Being a sports fan is a constant battle between your head and your heart. This is especially true for those blessed or cursed with the platform and/or obligation to analyze, write, and cover a specific sports team. If you don’t comment on an internet baseball forum or spend your free time slingin’ thoughts in 280 characters or less on Twitter dot com, you can kind of check your analytical side at the door if you want to.
I do not really have that option, because I’ve got to come up with quality stories and articles and things that the Royals Review audience deserves to read. I can talk about how I feel, but that only gets so far. Analysis is a core part of the job, even in editorials.
For me at least, my analytical conclusion about the Kansas City Royals and my feelings are at odds. See, I am not a big fan of the current administration. As I noted at the end of June, the Royals have been the second worst team in Major League Baseball during the regular season over the last 15 years. This is the case because the Royals front office is making the same sort of mistakes that they’ve been making every year since day one, despite a hubris that insulates them from results and the kind of honest performance evaluation that is imperative in their industry.
But, man, I’m like that poster hanging above the desk of Special Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files: I want to believe. More specifically, regarding my analysis of the Royals’ front office and of their likelihood of success, I want to be proven wrong.
I know in my head that it’s borderline impossible for four of the members from the 2018 draft class to turn into competent starters; injuries and talent flameouts are inevitable. But did you see Daniel Lynch pitch last night? Or Kris Bubic earlier in the week? And have you seen Jackson Kowar’s numbers in Triple-A? Heck, Brady Singer has already had a season where he tied for eighth in Rookie of the Year voting.
I know in my head that the combination of Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto, and MJ Melendez are very unlikely to all end up as stars. But Melendez leads the entire minors in home runs, as a catcher. Witt has crushed the minors and is barely old enough to legally drink. Meanwhile, Pratto is simply raking.
And I know in my head that Hunter Dozier’s long-term prospects don’t look very good after this disaster of a season. I know that Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield have nothing but decline in them. I know that Adalberto Mondesi is unlikely to ever turn in a single healthy season to show what he can do. But...what if?
When the Royals are playing well, it’s a reminder of what things could be. I don’t want to continue to look back at 2013-2015 for another half decade or so that it would take for Dayton Moore to realistically manage his way out of a job and for the Royals to fully reset for a playoff run with a front office that has more self awareness. I want the Royals to be good. I want to believe.
Missouri is the Show Me state, and here it is particularly important. Show me some wins, guys. There are a whole bunch of Royals fans out there who are just waiting for an excuse to get back into it. I am not the only one who wants to believe. We just need to go from wanting to active belief.