This very well might be my last post for awhile. To say the last three weeks have been frustrating would be an understatement. It’s not even that the Kansas City Royals have fallen into a giant rut that they can’t seem to climb their way out of. Let’s be honest: as Royals fans we are used to the losing. In fact, in some way we have grown accustomed to it. Losing and the Royals have gone hand and hand ever since the end of the 1994 baseball strike. There was one glimmer of hope(2003), one season of winning in Kansas City, but that has been it. It was gone as soon as it arrived. But this year was supposed to be different and during the first month of the season it appeared to be different. Anyone remember being 17-10 and being in first place? Seems like months ago, but it did happen.
No, the losing isn’t why most Royals fans are up in arms. In fact, some of us expected them to be under .500 this year. No, it’s the way the team is losing, and how management is choosing(or not choosing) to deal with it. It has been very apparent since that fateful Monday afternoon in Kansas City about three weeks ago that the wheels have fallen off the bus. This whole slide can be pointed at the James Shields game against Chicago as being the starting point. Shields was dominating the Pale Hose and it seemed Chicago had no answer for ‘Big Game’ James. Shields was rolling but manager Neddy Yost felt that with a one run lead it was time to pull Shields in the ninth. Greg Holland came in to do his closer duties, but unfortunately for the Royals that meant coughing up the lead. The White Sox would come back to score again in the 10th inning, winning the game and making many Royals fans question Neddaniel’s decision. The problem wasn’t bringing in Holland, who had been pretty untouchable over his previous 6-9 appearances. The issue was that just two days before, Yost had kept Jeremy Guthrie in for the ninth inning, in a game where he was less dominating than Shields had been. His answer was that Guthrie had a two run lead, while Shields had a one run lead. I don’t really see that big of a difference, but it did seem to show a lack of consistency on Yost’s part. Anyway, since that game the Royals have been awful, and have not played like a team who once was in control of first place in the American League Central. There is a big part of the team that has fallen off the board, and it is something that was a problem in 2012 but ignored in the offseason; the offense.
To say the Royals offense has been a disappointment over the last few weeks would be an understatement. There are so many fingers to point, but only so many fingers. Here’s an easy way to cover this; Gordon has been superb. Salvador Perez has gotten hot before taking a bereavement leave. Billy Butler is at least taking some walks. That’s pretty much it. Mike Moustakas is (still)hitting under .200. Wonderboy Chris Getz is right around there. Same goes for Jeff Francoeur. Lorenzo Cain has hit his first slump of the season, even though he is still hitting .295. Alcides Escobar has struggled mightily, falling to around .250 while Eric Hosmer is hitting a bit better but showing no power. This punchless offense can’t seem to muster very many extra base hits, but can single the crap out of you. It might be a good time to add in this team doesn’t draw walks either, last in the American League in that stat as well. Only thing is you need four singles just to knock in a run in that scenario. Sure seems like the team’s struggles last year wasn’t former hitting coach Kevin Seitzer’s fault, now does it? Nedly wanted his team to hit for more power this year, but the team is languishing in last in the American League in that category, and the last two Royals home runs have been hit by 39 year old utility infielder Miguel Tejada. Yes, THAT Miguel Tejada! The Royals pitching has slipped a bit, but they can’t carry all of the load. Having no run support on their part sure makes their job even harder. So you would think with these type of struggles that Kansas City would make some changes, right? You obviously don’t understand the Royals front office brass…
This would be where it is no longer about just losing. After the Royals lost 2 of 3 games to the Houston Astros(the ASTROS????!!!!), it seemed that something had to happen. Something, anything. It didn’t matter what it was. As much as I would have preferred Yost or Moore being fired, I knew that was probably a long shot. So I would have taken anything to show that they recognize there are problems and that they are being addressed. Could have been sending Mike Moustakas to AAA to fix his swing. Could have been cutting Getz or Francoeur. Could have even been calling up Johnny Giavotella from Omaha. Just anything would have made me happy, made me know that they actually gave a damn. Nope. Nothing. Oh, they realize there is a problem. Yost has mentioned it. Moore has talked about it. Their answer? Do nothing. Wait for the ship to right itself. Moore said it wasn’t time to panic. Wait…what???!! Not time to panic? No Dayton, this IS the time to panic. We were told in the offseason that they were going to contend this year, that the main priority is to win. Instead, we are being preached to again to be patient. Let these younger guys figure it out. It takes time. Well, time is out boys and you need to start giving a damn about this team.
What it comes down to is accountability. Kansas City and Royals fans have been patient for a long time. Infinitely patient. We still go to the ballpark. We still support this team. We still want to believe that Kansas City can be the toast of baseball again. But Moore is going on seven years now in Kansas City’s front office. Yost is on four. At some point they have to produce results. If your young third baseman is struggling for two months, maybe he needs to go to the minors for a bit. It isn’t a death sentence. Gordon did it. Butler did it. Hell, Brett did it! We sat through Hosmer’s struggles last year and from what we’ve seen this year, we still have the same Eric Hosmer, just one that is going out of his way not to pull ANYTHING. At some point these players need to either play better or be benched. The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. If that is the case, what has Moore and Yost seen from these guys to think they will just pop out of this hole? The real truth is that they staked their jobs on this season and on the team contending. Unfortunately, both have showed their true colors and shown that they can’t do their jobs properly. So the team continues to slide. They continue to look lost at the plate, and they continue to get outplayed by even a lowly team like Houston. The fact that Yost and Moore are doing absolutely nothing about this has pushed me to the point of not caring.
Almost 30 years of being a Kansas City Royals fan means I have seen the team at their highest(1985) and their lowest(there are a lot of choices here, so pick whichever year you want from the last 18). I can tolerate the losing if there is a concerted effort being made to improve. I know the players are trying and aren’t happy with the way this season has turned on them. But they also have to be held accountability for the stink on this franchise right now. Moore and Yost obviously should be held accountable, and in all honesty this team will probably never get better with the two of them in the positions they currently are in. I can’t support a team who is falling off the tracks and has no plan to get back on it. It’s just too much. So I’m not watching any games. I’m not making a trek to the K. I probably won’t write another Royals related article for awhile here. I can’t do any of that unless there is a change. Like I said, doesn’t have to be Yost or Moore, even though I would love for them to join the unemployment line. But something needs to happen. We can’t be losers forever. If the Royals don’t want to care, then I won’t care. Simple as that. See you guys when the team gets their heads out of their asses.