Have you ever wondered to yourself “what if there were a bar where all the drinks are Royals players?” What would your favorite players on the 2023 Royals take the form of? Spirits, wines, beers, the options abound. Now, at last, through a rigorous scientific process of me sitting around and bandying about ideas in my head, I bring to you the definitive comps of Royals and alcoholic drinks.
Bobby Witt Jr: Expensive bourbon
I’ll admit, I’m not really that much of a bourbon guy. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just not really my go-to. However, a couple years ago, somebody handed me a glass of Eagle Rare on the rocks. That’s the first time I’d ever drank any type of liquor and thought “wow, that’s special.” Out of all the players on the roster currently, Witt is that guy on the roster that I watch and say “wow, that’s special” - the best combination of current ability and future ceiling. He’s the only player currently on the 40-man that I can picture winning an MVP someday. For that, Witt gets the premier spot on the top shelf at the bar. If you prefer a different expensive liquor - say, Glenlivet 18 yr - feel free to substitute that mentally.
Salvador Perez: Champagne
Is any beverage more synonymous with “good vibes” than champagne? Is any player on the Royals more synonymous with “good vibes” than Salvy? The answer is no on both counts. You don’t drink champagne when you’re sad; this bubbly concoction is the drink of choice for New Year’s Eve parties, graduations, and championship celebrations everywhere. Similarly, nobody on the Royals has a bubblier personality than Salvy. He plays with a smile on his face and few players in the game today bring such visible joy to the field.
Zack Greinke: Fine port (that’s probably a few years past its best-by date)
At one point, this was a truly sensational bottle of wine. It probably cost a lot of money at the shop. Unfortunately, today in 2023, it seems this bottle was sitting in the cellar a bit too long. A damn shame as well, but nothing lasts forever. Greinke will be remember for who he was at the best of times, not who he was at the end.
Cole Ragans: Canned cocktails
Canned cocktails are the current “big thing” in the alcohol business. Premixed cocktails have seen more growth over the past few years than any other type of spirit. These are the big thing in the game right now with even such brands as our own Boulevard Brewing Co. getting in on the action. The “big thing” on the Royals pitching staff right now is Ragans. He’s broken out since coming over from Texas, missing tons of bats and putting up a string of strong starts while flashing improved velo and nasty offspeed stuff. Just as canned cocktails are establishing themselves as fixtures in the world of booze, Ragans is quickly becoming a foundational rotation piece for the Royals.
Vinnie Pasquantino: Seltzer
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Come on now Greg, how are you comping a big, slugging first baseman to one of the lightest beverages out there?” I promise this makes sense, bear with me here. Hard seltzers have been around for about a decade now, but it took time for them to really catch on. Around 2018-19 was when they really took off and brands like White Claw and Truly became household names. While their popularity has tailed off a bit since that 2019 peak, hard seltzers are here to stay. Similarly, Pasquantino wasn’t always well known in Royalsland. As a first base-only, Day 3 draft pick from a Conference-USA school in 2019, his entrance to pro ball was met with little fanfare. When the pandemic hit in 2020, what could have been his first full season in the system was lost to the sands of time. Finally, in 2021, he got a chance to play and did nothing but hit all season. He kept it going in 2022, forcing his way to the show. Pasquantino quickly ingratiated himself both with Royals fans and the broader baseball community with his fun personality and strong performance in the batter’s box. While his injury this year has dampened the fanfare somewhat, he still looks to be a future fixture at first base in Kansas City.
Jordan Lyles: Cheap vodka
If you’re desperate or alcoholic enough, you don’t really care about the quality of the beverage. You just need something that gets you from point A to point B - from sober to drunk - as quickly and cheaply as possible. You can find it anywhere that sells liquor - or basically anywhere in a literal sense if you’re in Missouri - and it doesn’t cost you much. The drawback of all this is that it’s actively painful to drink and you’re likely to feel even worse the following day. Watching Jordan Lyles pitch is not generally a pleasant experience, but he gets the Royals from the start of the game to almost the end of it, results and aftereffects be damned.
Maikel Garcia: Light lager
While not the most exciting drink available, light lagers are a staple of the beverage scene nonetheless. With easy drinkability, low ABV, and a typically cheap price point, they’re enjoyed by many different people in a bevy of situations. It’s difficult to find occasions involving drinks in which light lagers don’t fit; be it a tailgate, float trip, backyard cookout, or just an evening on your deck, you can’t go wrong with a light lager. Garcia might not be the most exciting player, nor does he have an exceptionally high ceiling, but he seems destined to be a long-time big leaguer. Infielders with a good glove and contact skills fit on just about any big league roster, just as light lagers can be found almost anywhere that drinks are involved.
Brady Singer: Imperial IPA
IPAs are enigmatic, such is the nature of hops. This is especially the case with imperial IPAs, which feature a more robust flavor profile accompanied by a higher ABV than other IPAs. At their best, imperial IPAs can be truly excellent. At their worst, I would much rather drink most of the other entries in this list. Singer is similarly inconsistent. At his best, he’s taking no-hitters deep into games or throwing seven shutty in Yankee Stadium. At his worst, he’s throwing a bunch of pies and fooling absolutely nobody with his two pitches. Singer and IPAs in general also have in common a divided public opinion. I love IPAs, while I know many people that can’t stand them. Some people enjoy Singer’s competitive demeanor and on-field presence, while others find it grating.
MJ Melendez: Tequila
Tequila has tons of potential, however things can get messy quick, like when you put it behind home plate. It can be fun and exciting not knowing exactly what’s gonna happen. It can be tricky to figure out exactly how it fits into your bar unless you really like shots or margaritas, but the power is undeniable.
Jonathan Heasley: Rum
Rum is the preferred beverage of pirates everywhere. Jonathan Heasley looks more like a pirate than anybody else on the roster. It’s not complicated.
Michael Massey: Malort
The Chicago product isn’t for everyone. Some see a lack of versatility and don’t appreciate it for what it is. Others see value where some don’t and quite like what is brought to the table. I don’t care for Malort, nor do I necessarily believe in Massey’s particular hit-power combo and lack of defensive versatility, but I’m starting to come around on both of late.
Carlos Hernández: Absinthe
Both Hernández and absinthe were previously used in crazy ways, like as a hallucinogen or a starting pitcher. People have gotten smarter since then and realized absinthe does not cause hallucinations and Hernández is not a starting pitcher. We’ve seen something of a renaissance with each as they’ve become more refined in a specialized role, though both still have a ways to go to truly establish themselves.
Jackson Kowar: Natural Light
Kowar and Natty have one crucial thing in common: both sure as hell got the job done in college. Ah memories. Don’t ask me about either of them since leaving campus.
Matt Duffy: 99 Bananas
Earlier this year, one of my friends gave me a bottle of 99 Bananas for my birthday. I don’t really like banana-flavored stuff, and actual bananas have led to too many wars for me to drink it in good conscience. Thus, it’s just been sitting in my bar cart unopened for the past four months. I always forget it’s there, then when I make a cocktail and see it, I remember “oh yeah, I have 99 Bananas.” Then I promptly forget it’s there again and the cycle repeats. In much the same way, I always forget that Matt Duffy is on the roster until I see his name in the lineup.