Friday, July 18, 2008

Contrary to Rumors, I'm Still Alive...

Wow, May 22 was my previous post on here, and I can't apologize enough for the lack of attention this blog has received over the past two months.

Have I given up hope in the Kansas City Royals? Nope. That's why I called this site Undying Royalty. Although some might have started to speculate about whether I was still a fan of the team, my loyalty remains in tact. I've just been keeping things to myself for awhile.

Have I still been keeping up with the team? Yes, I purchased MLB Extra Innings prior to the start of the season -- a fantastic purchase, I might add, although my one complaint is that I can't watch the pregame segments, or Royals Live after the game -- and I'd wager that I've watched at least as many, if not more, games than the average Royals fan.

Is the start of summer to blame? Partially. After I posted on May 22, I spent the next two weeks vacationing, the first at my in-laws in North Dakota, and the second fishing with my high school buddies at my parents' cabin. But that doesn't give me any reason to have failed to write a darn thing the past six weeks, and I'm sorry for that.

I will admit that I was pretty down on the team after that miserable stretch of the season in Boston and Toronto, which carried on into the 12-game losing streak. But Trey Hillman might have caught wind of my previous post, because Jimmy Gobble hasn't pitched in a game the Royals have won since he wrecked the team's chances to steal a win at Fenway Park on May 22*.

*My use of a Pozterisk here is to make everyone aware that Gobble hasn't let me down, going 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in 14 appearances, beginning May 22. He has worked 13.1 innings, allowing 18 hits, 16 runs (all earned), while walking 11 and striking out just seven. Taking a closer look at his numbers, he has surrendered a horrendous line of .316/.435/.614, with four home runs allowed, two wild pitches, one hit batsman, and has been allowed to throw 283 pitches, only 157 of which have been for strikes. Now, could someone please remind me, why the hell is he still on the Royals' active roster?!

Whew, okay, I feel better.

So, no, I haven't fallen ill, died, or mysteriously vanished from the face of the Earth. My blood still runs Royal blue, and I have just as much disdain for the St. Louis Cardinals. Speaking of which, I have absolutely no idea why I didn't take full advantage of the Royals' dominance over that other team from the Show Me State. Who's your daddy, Redbirds? That's right, look to the other side of the state, and give Trey Hillman's boys the respect they earned.

Tonight, the second half of the season begins, and it will be interesting to see how well the Royals can work through a very tough stretch of games against teams with winning records at the All-Star break. At 10 games under the .500 mark, there are at least five games I can think of that should have fallen into the win column in the first half, and a record of 48-48 at the break would have made things much more intriguing. Not that things won't be worth following as is, though.

I'll be extremely interested to see what kind of moves Dayton Moore makes in the next two weeks, and I think those transactions will depend largely on how well the team fares to start the second half. If the Royals come out of the gates hot, and win several games against Chicago, Detroit, and Tampa Bay, then I could see Kansas City become buyers in this market. But I'd estimate the chances of winning six to eight of those 10 games is fairly minimal.

What's more likely to happen is that, because of this challenging stretch in the schedule, the Royals will be aggressively looking to make some moves to bolster the team's future. Mark Grudzielanek's days in a Kansas City uniform are likely coming to an end, and players like Ron Mahay and even guys like Zack Greinke, Billy Butler, David DeJesus, Mark Teahen, and Esteban German are likely to be involved in private trade discussions between Moore and other teams. I can only hope that Jimmy Gobble's name comes up, as well, but my prayers are rarely answered.

Yes, I'll be watching, and hopefully, I will once again be writing on a regular basis. Thanks for putting up with my extended leave of absence.
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