Well, the 2015 Baseball season is finally upon us.
The Royals, with additions of Kendrys Morales, Alex Rios and Edinson Volquez replacing Billy Butler, Nori Aoki and James Shields, will attempt to replicate last season's success, if not last season's exact style.
The hope, going into this season, was that some combination of Ventura, Duffy, Medlen and others would combine to replace James Shield's production, while Volquez and the bullpen would fill in the gaps. It was hoped that Rios would be an improvement over Aoki, and that Morales would at least produce at the same rate as Butler circa 2013.
And then yesterday happened.
8 of the Royals starting 9 reached base safely against a pitcher who would slot into the #1 or #2 spot of almost any team in baseball. Ventura was not just good, but dominant over a lineup that contained Abreu, (Melky) Cabrera, Eaton and LaRoche.
I find myself rekindling what I felt about 6 months ago. I'm brought back to a time of October baseball, of Royals winning 8 games in a row, making it to game 7 of the World Series.
I know I'm not the only one. I know many people who are already back on the bandwagon (and expect many of the readers on this site are, too). And why not? It was a hell of a ride last year, and damn it, after 29 years without a playoff berth, and the horror teams of the middle 2000's (Scott Elarton as the opening day starter, need I say more?), we deserve to be able to ride the high.
I find I must keep chanting a mantra in my head... "It was just one game. It was just one game. It was just one game."
Sure, Moose had a great game at the plate (though I don't agree with bunting in the 3rd). He hit an opposite field home-run. That is something that is deserving of attention.
But it was just one game. In all likelihood, even an improved Moose will still hit well below league average (especially for 3rd base).
Rios had a 3-hit game, and a majestic home run.
But he does have a lingering thumb injury, which will zap a hitter's power dramatically if it continues to fester.
Ventura was, without a doubt, dominant. I'm not even the least bit worried about his hand.
But he's still young, and subject to setbacks.
We haven't seen what the rest of the rotation is going to do. Our bullpen remains untested, our team, as a whole, remains untested.
It was just one game.
Even so, I'm in. I fought it all night, and part of today. It may have just been one game. We could very easily go on a 10-20 game losing streak now. But I'm in.
I don't know what kind of voodoo magic Dayton Moore is using. I don't know if he's in possession of a Pilantir, hired Miss Cleo or is just lucky, but despite defying both conventional and modern wisdom he has put together another team that I think can compete.
Of course, it was just one game. In two weeks, two months, I could look back at this and shake my head at the obvious confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance I KNOW I am allowing myself to experience right now, because it was JUST ONE GAME.
But it was a hell of a game, wasn't it?