But my favorite guy on that 2003 team, without a doubt, was a young shortstop (thought not as young as we thought, it turns out) called Angel Berroa. He had come over from the A’s in the Johnny Damon deal, and Royals general manager Allard Baird was hopelessly in love. Allard spent a disproportionate amount of time in his Royals career trying to secure a shortstop. He made a staggeringly large multi-year offer to Rey Sanchez which, even more staggeringly, Sanchez and Scott Boras turned down. Allard traded Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez in one of the more baffling moves of recent years.
And he fell hard for Berroa. He thought Berroa had everything — some speed, some power, great range, good arm, a quick bat. I remember we went to the Dominican that fall, and on a hot afternoon I watched Tony Pena hit a ground ball to his left, then one to his right, then one to his left, then right, it was like watching someone run baseball suicides, and finally, inevitably, Berroa started to throw up. Pena yelled something at him in Spanish.
"What’s that?" I asked.
"I asked him, ‘You had enough, fatty?’" Pena said.