Media Matters

So, I was trying to find some more Royals sources using RSS. I’m a geek and read everything in Google Reader. I have a Yahoo! feed of Royals stories, but it’s sparse sometimes. Bleacher Report stories are hit and miss (especially when the amateur writers show their lack of knowledge about the ballclub). Most of those folks and some bloggers don’t have the media access to actually do a lot of ‘reporting,” just usually opinions.

Going to WHB’s website didn’t yield much, a few articles, mostly stats and standings imported in from somewhere else.

What about 610 Sports, “The Home of the Royals?” I was disappointed to see that their Royals site labeled “Royals Insider” but also called was really lacking. No audio from Saturday or Sunday’s games in Texas. The blog was empty and labeled “Robert Ford Spring Training Blog.” There were Royals articles scattered across the 610 site (which has some navigational issues), but no bundle of them for easy reading.

My last stop was Fox Sports Kansas City. They had some good timely articles and an RSS feed for them. Nicely laid and easy to navigate.

So my media rankings in covering the Royals go like this: 1) Kansas City Star 2) Fox Sports Kansas City 3) 610 Sports 4) 810 WHB 5) Bloggersphere.


Saturday In The Park: No Futures For FSKC?

Some notes for a nice April Saturday.

  • I guess the Kansas State baseball game takes precedence over airing the Futures game between the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers (cough: Royals) and the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals. But, a memo to the Fox Sports brass. Can we stop using the “FSMidwest” branding on half of the programming on the supposed “Fox Sports Kansas City?” We hate that because it really means “Fox Sports St. Louis.” We hate St. Louis. No really. Maybe, someone in your Houston master control could lift a finger to push a button to fix that.
  • As I start a media rant, what was up with the Miller Lite commercials on 610 Sports that said “Happy Holidays?” Plus, all of the dead air in between innings. Does anyone really care at KCSP?
  • Does anyone sell Alex Gordon dart boards? You could make a lot of money with that. Just sayin.’
  • I have Greinke on my fantasy baseball team. He’s on the DL, probably for the whole month of April. Did we trade at the right time?

Optimism Watch: .500 Season??

Royals fanatic and blogger Minda Haas put it best when she tweeted.


Don’t ask questions. Just enjoy it, Minda. Kansas City is 2-1 — over .500 for the first time since early 2009. After winning two straight games against the Angels in come from behind fashion, it makes me turn my head and wonder. Can we be decent? Not great. Not pennant contenders. Just decent.

All of the “experts” predicted another miserable season at the K. ” Hold on, help is coming from the minors.” We’ve heard it for years since Dayton Moore took over the general manager job in Kansas City. My wife constantly asks me “when this supposed revival is coming.” And for years, I have answered, “Soon . . . I hope.”

But, with Crow and Collins in the bullpen and a patchwork of a rotation that’s not awful but not great either, the pitching has bent but not broke in the first three games. The defense (outside of the three odd errors on Opening Day) has been pretty darn good. Add a running game and some pop from Kila, we could be .500. There, I said it. (Blame me later).

The Royals fan in me is ready for the 8-game skid to follow. You know what I’m talking about. And that’s the key. If the Royals are above .500 (or close) at the end of April, this will be a decent season.

If not . . .

Yeah, here we go again.


The Mess of Meche’s Retirement

The Gil Meche story tells me something about people’s thoughts on athletes and how the media covers them.
First of all, I have actually seen disdain for Gil Meche for not taking $12.4 million in continuing to play. Some are saying, “He signed a contract, he should honor it.”
They are upset with Meche because he didn’t take the $12.4 million and pitch ineffectively from the bullpen deals and possibly get hurt. He’s been hurt for the past couple years and didn’t pitch that well.
He took a hard look at the facts in December and realized the chances weren’t good. Despite his intentions, it was unlikely that he would be able to earn that $12.4 million on the mound. Not because he didn’t want to, but because his body probably would let him.
And he’s somehow selfish. No matter the fact the Royals have $12.4 million to spend on a player or two to try and bolster their lineup.
Some are afraid that pressure will be brought to bear on other players in similar situations. Some goofball even mentioned the baseball player’s association should stop him.
Now, he made over $40 million over the previous four years with the Royals. And contrary to some of media hecklers, he shouldn’t have to give it back. Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore took a risk. And he knew it.
One a rising star with the Mariners, the injury bug kept Meche from being the pitcher most baseball folks thought he would be.
That’s called life.
I will look back on the Gil Meche era in Kansas City and remember a risk that didn’t pan out. But, I won’t blame Meche for bowing out early.
As for the media, this story broke (LINK) on Tuesday (Jan. 18). It was unusual, sure. But, it took nearly a week for the national media to really notice. Then, it became big news because of “pack journalism,” everyone following everyone else. They treated it as if it were new. And, most of the media (including the sports folks who should know better) completely left out his injuries. They scratched their heads and pontificated.
Do some research, people.

A Banny Day; Royals Beat Tigers, 7-2

The Royals offense started early and it overwhelmed Jeremy Bonderman and the Tigers, 7-2, on Faith and Family Sunday at the K.

This is what we want to see more of.

Quality Starting Pitching: Brian Bannister went 7 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking only one.  Sure, Banny was helped by the early cushion but giving two runs on five hits is solid.

Quality Offensive Attack: We had some power (Jose Guillen’s 3-run homer), good hitting and good baserunning (Mitch Maier scoring from third on a ball that didn’t get out to the warning track) in a 15-hit attack where every Royals player collected a hit (even replacement DH Wilson Betemit).

I can only find one negative from Sunday’s game and it came on the final out when Joakim Soria and Billy Butler nearly collided for the final pop-out. Does anyone on this team know how to communicate? Does anyone yell, “I got it!?”

Seriously. That’s last decade Royals stuff.

Soria caught the ball and the game was over, but I can see injuries to our best All-Star game candidate in Butler and our dominant closer in Soria.

C’mon guys, call it! 🙂

Sunday Funday Links
Banny’s Day
Great outing by Brian Bannister and a great talk before the Jeremy Camp concert as well.

Royals Target Miami U Catcher
The Royals have alternatives, however.

2010 Royals Authoriy Mock Draft
Is Yasmani Grandal a lock for the first pick?

Royals Beat Tigers, 7-3; No Comedy On The Field

Nice win for the Royals over the Tigers, 7-3. Outside of the mistake that Kyle Farnsworth made that resulted in a 3-run bomb for Detroit, the Royals pitching (both Bruce Chen and the relief corps) performed well. The offensive effort makes me think that if Zack Greinke had half this support, he might 3-4. Maybe? Hmmm, maybe Zack should pitch in disguise and see what happens.

Luckily for Kansas City, the comedy was confined to the third-base dugout suite with several local comedians joined by Will Ferrell at the game. The segments with the comics and Fox Sports Kansas City’s Joel Goldberg were funny, but they bordered on too long. You would hope that if things on the field got really interesting that the FSKC director would get back to Ryan and Frank.

TGIF Links

Royals beat Tigers 7-3 before Sky Show honors 1985 champions

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as sung by Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle! (posted on Twitter by @HoltzyKC)
Will Ferrell not pictued because he didn’t sing.

Royals Pleased With Yost
What would you expect Dayton Moore to say?

Noel Arguelles: Arguelles (shoulder) shut down by Royals?
Not good news for the high-profile prospect.

Attack of the Umpires

This is first and foremost a Royals blog, but I have to comment on the blown call Wednesday in the Indians-Tigers game that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland argues with Jim Joyce after the controversial call that prevented a perfect game. (The Associated Press)

Jim Joyce knows that he blew it. All of baseball knows that he blew it. (SEE THE PLAY). What would have been the third perfect game in a month became a 1-hit shutout for a player who had just been called up from the minor leagues when Joyce waved his hands in the air, giving the safe call.

Now, most of the media and some fans are banging the drum for expanded instant replay.

Do we want to go down that road? I say, no.

Royals manager Ned Yost disagrees.

“The umpires should be able to get the call right, ” he told reporters after his game Wednesday night. “If it takes instant replay, that doesn’t bother me.”

Major league baseball currently only reviews select home run calls and a few other instances (DETAILS). The current system does not address plays like the one Joyce missed.

Expanding the system will slow down games. While I love the sport, baseball is a slow game. We don’t need it to get any slower. It will also change how umpires make the calls on the field. You can see that in football’s instant replay system (which also can make football games way too long).

What I would rather see is better umpire training. While it did not happen in the Joyce case, I have seen numerous times where umpires are in the wrong place to make calls or don’t interpret rules correctly. There are also a lot of umpires who are very inconsistent in calling balls and strikes. I would prefer to see a rule-book strike zone, but I would rather get consistency.

Let’s focus on these aspects instead of implementing a time-consuming system that won’t make the umpires better.

Royal starting pitcher Brian Bannister is not in favor of expanding instant replay.

“I think it would slow the game down and take the responsibility out of the umpires’ hands.”

There’s a footnote to the Jim Joyce story. He saw the replay after the game.

“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” he said afterward. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

He knew he messed up and he apologized to Galarraga in person. That was classy. Galarraga also deserves some praise for the way he handled the incident as well.


Now, let’s move from a good umpire who made a bad call to a minor league umpire who was filling in and needs to have  a sit-down meeting with an umpire supervisor about his home-plate manner.

Mike Estabrook called the Royals’ 5-4 loss to the Angels Thursday. He wasn’t making either side very happy with his balls and strikes calls. He had already warned Angels manager Mike Scioscia early in the game for griping about the calls.

Later, when he didn’t call a close pitch from Zack Greinke a strike, catcher Jason Kendall looked back as if he was going to make a comment. Then, Estabrook called time and walked in front of Kendall and started to chew him out. Seriously? (VIDEO)

Royals color commentator Frank White was right when he commented that minor league umpires operate differently than their major league counterparts.

“They tell you to shut-up, stay in the dugout,” White said on the Fox Sports Kansas City telecast. “But when you get to this level, you’ve gotta understand that you have to make some changes when you get here.”

It might be one thing for minor league umps to lay down the law for a group of 18-22 year old players in the minors. But, Jason Kendall is a 14-year major league veteran catcher (He broke in to the bigs when I was in college!!). That was no way to act on the umpire’s part. Then Yost complained about the incident and was ejected. But Yost was right to complain. To quote Royals play-by-play announcer Ryan Lefebvre:

“That was brutal.”

Zack’s So Good, Even His Own Team Can’t Hit

A day after piling up 12 runs on 20 hits, the Royals were shutout, 1-0 by Boston.
That means Zack Greinke must have been on the mound for Kansas City.
I’m beginning to think the Royals press when Zack is on the mound. I think he presses sometimes too. After all, 1-6 is no way follow a Cy Young Award win.
That was evident when he was shelled last Sunday. But, Saturday night was no shelling. Sure, he walked four and only lasted six innings, throwing 114 pitches. But, holding the Red Sox to a lone run should get you a better chance at a ‘W.’
Greinke still commands respect, despite the slow start.
“Cy Young, man,” Boston’s David Ortiz told “Cy Young. That’s a guy that has confidence in himself. Even not starting the season like he did last year, you can see that he still makes pitches.”
When other parts of the Royals lineup command a fraction of that respect, then we may have something.
Until then, tough luck Zack.

Royals Put Meche On DL

Several reports, including a tweet from The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton, indicate that starting pitcher Gil Meche is headed to the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Bruce Chen will start on Sunday.
To fill Meche’s spot on the roster, Victor Marte has been recalled from Class AAA Omaha.