KC Royals Making Impression on Baseball Alumni


Over the last few weeks, since the start of baseball season, the KC Royals have made national headlines for their emotional way of playing the game. It is truly getting old trying to defend our team when all anyone sees is another bench-clearing incident on the recaps.

I have had intense conversations with A’s fans and White Sox fans that seem to go around in circles. When it comes down to it, what do we know? We are only fans so of course we are going to stand up for our team no matter what. We aren’t on the field playing this game day in and day out. However, this last weekend we got another perspective on the Royals recent events from the ones who actually played this game.

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The Negro Leagues Museum hosted the 2015 induction into the “Hall of Game”. The inductees, as well as baseball alumni, gathered for the event. The topic of the Royals recent bench-clearing incidents could not be ignored. Names such as Ozzie Smith and Rick Sutcliffe weighed in with their opinion.

Ozzie Smith, who is known for his over the top style of playing, said what so many of us already knew about our team. These fights show that the Royals are passionate and care about what they are doing. Sounds like a great problem to have. It is so much better for the Royals players to care too much and be too passionate about the game instead of lacking that fire needed to play the game. It is much easier to have a player tone it down rather than trying to ignite something that was never there to begin with.

Smith also made a very good point about how the game has changed. He referenced back in his playing days where the players could, for the most part, govern themselves. Players would retaliate if they felt was necessary and then it was over. Today, MLB has interfered with the game much more which is not always a great thing. When a warning is issued, retaliation is much harder so it festers. Then, it carries over into other series and drags on which is what ends up causing these brawls.

A great example with this was when Scott Kazmir hit Lorenzo Cain in the series vs. the A’s and a warning was issued. Yordano Ventura was later ejected because of this warning that was put in place. We are all looking forward to that A’s series in June because there seems to be unfinished business on both sides. If the players were able to handle it themselves, basically retaliate when necessary, this could have been done and settled in one series and maybe even one game.

Rick Sutcliffe also gave his view from a pitcher’s prospective. His opinion was that as a pitcher the goal is to win the game and that means that your batters need to be comfortable enough to score runs. If players are getting hit and hurt then they will not be comfortable in the box. Retaliation is something needed to protect the players on the team. As a pitcher, retaliation is not only something that you just need to do as a player but something that pitchers want to do to, simply, to win ballgames.

These ex-players gave a very good perspective that we can’t see as just being fans of the game. The one thing that was agreed on was that injuries play a huge role in the organization. No one wants another team hurting their own guys.

With these players weighing in, I would say it makes it much harder for anyone to argue that there is something wrong with the Royals style and passion right now. Whatever they are doing seems to be working as they sit with a 12-6 record.

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