Today is the first day of summer for this college student, my second year finished. A long tough sports weekend was behind me, Sporting Kansas City were handed what remained of their dignity in LA with a loss of 4-1, with the only goal for the former Wizards coming from an own goal. Our near and dear Royals also were coming off a tough weekend, two straight defeats from the surging Tigers, completely dismantling the Royals in every which way that you can imagine, luckily getting away from Detroit before they could fully sweep the series, bless that rain. Needless to say, I woke up this morning with a fresh face and an outlook of optimism with the start of a nice homestand, boy would I ever be surprised.I never saw Paul Splittorff pitch, seeing as he retired in 1984, a mere 5 years before my birth. However, I've heard him for pretty much my whole life. 40+ years with the organization, both playing and doing color, spending 24 years in that position, the man has a true legacy in the city. Everyone in the Metro knows about Splitts, however, most know about his physical deterioration of the past few years, something that has been discussed on here and many other Royals and general sports blogs. After what had to be a tough opening day in 2009 in the booth, he took the rest of the season off. Rumors of a stroke, a drinking issues or cancer were thrown around until it was announced that he had a viral infection. He, of course, returned in 2010 with the raspy voice, looking a bit ill, but nonetheless, still enough heart to call the game.
The tweets popped up this afternoon, starting with "Splitts in hospital" and some even went as far to say "Splitts given Last Rites, family with him". I was a bit confused, seeing that he was on the broadcast during the last home stand, frail looking, but still there. I don't believe that anyone was expecting anything this shocking today. The family eventually released the update on his condition and asked that everyone should respect their privacy, as the media in general should. A bad news day for Kansas City sports fans, but oh could it get worse.
I have the At Bat app on my phone, it shows the box scores of my favorite team first, I see it but I don't want to believe it. 19 runs, 20 hits, one injured starting pitcher, another suffers one of the worst meltdowns in MLB history, is there any positive thing to come out of this game? Hosmer's double? Nah, 1 for 4 with a strikeout and was left on base. Adcock coming in after the Davies injury with virtually no time to warm up, in a huge spot and limiting the damage for the most part? I guess, in a way, his trial by fire performance was fairly good. But you cannot justify the record breaking outing by the man we got in return for a Royals stalwart for many years.
I watched every painful and morale draining pitch of Vin Mazzaro's night. In my 21 years of watching all forms of sports, I have never seen something so personally depressing as his performance tonight. You could see it in his eyes, he wanted to die out there and could you blame him? He knew what was happening, they all did. The train they had been riding all year, being above .500, hitting and coming back better than any other team in the league, had hit that metaphorical brick wall. The coroner arrived just in time to watch Michael Brantley's 3 run shot that killed any hope at all for the night and potentially the 2 game series.
I kept on joking all night in the game thread, pretty much in disbelief that this was actually happening, mostly to keep my mind far away from the fact that this might actually be the end of the fluke start to the season. We were told to get our jokes in now, to start preparing for the future. With the start of the season, that hot start, I honestly bought into the whole thing. Thought we had a legitimate chance of at least finishing near the top, not actually winning, but showing others that this team exceeded initial expectations, and next year, we're gonna take it by storm. But after tonight, there is still much to be done. The bullpen is starting to come together, but when Sean O'Sullivan is your ace at the moment, something must be done to improve it or you might as well just prepare for the laughter headed your way.
I didn't expect to win today, I didn't expect to be told that a voice that I've known for pretty much my whole life might be gone soon. Those two unexpected announcements have got me down, down as a person and a fan. It's a tough lifestyle we choose, the down and out sportsfan of the team that's been the butt end of Simpsons jokes over the years. I just hope that both of these announcements are minor things, they probably won't be, but for tonight at least, I'm going to sleep in a bit of ignorance, believe those words. After all, who knows what the future brings to either side.
With that, my long winded opinion is over. Go complain to Maple Woods for having an awful journalism program and no school newspaper for this account. We'll see if we can turn this ship around tomorrow.