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A Surprising Royal Constant: Mitch Maier Playing in Game 162

Mitch Maier has been a sometime, part-time, Royal since 2006. He's been around for years, but has never quite been a regular player, as his career high in plate appearances is 2010's 421. The situation was crystallized this season, when the Royals kept Maier on the roster for the entire year, and played him about once every 10 days or so. Good, boring, work, if you can get it. 

As you will recall, this prompted Mitch to start writing home to his parents.

However, if there is one thing you can count on, it is that some Royal manager, be they a Yost or a Hillman or a Bell, will play Mitch Maier on the last day of the season. I haven't seen the starting lineup for tonight's finale yet, but if Yost doesn't start Maier, we will be breaking significant precedent. Maier has played in every Game 162, save 2007, since 2006.

  • 2006: MITCH was a September callup and played in five games that year. Game 162 was a 12 inning, 10-8 win over the Tigers (part of Detroit's epic September fade that had no consequences... technically they won the Wild Card that year). Odalis Perez started for the Royals. Our Mitch went 1-5 with two walks.
  • 2007: The exception. Mitch spent the entire year in the minors.
  • 2008: Mitch appeared in 34 games for the 2008 Royals. In game 162, a 6-0 loss to the Tigers, he went 1-3.
  • 2009: Mitch played in a career high 127 games this season, though in 34 of them he was a late-inning substitute. In the season's final game, in a lineup that featured Willie Bloomquist, Tug Hulett, and Luis Hernandez, Maier went 0-4. The Royals lost to the Twins 13-4.
  • 2010: The Royal outfield was a mess in 2010. Injuries, trades and demotions involving David DeJesus, Rick Ankiel, Alex Gordon, Scott Podsednik, and Jose Guillen gave Mitch Maier 421 plate appearances that season. 40% of Mitch's career PAs are from 2010, so it isn't surprising that he played on the final day of the season. In a 12-inning, 3-2 loss to the Rays, Maier went 2-4 with a walk.
  • We need him tonight.