Ryan Shealy is evoking ancient memories of Mike Aviles. Or possibly Emil Brown, circa Spring Training 2006.
Home Runs By Dudes Who Are Royals & Were Also Standing Near First-Base When the Other Team is Hitting During The Game When They Hit
- Ryan Shealy- 5 (36 PAs as a 1B)
- Ross Gload- 3 (374 PAs as a 1B)
- Mark Teahen- 2 (54 PAs as a 1B)
- Billy Butler- 2 (120 PAs as a 1B)
I'm happy for Ryan Shealy, even if, on the whole, his September tear doesn't mean much. Us blogger types are prone to cry out for AAAA types to get their shot, and even though a half-hearted September callup doesn't exactly qualify as one, Ryan is making the most of his opportunity. Although, we might add another memory to our list: Calvin Pickering, who hit seven homers in 35 games to close the '04 campaign.
But beyond Shealy, what does stand out is how completely awful the Royals have been at first base all season, which is terrifying considering that it is basically the easiest position to field. Think of a type of person you do not consider to be especially baseball savvy, say, a Greenlandic fisherman. Now imagine that our Greenlandic fisherman has been named the General Manager of a Major League team. Given a crash course in the rules of the game and maybe a week on the job, more than anywhere else on the diamond, they would likely be able to find an OK firstbaseman. Maybe not Albert Pujols or even Dougie Minkiewicz in his prime (if you wanna go in that direction) but a generic dude who can hit a little nonetheless.
Well, Dayton Moore, a baseball lifer and purportedly one of the brightest minds in the game couldn't do that this season. 2007 wasn't exactly a smashing success either.
Maybe it was bad luck, maybe it was simply because he didn't care, maybe it was because he's playing for 2009, or 2010, or 2011. Who knows? The point is, before Ryan Shealy's callup, which was somewhere between a formality and a last-gasp, we're not even totally serious audtion, Royals firstbasemen hit seven home runs in 578 PAs.
That's a good hitter being on fire for a week, or an average hitter after April, or a guy who isn't even good through fifty games. That's a half-way decent 2B at the All-Star Break. But that isn't what your firstbasemen should be giving you.
Meanwhile, our prized off-season acquisition and supposed impact bat (to use a TLR-ism) has a .297 OBP, while Dayton's initial idea of a lead-off man and havoc-wreaker, Joey Gathright, sits at .302. The Royals have by my count, three core guys who get on-base enough to be useful players (DeJesus, Gordon and a soon to decline Aviles). Going forward, we can probably sub-out Aviles and add Butler. So yea! Three guys who aren't out-machines and a few players with shiny home run power, if it was 1968.
Oh, the Royals actually won again tonight. Make that five straight, baby. And boy, Ryan Shealy is hitting the ball. Good things, yet somehow, a bitter post.
This is what the last decade has done to me.