Monday, August 13, 2012

The 2012 Royals And The Illusion of Chemistry.

This may sound incredibly funny in retrospect, but when I was in Arizona to watch the Royals during spring training, the article I wanted to write was about whether the Royals would outperform expectations because of their fantastic chemistry.

Hold your laughter for a moment. As ridiculous as that might sound today, it was essentially accepted as fact then that, in addition to having a roster chock-full of young talent, the Royals had assembled a team full of good personalities. Let’s just take a look at the projected lineup. Keep in mind this is the impression I had of each of these players back in early March, an impression informed by people around the team as well as my own observations:

Catcher: Salvador Perez is one of the most popular players in any clubhouse he’s been in. Pitchers love to throw to him. He has an infectious personality that transcends the language barrier.

First Base: Eric Hosmer is a popular guy, but more germanely to a guy who was thought to be the Royals’ best young player, he has the swagger of being the alpha male in the clubhouse. He was the straw that stirred the Royals’ drink, minus Reggie Jackson’s narcissism and divisiveness. Basically, he was The Man.

Second Base: Johnny Giavotella has tremendous makeup, the kind of grinding mentality that got him named captain of his college team as a sophomore, and turned a 5’8” 185-pounder into a major leaguer.

Shortstop: Perhaps it’s because he’s from Latin America, or perhaps it’s because he came up in a different organization, but I don’t have a feel for Alcides Escobar’s clubhouse presence one way or another. I certainly haven’t heard anything bad about it. For lack of better information, we’ll say he’s neutral.

Third Base: We heard nearly as much about Mike Moustakas’ leadership skills in the minor leagues as we did about his bat. His leadership is more vocal than some of the other guys on this list – whether it’s talking to the media or to his teammates. Obviously, the way he’s made himself into an excellent defense third baseman this year is testament to his work ethic.

A quick story about Moustakas – I was in the clubhouse after a game last year and there was a scrum of reporters around Moustakas, who was lounging in his chair taking questions. Moustakas suddenly noticed a TV crew had showed up and was pointing the camera at his face, and he said, “oh, sorry,” and immediately stood up so the camera could get a better view.

Now, you could take this as a story that Moustakas was image-conscious and wanted to look as good as possible in front of the camera – but that’s not how it looked to me at all. Maybe Moose is just a fabulous actor, but in that moment before he stood up he looked genuinely apologetic. He was, for lack of a better term, trying to be considerate. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal. But I’m guessing Jose Guillen wouldn’t have done the same thing.

Left Field: Alex Gordon’s leadership is very different than Moustakas’ – much more measured and much less vocal. But when it comes to leadership by example, he might be unmatched. Gordon works his ass off – works out like an animal, adheres to a diet that would make you and I cry – and turned himself into a Gold Glove left fielder in his first full year at the position. If anything, what held Gordon back early in his career was that he tried too hard.

Center Field: When the Royals acquired Lorenzo Cain in the Greinke deal, I heard as many comments from insiders about the Painkiller’s personality as his talents. “He’s a GREAT dude,” I heard. You never heard him pout or complain once when he went back to Triple-A last year and spent the whole season there while Melky Cabrera put up a 200-hit season.

Right Field: Helloooo – it’s Jeff Francoeur.

Designated Hitter: Billy Butler is who he is – a simple man with a freakish ability to hit a baseball. He doesn’t have the clubhouse presence of some of the guys above, and early in his career he was an easy mark in the clubhouse for some of the more malignant personalities on the team. But you won’t find anyone who has anything bad to say about Butler.

It’s not just the starting lineup – even the bench players were great in the clubhouse. Brayan Pena is a fantastic guy, a Cuban defector who’s as proud of his American citizenship as any accomplishment on the field, a bilingual chatterbox who helps bridge the gap between Americans and Hispanics. Mitch Maier started twice a month last year without complaint, and was always prepared to come off the bench to pinch-hit or pinch-run or play defense for an inning. Jarrod Dyson runs his mouth as much as his legs, but in a way that’s more endearing to his teammates than annoying.

And then, of course, there’s Yuniesky Betancourt. I was obviously predisposed to thinking he was the fly in the ointment, and there were multiple incidents with Yuni’s lack of effort that precipitated his departure from Seattle. But when I asked around at spring training, I was told that at least in his time with the Royals, Yuni was considered a likeable teammate, and in fact was looked up to by the younger Hispanic players on the team. We’ll get back to him later.

Of 13 hitters on the roster, at least nine had what scouts would call plus makeup, if not plus-plus. Yuni aside, no one was expected to be a negative in the clubhouse.

Moreover, many of these guys came up together in the farm system, and had played together for years. Perez was the first player Hosmer met when he signed and headed to Idaho Falls in 2008. Hosmer, Moustakas, and Giavotella were all big contributors to the 2010 Northwest Arkansas team that was named Baseball America’s Minor League Team of the Year.

The Royals’ front office hadn’t just put together one of the most talented young lineups in the game. They had, whether by luck or by design, put together a roster of position players that was completely bereft of character issues.

For whatever reason, I have much less of a handle on the pitching staff. But the Royals clearly had their share of chemistry guys there too. Bruce Chen was re-signed to be the Jeff Francoeur of the rotation, basically. He obviously has a great sense of humor – they aren’t running the “Bruce Chen Joke of the Day” on the jumbotron for nothing – and he’s bilingual. In fact, I was told during spring training that Chen is the rare pitcher who serves as a liaison between the English and Spanish speakers on the team. That’s a pretty rare role for a starting pitcher, though I suppose it’s not as rare as being a Chinese-Panamanian in the major leagues.

Danny Duffy is my favorite Twitter follow on the roster; granted, the competition isn’t steep. Both on Twitter and in personal interactions, he comes across as a caring and sensitive kid, which gives fuel to the rumors that he briefly walked away from the game at least in part because he didn’t feel comfortable with the ultra-jock culture of the minor leagues. Luke Hochevar may be an enigma on the mound, but off the field he comes across as thoughtful and articulate.

The only warning flag that we saw in spring training was that even then, Jonathan Sanchez gave off the body language of someone who would rather be somewhere – anywhere – else. That’s what we in the business call foreshadowing.

Relievers have their own culture, owing to the hours they spend together in the bullpen every day, and I can only speculate as to the personalities there. Joakim Soria is a gem. Tim Collins has attitude; he didn’t get to the majors as a 5’6” pitcher by being timid. Everett Teaford is very intelligent, and owing to the fact that he was a late bloomer and is already 28*, was a mentor for many of the relievers when they were in the minors together. Louis Coleman went back for his senior season at LSU to win a championship, and was rewarded by being on the mound when they won the College World Series. With one exception, which we’ll get to later, the bullpen seemed to be a bunch of good guys. I don’t think this picture sees the light of day if they weren’t.

*: Teaford is one month older than Jonathan Broxton. Yeah, I was surprised too.

Look, I can only give you the perspective of an informed outsider, and I’m sure my impressions on a few specific players are dead wrong. But taken as a whole, there’s no doubt that going into the season, the clubhouse culture of the Royals was strongly positive. I ran that assessment by a lot of people around the Royals in spring training, and everyone agreed with it.

And so my thinking was this: if chemistry matters, the 2012 Royals would surprise a lot of people.

Chemistry is one of the persistent flashpoints (along with things like “clutch” and “momentum” and “closer’s mentality”) between baseball insiders and statistical analysts. Insiders will tell you that chemistry matters. They’ll tell you that chemistry can help a team play beyond its talent, and vice versa. And whenever a team plays surprisingly well (or surprisingly poorly) someone will drop the C-bomb as an explanation.

The 2007 Colorado Rockies come back from 6.5 games behind on September 15th, and win 22 of their next 23 games (including a 13th-inning tiebreaker with the Padres) to win the NL pennant? Great chemistry. The White Sox won the World Series in 2005 when no one thought they had a chance? Great chemistry. Never mind that the Rockies were under .500 the following year, or that the White Sox were under .500 two years later.

As for the opposite…just look at everything that’s been written about the Red Sox over the last 11 months.

The problem with these explanations are that they are always – almost literally always – ex post facto. They are explanations after the fact. The people who make these arguments have the luxury of knowing which teams have played better or worse than expected before they bestow capital-C Chemistry on them. Which is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at worst. If Chemistry matters, then you should be able to tell me BEFORE THE SEASON which teams will surprise us because of the mix of personalities in their clubhouse.

To be more precise, you should be able to tell me ACCURATELY which teams will surprise. Before the season, you’ll hear pundits talk about chemistry – if you watch team-by-team pre-season previous, you would be led to the inescapable conclusion that 90% of teams have above-average chemistry. And then once the season starts, those proclamations are forgotten.

And that’s the argument us statistical analysts have against the importance of chemistry: the people who argue most vociferously about its importance are the same people who can’t use it to predict which teams will benefit from it. Good chemistry doesn’t lead to winning, we argue: winning leads to good chemistry. The people who talk about the importance of chemistry weren’t the ones who predicted the Phillies would fall apart this year, or that the Nationals would be playoff-bound. We were the ones who did that, and we didn’t make those predictions based on whether guys in the clubhouse got along – we said the Phillies would decline because they’re older than dirt, and the Nationals would break out because they had a fantastic rotation and the most underrated manager of the last 30 years.

But having said all that…I was willing to entertain the notion that chemistry might make a difference. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But if it does make a difference, you have to point it out before the fact.

And IF there was a situation where chemistry would matter AND be discernable beforehand, I thought it would be on a young, promising team that was still widely thought to be a year or two away from making its mark. I thought it would be on a team like the 2012 Kansas City Royals, in other words.

I ultimately decided not to write the article, largely because I felt that to do the article justice would require skills that were more journalistic than analytic. Getting revealing quotes from players and coaches isn’t my core competency, and the article wouldn’t have been taken very seriously without them.

Obviously, I’m glad I decided not to write it, because I’d look like even more of an idiot than I usually do. But part of me wishes I had, because it’s harder to convince people now that the Royals had good chemistry before the season, simply because of their record on the field.

If you believe in the Chemistry argument, you can certainly make the case that the Royals’ chemistry was hurt by personnel changes, albeit some of them self-inflicted. Giavotella’s job was given to Chris Getz. (On the other hand, Getz is also a hard worker and a good chemistry guy in his own right.) Salvador Perez got hurt, and was replaced by Humberto Quintero, a big dropoff in terms of personality as well as talent. Lorenzo Cain missed most of the first half of the season. Danny Duffy blew out his elbow.

But the core players have been there all season. If Chemistry really matters, you would expect an offense that was 6th in the AL in runs scored last year and was the youngest offense in baseball to take a step forward this year. You would at least expect that they wouldn’t take a step backwards.

They didn’t take a step backwards; in the spirit of the Olympics, they took more of a triple jump. The Royals are 11th in the AL in runs scored. They’re 49-65, the exact same record they had after 114 games last year. They’re tied for the worst record in the league. And keep in mind, since Perez and Cain returned to the lineup and the Royals finally put their projected lineup on the field after the All-Star Break, they have a worse winning percentage (.400) than they did (.440) before.

All the positive vibes in the clubhouse haven’t kept Eric Hosmer from a nightmare season. It’s August 13th, and our star first baseman has a .299 OBP. It hasn’t kept Jeff Francoeur from returning to his previous haunts as one of the least valuable position players in baseball. Strong relationships between the hitters haven’t kept the offense from being dysfunctional – the Royals rank 11th in runs scored despite being 9th in OBP and 8th in slugging average. Good chemistry hasn’t kept the rotation from qualifying for emergency federal relief funds. Jonathan Sanchez may or may not have been a bad guy in the clubhouse – but what hurt the Royals wasn’t his clubhouse presence, it was the fact that he had a 7.76 ERA and gave up over two baserunners an inning.

And when it turned out that chemistry couldn’t save the 2012 Royals, a funny – but predictable – thing happened: all the losing started to turn the chemistry sour. First base coach Doug Sisson was fired, for reasons that the team won’t divulge, but given that Rusty Kuntz was summoned from Omaha with such haste that he didn’t even know who he was replacing until he arrived, I’m guessing a specific incident occurred. The next day, the Royals designated Yuniesky Betancourt for assignment. And while I was busy saying Hallelujah that the Royals finally recognized Yuni’s .256 OBP and embarrassing defensive skills were not worth employing, Ned Yost made it clear that other factors triggered the move:

“We have been living in a losing culture here for many, man years,” Yost said. “We cannot get over the hump. In order for us to get over the hump, we have to have 25 guys that are solely invested in one goal, and that’s turning this organization around to become a champion. That’s it. It’s not about, ‘How much do I play?’ It’s not about, ‘Do I have a job?’

“This is about 25 guys with one goal: That we’re going out to try to win this baseball game tonight, and you have that goal night in, night out. Anybody else that’s not on page with that, we will never change our culture. It’s about 25 guys who respect each other, 25 guys that have the same common goal. That’s how we’re going to turn this losing culture into a winning culture.

“And Yuni did a great job for us, but he was a guy that wanted more playing time. He would get upset when he didn’t, but (Chris) Getz was playing good. There were just situations. We’re trying to win the ballgame, and we’re going to put the best team on the field every day.”

It’s hard to know where to begin with this. As I wrote about here when Yuni signed, I was at least as concerned by how he would adapt to being a part-time player as by how well he would play. This paragraph summed up my post:

So as strange as this is to say, I don’t object to the Betancourt signing in terms of his talents as a player. I object to the signing because I think he’s a poor fit with the rest of the roster, I think he’s being paid too much, which will incentivize the Royals to play him more than he should, and I think that there’s a very real chance he will have trouble adjusting to his sudden loss in playing time. Bringing back Yuni was a bad idea.

If I had concerns that Yuni would adjust to being a part-time player, don’t you think the Royals’ front office should have? Well, as Sam Mellinger tweeted when Yuni was let go, maybe they did:

Had this convo w/ a #Royals exec before the season: Me: You told Yuni he'd be a backup, right? Exec: Yes, but I don't know if he believes it

That’s really a phenomenal statement. The Royals KNEW that there was a chance Yuni would upset their carefully-crafted clubhouse culture. They knew that BECAUSE THEY HAD ALREADY EMPLOYED HIM BEFORE. And THEY SIGNED HIM ANYWAY. Never mind that he can’t play defense and can’t get on base – they gave two million dollars to a player to accept a role that they themselves weren’t sure he would adjust to.

For those of you who want to argue that us bloggers can’t possibly make better decisions than a major-league front office – I dare you to defend this. Try. I need a good laugh right now.

Anyway, I don’t think that Yuni single-handedly destroyed the Royals chemistry in the first half of the season, because he was playing almost every day. He missed 27 games on the disabled list in May, but in the 57 games that he was on the active roster before the All-Star Break, he played in 44 of them. After the Break, when it was clear that the Royals weren’t going anywhere and Getz was healthy, Yuni played in just 13 of 23 games before he was cut.

And finally, at the same time the Royals were firing Sisson they put Jose Mijares on waivers – and when the Giants claimed him, they let him go without asking for so much as a nothing prospect in return.

The Royals have suggested that they did this because even though Mijares wasn’t making much money this year, he was likely to earn a couple million in arbitration this winter, and they weren’t going to pay him that kind of money. To be polite, I find that argument ridiculous. Mijares is making all of $925,000 this year, so counting the salary given to his replacement on the roster, letting him go saves the Royals $200,000, max.

Even if the Royals couldn’t trade Mijares this winter – and you figured there’d be a market for a left-handed reliever with his numbers this year – keeping him around for two months is worth a lot more than $200,000. Letting go of a player who is both playing well AND is dirt-cheap, simply because you think he is going to become more expensive in the future, would be a move almost without precedent in baseball history.

No, this was a move to lance the last clubhouse abscess. Mijares does not get stellar marks for comportment – I asked around – and it’s telling that he was claimed by the Giants, meaning every AL contender and at least a few NL contenders passed on him despite his salary.

Even if he is a pain the ass to deal with, the Giants claimed him because they’re in a pennant race, and you’ll put up with a pitcher like that if he gets outs for you. If the Royals were in a pennant race, Mijares would still be here. If you want proof, read this article, which was published literally one week before Mijares was let go.

If the Royals were in a pennant race, Betancourt would probably still be on the team, and Sisson would probably still be the first base coach, and we wouldn’t be hearing a peep about the team’s chemistry issues. Winning begets chemistry, not the other way around, and losing begets bad chemistry. Or at least losing brings bad chemistry out into the open.

I’m trying to still keep an open mind about the importance of chemistry. Maybe it’s true that while good chemistry doesn’t guarantee winning, that bad chemistry is enough to derail it. (Although the counterargument to that has been, and always will be, the 1972-1974 Oakland A’s, who won three straight World Series with a roster that was a hair-trigger away from a clubhouse brawl every night.) Maybe Betancourt and Mijares, by themselves, made the clubhouse miserable enough to counteract all the good done by the other 23 guys.

Or maybe – just maybe – chemistry really doesn’t matter all that much. Maybe what really matters is talent. Maybe employing fantastic human beings like Jeff Francoeur and Bruce Chen makes great sense when Francoeur has 71 extra-base hits, and Chen leads the rotation in wins and ERA – and it makes terrible sense when Francoeur is batting .244/.285/.382, and Chen has the second-worst ERA (5.56) of any AL qualifier.

Maybe giving two-year deals to veteran players with a spotty track record of performance, largely because of their winning personalities, leads to the predicament the Royals are in right now, where they owe $12 million next season to two players who, if they weren’t already under contract, would be lucky to get more than an invite to spring training.

I’m not saying that the Royals made moronic decisions by re-signing them. (Well, except for Yuni. That’s a given.) I had reservations about both Francoeur and Chen, but I didn’t protest too much, in part because I was genuinely curious as to whether having a pair of hard-working, gregarious veteran leaders in the clubhouse would make it more likely that an extremely talented but extremely inexperienced roster would go off.

It didn’t. All it did was saddle the Royals with a pair of expensive paperweights. If the 2012 Royals were an experiment in Chemistry, consider the experiment a failure. That won’t stop former major leaguers sitting behind a desk on television from crediting the C-word for every good team in baseball. There’s no cure for that, unfortunately. But next time, at least you’ll know better than to believe them. I know I will.


Brett said...

Great post, as usual. It does seem like the Royals were set up to exceed expectations (especially with so much of the roster having experience playing toegether), but it hasn't worked out that way.

One typo I noticed, if you want to correct it: "every AL contender and at least a few NL contenders past on him despite his salary."

Rany said...

Ouch, that's a dumb mistake. Fixed.

KA said...

Not too many baseball bloggers who can work "vociferously" into a post. That's why Dr. Jazayerli is the best.

kmc1234 said...

rany, have you seen the website : ? Interesting...raising money to put a half page letter/add in the KC Star to ask David Glass to sell the team. They have raised over half the money in just about a week. Might be the start of something?

Echo Vamper said...

Always enjoy the your posts Rany. In a way it would be nice to have Glass sell, but to me there is a "be careful what you wish for" type cautionary qualification that should go with it.

Our offense is underperforming and we not only have Myers pretty much ready, but I am thinking we have the right side of the 2012 Ken Phelps all-star infield cloistered down in Omaha as well.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how chemistry effects players on the field. What I hope is that a fun and chemistry laden clubhouse entices them to stay in KC after their contracts expire, likely for less money than they could get elsewhere.

Nick said...

Chemistry seemed to work pretty well for Vida Blue on the mound...

Nick said...

And especially Dock Ellis...

Breadhead said...

Bob Dutton weighs in on a change in the Royals' outfield defensive philosophy. Seems to hint at one reason the club may have been unhappy with Sisson.

KHAZAD said...

I have always said that most team chemistry illusions, good and bad, are created by the press to fit a story.

If you get a roster of 25 guys, you have 25 personalities. There might be small groups who do things together. You might be able to avoid any situations of true antipathy, but it is doubtful that there won't be at least one or two. Other than shared celebrations, you will have loners, attention whores, and people who are in their own small groups. There are huge differences in backgrounds, talent levels and work ethics. There are usually at least two (sometimes more) languages spoken. Players travel with phones and Ipods and other electronic devices designed to keep them occupied and isolated. They live in far flung areas of the country (or in other countries altogether)

It is not like the late 1970's early 80's Royals, when half the team seemed to live in Blue Springs. Though even then having that core who hung out together after games did not keep some of the team from a drug induced downward spiral.

Like any closely packed workplace, the best you can do is keep everyone on the same page and keep people from wanting to kill each other.

Anonymous said...

I met Rusty Kuntz and he is very likeable. I bet they brought him in too because of chemistry concerns. DM, I had high hopes for, but his decisions seems less and less calculated. Heres to Wil Myers's bat in September and what we can glean from that.

Drew Milner said...

Rany, you say "Luke Hochevar may be an enigma on the mound, but off the field he comes across as thoughtful and articulate."

This contradicts his use of "Yanno" 83 times per interview. (I was told he is doing it less than before)

Drew Milner said...

Rany, you say "Luke Hochevar may be an enigma on the mound, but off the field he comes across as thoughtful and articulate."

This contradicts his use of "Yanno" 83 times per interview. (I was told he is doing it less than before)

Drew Milner said...

Rany, you say "Luke Hochevar may be an enigma on the mound, but off the field he comes across as thoughtful and articulate."

This contradicts his use of "Yanno" 83 times per interview. (I was told he is doing it less than before)

Drew Milner said...

Can someone please zap 2 of my triple posts? The prompts said it didn't take, so I did it again, and then again when it prompted me again.

Drew Milner said...

Rany, I know you have mentioned it before, but in the segment on the dropoff in runs from 6th in the AL last year to 11th this year, you forgot to mention getting rid of Melky (for Suckez, no less)

Ted said...

On Chemistry:

I was right there with you wondering whether this team might have benefited in wins from what seemed like a great clubhouse atmosphere heading into the season. So much for that.

I'd also point out that it seems difficult to discern much about a guy's makeup when all he's known is success. Sure, truly minus makeup is likely to rear its head early on (Delmon Young comes to mind, rightly or not), but the young guys on this team aren't likely to have shown any negative character issues if all (or at least most) of what they've done is win. If the takeaway lesson from all of this is that winning begets chemistry, and by extension, "good chemistry guys," then you'd likely be getting a pretty skewed view of most top tier prospects' makeup.

And a Mijares question for you Rany:

Since Dayton Moore had presumably just finished trying to deal Mijares at the deadline, doesn't letting him get claimed in this fashion undermine his credibility as a trading partner in the eyes of other clubs? In other words, do DM's actions basically send the message that he was trying to sell something that he himself saw as valueless? Or is it just about the current LOOGY market (or lack thereof)? Still pretty baffled by this transaction, and I'm not sure the character issues surrounding the Sisson and Yuni ax jobs really applies.

Drew Milner said...

Good one, Ted

Antonio. said...

What if this piss poor team HAS benefited wins due to its character and it's such a horrendous team that chemistry is just being dismissed. What if they win 71 games but if they were a bit surlier they would have won 67?

Drew Milner said...

Well, I read the No More Glass website. I personally am not nearly as anti-Glass as many people. Now, I suppose he is worth about $700 million, which I guess ideally is NOT rich enough to be a baseball team owner. But there were several flaws in the letter they want published in the KC Star if they raise the money:

He sure put a lot of weight on that downtown stadium idea. Anyhow, I have been 5 times this year, 6 last year. I would probably go zero to a downtown stadium.

He also put many cities that are way larger (metro-wise) than us in his category: those within our same general size and general economic viability:

Chicago (both NL and AL), Detroit, Minnesota, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Texas (Dallas), Oakland, Seattle, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Houston, Arizona (Phoenix), San Diego, Colorado (Denver).

This year Washington and Pittsburgh look as if they will join this list.

IMHO, w/o looking it up, the only cities on his list even close to being as small as us (metro-wise) are Cincinnati and Milwaukee.

Drew Milner said...

I looked up the metro area stats. Note that many teams draw from beyond their metro area. Well, Milwaukee metro is substantially smaller than KC, KC has caught up with Cleveland (or Cleveland has come down to KC), Cincy is barely more than KC, Pittsburgh 15% bigger, Denver 22% bigger, Baltimore 30%, St. Louis almost 40%, and everyone else beyond that.

Drew Milner said...

Another way of looking at it, TV markets:

John VIril said...

Yeah, but Tampa has a terrible stadium situation which pretty much effectively squanders a lot of their market size.

From what I understand, they placed the stadium across the bay from most of the market. Revenue-wise, Tampa is any bigger than KC (right now). Notice how they are winning and still aren't putting butts in the seats?

That wouldn't happen in KC. If the Royals were winning like the Rays, Kauffman would overflow with fans.

John VIril said...

Yeah, but Tampa has a terrible stadium situation which pretty much effectively squanders a lot of their market size.

From what I understand, they placed the stadium across the bay from most of the market. Revenue-wise, Tampa is any bigger than KC (right now). Notice how they are winning and still aren't putting butts in the seats?

That wouldn't happen in KC. If the Royals were winning like the Rays, Kauffman would overflow with fans.

Anonymous said...

Rany, check out the latest post on Royals Review - your "1985 by Bowling for Soup" parody now has some competition.

Roy in Omaha said...

Two thoughts.

One is of Leo Durocher. "Nice guys. Finish last"

Two, is that if this isn't an indictment of Ned Yost and his "managerial abilities", I don't know what is.

Poorly led talent isn't talented.