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Tom Hamilton Destroyed Our National Innocence... and Other Thoughts

It's yet another getaway day for me here at the sprawling Royals Review headquarters. I'm excited to be flying out to Denver for a wedding, but I think by the time I return on Sunday night I'll be ready for some summertime equivalent of hibernation. I'm 28 and my fiancee (sp?) is 26, which puts us right in the friends getting married hotzone. Coupled with my own wedding planning (8/16) and the stretch of summer in which every weekend is a holiday, I think between mid-May and mid-August I'm scheduled to have about three weekends free. Last week I even mixed in a trip back to Austin for my high school reunion, which was predictably lame as hell. The top 20% of the class, in terms of popularity, showed up, and no one else, other than my four boys and their dates. None of the nerdy people I was friends with bothered to show, which left me there not talking to the cool crowd, just as I hadn't done in high school. Oh well. Anyway, it's going to be a summer of perpetually scrambling and scuffling to make sure RR stays decent, so be patient.

With last night's victory, the Royals improved to 36-43, their best mark through 79 games since 2003. Here are the recent records: 2007: 33-46; 2006: 27-52; 2005: 26-53; 2004: 29-50. What a nightmare. The 2008 bunch is still seven games under .500, is perhaps as close to .500 as they'll be all season (the rest of the way) and has been prone to some classic KC losing streaks, and still, compared to recent teams, looks like a world-beater. Still, as someone once said, I'm not here to talk about the past...

Links and miscellanea, some hither, some yon:

  • Mellinger looks back at Dayton's moves, part 1.
  • Mike Aviles is hitting .333/.363/.600 in 78 plate appearances. He's now 6th amongst all rookie position players in VORP, in roughly a fourth the playing time of guys like Evan Longoria and beloved Red Sox prospect Jacoby Ellsbury. His 10.2 is also good for third best on the team, tied with fellow middle infielder Grudzielanek (DeJesus leads with 17.1, Josey is second at 15.4). Prized pickup Miguel Olivo's month-long cold spell has dragged him down to fifth on the team, at 6.4, although still ahead of Alex Gordon (6.1). Greinke, in eight PAs, has a higher offensive VORP than German, Buck, Gload, Gathright and, of course, TPJ.
  • The Royals need to find a way to make the middle-infield pieces fit a little better, because the current formation is out of whack. TPJ remains the only guy Hillman really trusts to handle short defensively, and he's the worst hitter in the Major Leagues. At second however, there's the four-headed hydra of German (who has struggled but has a track record of OBP), Grudzielanek, Callaspo and Aviles, the latter trio representing some of the better hitters on the team. It'll never happen, but we've come to the point where the roster is so weirdly shaped that the Royals should really consider playing one of their second basemen at first and DHing another for the time being. And yes, there was talk of doing this with catchers earlier in the year. Cool!
  • Paul DePodesta will be doing a BP Q&A before a game at Petco on July 11th. If someone pays for my travel expenses I'll attend, if only to ask him how he could have possibly let Justin Huber be demoted. Speaking of our boy, in four games with the Portland Beavers, he's hitting .214/.313/.286.
  • I noticed this post on Freddie Patek on Royally Speaking today.
  • Good stuff from Rany.
  • If you haven't read it yet -- hey, new people are hitting RR every day -- you might want to check out this old post on the Royals-Cards rivalry.
  • I was listening to the Giants-Indians game on the radio two nights ago and I heard longtime Cleveland play by play man Tom Hamilton randomly say the following about Aaron Rowand, "I know we don't follow the National League much, but... he doesn't look as big as he used to." This was followed by color man Mike Hegan knowingly chortling. I can't tell you how much I despise stuff like this. If Hamilton really thinks Rowand (the hysteria knows no limits) used steroids, which is not only in most cases illegal, but, as we well know, an assault on our national innocence then he needs to say so directly. Save the wink-wink stuff for jokes about who slept in last night or the golf game this afternoon or whatever. Still, its not surprising to find someone being self-righteous, cowardly and completely speculative all in one sentence. This is America after all.
  • SB Nation has an NBA Draft/prospects blog that's good. Might be worth visiting tonight.
  • The Mariners are 28-50. All the more reason to read Lookout Landing.
  • Sheehan (free) on the emerging trade market.
  • Finally, as mentioned this week, the sweep of the Rockies was especially sweet because those damn purple-wearing bastards have had the gall to invade western Kansas, planting a radio affiliate in Goodland, Kansas. Goodland_medium
    According to our readers on the ground out there, western Kansas is definitely vulnerable. Making matters especially tense is the fact that Goodland is only miles away from Mount Sunflower, the highest point in the state. From this vantage point, the Rockies not only gain the strategic advantage of being able to see for great distances, they also have the psychological edge in knowing they own Kansas's peak. Hopefully, Battlefield Goodland is leaning blue for the first time in years.