Thank you, Royals!

Just about every Spring Training I write my annual love letter to the Royals. Every year comes with that tinge of expectation… not of victory but of bringing me to the very edge of hope and then dropping me off a cliff.

This year I didn’t write the letter. Hopes were too high. They had all the pieces in place. They had the starting pitching. They had finally figured out Wade Davis. Their bullpen was impressive. Moustakis had an incredible spring training. It was all there. It would have been so painful to write yet another love letter of hope and see THIS team crush my dreams.

But… they did not. They squeaked into the playoffs (thank you, Bud Selig) and have cruised to 8 straight wins over two heavily favored teams.

While pundits predicted a LA series, we end up with two wild cards. The Giants are simply scary because it is an even year and in 2010 and 2012 they roared into the Series and crushed opponents. This time they are almost virtually ignored because of the story the Royals have given the media. That’s what still makes the Giants scary.

But for now, the day before the Series begins, I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the Royals. Just like the Chiefs making the playoffs last year (and getting spanked by the Colts after building a HUGE lead), KC was thrilled for the Chiefs. This year, no matter how this Series turns out, it is simply incredible to see the Royals right here. Right now.

They were built for the playoffs and this is exactly where they have landed.

I wear my KC cap all the time in Minneapolis. Even here there is good will toward the team. I get a thumbs up quite often walking down the street.

After a 29 year drought, it’s finally great to be a Royals fan again. Thanks, KC.

Quick Thoughts on Baseball

Every once in awhile I just can’t leave baseball alone. It’s my favorite sport.

I grew up in Kansas City. Those were the days when they actually made the playoffs. Then, there were the World Series years of 1980 and 1985. Then… they vanished. Just like Bobby Fischer.

I have lived in Minneapolis since 1997. Since the Twins are in the same division as the Royals it was tough at first to cheer for them. However, they were a good organization and began to ascend out of their post 1991 doldrums into a competitive team.

I emphasize “were.”

A few years ago I was so fed up with the Royals and their constant rebuilding, I quit checking on them. That lasted maybe two years. I realized I am a doomed Royals fan and can find solace in the fact that while I may be a Royals fan, I am NOT a Cubs fan. (Nor do I root for any team from Cleveland, which hasn’t managed a championship in any sport for several generations.) So, I embrace my sickness and root for the Royals. Though, I honestly, HONESTLY, like the Twins.

So, out of my hope for the Royals and my concern for the Twins, I offer this up for the Twins: Fire your general manager ASAP.

The Twins are quickly becoming what the Royals were and there is no reason for it. The Twins have a new stadium, new revenue, and incredibly loyal fans (only to the new stadium, but they better ride that fanaticism while the gravy train is still hooked up).

The Twins are in last place today. By 1.5 games. This is the division with the Royals in it.

But look at these September rosters. The Royals are chocked full of their prospects. Highly ranked prospects. Their infield has their future. The pitching line up has their future.

The Twins have the equivalent of IV tubes hooked up. Their only hope for next year is to have their same players healthy. They don’t have the depth in the farm system they were once famous for.

The Twins lost their greatest asset: the farm.

This is why I say fire the general manage ASAP. While they can say there is a “team” of people who make the calls on who to draft, etc., the final decision rests with someone. And that man is Bill Smith. He is not Terry Ryan (the former GM). He may have learned under Ryan, but he is NOT Ryan.

And when the Twins fire him, they don’t need to promote from within. This was the mistake the Royals made for decades. They kept promoting from within. Things finally had a chance to change when they went outside the organization to get the GM they truly needed. (Ironically, that man was trained by the GM the Royals had in the 80s when they knew what they were doing, but let him get away to Atlanta.)

Forget “family” loyalty. Go get a GM that can shake it up, make the owners fork over some of that fabulous money they are sitting on from the stadium revenue, and get back to building a winner. Don’t be in the wilderness as long as the Royals! There is no need!

Also, while I love Gardy, I think he’s a playoff manager, not a World Series manager. At some point there needs to be a tough decision on him as well. We need to quit playing to make the playoffs. We need to start playing to make the Series.

Enough for now. On to the fall… without the Twins in it.