I have very few rules in life, but one of them is this: when I get a direct message on Twitter from @sportsguy33 asking for my email address, I give it to him.
This morning, I made my debut over at Grantland, which you can read here. Hold on to your seats, but it's about the Royals. If you're shocked at how short the article is, keep in mind that my original draft was approximately 237,000 words. (Apparently there are these people called "editors" whose job it is to make your articles more concise. Who knew?)
If you're a regular reader of mine, then this column doesn't break a lot of new ground, but it's a good primer for the regular sports fan. And it was worth it if only to confirm that yes, aside from the Expos/Nationals, every other sports franchise in America has made the playoffs since 1986.
(It was cut from the original piece, but even more humiliating is this fact: between the four major sports, there have been 24 expansion franchises which have started play since 1986. EVERY ONE OF THEM HAS MADE THE PLAYOFFS TOO, with the exception of the Houston Texans, who have been in existence for all of nine seasons. All four baseball expansion franchises have been to the playoffs at least twice, and all four have been to the World Series.)
It's too soon to know whether I'll be writing regularly for Grantland or not; if I do, I'm sure I won't be writing about the Royals every time. So you'll still see me here writing regularly.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the piece. Since Grantland doesn't allow for comments yet, feel free to leave your feedback here.
I thought Grantland was hostile to sabermetrics. :-)
Congrats, Rany. As a guy who hits your blog and Grantland almost daily, I was excited to see your name there with Klosterman and Simmons.
Now we need you to come up with a trade that gets us a starter that will help make this rotation somewhat credible next year. You really don't want to leave such an important task to Dayton, do you?
Awesome piece. Hope to see you classing up the Grantland joint a lot more.
First line was very impactful, and it's why I end up with a lot of respect around other baseball fans -- being a Royals fan is, yes, a sure sign of true fandom and...well, endurance.
Never mind that the respect quickly gives way to light ridicule at my expense -- still, it's there, just underlying the other stuff.
Easily the best baseball piece on Grantland to date. Maybe you could write something interesting about stats to counteract the insanity that they've been printing there lately on that topic?
It's actually even worse than you make it out to be. The only reason the Expos/Nationals haven't been in the playoffs since 1986 is because there were no playoffs in 1994.
Manipulative statistics. It is much, much easier to make the playoffs in the other 3 major sports, especially the NBA and NHL where losing teams regularly make it in. Last year in the NFL, Seattle at 7-9 made it. If KC were a hockey team, based on winning %, we would have made the playoffs at least 5 times since 86.
I guess I dont get the need to point out the historic level of loserdome we have reached. Why? We all know that we are bigtime losers. We are well aware that we arent skilled enough to compete and never get invited to the season ending tournament. Why must it be broadcast in historical perspective over and over and over? If it was written by your jerk buddy Joe Sheehan, that would be one thing. He is an arrogant NY blowhard. Its to be expected.
It would appear with the complete complete collapse of the ridiculously overhyped Top Rated Farm System that we are not even likely to be better than average anytime soon. WE SUCK. WE GET IT.
Can I get a double merit badge for being a Royals and a Lions fan? I really don't have an addiction to the so-called perennial loser, but I think I do deserve the title "Least Bandwagon Fan of the Year"
Being an avid Royals fan in Denver, I certainly don't get to watch them play in person that often. Until this weekend! Yay.
Great read, sir. Grantland does not appear to have a permanent link to it anywhere, though, which is kind of lame. So, thanks for linking to it here, and keep us posted regarding future endeavors.
First time reader and immediately came over here after reading the article on Grantland. Just the right combination of statistics, opinion, humor, and self-loathing.
I really enjoyed your piece on Grantland regarding the defensively-challenged Brewers, but I can't help feeling there was a lost opportunity for an interesting footnote.
At the end of the piece, you talk about the 1982 Brewers and how their built-for-offense philosophy got them to a World Series Game 7. It would have been interesting to contrast them, though, with the winners of that Game 7. If ever a team was built around defense and speed, it was the 80's Whitey-ball era Cardinals. That 1982 team featured Ozzie Smith and Keith Hernandez--widely considered the best defensive players in baseball history at their respective positions--along with the no-defensive-slouch-himself Willie McGee in centerfield.
Moreover, no one on that team hit as many as 20 home runs, and only two hit even as many as 10. Only one starter hit over .300 (Lonnie Smith, who hit .307). No starter had an OPB over .400--in fact, only two everyday players had an OBP over .360--and only one player on the entire roster slugged over .450 (Gene Tenace, who slugged .500 but in only 124 AB). Although the team scored only 685 runs that season, they also allowed only 609 (!).
So as a contrast between offense-only versus defense-only teams, perhaps you couldn't do better than that 1982 World Series.
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