(Alternate Title: How to Beat a Dead Horse with a Keyboard)
Once upon a time, the Kansas City Royals were the class act of baseball. A consistent, winning ballclub with a group of great players, a beautiful stadium, and a fantastic fanbase.
Fast forward to 2010, and it's something akin to I Am Legend. The stadium still stands, as pristine as ever, but it's almost devoid of life. The players who do inhabit it, are for the most part, hardly even qualified major leaguers.
There's even a hot dog slinging, retina-detaching lion roaming about. Truly a situation worthy of a horror movie.
But it's not all bad, right? There's got to be some bright spots on this roster. No team is completely devoid of positives. That goes without saying, and the Royals are no exception.
There's just one issue- there's not a whole lot of them. There's 5. Five.
Two of them are pitchers; one of them is a closer. This is the create-a-team in Madden using the Cream-puff setting. This is that one kid in your high-school Math class who has a 32 overall average. This is terrible.
The first four are somewhat predictably Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, David DeJesus, and Billy Butler, and the fourth is terminally under-appreciated Alberto Callaspo.
That terminally isn't some overdone literary embellishment either, because Alberto has been benched (at the time of this writing) for Chris Getz. So not only do they only have five good players, but one of them is riding the pine. Thanks, Trey Hillman!
Along with all of that, they're playing two of the arguably worst players in baseball in Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Guillen. Those two players combined for the astounding figure of -4.1 wins above replacement in 2009.
According to fangraphs.com, they accrued a negative $18.3 million in 'value' last season. Amazing for all the wrong reasons.
To rub hydrochloric acid into the huge gaping wound, Betancourt plays the important defensive position of shortstop extremely poorly, and Guillen is a DH who OPSes in the neighborhood of .700.
Besides all of that, it's just mediocre, in the most literal sense of the word. Jason Kendall is the starting catcher. The outfield besides DeJesus will at one point or another contain Brian Anderson, Scott Podsednik, or Rick Ankiel.
So let's recap what we have so far:
- A lack of any good quantity of talent
- Incompetent manager
- Mind-blowingly horrible players in important offensive and defensive positions
- The lion mascot actually maims people (this may or may not be awesome)
But there's one more thing to go over, and it's all the way at the top. The General Manager is the man who makes all of these personnel decisions, and the Royals GM has made all of his decisions universally bad.
His name is Dayton Moore, and he wants you to trust "The Process." What this process is, nobody outside of Mr. Moore and maybe some incarnation of Rachel Phelps (of Major League infamy).
What it's consisted of to this point is almost a scary parallel to the movie. There's the slugger who can't hit breaking stuff (Ankiel), the old catcher who was good once upon a time (Kendall), a wild reliever with nasty stuff (Farnsworth), and Yuniesky Betancourt, who plays the role of every other terrible player from the beginning of the movie.
At least Greinke can, and will make your heart sing.
Welcome to another season of Royals baseball.
P.S. - Sorry for the silly tripe.