Wednesday, April 27, 2005

After the Love Was Gone

Two seasons of blogging the Royals, two seasons of rapidly dwindling interest in late April.

Last year, the expectations before the season were high. This year, the Royals led us on for the first week, seducing all of us into believing that this team MIGHT compete for something more important than "Royals Baseball - We Won't Lose 100!". The Royals were scoring runs (on bloop singles, mind you), the starting pitching, sans Jose Lima, ranged from effective to dominant, the bullpen was horrid (hey, if everything went well...) and the team was - gulp - "found wanting" defensively. Maintain the strengths, improve the weaknesses, and BAM - 80 win season.

The next couple of weeks reminded us - rudely - that we are, indeed, Kansas City Royals fans, and are preordained to live with another lost season.

First 6 games: 3-3
Last 14 games: 2-12

Being a follower of this team sucks the life out of you.

Lately, though, this team has found comical, creative, EXCITING new methods of losing, even while playing fairly well. Last night Jose Lima, of all pitchers, went toe-to-toe with the best starting pitcher in baseball, putting the Royals in a position to win yet again against Johan Santana. This time, 'twas a terrible Joe McEwing throw on a fairly routine double play ball and two bloop singles off of Ambiorix Burgos. The weekend series with the White Sox was a comedy of comedic comicalness, leading to a completely avoidable sweep.

Sure, I don't understand why Pena would start the inning with Sisco in a tie game, watch him record the first out, and then lift him for Burgos. It wasn't the move that hurt the team; Burgos just gave up two walks and two fluke singles. But the growing consensus is that Pena hurts the team with his incessant micromanaging, and taking Sisco out of the game after recording the first out in a tie game just LOOKS odd. And once (not if) the Royals lost, it just opens the door for more criticism of his management style, fair or not.


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