Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
9. All the reports are that generally the Royals like each other and their manager. Team morale, which we saw go over the roof. The players keep each other lose. They talk and encourage each other. When one player makes a great play, he isn’t congratulated just when he comes off the field, his teammates tip their caps (often the pitcher will do the same) right after the play.
10. While pitching and hitting are not always there, it is much easier to maintain a great defense. The Royals’ defenders can and do regularly take runs away from the other teams. When you play great defense and keep runs from scoring, that motivates a player who have a problem momentarily in hitting. You can boost the team’s morale by constantly making one “WebGem” after another.
11. If the Royals do collapse, you can blame me. I can handle it. I’ve handled a bunch of lousy Royal teams (with some notable exceptions) since 1969. No, this is not your father’s Royals 2005 team that lost 102 game and nearly drove Ryan Lefybre over the brink. If it does happen, I will be somewhere north of Pluto with Hud.
12. The Royals’ fans are a prime motivator. Not just in the stadium, but elsewhere in the area, they are a “riot about to happen.” Besides, no one wants to go what Phillies fans went through after that collapse.
But we have had so many down years that I think our fans are more resilient. Winning the Series is difficult. Given the hoops that you have to jump through, determining who will win the Series is difficult.. Most of us realize that winning the playoffs involves not only talent and motivation but getting hot at the right time–something that isn’t easy to turn on or off. What the Royals’ players and management have really been good at is staying away from the Dark Side. There is no need to go there. If Infante can light up the boards like he did Thursday night, there is indeed hope.
12 & 1/2. (not going to next integer) If nothing else convinces you, maybe this will. Hud won’t let it happen. Anyone, who identifies the moon as a planet is not going to be let it happen. The Central Division is a piece of cheese that is in front of a hungry “rat.” (Thanks to the editor DH and to friends who assisted: John and Steve.)