The Lesser of Two Evils?

Within the past couple days, it has become heavily apparent that the Miami Marlins are gutting their team, only half a season into their first at the new Marlins Park. This past offseason, Owner Jeffrey Loria went out and did everything possible to buy his team a playoff spot, getting a new manager, new starting pitching, new closer, and new shortstop. What did all that get him? The Marlins are 7 games below .500 and 12 and a half games back in the National League East. It’s a pretty good bet that this team won’t be making the playoffs this season. But is gutting the team the right move?

One complaint that has constantly been made since baseball came to Florida is that the fans just don’t show up to the ballpark. The Marlins tried to rectify some of that this season by moving into their beautiful new stadium, Marlins Park. The team felt like they could afford all their offseason spending, as the money made by the new ballpark would pay those salaries. They also felt this team would be making a playoff rush, which would bring the fans out in droves. Unfortunately, this team has highly underperformed, so Loria felt it a smarter move to cut bait now, rather than wait.

A logical point could be made that Loria should have waited another year before doing this. It really feels like such a knee jerk reaction to go out and start trading off pieces left and right. But what did we expect? Loria has done this before. The Marlins have twice been World Champions, and gutted both times right after winning the big game. There is a history in Florida of teams being dismantled out of nowhere. Loria even has a history of such treachery, leaving the Montreal Expos high and dry to go buy the Marlins. Loria made a ton of promises to the fans of Montreal, and in the end, he jumped ship and let Major League Baseball take over the team. To put it bluntly, Loria can’t be trusted at his word.

This brings up another interesting question: Which is worse: Jeffrey Loria spending the money on his team, but gutting his team in a heartbeat, or David Glass, a man who doesn’t seem committed to spending money on his Kansas City Royals? I have been critical of Mr. Glass for years now, and for just reason. It just seems like the man doesn’t give a crap about his team and is more concerned about his bottom line. But to be honest, I would almost prefer that to what Loria is doing.

What Loria is doing is getting fans’ and their hopes up, then squashing them out of nowhere. It’s not real commitment. It’s commitment until things look murky, then it’s time to duck out. At least Glass is consistent: consistently cheap. If you are a Marlins fan, would you be shocked if Loria up and sold the team tomorrow? He seems weaselly enough to leave in the middle of the night and leaving for Indianapolis. Now, don’t get me wrong. Both owners are awful at owning at Major League Baseball teams, and the both sets of fans deserve better. But baseball has let them do these type of actions for years, so why should they stop now?

At the end of the day, I’m glad I’m not a Marlins fans. Sure, it sucks sometimes being a Royals fan, as I can’t say I honestly believe David Glass will ever spend money on his ballclub. But I can trust he won’t do what Jeffrey Loria has been doing for years. It is impossible for Marlins fans to ever have any dreams, other than for Loria to leave the team to someone who really cares about them. The same can be said about Glass and the Royals, but expectations aren’t driven up like they are in Florida. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I would take the devil I know over the devil who wants to leave when things start looking muddy. What a shame for Florida, and what a shame for Major League Baseball.

A face only a mother could love.

The Tools of Ignorance

Earlier today, Jason Kendall called it a career. The former Royals Catcher and former All Star was trying to make a comeback in AA for Kansas City, although that wasn’t thought to be the case at first. The initial word was Kendall had been dispatched to NW Arkansas to be a tutor to the younger catchers while also working with the young pitchers, most notably struggling prospect Mike Montgomery. But the next day, Kendall mentioned he envisioned “10 days in NW Arkansas, 10 days in Omaha and then back in the bigs.” To say that scared many a Royals fan is an understatement.

Here are the facts. Kendall wasn’t the worst Catcher the Royals have ever had. He also wasn’t close to being the best. In fact, it’s safe to say his career was winding down when Kansas City signed him before the 2010 season. I was actually in favor of the initial signing, as Jason had a reputation of working well with pitchers and calling a good game. I figured, at the least, he wouldn’t spend half his time at the backstop like Miguel Olivo and hit for a higher average than John Buck. But by July

If this doesn’t scream GRIT, I don’t know what does…

of 2010, I was tired of Kendall. Or to phrase it better, tired of him playing every single game. Literally. It was bad enough that I wondered if Royals backup catcher Brayan Pena was encased in a giant cobweb, since he had been languishing on the bench for so long. Kendall was also not producing offensively and rarely throwing anyone out…all while batting second in the order. His shoulder injury late that year was like a godsend, as the Royals were forced to look for another Catcher. It was time for a change.

Since that time, Kendall has been used by the Royals in a coaching position in the organization, helping the younger catchers while in Kansas City. For the most part, I was okay with this. I mean, the guy is a second generation ballplayer, and just because someone wasn’t the best player doesn’t mean they can’t coach. It also gave us his infamous quote last year when a reporter asked Mike Moustakas a question that Kendall took as ‘stupid’. Who can ever remember Jason telling said reporter to “rewind yourself”? Either way, he seemed to be transitioning into his new career in baseball, and it seemed to be a natural fit.

Then last week happened. To say a lot of us freaked out when it was announced Kendall was signing a minor league contract might be an understatement. Look, the Royals organization has burned us so many times that we almost expect the worse every time a decision is made by management. Who remembers GM Dayton Moore saying that Infielder Yuniesky Betancourt was going to ONLY be a backup this year? How did that turn out? Exactly my point. I was already envisioning Kendall getting called up and taking game time away from Salvador Perez, who has developed into a future All Star catcher. Kendall could be a good mentor to Perez…but it would be ridiculous to have Kendall take playing time away from Perez. That was what we worried about. Thankfully, that is all in the past now.

So where does this leave Kendall? I still think he’ll get a coaching job in the organization, and I am fine with that. Like I said, I think he can be an asset. His one bad habit is he can be a bit of a curmudgeon, but hopefully that won’t rub off onto the younger players. I seriously question Kendall even trying to make a comeback with the surgery he had, but at the end of the day Jason Kendall was the only person who could have made that decision. Luckily, his body told him to shut it down before something more serious happened.

How will i remember Jason Kendall? He was a hard nosed player, and I always love those guys, the ones who can’t go a game without getting their uniform dirty. He was also very strong willed, as he came back from a couple of serious injuries, including the infamous leg injury he suffered earlier in his career. At the end of the day, Kendall probably overstayed his welcome, but anymore a lot of players do that. He actually can be proud of his career whenever he sits down and looks back on it. Luckily, for us Royals fans, those days are over now.

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