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Royals Review Mailbag

Self-indulgence never tasted so good.

I tried to answer as many of your questions as possible, as well as a few I'd wished that you'd asked. I threw in a Kaegel question as well.




Which team reminds you the most of the Royals? - Leobloom
Uniform-wise, the Dodgers. Historically, some combination of the Blue Jays, Astros and Braves. In terms of this year’s team, off the top of my head I’d say the Giants (some interesting young talent, random old guys, sometimes incoherent front office) and maybe Texas (a team most outsiders can’t really figure out).

How do you feel about the Bloomquist signing, I think we need to get into this subject more. – NYRoyal

Hopefully, in six months I look like a giant jerk for ever caring about it.

If you could change one thing about the Royals, non-baseball wise and baseball wise, what would you do? –A Loving Reader
Baseball-wise, I would demand true experimentation with the pitching staff: tandem starting, non-traditional use of the closer, periods of going to a four-man, etc. Non-baseball wise, find a way to have the Royals play a regular season series in either Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas or Iowa. Maybe it's merely a personal obsession, but I wish the Royals tried harder to build or rebuild their regional reach. How about a Battle for the Heartland series against the Twins in… South Dakota? If the Red Sox or Yankees can be forced to play a regular season series in Japan, the Royals could play a series in Little Rock or something.

Can I get your autograph? doublestix
Sure, send me your mailing address. The odd thing is, my signature is really really horrible. You cannot tell what it is, not in any way. I sorta make a loopy "W" that really looks like a "U" and then kinda sorta do a "M" and then spell the rest of "McDonald" with a slightly wavy line. It’s horrible. Remember when you were about 14 and everyone was learning to do their signature and trying to come up with cool, sports-autographed ones? I was badly influenced by a friend with a bad signature in a similar style and its stuck. I’m convinced I need to come up with a new one, but somewhat feel like that is against the rules or will come back to haunt me when one day I’m falsely accused of a crime.

Who would you rather part with, Joakim Soria or Zack Greinke? - focs
Greinke is much more valuable, but Soria is under team control through 2014 potentially. Gotta go with Soria for that reason.

I was curious what color shoes the team would wear next season. – RoyalsRetro
Is anyone else with me in thinking the Royals don’t do enough with the yellow/gold aspect of their color scheme? I think the blue/white combination is fabulous, but I also really like blue & gold. Maybe its because of where I went to college. I’d love to see the players wearing yellow shoes or having the caps have just a touch of gold in the KC logo or something.

What are the minor league rosters looking like… with estimated time to majors? –TucsonRoyal
You ever have one of those dreams about taking a test in which you know none of the answers? The real question is, who would win a seven game series, NW Ark or Omaha/Sarpy? The weird thing about what happened last season was that the two biggest minor league stories were the breakouts of Kila and Aviles, at a time when no one thought there was any position player talent in the system, other than Moose. I suspect we'll spend the next three years getting really excited about five or six pitching prospects, and four of them will never end up being worth it.

Should Soria move to the rotation? Mark Teahen: Starter, Super Utility Man, or Trade Bait? – Devil Fingers
Re: Soria, I would say it depends on the reason. If they think he can’t handle the workload or maybe doesn’t have the stuff, then no. If the rationale is he’s better as a closer, then that’s the wrong way of thinking. Could Trey/Dayton maybe meet us halfway and at least occasionally have him pitch the 8th and the 9th? Re; Teahen- like most internet peeps, I have this fantasy world in which guys like Teahen might be cleverly and creatively used by their manager as a super sub guy. It’ll never happen though. Somehow, football… FOOTBAWLLLL is where the creative thinking gets done these days. Baseball just seems intellectually dead to me, with a few exceptions. If Teahen isn’t going to play then he should be traded. He has more value to another team. Of course, when that happens, I doubt I’ll be happy with who Dayton gets in return. So it’ll be fun all around.

What’s your favorite literary movement and why? ZeppellinDZ
(After deleting a few different long-winded lead-ins to my answer.) My favorite literary movement would probably be American neoclassical literature. Only rarely do I personally, emotionally, enjoy it as a reader but as a student it always fascinates me. In terms of style, every major aspect of American poetry in the late eighteenth century was pretty much completely repudiated and rejected by later writers, which makes them interesting. They were a joke by 1840 and forgotten by 1940. The eighteenth century just doesn’t fit the standard story we like to tell about American Literature, which was why I was a fourth year graduate student before I even really started reading it. So, like my favorite baseball team, I’ve identified with literary history’s losers.

What is Ken Harvey up to these days? – Warden11
Thinking that this next All-Star Game is the one he’ll get invited back to for a softball came or something. He’s texted with Scott Cooper about this very subject.


Is that even Jenna Fischer? Strange picture.


Why don’t they ever show Pam wearing a "hot" outfit? – Devil Fingers
I haven’t worked in an office for so long (but then again, have the NBC writers? and no, their office doesn’t count) but I would have to guess this is some effort at verisimilitude: Pam should always be modestly dressed and/or never seem by her co-workers outside the office complex. That, and it’s part of her character to not do so, as in the time she ordered that shirt thing online and then only wore it for half a day. It’s probably been awhile since Pam got slutted out and went to the bar, right? Is that what you mean by hot outfit? That being said, I think while Pam was in New York she started watching Mad Men because a) she was cheating on Jim with a guy from the show and b) she’s been doing some interesting things outfit wise this season. The last time Pam really really tried to look good was probably casino night, though. Pam & Jim are almost like one of those hippie/half-hippie couples whose whole vibe is being laid-back, only they've pushed it too far, almost into slob-zone. What would a Pam & Jim date look like? Probably a trip to Olive Garden featuring some making fun of the waiter and the high school kids next to them. She is probably putting an unrealistic amount of effort into her hair though. One last thing, would Dunder Mifflin still carry a receptionist at this point? Unless she’s making $7 dollars an hour, I doubt it. (Have you ever wondered how much Pam gets paid?) It’s the single most unrealistic part of the show. Pam may have been able to stick around up to the point she took her sabbatical, but the minute she left that job would have either been axed entirely, temped out, or given to a high school student. Pam would have been offered a sales-job, but nothing more.

Who are the 14 or 15 GMs that are worse than DM? –Gopherballs
By team, just to make it easier. Solid answers: Angels, Astros, Nationals, Reds, Giants, Dodgers. Probablies: Blue Jays, Orioles, Pirates, Twins, Rangers, Mets. Man, who else is really feelin’ good!!?

Breakdown the 25 man roster and compare each to Royals of the past. –kscoliny
I’m pretty bad on Royals history, but here are a few to chew on. Brian Bannister- D.A.R.Y.L. May, John Buck- Jim Sundberg, Jose Guillen- Poor Man’s Danny Tartabull with large dose of post-cliff Mark Quinn. Oh, and Greinke-Done. I actually see that one, on a couple levels.

Olivo or Buck? -A Devoted Reader

This is turning into one of the classic rivalries and internet topics, isn't it? The weird thing is, they're just so damn similar. Buck's career OPS+ is 82, Olivo's is 78. If there's a difference in their glovework, I don't see it. Buck is a little more patient, but is also capable of batting .210 or worse for weeks at a time, so overall it's something of a wash. Olivo is capable of turning in a single-digit walk total any given year however, which remains impressive. He's the perfect Dayton Moore acquisition: hacktastic, redundant on the roster, malcontented and a little over-priced. The Allard Baird regime left Dayton with John Buck, but there must have been some pressing need to bring in a seperate, non-Stormin' Mormon version. Still, he has his champions.

Who will be the Grand Marshall of the Parade? loyal2sdad
Well, Jesus is going to get the most thanks, we know that much. Scott Pose and David Howard will be in the lead car.

And now a Kaegel question, as requested.

Last spring we traded Justin Huber to San Diego for a player to be named. Have we received anything in return? -- Nick H., Lenexa, Kan.
Some things are like your virginity, well, your virginity if you’re female, when you give them up, it isn’t often worth even wondering what you got back in return. The price paid is just incalculable.

And what’s the deal with those funny-looking necklace thingies? –minda33
Sometimes, when I see something like a stupid rookie hazing stunt or listen to 95% of what George Brett has ever said or see the hemp-necklace craze or imagine what even trying to talk to someone like Josh Beckett must be like, I think, "well, ole boy, maybe it was for the best that you didn’t have 1% of the talent needed to be a Major League Baseball player." And I say this coming from a life that has been a complete and utter failure. Basically, I imagine a big league clubhouse as being eighth grade, only everyone has money and more self-confidence and everything they do is affirmed by millions every day. And I hated eighth grade. Point being, I'd be more hated than Arod and Donovan McNabb.

What are your favorite books on baseball?- hunter s. royal
I could re-read an old Baseball Prospectus without much prodding. Not because of the stats, but because of the writing. I’d say the majority of baseball literature I don’t really like however. I can only take the "baseball as America" or "baseball as life" stuff in very small doses and, for whatever reason, I’m not interested in most athletes as people. (This wasn’t always the case, I can remember being around twelve and reading a book about Spring Training called Short Season and being very affected by it, particularly a scene near the end featuring scouts evaluating a prospect negatively. I re-read it years later and found the whole book unreadable.) Some of the writing from the 1980s on on the post-career afterlife of DiMaggio and Ted Williams was really good, but at least in the case of Joltin’ Joe, it was very anti-mythological. He embodied nothing, he stood for nothing, he had no interests. He was a good-looking rich guy who dressed well and was basically a jerk to 95% of the people he ever met. It’s an embarrassment that anyone ever cared or could have seen him as anything more.

Why is veteran leadership and chemistry so undervalued in "the blogosphere"? – timlacy
Where do you begin? Aside from all the obvious points (i.e. examples of teams that hated each other that won, the fact that team chemistry is only talked about AFTER the team has won and that success itself makes people happier and believe they have magical special feelings for one another, not the other way around) I just go back to the basic point that baseball is not really a team sport. It’s a series of individual battles. There aren’t plays, there is almost no teamwork, etc. So, if you believe in the team chemistry thesis, you have to also believe that, say, at any given moment, Batter X isn’t really trying that hard unless Veteran Leader X hooked him up with the hottest groupie or gave him an inspirational Bible quote or whatever the night before. As for why the blogosphere believes in chemistry less, I would say it is because we’re never around the players, listening to them jabber about it. And yes, I think the players are wrong too.

You watched any MLB Network? A Trusted Fan

Yea, a little. I've enjoyed the few bits of the Hot Stove show that I've seen. Not a huge Harold Reynolds fan, but if nothing else the scrolling info bar is worth it. Hey Gabe Gross has signed... I watched a piece on the 1986 season, which predictably was pretty Buckner heavy. MOST. OVERRATTED. MOMENT. EVER. Has there ever been a more misinterpreted play? Its talked about like the Buckner error singlehandedly flipped that series. It didn't. Point number one, it is likely Mookie Wilson beats him to the bag anyway. This was probably why he lost focus on the ball to begin with. Point number two, the game WAS ALREADY TIED. Essentially, the Red Sox had already blown the game. As it was already tied, the Mets had a huge advantage going forward. Statistically, emotionally, however you want to measure it. Third, IT WAS GAME SIX. Boston still had another chance to win the series, and even had a late lead in Game Seven. Yet the Buckner play is continually talked about as if the Series just ended right there. Unbelievable. Why does no one ever mention these points? I hate the world we live in sometimes.

Are we truly in The Bleak Midwinter?- buddyball