You’ll be shocked to know this, but another idea is floating around right now regarding the start of the baseball season. This one probably isn’t that different than what we’d discussed last week, but there are some dates now being thrown around like a June 10thish start to Spring Training Part Deux and a start to the season in early July. I mean come on, what’s more American than baseball season starting on Independence Day? So that would be pretty fun. There are obviously obstacles to overcome, both health and baseball. Without fans in the stands, and even if they say they’re hoping for fans later in the year, I don’t see it, the owners are going to ask the players to make additional salary concessions. Now that this proposal has leaked, if the players fight back, the owners have made it so that the players look like the bad guys. Plus, it’s very difficult right now to win in the court of public opinion if you’re arguing about how many millions you should be paid this season, even if the argument is fair and legitimate. Either way, I expect we’ll have a concrete proposal out there soon, maybe even by the time you’re reading this. Watching KBO games has gotten me even more pumped for some Royals action, no matter how bad they’re going to be.
- As much as I’d really prefer to be watching 2020 baseball, I love that Fox Sports Kansas City has been showing the playoff wins of the two crazy runs from a few years ago. It’s funny how watching these games just brings back memories like a flood. Game two of the 2015 ALDS was the only home playoff game in the entire two year run I didn’t go to. And after they just looked sort of flat in game one (outside of Big Ken), they continued that to start the game, but a booty knock from Eric Hosmer and a Ben Zobrist RBI gave them the lead and a win in the series. There was hope, but they’d have to face Dallas Keuchel in the first game back in Houston, which wasn’t ideal. That game three day was brutal for KC sports. Before the Royals played, the Chiefs fell to 1-4 in a brutal game that saw them blow a lead and lose Jamaal Charles for the year. Don’t worry, after they fell to 1-5, they won 10 in a row and a playoff game. So the Royals lost that game against Keuchel and then, well, you all know what happened in the fourth game. The funny thing about that fourth game that I think I’ve mentioned before is when the Astros hit the back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the seventh, I started an article that was wishing the 2015 Royals a hearty farewell. I wrote about how great a season it was and how it was a failure in some ways, but won’t be seen that way in a few years and blah blah blah. I was about 60 percent of the way through when Eric Hosmer hit his single to make it 6-4 and keep the bases loaded. At that point, I stopped, sat back and decided to watch Kendrys Morales top spin the hell out of a baseball that ate Carlos Correa up to tie the game. And man, it was fun to see Drew Butera’s plate appearance too. I know it doesn’t get lost by people here, but I hope nobody forgets that one because that might have been the best of his career.
- Finding a favorite moment of the 2015 postseason is difficult. It could be Lorenzo Cain scoring from first on the Hosmer single in game six of the ALCS (by the way, we all saw this Wednesday night that he actually did it in the ALDS too and nobody talks about it) or maybe Alex Gordon’s World Series home run or the obvious answer of Christian Colon’s single to give the Royals the lead. But I think mine came in the bottom of the eighth inning in the fifth game of the ALDS. With the score already 4-2, Big Ken came to the plate against Dallas Keuchel in relief. He absolutely obliterated that ball into left center field. The home run itself was awesome. It was the exclamation point on a 7-2 win (hey wait, Lorenzo Cain put an exlamation point on a 7-2 win a couple weeks later…) that sent the Royals into the ALCS. But the way he rounded the bases gave me one of the biggest smiles I’ve had watching baseball. Him skipping to first with his arms outstretched. I remember going on my weekly spot in Lawrence and telling the host that they needed to make that a bobblehead. Thankfully they did. But even better was when he crossed home plate, he did the neck slash thing that Lance McCullers stupidly had done two days before when he walked off the mound with a lead in Houston. I don’t know, something about that moment brought back all the feels and it was awesome to see it again.
- Okay, let’s talk 2020 because it’s apparent that there might actually be some 2020 MLB games to discuss sometime soon. I’ve talked about the impact of the shortened schedule, shortened second spring and all that and about the impact of the lack of the minor leagues this season, though that has not yet been confirmed. Now, I wouldn’t go to Vegas and bet on this, but if the season is short enough and the Royals are enticed to keep their young arms pitching, this is the way they have a shot to do some damage. Talent sometimes surprises you early in their careers. Guys come out of the gates strong all the time when the league hasn’t had a chance to see them. If the Royals decide they need Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch to pitch (and sure, throw Kris Bubic in there too) and bring them up, whether you believe they’re right or wrong to use service time on them, that’s their shot to surprise in a short season. It is not anywhere near outside the realm of possibility that one or two of them absolutely dominate their first time through the league and if the season is short enough, that might be their only time through the league. In an 80-game season, maybe Singer and Kowar or whatever combination you want to put together becomes a pair of legitimate number two starters. Add them to Danny Duffy who was pitching so well in spring and Brad Keller who has shown he’s a solid pitcher and maybe they have enough to surprise for a few weeks to get them to 46 wins or something. Again, I would never predict that because I honestly don’t really see it happening, but, as Denny Matthews says, if you want to dream a little, this is the way it would happen.
- I’m not sure how much KBO you guys have watched this week, but it’s been SO nice to see some live baseball. Heck, just some live competition has been a ray of sunshine after not having much of anything over the last eight or so weeks. I like the KBO game. As I think Mike Ferrin maybe was saying on MLB Network Radio the other day, it’s probably the closest foreign league to MLB strategy in terms of being about the home run ball and the big inning. Yes, they de-juiced the ball, but it’s still pretty similar in the way teams play their game. Two observations I have, and I noticed Mike Petriello had the same as my first, is that the lack of fans hasn’t been as off-putting as I expected. I thought I’d watch it and it would feel super weird, but it really doesn’t. I mean, yes, I notice it and it’s a little odd, but it’s sort of like the net when you’re at a game. After a few minutes, you kind of forget about it. The other thing I’ve noticed within myself is that it’s actually made me miss the Royals and just general MLB games more since I’ve been watching some of these KBO games. Sure it’s nice to watch baseball and all that, but sports are so tied to emotion and I don’t really care who wins these games. I mean, sure, I’ve adopted the Doosan Bears because I’m totally a bandwagon fan and they’re the reigning champs and, hey, don’t judge me, I deserve this, but it doesn’t really impact me. I love watching baseball, but I’m more than ready to watch a baseball game where the outcome actually impacts me.