Even casual observers are aware of the Chicago Cubs’ failure over the last one hundred plus years to win a championship, a level of accomplishment that has built up an aura of inevitability that welcomes suckers, gamblers, statisticians and romantics in equal measure. Writers far more tortured and elegant than I have written about the agony of cheering for the Chicago Cubs.
This legacy of ineptitude is somewhat misleading. The club was actually pretty good, all things considered, from 1903-1945. Since WWII? Only 5 seasons of 90 or more wins. Tampa Bay alone has equaled that mark, and not just from the franchise’s inception in 1998, which would be cringe inducing enough, but since the name change in 2008 from Devil Rays to Rays. Yeesh.
So you’re saying there’s slightly less of a chance.
It was reported today that Luke Hochevar is out for the season, due to undergo Tommy John surgery. This is manageable given the depth of the Royals bullpen, but will still likely cost the Royals one win this season, dropping their expected win total to 88. Kansas City Royals 2014 Preview
Injuries are a reality for every team, but the Royals have almost no margin for error, which is to say I really hope a little extra firepower is added to the team at some point or at the very least that James Shields and Greg Holland are driving to Kauffman stadium in one of these.
Pitchers and catchers are reporting for duty, and the marathon that is the major league baseball season will soon commence with the cactus and grapefruit leagues splitting squads and testing arms on the way to telling us almost nothing of value in terms of accurately predicting the events of the upcoming season. In the vein of pointlessly speculating, and in lieu of more productive activity in the real world, let’s examine the prospects for the 2014 Kansas City Royals. Continue reading →
Indiana Jones hesitates to take the idol, unsure whether the Incas forged it during the steroid era.
Maybe Indy wouldn’t be so upset about the Baseball Hall of Fame insanity that we’re subjected to in the new millennium, but I’m growing very weary. Today, around ten players who are obvious, no doubt, sure-fire first-ballot hall of famers were given the shaft by the collected baseball writers of America, most of whom were left out in the cold because they are proven/admitted/suspected steroid users and a few because the voters have no understanding of how to measure greatness. Continue reading →
After 81 games, the Royals stand at 39-42. This is very disappointing, but it’s hardly a disaster, especially with only a 4 game deficit in the division in the loss column.
At the beginning of the season, the big questions surrounding the Royals had to do with the bottom half of the starting rotation and the offense, and at the halfway mark of the season, it’s very clear that the former has been bad but the latter has been a disaster approaching Hindenburg/Pompeii proportions. Continue reading →
The Kansas City Royals perfectly illustrate the difficulties of winning in the steroid era with a small-market team. Consider that between 1975 and 1990, the Royals had 12 winning seasons in which they won two AL pennants and one world series. In the fifteen-year period from 1997 to 2012, the team managed only one winning season, in 2003, finishing 83-79. The reason, to a large degree, can be traced to an economic disparity in baseball that began, coincidentally, about 15 years ago.
In 1985, the year the Royals won the world series, their payroll was a little over $11 million, just slightly above the league average. Only 8 teams will have a lower payroll than the Royals in 2013, including the Houston Astros, who will spend less on their entire opening-day team than the Yankees will spend on what remains of Alex Rodriguez. In the American League, the Yankees will spend almost $150 million more than the Royals this year. To steal/mangle a line from King Theoden in The Two Towers, “So much money. What can men do against such reckless spending?” Continue reading →