For those who’ve never cheered for a bad sports team, it’s probably hard to fathom a reason beyond geography why Royals fans still bother — the franchise has made poor personnel decision (Johnny Damon and Mark Ellis for A.J. Hinch and Angel Berroa) after poor personnel decision (Carlos Beltran for John Buck, Mark Teahen and Mike Wood). They are responsible for one of the worst drafts in baseball history, one from which it appears likely that not one player will make the Bigs with any organization. Manager Buddy Bell is so limited in his communication skills as to make Jimy Williams seem like Cicero.
And so, at last, the three smartest people writing about the Royals — Rob Neyer and Rany Jazayerli and the Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski — have thrown up their hands in unison, on some ol’ Bring It On shit. Neyer and Jazayerli also did this last year, but the impetus this time was the Royals’ recent call-up of Justin Huber (above), a mashing 1B prospect stolen from the Mets in 2004. Or, rather, the call-up of Huber with the intention of sitting him on the bench behind Doug Mientkiewicz (.266) and Matt Stairs (still under .200). There are a lot of words and a lot of anguish, here; this is an attempt at a representative sample:
Jazayerli: “I reached the end of my rope a long time ago. The only thing left to do now is to simply let go of it. That’s the danger here for the Royals: that en masse, their fans are tuning out the organization. Anger has been replaced with apathy. The Royals are like your estranged cousin who’s just been arrested for drug possession for the third time. They’ll always be family, but at some point you realize that everyone will be a lot happier if you just stop worrying about them.”
Neyer: “It’s really this simple: because Huber is supposed to be a big part of the Royals’ future — THE PLAN — there really are only two things he should be doing: playing first base every day with the O-Royals or hitting every day with the K-Royals. Anything else is pure, unadulterated, indefensible idiocy. And while we can make fun of Buddy Bell all we like — and jumping jehosaphat, he’s a complete fool — a real general manager would make sure that Huber was playing at least five times every week.”
Posnanski: “How did it get this bad? There™s plenty of blame to go around, from an owner who won™t spend money to a management group that never figured out how to win games to talent evaluators who recommended Eli Marrero and Albie Lopez, to aging veterans just cashing paychecks, to amateur scouts who championed Colt Griffin and Roscoe Crosby, to strength and conditioning people who can™t keep anybody healthy, to coaches who have not developed a single high-quality major-league starter or everyday player.This team has been a crushing and colossal failure.”
Royals GM Allard Baird is expected to be fired soon, possibly even later this week.