Monday, March 16, 2009

Musings From Roy F. Almania: We's Bumpin' Some Swift Guessin'; He's Jumpin' the Smith & Wesson

We were a bit concerned last month when it seemed as if my cousin Roy -- the esteemed author behind this series -- wasn't going to be able to make time for a monthly Kansas City Royals take. He's been a pretty reliable outsource in the past couple of baseball seasons, and I for one, am glad he was able to electronically transmit another take here in '09, in consecutive months, no less. His February offering cautiously tiptoed around the notion of optimism, and I think perhaps that he's built upon that in March. His second spring-training essay, just after the jump.

I ain't a-certain how's things is in your neck of the woods, but I know that the day's a cloudless one both here in Joplin, and down in Surprise. And I don't aim to dive into the half-full team pitcher, but I imagine that the message the boys in blue intend to convey is clear as well: The days of 100-loss seasons are behind us. At least for a spell.

I started to put these thoughts on paper right good and early before dawn this morning, when the sports page of today's The Joplin Globe gleamed a stat that made me smile good and big: The Kansas City Royals are 10-6-2 thus far in Cactus League play, a far better spring training mark than I can remember in a number of years. I'm not afraid to admit that I don't make it to the House of Georges everyday, but that mark looks a bit better than some of the other favorite, often-referenced clubs on this page of the World Wide Web. Having said that, I'm inclined to stick with a categorized approach to how things look for KC at this point.

The Good

I can keep these sentiments to one sentence a piece: I'm pleased that the positives we been seeing appear well-rounded: They've managed to maintain near-decent starts (save for one Brian Bannister) from the fellas that're likely to be starters while there's good, strong potential in middle relief, a proven closer, and an overall motif of better plate appearances.

The Bad

I still finger the rotation as Kansas City's Achilles. I figure they might could open the season in Chicago with nary a southpaw, and that right there's some sour milk on a good crunchy bowl of Grape Nuts.

The However

If and when Trey Hillman finalizes the active roster with all them "right" guys, I gotta believe that better plate appearances, on-par fielding, roughly adequate speed, mixed with a few more veterans and their due-to-develop youth, all yield a harvest that reaps more wins.

The Obvious

It's spring training; no matter what, every team is still trying to put the pieces in place, and there's no sense in getting excited about a good crop when the weather remains unpredictable.

The Opponent of the Day

Now that I'm near the end of this submission, the Royals are a pair of outs away from win number 11, and it makes my innards swell with pride to think that they've gotten decent starts from Zack Greinke, Gil Meche, Luke Hochevar, and Kyle Davies while handling (today) proven starters like Bartolo Colon and Mark Buerhle.

The End

As the boys wrap up their 11th win with 11 runs, I'll add that I'm plum pleased to see the long balls: New Royal Mike Jacobs has four; Mitch Maier hit his third today; Alex Gordon and Billy Butler each have a pair; John Buck, perhaps angry with his demotion, has three; while Mark Teahen, perhaps angry about his non-native Canada's loss in the World Baseball Classic, has also gone yard four times now while several other Royals have hit one homer.

Opening day is three weeks away, and I am excited for the sixth of April.