Friday, October 06, 2006

GeorgiaRoyal Introduction

I'm very glad to be on board here at The Daily Lancer. I've been a fan of the Royals since the glory years of the late 1990's. It was actually 1998, to be exact. I know, it seems odd to jump on the bandwagon at that point, but it was going pretty slow and it was pretty easy to get on there. I was just in time to enjoy a 72-89 season in Tony Muser's first full season as manager.

I blame Terry Pendleton, really. I was a Cardinal fan as a kid and Terry Pendleton became my instant favorite player when I met him at an autograph signing at Columbia Mall in Columbia, Missouri. My family moved to the suburbs of Atlanta, GA in 1989 and Terry Pendleton joined the Braves in 1991. After the Braves, Terry bounced around a little, but ended up with the Kansas City Royals. I had never followed AL ball before, and was intrigued by the DH and seeing the other half of the major leagues I'd never paid a lot of attention to. So, I began following Terry and the Royals during the 1998 season. He retired after the 1998 season, but I'm still here. Waiting for the year when it all comes together.

1998 wasn't all bad. Dean Palmer gave the Great Steve Balboni a run with 34 HR. Balboni remains the Royals all time, single season, HR record holder with 36 HR in 1985, as sad as that is here in the steroid era. Tim Belcher and Patt Rapp anchored the pitching staff while a couple of 23 year old lefties (Jose Rosado and Glendon Rusch) showed a hope for the future. At the end of the 1998 sesaon, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Febles made their debuts. "Dos Carlos" was all the hype going into the 1999 season, but only Uno Carlos actually did much after 1999.

The Royals drafted Jeff Austin with the 4th overall pick of the 1998 draft. It was at this point that I began my, as my wife calls it, nerdom about the Royals and their minor league system. I was aware of the draft, but never paid much attention until 1998. I realized that there were teams of players that were working their respective ways to the Bigs. I think I knew this before, but it just didn't register with me. Many won't make it, but they are all playing to be the few that do make it and make a difference in the Major Leagues. That's why I love it. Sure, it's been tainted a bit with all of the million dollar babies. They aren't actually roughing it through the bus leagues and such, but the vast majority of the guys are making huge sacrifices to play ball and cling to the hope that they could be one of the few that gets to play in the Majors.

That's where the hope, as a Royals fan, comes from. There are 7 teams of minor leaguers that are under the Royals control, not to mention the guys down in the Dominican. Which of these guys are destined to be "organizational guys" and which ones are going to be pieces of the championship puzzle? That's why I pay attention. I want to know as much as possible about these guys when they get to KC and I also want to know as much about they guys as possible that are just clinging to the hope that they might one day get there.


At 10:49 PM, Blogger Darren said...

Georgia (or should I call you Eric?),

I'm looking forward to doing this with you. It should be fun--pooling our vast knowledge.


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