It's almost August. Another lost season. The starting pitching is in the dumps. The hitting is dreadful. The Royals make too many outs on the bases. And their fundamentals are cracking to the point of total breakdown. So many problems.
Thankfully, the club has done some digging. Rex Hudler and Ryan Lefebvre are on the case. The root of all this evil?
The funny thing is, I agree with Hudler and Lefebvre. (Rob Neyer is on the same side, too.) I'm not a fan of the shortstop chatting up some dude after he raked another double off of Luke Hochevar. Nor do I like the first baseman engaging in conversation with an opponent who just drove in the tying run. But you know what... On my list of pet peeves, fraternizing ranks somewhere below the following:
- 90 loss seasons
- Getting swept by the Seattle Mariners
- Eric Hosmer's ground ball rate
- 100 loss seasons
- Jeff Francoeur's strike zone
- Royals Free Outs
And that's not even my whole list. I didn't even scratch the surface.
The thing I find hilarious about this... When the Royals felt a need to hold a team meeting to address this fraternization issue kind of invalidated Jeff Francoeur's whole existence, didn't it? Because is he not A Leader? Now, I'm not wholly familiar with clubhouse culture and etiquite, but it seems to me this is where a leader like Francoeur makes his hay and makes people forget he's hitting .238/.275/.366. Get with the violator and let him know it's not kosher to joke around with the guy who just cost your team the lead. Or set up a kangaroo court where a nominal fine is levied and the team throws a ragin' kegger at the end of the season. You know, to celebrate 90 losses.
And I guarantee you, at this exact moment, Royals PR is stunned that this story is getting any kind of play... Why this is such a big deal? Hello! When you're returning home after getting swept by Seattle and the focus shifts to how chatty your middle infielders are, it's a little strange. There are ways to address a situation like this. Publicly airing your brand new "no fraternization" policy when your sophomore first baseman is hitting .232/.301/.362 seems like you don't know where to focus your energies. What exactly does this new policy do to improve your team?
And that's where Ned Yost's focus should lay. He needs to worry about the crappy performance he's getting from his starting pitchers. How his lineup is anemic. And how his bullpen is breaking down.
We are in Year Six of The Process. And we are alternating between neutral and reverse. This season is unravelling. And now we're talking about... Fraternizing.
Leave it to the broadcasters to focus on the stuff that doesn't matter.