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At the Break

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All I can think this morning is that its good to get a break from everything Royals. I'm half convinced that the All-Star break was created for the working press as much as the players themselves... Over the break, I hope to get two pieces up and live: a career retrospective on Buddy Bell and my own first half review and grades. I'm sure you're all waiting with baited breath/on pins and needles/any other dead phrase for both.

Onto the matters of the day. . .

The Royals didn't exactly hit the break running, falling back a bit to lose the last two games of the Toronto series.

First Half Record: 31-56

Thats one win more than the Pirates in three fewer games, and only three fewer than the Cubs. The weird thing is, we've been so beaten down by this team and we've had our expectations lowered so far that 31-56 really doesn't look that bad. Twenty fiev games under .500 is much better than forty. Interestingly enough, if the Royals had swept the Blue Jays, which would have only meant winning the last two games, they would have pulled to 21-21 at the K. Instead, its back down to 19-23.

All that matters to me now is that justice is done and Mark Redman is named AL Starter.

The other big news of the day was the Futures Game results, which featured a MVP performance from Billy Butler and a two-hit performance from Alex Gordon. Sports Journalism on a Deadline 101 dictates that the easiest story to write is the one that will nearly always be written, and yesterday was no different, as coverage of the game boiled down to Things may be tough for the Royals now, but the future (wink, wink) looks bright.

Even JoePo took the bait:

It's that word. Future. That word gets the blood pumping, especially when you're a Kansas City Royals fan, and the present isn't much to talk about.

"We have a lot of young talent," says Alex Gordon, who went two for three in the Futures Game and left scouts breathless.

"The future looks bright in Kansas City, and I want to be a part of that," says Billy Butler, who hit a home run and walked away with the Futures Game MVP award.

"I think this team is ready to make a turnaround," Gordon says.

"I've got a good feeling about the Royals," Butler says.

Yes, for a few minutes on Sunday, Kansas City was the future of baseball, just like Bruce Springsteen, not so long ago, was once the future of rock 'n' roll. Yes, everybody was talking about the Royals around here. That felt pretty good. In a junior all-star game loaded with some of the game's best prospects, the two best Royals -- Gordon and Butler -- were the stars.

So I guess if they'd gone a combined 1-8 with three strikeouts the story would have been, "The Future Looks Horrible in KC"? I'm as nominally excited about Gordon and Butler as the next guy, but two things need to be said:

1) They could both be All-Star level players and the Royals wouldn't necessarily be better than a 4th place team.

2) I don't trust this organization not to screw them up yet.

So yea, its exciting, its cool, its wonderful that out in Pittsburgh two Royals prospects had a nice game in an exhibition contest. I'm happy that scouts are breathless. I'm somewhat glad that Butler's saying things like, "I've got a good feeling about the Royals," etc. But wouldn't you feel the same way? What if you were training for a job, and at least once a day someone said to you: "this job sucks and the boss is awful, but you're gonna be one of the best workers of all-time and we're gonna make the Fortune 500 because of you and your greatness." Wouldn't you start to feel good about things, simply because you feel good about yourself?

So hurraa! Let hosannas be sung and parades be scheduled, the once and future Royals dominated the Future's Game!!