With Spring Training underway and most positions set, the battle for second base will be perhaps the most watched race. While manager Ned Yost insists the competition between Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella remains open, most Royals observers expect the
coronation competition to be won by Getz.
Which brings us to the logical question all Royals fans are asking.
Did the Royals sign the right Getz?
Or would the Royals have been better off acquiring the rights to legendary Jazz saxophonist Stan Getz? Granted, Stan is no longer living, but would owning the rights to an estate of his magnitude be of greater benefit to the Royals?
Here now is a breakdown that attempts to answer that question. The categories that will be considered are Upside, Mistake Free, Hands, Power, and Grit.
In order to even reach the major leagues, a person has to be an outstanding athlete. However, Chris's development has seemed to stall out. He is a solid, gritty guy, but not the kind of guy who would carry a team or ever be much above replacement level. Chris is a solid, but not spectacular player.
Stan, on the other hand, was a visionary and a genius. He was one of the pioneers of the bossa nova style. His song The Girl from Ipanema was a worldwide hit. He won multiple Grammy Awards and is regarded as one of the best ever.
This is an area where Chris excels. From the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed, the guy is solid in everything he does. When playing, he doesn't make errors, always throws to the right base, always hits the ball the other way when needed, and he can be counted on to lay down the perfect bunt. In other areas he excels as well. For example, when he goes to the grocery store he writes his list in the perfect order so he never has to go back to an aisle he has been to before. Chris Getz does not make mistakes.
Stan? Well, lots of mistakes. He had multiple bouts with drug abuse and addiction. He spent time in several prisons. He even robbed a pharmacy in an attempt to get morphine. Chris would never rob a pharmacy in an attempt to get morphine.
Mistake Free Advantage: Chris by a wide margin (Tied up at 1 - 1)
Chris is perceived by the Royals organization to have plus hands. Some think his soft hands give him an ability to play a great 2nd base.
For Stan, does it need to be said? Jazz Hands.
Hands Advantage: Stan (Stan leads 2 - 1)
Both Chris and Stan are tied for the same number of home runs as a Royal. However, in his 3 years with the Royals Chris has hit 6 triples and 25 doubles. Plus, early reports from Spring Training this year indicate that Chris has actually hit some batting practice home runs.
While Stan could play with power, he was more known for his smooth style and a warm, mellow tone. His nickname was "The Sound", a tribute to the richness of his sound. He also never hit any doubles or triples, let alone batting practice home runs.
Power Advantage: Chris (Tied up at 2 - 2)
This is another area Chris excels at. Since he has limited talent and tries hard, he is widely acknowledged to be the grittiest of the gritty. Grit is hitting to the right side of the field with a guy at 2nd and no outs. Grit is laying down the perfect bunt with a runner at 1st. Grit is being willing to dive for a ball that others can get to more easily, but you're going to dive anyway because you don't give up. Grit is letting loose a few choice expletives when you get back to the dugout after your well hit ball was caught on the warning track. Whatever Grit is, Chris has it.
This then raises the question, can somebody who is immensely talented be said to have grit? Stan was brimming with talent. His career was nearly derailed before it began because of drug addiction. Can such a guy as that have grit? Well, consider how fiercely Stan worked to keep playing. Early in his career he would often practice eight hours a day. At one time during high school he dropped out to focus on playing full-time. In an attempt to escape the influence of drugs he went to Africa and Europe. Near the end of his life he played through great pain. He had a tumor the size of a grapefruit removed from behind his heart. He battled liver cancer. During all of that he kept playing.
Did Chris ever practice 8 hours a day? Did Chris ever move to Europe in an attempt to escape a drug addiction? Did Chris ever play through his mid-60s while battling various illneses?
Grit Advantage: In an upset, Stan gets the nod. (Stan wins, 3- 2)
Conclusion: With Stan winning by a margin of 3 - 2, it looks like he would be the better fit for the Royals. So cheer up Johnny, there's hope for you yet.