Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Trey It Ain't So!

Gordo Went 1-4, with a solo jack and both of the Royals RBIs in a 4-2 loss to the WSox.
(image courtesy of http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/baseball/mlb/03/22/8great.gordon/p1_gordon.jpg)

Oh, lordy, lordy. Things just never seem to change around here, do they?
Why do we even have Soria on this team?
Why do we have a lefty in the bullpen?
How did the Royals find a way to crush early season optimism just one game into the season?
And finally, why, oh why, are we incapable of finding a decent Major League manager???

After today, I have serious, serious doubts of the competence of Trey Hillman. You know what I think? We should just hire a 15 year old to manage the team. If it worked for the Twins in "Little Big League", why not? Either that, or a chimpanzee. Everybody loves a chimp, and even a chimp knows that you don't leave Kyle Farnsworth in the game (15 HRs allowed last season in just 60 innings) to face Jim Thome with the go ahead run on base. I mean, is a more obvious pitching change even possible? For starters, you have Ron Mahay, who was very effective out of the pen against both lefties and righties last year. Now, I understand that the Royals may want to ween Ronnie back into action with some pressure-less situations due to off-season surgery and limited action in Spring, but I still like my chances with the lefty. Now, the worst part of this whole thing... Joakim Soria sat in the pen without even stretching. Soria's gross underuse last season is a huge concern for me. You have your best pitcher available against their second-best hitter (assuming CQ repeats last year's productivity) in the most important juncture of the game... what am I missing here? I'm just going to assume that someone on the White Sox grounds crew drugged Soria with some kind of ether-on-the-towel trick, or something along those lines, cause this just didn't make any sense.

Hillman cannot afford to cost us games if we really are the fringe contender that I believe we are.

But... Tuesday afternoon wasn't all bad. Ok, yeah it was, but let's not quit on the season one game in. Seitzer magic was in full effect on opening day. Sure, the team left as many runners on base as there are people in the Verizon commercials following people around (how I loathe thee, Verizon advertising), but they forced Mark Buehrle into exiting the game after just 5 innings. The Royals worked the count very well until getting mowed down by the Sox pen, including the oddly-shaped ex-Royal Octavio Dotel. What a strange looking man. Anyway, the approach at the plate was pretty good today.

Opening Day MVP: Gil Meche - Outstanding today, especially the 6 Ks and 0 BBs

Opening Day LVP: Trey Hillman - Look above for explanation.

Link of the day: Check out "Trey Weigh", and in-depth look at Hillman's performance today by Brad Doolittle of the KC Star...

Upon Further Review is a great midwest blog, so check it out frequently.

Tip of the Day: If you want to see me at the home opener, head to the new Royals Carousel, where I will scaring little kids for the majority of the game... kidding. I'd start with the beer vendors, I won't be far...

Friday, April 03, 2009

Food Revolution at the New K

(photo courtesy of the Kansas City Star)

This is a Ribeye steak you can apparently order at concession stands in the renovated Kauffman Stadium. Come next Friday, I'm going to freakin' destroy this thing.

Sometimes on our little blog here, we get distracted by what's happening on the field and don't really address the simple joys of going to a baseball game, eating, drinking beer, and hanging out with your friends. I think many of those things are what makes me so excited to be at the new K next weekend, just the mere possibility that improved amenities and enhanced feel of the stadium will improve the experience of watching baseball, simple as that.

And, I'm a big stadium food guy, so I'm pretty thrilled by the plethora of new food options. The previous incarnation of the K's menu was well...limited. If you liked hot dogs, you'd be fine. If you wanted anything else, you'd be screwed.

Chop salads. Chicken sandwiches that aren't triple-deep-fat-fried in a bathtub sized fryer. These are welcome, welcome additions, while sticking to a loose idea of "ballpark" food and not going super subversive like a Seattle might (I once had sushi and saki sitting in the outfield of Safeco. It was weird).

But just look through this gallery! Tacos! Angus burgers! Pork Roast Sliders! Can I possibly eat all of this in one sitting? Maybe. Will I try? Yes.

I'll snap some pics at the K next weekend and put them up. Can't wait to ride that Slugger carousel right after Teahen hits two deep bombs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Live (Kinda) Blog During Royals First Spring Training Game...

(Photo courtesy of www.refridgeratorlogic.wordpress.com)

The KC Royals are off to a red-hot start in 2009! Or not...

Top 1:
Missed it, but judging by the five-minute length of the half inning we went 3 up, 3 down.

Bot 1:
With a runner on 1st (a very good runner... Ian Kinsler), Mark Teahen in his first professional start at 2nd base threw the ball into left field that lead to six runs, including what sounded like a mammoth homer by Hank Blalock.

Some early notes:
Horacio Ramirez: Faced 10 batters and gave up 6 runs (maybe 2 unearned) while recording just 2 outs. Yeah, the Teahen error hurt, but HoRam flat out got shelled, which is not a good sign as the Royals' only potential lefty starter should be ahead of hitters this early in the year.

Mark Teahen: I'll cut him some slack, but an error and a high throw that nulled a double play are not the type of plays he can be making if he wants a starting spot on this club... is Orlando Hudson still available somehow? Hey Dodgers... we'll give you TPJ AND Willie Bloomquist... how can you pass that package up?

Top 2:

Billy Butler hits a bomb to the base of the scoreboard for the Royals first hit, run, rbi, and homer of the Spring season. Butler has, allegedly, reported to camp trimmed down and ready for action... nice start for Bill the Thrill!

Following an Alex Gordon walk (hopefully many, many more to come), Mark Teahen adds to his horrible start by rapping into a DP.

Bot 2:

Brandon Duckworth is not doing a very good job of picking up Ramirez... Back-to-back bombs given up to Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. The fun didn't end there, though, as Hank Blalock tripled off the wall in right-center, followed by yet ANOTHER error by Mark Teahen.


Rangers offense: Nothing new here, apparently the Rangers can flat out hit. Everyone up and down the lineup is pounding the ball... and it's only February 25th.

Top 3:

Man alive. So much for the hitters being behind the pitchers early in the Spring season!!! Miguel Olivo lead off the inning with a homer to center, and four batter later Mike Jacobs unloaded a 3-run dongarama that Steve Stewart described as being "way, WAY outta-here!"

Mike Jacobs' bomb came off of a lefty...

Bot 3:

Whew... finally a breather. Duckworth has a relatively harmless inning, giving up a couple of soft singles, but no damage done.

Game Notes:
Nothing really of note over the last 3 or so innings as the scrub squads have entered the game. I'll get back with a real post pretty soon.

Today's Lesson: Hot-air balloon rides can be liberating.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Welcome Back!!!

(photo courtesy of http://royals.mlblogs.com/Cov%20front.jpg)

Ok, so it's time to fire up the ole blog again as Corban and I have been stricken with a serious case of baseball fever. The arrival of the baseball prospectus, along with the report that 100% of the Royals Spring Training invitees have arrived in Surprise, AZ are both extremely welcome in this extremely slow part of the sports calender. Let's get down to business...

In these strange economic times, it's hard to say exactly how baseball has been affected. Orlando Hudson, one of the best hitting and fielding second baseman in the game (OPS+ over 100 last three seasons, 3-straight Gold Gloves from 2005-2007), is still a free-agent, despite rumors that all it will take is a 2-year $10 million contract. Manny is still out there, but it's clear that teams are worried about him dogging it at some point during the season. Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu finally settled for contracts that would have been at least doubled in free agency markets of the past few years. On the other hand, a myriad of massive contracts were handed out throughout the league, though the Yankees are mostly responsible for that end of the spectrum.

The question now is... where do the Royals fit into all of this?? Did Dayton Moore use his allowance wisely? Old Papa Glass decided to expand the payroll (looking to be up above $75 mil, up from $58 mil last year), and the Royals were not shy about spending the extra cash. Trade wise, we exchanged...

Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs: $3 million plus added to the payroll

Ramon Ramirez for Coco Crisp: $5.5 million plus added to the payroll

And then a hand full of free agents were added to the squad...

Kyle Farnsworth: $4.5 million added to payroll

Horacio Ramirez: $1 million plus added to payroll

WILLIE BLOOMQUIST: $1 million pluss added to payroll

Well, as you can see that is approx. $15 million spent in the offseason, which is obviously a significant increase. At first, I loved Coco, Hated Jacobs/Farsworth/Bloomquist, and was pretty neutral on Ramirez. After further review, I like Coco/Jacobs, REALLY LOATHE Farnsworth/Bloomquist, and am still neutral on Ramirez. I'll just give a brief explanation as to why I've come to these final feelings.

Coco: Sure, the last few seasons have been pretty up and down for Coco Crisp, and I don't mean the cereal's stock. But, when you look at this thing, Coco is a polished, Major League version of Joey Gathright. His 2004 and 2005 seasons in Cleveland (As well as the second half of last year) are enough reasons for offensive optimism, and it's been well documented that he plays a pretty nifty center field. Coupled with Dave Degeez in left, the Royals will have a very solid 2/3 of the outfield.

Jake: At first, I was fairly disgusted with this acquistion. It wasn't so much that we were trading Nunez, a replacable middle reliever/set-up man, it just didn't seem to fit. Now, I feel that Jacobs could be a really nice player, if used correctly (To his credit, he does have a career OPS+ of 110 in close to 1500 ABs). By correctly, I mean that he should be primarily at DH, and only occasionally in there against lefties.

2008 against RHP: .857 OPS against LHP: .677 OPS

This is why Ryan Shealy deserves a spot on this roster. Right??? Well, I'd like to think so, because I've developed a completely abitrary love of Ryan Shealy. But, after further review I've noticed that Shealy ain't hitting lefties either!!! AAAAARRRRGGGHH! The one thing that Shealy has working for him is that he plays significantly better defense than Jacobs and Butler, but it doesn't look like that's going to be enough to overcome, unless he just blows up in Spring Training and Jacobs bombs.

Farnsworth: Not going to say much here. Just a bad signing until proven otherwise. At $4.5 million, it's just flat out not worth it. Maybe for $1 mil.

Horacio Ramirez: Some necessary competition for the starting five, and could be the lefty starter that the Royals could really use. If not, he will be a valuable middle reliever.

Bloomquist: Good God. I'm sure you've all read all of the "WTF" responses to the signing of the human single. While his bat isn't quite TPJian... it's close. This just really doesn't make any sense, and unfortunately, the dudes probably going to wind up with 200+ ABs. Just ridiculous.

So... the question NOW is... did the Royals upgrade? Overall, I would say yes. Just the mere fact that we have likely squeezed out the bats of Mark Teahen and Ross Gload from the starting lineup is an upgrade. While the bullpen could stuggle at times, the loss of Nunez and Ramirez should be coupled with an increase in innings for the Mexicutioner.

All that's left now is for Dayton to find an extra $5 mil in his back pocket to go out and sign the O-Dog.

Welcome back to Corby and the Royals!!!

Today's Lesson:
Never get tangled up in the dangerous world of cock-fighting.