Thursday, April 19, 2012

Will ASG Television Audience See The K Through Mist?

Today's a day off for the Royals, so I'm watching a few games on MLB Extra Innings and figured I'd write something short about a topic other than the recent miserable results.

With today's press conference at Kauffman Stadium to unveil the ballot for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City, it got me thinking about a what-if scenario.

Many times when I'm watching a televised broadcast from The K, the picture from the center field cameras is obscured by mist from the stadium's fountains that blows in front of the camera platform. I think the wind has to be blowing a certain direction for this to occur, but the other night when it was happening during the game against Cleveland, it made me wonder what the national reaction from fans would be if it happened during the All-Star Game.

I think what needs to be done is to construct some sort of elevated platform that would raise the cameras up to a level where the mist would be below them. Either that, or they need to move the cameras to another location, but where? There aren't many options when you think about it.

The bottom line is this for the Royals - they want Kauffman Stadium to shine in front of what will likely be the largest television audience ever to view a game from the venue. It would really be unfortunate if one of the main things people remember from the game is that FOX had to go to a view from behind the plate because the outfield cameras were rendered useless.

That's all I have for tonight. Hoping the Royals are making good use of this off day to rest up and restart their season anew when Toronto comes to town tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hey, Royals Fans...RELAX!

Think back to the start of the 2011 season for a moment. On May 23, the Cleveland Indians owned first place in the American League Central by seven games after jumping out to a record of 30-15. They were the talk of baseball, and the toast of the town.

The Royals had an off day on May 23, but on May 24 they were 22-24 and entered the opening game of a series at Baltimore a full 8.0 games behind the Indians.The point? Fast (or slow) starts don't always matter. From that point on, the Indians fell apart, going 50-67 and finishing the season at 80-82.

Last year's Royals were 6-4 through 10 games and sat in third place in the AL Central. This year's team has lost five straight games early on to start 3-7. The Royals are 4.0 games back of the Tigers, and tied for fourth place in the standings.

Because of lofty expectations heading into this season, Royals fans are acting like the sky is falling. One bad weekend against the Indians has KC "faithful" calling for Dayton Moore's job, booing some of the team's promising young players, and completely overreacting to every little thing.

Here's a classic example of fans' stupid behavior. After Luke Hochevar was drilled on the ankle by a line drive off the bat of Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana, I read a post on where a fan was actually hoping he broke his leg or ankle to end his season. Really?! Come on, man.

Listen people, it's 10 games into a 162-game season. I've done this type of analogy before, but those ten games are the equivalent of one game in an NFL schedule. So, the Royals lost their first "game." They are very capable of bouncing back and being competitive within the Central.

Don't get me wrong, I'm among those who are frustrated with the disappointing start to the season. I expected a much better first 10 games. I didn't think Eric Hosmer (8-for-40) and Alex Gordon (5-for-39) would have combined to go 13-for-79 at the plate. I didn't think Cleveland would have seven-run, six-run, five-run, AND four-run innings during the three-game weekend set.

But it's baseball, and I'm certainly smart enough to realize that this is the youngest team in the game and stretches like this are going to happen from time-to-time. I'm not calling for Dayton Moore's head. I'm not jumping off the bandwagon after one crappy weekend.

After all, I've been riding this bandwagon since 1980, and I know it's a bumpy ride. Things WILL get better, so calm down and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Building a Solid Home

Put yourself in this situation for a moment. You're needing a new home. The one you're currently living in no longer fits your needs, and it's a bit run down. You want to build something brand new, and you've been saving money to invest in something that will serve as the home of your dreams. It's the house you'll retire in, and one that you'll welcome family and friends to for years to come.

After putting your current home on the market, it's come to the point where you need to find a qualified contractor to construct your dream home. After a thorough search, you've limited the choices to a pair of candidates.

Contractor A has a solid reputation as someone whose company will get the job done quickly. He promises that you'll be able to move into your new home in about six weeks, and it's exciting for you to think about the possibility that you'll be enjoying your new home in such a short time.

Contractor B also has a sound reputation as someone whose company does a great job and comes highly-recommended. However, unlike the other choice, this guy states that it'll be about 4-5 months before construction is complete.

Before you jump at Contractor A's offer to have you into your new place in a little more than a month, you do some more research and ask friends and family whether they know anything about either of the contractors, and here's the gist of what you find.

Contractor A spends more money up front for things like high-end kitchen appliances and fancy light fixtures, but his focus is so much on getting the house built quickly that his work lacks the overall quality of Contractor B, who doesn't cut corners to save time.

You're not needing to sell your current home before you start work on the new place, so time isn't too much of an issue. So, do you still go with Contractor A? Or do you think it's worth it to be patient and allow Contractor B the time it takes to build a home for you that won't start falling apart a few years down the road?

Where am I going with this? Well, let's apply this analogy to baseball. Think of Contractor A as a Major League Baseball general manager who will come in, spend money on some pricey free agents, and have your team competing for a division title within a year. The downside, though, is that after those free agents have moved on for more money, his fix-it-quickly method has left the organization without a sustainable plan for long-term success.

Contractor B is Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore. He gets criticized all the time by impatient fans for having taken too much time to field a winner at the MLB level. But his plan to start by rebuilding the farm system is starting to pay off, and he's likely at the point where he'll add a "high-end kitchen appliance" in the form of a starting pitcher or two this offseason.

Moore's "process" has taken longer, but I'd choose Contractor B over Contractor A nine times out of 10. The "house" Moore's building in Kansas City has a much greater chance of sustaining success for the long-term than one built by a GM who was focused on a quick fix.

Moore, of course, is using the same approach to rebuilding the Royals organization as the one that was utilized in Atlanta. He joined the Braves organization in 1994, and worked his way up the administrative ladder until he left to become Kansas City's GM on June 8, 2006. During his time in Atlanta, the Braves won 90 or more games in 11 of 13 seasons, and the two times they failed to reach that level were during his first year -- the strike-shortened 1994 season (68-46) -- and during the 2006 season when Moore departed (79-83).

The key to Atlanta's success has always been its highly-regarded and talent-rich farm system, and the architect of that system is former Royals GM John Schuerholz. Schuerholz served as General Manager in Atlanta from 1990 to 2007, and Moore spent valuable time learning the craft from Schuerholz.

Now entering his sixth offseason in KC, Moore is attempting to build an organization in Kansas City that will be able to field a winning team for years to come -- you know, just like that solidly constructed dream home in the opening analogy.

But, just as contractors run into issues that push back the reveal of a new home, Moore's task was made more difficult by the sorry state of the Royals organization when he took the reigns from Allard Baird.

Six times in the nine seasons prior to 2006, Kansas City won fewer than 70 games. In fact, the Royals had lost 100 or more games in three of four seasons prior to Moore's hiring. Kansas City also lost 100 games during that 2006 campaign, but hasn't done so since.

Don't get me wrong. The Royals have been far from good, with their 75-87 record in 2008 being the best season under Moore's watch. But, just as Contractor B takes his time to build a quality home that will last for decades, Moore has taken his time to build a strong foundation -- the farm system that will hopefully result in the type of long-term success enjoyed in Atlanta.

Sure, Moore could have focused more of his initial energy on making the Royals a winner by 2008 or 2009. It's why people are questioning whether he's going to be able to see this restoration project through to the point where Kansas City reaches the playoffs. But I've always trusted that he was doing things the right way by taking his time to turn the Royals' farm system into one of the best in baseball.

That farm system, which Baseball America gave its highest-ever grade to prior to the 2011 season, will allow the Royals to be able to sustain a level of success for years to come. Now Moore is about to go shopping, in an attempt to find a guy like Edwin Jackson, who could bolster the Royals' 2012 rotation. The lineup and the bullpen are solid, the defense is as good as its been in decades, and Moore is putting the finishing touches on that dream home.

Trust me, or rather, trust Dayton Moore -- Contractor B. It'll be worth the wait when his work is done.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Hello. My name's Mike, and I run this site. Well, I ran this site, since it's been two-plus years since I've given you anything to read. I've set myself up for criticism, since I cleverly decided to name this blog Undying Royalty, and the content on it basically died. I mean, hell, my last post took place when Trey Hillman was still at the helm. Maybe that explains why I stopped writing. I was too embarrassed for having defended him as Royals manager.

In reality, though, my loyalty for the Kansas City Royals has never wavered, and I didn't give up on the organization for a second. Truth be told, real life just got in the way of my blogging.

Some of you who followed this blog from the beginning might know that I was a stay-at-home dad when it launched. When I first started Undying Royalty, my son was still at home with me. These days, he's in elementary school, which means I have too much time to know what to do with.

I'd like to say that I'm employed full-time, but I'm not. Last year at this time, I was working a contract position at the University of Minnesota, providing coverage for its women's basketball program. These days, I drink far too much coffee, watch TV, and take care of minor projects around the house. I still do some volunteer work for Gopher Athletics, but I've made the decision to rededicate some of my time to making this blog worth reading again.

Listen, I'm no Rany Jazayerli. If you're a Kansas City Royals fan and you haven't come across his blog,
Rany on the Royals, you need to check it out. But I do hope to regain some of the followers I once had, and to provide another view on my favorite team. Hope you'll forgive me for my long absence.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Sky is Not Falling!

So, the Royals have lost nine of their past 12 games. Fickle Royals fans are hanging off the bandwagon, with one foot dragging on the ground, and prepared to jump ship. Message boards are filled with posts from people who are ready to write this season off. The Royals can't win this division. This team doesn't have enough offense to keep pace with Detroit. The defense sucks. KC's pitching isn't able to keep its ERA so low for the entire season.

To all the wishy-washy, non-believer Royals "fans" out there, I just have one thing to say. It's May 22nd, people!!!

Good grief. The Royals are 21-20, and in second place. I think most of us would have taken that if someone had told us that's where the Royals would find themselves toward the end of May. And, yes, the team is 3-9 in its last 12 games. But go back six more games (to include KC's six-game winning streak), and the team is 9-9 over its last 18 games. So it depends how you look at it.

I've shared my opinion on those message boards, and I'm one who truly believes that there is not going to be a team that runs away with the A.L. Central this season. Sure, right now it looks like Detroit's newfound pitching proficiency is going to allow the Tigers to pull away from the pack. But I don't think that's going to last throughout the summer.

Dontrelle Willis had a 9-point-something ERA prior to pitching a great game against Texas in his last start. And, I'll admit, even I picked him up in one of my fantasy leagues, just in case the old D-Train is back on the tracks. But something inside me tells me it won't last.

And Chicago came very close to acquiring Jake Peavy, before picking the worst possible time to lose a game 20-1, and possibly helping Peavy to realize it might not be much different in Chicago than it is in San Diego. Thank you, Minnesota!!

The Twins do look good, at least offensively. Joe Mauer has suddenly found a power surge, and Justin Morneau is putting up MVP-type numbers again. But the Twins' pitching isn't as good as most people around here (I live in the Twin Cities) seemed to think. Francisco Liriano is just not the same pitcher he was prior to his surgery, and I think Minnesota's just going to be like every other team in the division.

And Cleveland? Even though the Tribe just took two of three in Kansas City, I think the lack of pitching will continue to send the Indians in the wrong direction. And I really think Eric Wedge would have been out of a job had Cleveland lost the series at Kauffman Stadium.

What Royals fans need to keep in mind is one of the oldest sports cliches in the book. It's a marathon, not a sprint, people. It's a 162-game season, and just because the Royals are struggling in the past two weeks doesn't mean that the season is over, or that the team doesn't have a chance to make a run at the division.

It's not going to be easy, and there will be lots of bad stretches, mixed in with plenty of good stretches. This division race is going to be a fight the whole season, and those of us who are smart enough to realize that are going to be okay.

For everyone else, it's going to be a bumpy ride, with lots of bruises, as they jump off the bandwagon, only to try to chase it down and jump back on whenever the Royals hit another hot streak.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Royals Need Aviles' Bat to Come to Life

Kansas City has had the pitching and defense it needs to win games this season. But the offense? It leaves much to be desired.

Prior to Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Tigers, the Royals led the American League in runs allowed, runs allowed per game, complete games, shutouts, hits allowed, earned runs allowed, WHIP, strikeouts per nine innings, fewest errors, double plays turned, and fielding percentage. Yet, three weeks into the season, Kansas City is 9-9 after today's loss to Detroit.

Every Royals fan knows that three of those losses hang on the shoulders of Kyle Farnsworth, who has not exactly lived up to the two-year, $9 million free agent deal he inked during the offseason. Farnsworth's inability to hold leads has stirred the ire of Kansas City's faithful from coast-to-coast, and hopefully, manager Trey Hillman has finally realized (or has been told) that Farnsworth is not the guy to call upon late in close games.

But, more than anything, it's Kansas City's lack of offense early this season that has led to the .500 record. The Royals entered today's game ranked first only in triples, thanks to Coco Crisp's league-leading total of three. But K.C. ranks last, or next-to-last, in the following categories: runs scored, runs per game, at bats, hits, stolen bases, and batting average.

It's certainly not fair to focus on one player for the Royals' offensive woes, as one player could not make much of a dent in the team's deficiencies, but Mike Aviles' struggles sure come to mind when thinking about the team's lack of offense.

One year after taking the American League by storm, Kansas City's shortstop is having a nightmarish "sophomore" season. In 2008, Aviles batted .325/.354/.480 in 102 games after a late-May call-up from Omaha, with 136 hits, 68 runs scored, 51 runs batted in, 27 doubles, four triples, and 10 home runs. Aviles had 39 multiple-hit games, coming up with more than one hit an impressive 38.2 percent of the time.

And this year? Aviles entered this afternoon's game batting an ugly .169/.180/.203, with only two multi-hit games, four RBI, three runs scored, two doubles, and no home runs. He had collected one hit in his past 20 at bats.

This scares Royals fans, as they've seen this act before. Angel Berroa was the A.L. Rookie of the Year in 2003, and was never the same. Tony Pena Jr.? Well, he's Tony Pena Jr. In order to be successful this season, the Royals need to have a productive bat from Aviles.

Because, if Aviles can't be close to the player he was in 2008, when he was named the Royals' Player of the Year and finished fourth in the A.L. Rookie of the Year balloting, then it's either TPJ or Willie Bloomquist at shortstop, and I don't think there are many K.C. fans out there that want that.

But there might be a light at the end of this, slump. With the Royals trailing the Tigers, 3-1, in the bottom of the ninth today, Aviles came to the plate having just one single in his past 23 at bats. Although I really wish there had been a runner on base at the time, Aviles hit his first home run of 2009 into the Tigers' bullpen, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Now that is the Mike Aviles the Royals have been missing. Enough with this Angel Berroa/TPJ impersonation. We want the 2008 version of Aviles back. Hopefully, Aviles' final plate appearance this afternoon is the first sign of life in a desperately-missed bat in the Royals' lineup.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fire Hillman? Seriously?!

Saying the Royals should fire Trey Hillman right now is blowing these two early season losses -- the season-opener and today's game -- completely out of proportion. It's such a Chiefs mentality.

In the NFL, if a coach blows two games, it'd be an eighth of the schedule. But seeing how MLB plays 162 games, two losses is just 1/81st of the schedule. So it's definitely not as drastic, and all the "fire Trey!!!!!" types should take a step back from their keyboards and come back tomorrow.

Yes, I'm pissed that Trey brought Kyle Farnsworth into the game. Read my post in the game thread on I (Royal_in_MN) predicted the end as soon as I saw him enter the game. There is NO WAY that Farnsworth should have been anywhere near the mound in the ninth inning of a tie game.

But do I want Trey Hillman to lose his job for it? Quite simply, no. Farnsworth is a seasoned veteran, and Hillman had to think that he could get some guys out. I mean, I'm sure the thought of another disastrous finish crossed Hillman's mind, but he went on a hunch that Farnsworth wouldn't do a repeat.

Of course, Hillman's hunch was wrong, and it sucks for us that he thought Farnsworth was an option in that situation. I think Kyle Farnsworth needs to be "demoted" strictly to the sixth or seventh innings in games that are not close (3+ run differential), until he can put together a lengthy stretch of worthwhile performances that prove he deserves another chance to work the eighth (NOT the ninth).

But even I don't think Farnsworth should be "dumped," which is what many of those same "fire Hillman" types are advocating. To dump Farnsworth is like eating $9 million, and I seriously don't think the Royals are in a position to be able to do that.

And firing Hillman at this point of the season would probably do no good for such a young team. Going back to the NFL vs. MLB analogy, losing the two games I mentioned is not even equal to playing one miserable quarter in a football game. Would you seriously fire a coach for having one bad quarter early in the season?!

I hope your answer is no.

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