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The Royals Ironic Entrance into the Blogosphere

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Other than the bizarre experience of watching Kyle Snyder pitch for the Red Sox last night, Monday was a slow day for the Royals. Tonight, things pick up however, as the Royals battle the Pirates at the K. As I wrote yesterday, this is a big series for the Royals, insomuchas it stands as a nice opportunity to a) not get swept and even b) win some games. The Pirates series also means the return of beloved ex-Joe Randa.

Beyond that, the beat goes on. One of the more curious news-items in the last 48 hours has been the creation of Around the Horn in KC- The Official Blog of the Kansas City Royals Front Office. Yes, thats what its called. The MLBlogs project is a typical Seligean gambit: offering the fans the opportunity to pay for something ($49.95 a year) that they can easily setup for free, all while MLB maintains a strict "no press credentials for blogs" policy, going so far as to actually write it into procedure.

Tellingly, the first post on "Around the Horn" addressed the ongoing press credential fiasco,

With all of the media outlets in today's world, stories often take on a life of their own. With that in mind, fans should feel they can come to this site to separate fact from fiction and hear the truth directly from the Royals.

It is being widely reported that the Kansas City Royals revoked the 2006 season credentials of two radio reporters last week for asking tough questions. The Royals have never stated this to be the case. The credentials were not revoked because someone asked tough questions - we get those every day - but for reasons of decorum. The tone, the abruptness, and the forcefulness of which their questions and added commentary were presented, offended many at the news conference.

I love the thought-process they essentially admit to here:
Team Employee #1: "The KC Media has actually been reporting on our fallings for the first time, well ever. And those damn fans and their World Wide Web thingy attack us."

Team Employee #2: "It seems there's been another embarassing story each week or two."

Team Employee #1: "Thats the truth. What will we do?!?!"

Team Employee #2: "Lets start a blog, so whenever we #&^% up, we can post the "truth" for the fans. One-way communication, no face time, and best of all NO QUESTIONS!!!"

Team Employee #1: Brilliant! Better still, we can use the blog repeatedly to address new fiascos as they arise! We might even encourage more fans to give us $50 bucks a year to start their own MLBlog."

Welcome to the 21st century of media relations everyone. The Royals pretty much nail the formula here: Step One- Attack Media on some general, too-broad to be arguable preimse, like "the liberal media" or "In today's environment...". Step Two- Give Your Official Spin, which is somehow above reproach, response, etc. Step Three- Fail to Note that "Around the Horn" is doing the exact same thing that it claims to be against, in this case perpetuating the controversy.

What exactly does it mean that this is "the offical" blog of the Front Office? The Royals already have a Press Release section on the website, and just what motivated the creation of the blog anyway? The Royals claim some kind of moral high ground -- "We will use this forum to share our insight, thoughts and opinions, while helping separate fact from fiction on the Royals and other pertinent issues to the ball club -- but the blog is still mysetriously annoymous, not even ghost-written by a Royals Official. This is the new truth: unaccountable, unverifiable and given by the man behind the curtain. Or, in this case, the minion behind the curtain, while the Man plays golf somewhere and remarries.

I guess its a positive development nevertheless, although a highly mitigated one. As the New York Times pointed out two weeks ago, Team Glass doesn't really answer the phone for days at a time. As such, rather than just choosing to remain wholly aloof/silent/unaccountable (choose your phrase) the Royals have created a venture which will allow them to, at least in theory, release missives of Truth to the public.

'Cause we're all just silly billies who let these crazy rumors 'en stories just get all out of control. Don't we???

But they love the fans when its Election Time and Tax Money's on the table.

Your Team, Your Town

For another Royal blogger's take on "Around the Horn", click here.

Futility Update- Through 68 Games:

1962 Mets: 19-49
2003 Tigers: 17-51

2006 Royals: 19-49

According to BP's Playoff Odds Report the Royals have a Third Order Winning % of .377, making them slightly unlucky. Forecasting the rest of the season based on a simulation of the remaining games (1 Million Times) the average 2006 Royals come out to 53-109. As usual, this seems high to me.

One question possibly facing Dayton Moore: should the Royals factor in not being the Worst Team in History in their midseason trade-moves?