As if we didn't know this was a tough time to be a Royals fan, those two famous Royals fans Rob and Rany have chimed in with another dose of reality. Although Neyer usually takes the "bad cop" role, its now Rany who's officially given up the ghost. First, Rany notes, "in Minnesota last week, Bell had Jimmy Gobble, just up from the minors and just converted to relief, intentionally walk a right-handed hitter to load the bases (in a one-run game in the eighth, no less) in order to face...another right-handed hitter. There's a good reason such a move is almost unprecedented; it is so wrong, on so many levels, that I don't even know where to begin." After recounting another in-game foible, Rany concludes with one of the strongest, and saddest criticisms levelled against the franchise in the last few years. Mind you, throughout the internet, at Baseball Prospectus, and in the Topeka CJ, Rany's been one of the stuanchest supporters of the "new Allard" that we all though had emerged sometime around 2002. Rany writes:
And then, of course, there was the whole batting-out-of-order fiasco against the Angels. That sort of mistake should never occur at the high school level. It certainly should never occur in a major league game, and yet -- thanks to the KC Star -- we now know that this is the second time it has happened to a major league team managed by Buddy Bell.Of course, we don't need celebrity endorsements to solidify our own, negative beliefs about this franchise. Nevertheless, its heartening to see fellow observers of this franchise react with the same level of dismay as we've seen throughout the blogosphere. Buddy Bell isn't a good hire, no matter many singles Berroa hits this weekend.
At least with Pena, or Muser, we could rationalize that they were first-time managers and might actually improve over time. But Bell...I mean, if he hasn't learned something by now, with over five full seasons of managing experience under his belt, why should we expect him to ever learn?
I've officially given up on the Allard Baird Era. I think Allard is a smart man, has shown a capacity to learn, and has good scouting instincts. He would make a hell of a scouting director. But he's over his head as a GM. Because it doesn't matter how many smart moves he makes on the margins, if when it comes time to making big decisions, he does stuff like hire Buddy Bell.
There's always the chance that the Royals have another 2003 in them, or that they start developing so much talent that even a shaky front office isn't enough to keep them from contending. But that's not a plan, that's wishful thinking. After 20 years of irrelevance and 10 years of embarassment, I need more to hold my hat on than wishful thinking.
I'm sorry. You were saying?