The Royals have been the laughing stock of the sports world for decades. Every team in the four major professional sports has made a playoff appearance in the last 20 years – every team except for one. This is a franchise that only makes national news when the GM says 86 games is like “winning the World Series” or its color commentator mistakes the moon for a planet. For 28 years now, the Royals have been the ultimate symbol of ineptitude and absolute gutter trash, a machine of potential built on hype designed to rob its customers as they walk through the gates and not care about morality, and nothing summarized it better than their despicable performance in a 9-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Monday night.
Over 32,000 people walked through the gates of Kauffman Stadium on Monday – the highest crowd for a May game at ‘The K’ in years. Some of them were family members looking for a way to spend a holiday together, many more of them veterans and heroes that were taking part in the Memorial Day ceremonies. The Royals put forward a beautiful pre-game presentation complete with the honoring of fallen soldiers and a goose bump-inducing national anthem with a full military flyover. It was the ultimate tribute to our true heroes, some of whom were back in town and ready to cheer on their hyped-up Kansas City Royals. With the lowly Houston Astros coming to town, owners of the American League’s worst record, everything was in order for the Boys in Blue to move on from their disappointing weekend in Anaheim.
Then, as Sarah would put it, the Royals ‘royaled’. They ‘royaled’ the absolute hell out of it tonight. In front of a record-breaking May crowd, every single player flat out crapped their pants right there in front of fans who deserve better. Royals fans have waited too long for this, and this is nowhere near what they deserve.
Once again, it was somebody else’s “superstar” prospect that stole the show. Astros rookie phenom George Springer went 4-4 with three extra base hits, including a sonic boom-inducing home run in the eighth inning. Royals fans watched exactly what was promised by Dayton Moore to be the performance of their own prospects. George Springer did what Eric Hosmer was supposed to do. George Springer did what Mike Moustakas was supposed to do. Instead, once again it’s the Royals watching from the sidelines as somebody else’s talent blossoms while they continue to underachieve.
Once again, the Royals’ offense was unproductive against a no-name pitcher. Cy Scott Feldman crusied through six innings, scattering eight hits and allowing two runs on a double play and a two-out single. The Royals were held to just two extra-base hits and were a despicable 2-11 with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, the Astros entered Monday holding the lowest team batting average in the American League. They then proceeded to bang out 16 hits and score in six separate innings – all against a ‘superb’ pitching squad that Dayton Moore shifts focus to when the offense is under media fire. You see folks, that’s the Royals way. When somebody brings legitimate faults of your organization to light, you quickly change the subject and point to a bright (actually, ‘little-less-dim’ would be better) spot of your organization. This pitching staff, the one that was supposed to be really, really good, has allowed seven or more runs in five of their last seven games. Do you feel that seat you’re sitting on getting a little warm, Dayton?
Once again, the Royals fans watched as hope was snatched right before them as talented rookie starter Yordano Ventura allowed five runs on seven hits in just 2.2 innings. In case that wasn’t bad enough, he left the game in the third inning with lateral discomfort in his pitching elbow. His fastball generally in the 95-98mph range, Yordano Ventura’s final pitch was a fastball clocked at 91 mph – not a good sign. After the game, manager Ned Yost expressed optimism that he ‘didn’t think it was a ligament injury’ despite not really knowing anything about it. This doesn’t sound good at all. An MRI tomorrow will show the extent of the damage, but the words ‘Tommy John surgery’ are floating around the Kansas City fanbase tonight as seemingly a strong possibility.
What does this mean for the Royals? It means that Dayton Moore’s failures as a general manager continue to become increasingly obvious. George Springer was drafted six picks after the Royals selected Bubba Starling fifth overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. Unlike Moore seems to think, it is not supposed to take four years for all-world prospects to develop. While our 2007 first-round draft pick is underachieving in Omaha, other teams’ first-round picks from 2011 and later are already achieving major success in the big leagues. It also means that a rotation featuring Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen is an inevitable possibility should Ventura’s MRI reveal the worst. When pitching is the only thing keeping this ‘contender’ afloat, losing one of their most talented arms can’t help much.
Monday night was a great reminder of where we stand as Royals fans – mired forever in disappointment and only having ‘potential’ to hold onto. Contrary to Dayton’s optimism, I’m having a hard time ‘trusting the process’ anymore. If Ventura needs Tommy John surgery, he’s out until after the 2015 All Star Break, and the Royals are completely cooked in 2014. Dayton Moore needs to be fired. The Royals will never make the playoffs if he’s at the controls – never. Not in 2014, not in 2015, and not in 2095. He has had eight years, a half-dozen top-five draft picks, and all of the patience from the rest of the front office in the world. He has failed. The time is right for the Royals to move on.
Because David Glass and Dayton Moore won’t ever do it, I’ll at least say it. To the 32,000+ that spent their hard-earned money and family time watching this dumpster fire of a baseball team tonight – I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had to spend a special holiday made for families and remembrances this way. You deserve better, and you’ve waited long enough. Maybe one day, we’ll be able to experience what those dreaded Cardinals fans get to go through every year. After 28 years of futility, though, I’m having a hard time maintaining hope.Published 28 May 2014, 17:56 IST