera handled things even more poorly. His pitch was too dangerous, and then he yelled at Lawrie, while pointing at his head. Amazingly, he only got a 5 game suspension. If this hot dogging continues, the next suspension will be double digits, and that is bad.
Yordano Ventura has started three times this year, and he has been removed by people or things other than his manager each time. That is ugly.
I, and many others, call Ventura little Pedro. Pedro Martinez is my all time favorite baseball player, not named George Brett. This means I love rooting for Yordano Ventura. With that established, I am worried about Yordano Ventura, and annoyed with his childish act.
The Royals rotation, Edinson Volquez aside, has quietly sucked this year. James Shields was clearly the largest, most concerning departure from last year’s team. His performance, his inning eating, and his leadership would all be hard to replace. It looks like Edinson may be up to the task of replacing those innings and their quality. However, the Royals player assigned to replace Shields as the team is ace is failing. Yordano is not wearing the suit of the ace well. He has not grown into the leader’s garment, and is fidgeting to hide the poor fit.
Yordano Ventura has continued to improve as a pitcher physically, but the Kansas City Royals need to assign that number one spot in the rotation to Edinson Volquez. Ventura needs to realize his growth between the ears is even more important than his innings count, and this would send him a badly needed message. Ned Yost and Dave Eiland need to realize that Yordano is not a leader yet, and he still needs mentoring. Ventura is the most important player on this team, and it’s not even close.
Royals management was able to delegate pitching leadership to James Shields the last few years. They need to get their hand dirty before this rotation gets ugly.
Lastly, it’s time the K does something about the food. I was lucky to go to about 10 MLB parks the last 2 years, and the K’s food was easily the worst. I am not talking about having fancy, regional cuisine available. I am talking about the worst hot dog I have ever eaten.
Dear KC Royals, making and eating hot dogs is like hitting a batter with a thrown ball. It’s never the right thing to do, but it can be served up the right way, or the wrong way. The KC Royals need to learn how to do the whole hot dog thing better.