Monday, July 04, 2005

Swing Low

It's astounding how quickly the optimism fades in Kansas City.

The conventional wisdom when Buddy Bell was hired was that he was being setup for disaster. The Royals should have given their manager a fresh start at the beginning of next reason rather than plunging him knee deep into the 2005 quagmire, because there was nothing good that could come out of it. (They also should have hired Bobby Valentine - zing!)

For two weeks, Buddy Bell defied those expectations. It wasn't just that they were finally winning baseball games; he had the team playing with discipline, intensity and professionalism. It was the complete antithesis of the final days of Tony and every Royals fan could see it. After Buddy's hot start, I felt that he'd earned enough respect and credibility as a manager to last him through the rest of the season and into next year. The only way this wouldn't happen was if the Royals were to somehow collapse again, which seemed extremely unlikely given the improved approach the Royals were taking with each game.

Buddy's on the verge of squandering his currency:

First 15 games: 11-4
Runs Scored / Game: 5.8
Runs Allowed / Game: 4.7

Last 15 games: 2-13
Runs Scored / Game: 2.9
Runs Allowed / Game: 6.0

It was patently ridiculous to expect the Royals to maintain a high level of play with the dearth of talent and experience they have on the roster. Perversely, though, Buddy changed the expectations of the fan base when the Royals started playing well for 2 weeks, and now that they've returned to the awful level of baseball with which we'd familiarized ourselves for 2 months he's probably going to suffer some ill will as a result. The culprit, as usual, is offense. While the Royal pitching has been worse over the recent poor stretch, its the hitting that has returned to the usual levels of suckitude. With or without Buddy, when your cleanup hitter is Emil Brown, you're going to have a hard time scoring runs on a consistent basis. The lineup is chock full of vitamins, nutrients and easy outs.

The lineup card debacle, even if it was just an innocuous mistake, simply reinforces the perception that the Royals are a second-rate organization and a cut-rate-punching-bag.

-- Happy birthday, U.S.A. The longest-running, largest-scale social experiment in world history continues into its 230th year. How 'bout that.


Post a Comment

<< Home