Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hey, It Could Be Worse

Well, after a brutal homestand, many fringe fans seem to be jumping off the bandwagon while the more reasonable fans either a.) are worried and with good reason, or b.) feel this is part of the ebb and flow of a 162 game season. Usually I am more of an A type person, but I am feeling a bit more B right now. However, in an effort to make us all feel a bit better about the Brewers recent play, I bring you a brief account of the recent history of Royals baseball from the great Kansas City Star/SI/his own blog columnist, Joe Posnanski.

Joe goes in to detail regarding some of the lowest moments the Royals have had over the past 13 seasons. I moved to KC 7 years ago this June and spent 4 years there. Many of these moments cover the time that I followed this team. Since Joe is a much better writer than me, I'll let him explain some of my favorite moments.

Of course, there’s the Ken Harvey oeuvre. Once, he lost a battle with a tarp. Once, as the cut-off man, he turned his back on an outfield throw and got hit in the back. Once he threw a baseball into his own pitcher’s face.*

*Harvey, you will note, was the Royals All-Star in 2004. He then played in 12 games for the Royals in 2005 and he hasn’t played a big league game since. A little while ago, he was released by the Kansas City T-Bones Independent league team.

Ah yes. Ken Harvey. The one where he threw the ball into his Jason Grimley's face was epic (see photo above). It's amazing no 'roids or HGH came flying out of Grimsley's pocket during this play. Ken was also a big fellow. I remember a play at first where a little guy (think Counsell-size)ran into him and sent Ken flying. Ken was not much of an athlete.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of a player named Chip Ambres, who played in only 53 games with Kansas City, but managed in that short period of time to make team history TWICE. Ambres made his first appearance for the Royals on July 20. Eight days later, on July 28, he hit his first big league home run. The Royals lost that game to Tampa 10-5 … and that was the first loss in what would become a 19-game losing streak.

Historic moment No. 1 happened on August 9th, when the Royals were leading Cleveland 7-2 going into the ninth inning. Mike MacDougal was the Royals closer then — or at least that’s what they called him — and he promptly gave up a double to Casey Blake, a double to Grady Sizemore, a single to Coco Crisp (Coco has seen the Kansas City thing from both sides now). That made it 7-4. After a strikeout, MacDougal gave up ANOTHER double to Travis Hafner. Victor Martinez singled. It was 7-5.

And then the real fun began. Ronnie Belliard popped up to short … but Angel Berroa dropped it. The Royals did get an out there on a play at second. So it was 7-6, but there were two outs.

And that’s when Jeff Liefer lifted a fly ball to Chip Ambres in left field. Anyone who heard the call by Royals announcer Denny Matthews will never forget it: “There’s a fly ball to left field and … he dropped it. Yes he did.” There was no doubt in Denny’s voice at all. The Indians ended up scoring 11 runs in the inning and winning the game.* That, incidentally, was lost No. 11 in a row for the Royals.

*Another highlight of that inning was when right fielder Emil Brown tried to kick the ball back into the infield. He was not quite successful.Later, in historic moment No. 2 — just mentioned this the other day — Ambres (playing center) and left-fielder Terrence Long converged on a fly ball and then, each thinking the other would make the play, began jogging toward the dugout. The ball plopped down behind them. I remember going into the radio booth to ask Denny if he had ever seen anything like that before. He considered the question for a moment. And then he said: “Nope.”

The flyout thing was epic as well. It was just stunning to watch both guys run towards the dugout and then when the ball hit behind them, I can't say either really hustled back to get the ball. That 19 game losing streak was something else. Not just losing 19 games, but they invented new ways to lose. It was comical.

Speaking of comical, some of the guys on these teams were just brutal. The Brewers of 1998 to 2004 would have killed these guys.Royals starters between my KC era of June 2002 through June 2006 included Ruben Gotay, the immortal Emil Brown, who somehow has 5 ABs with the Mets this season and his most similar batter is Glenn Braggs, awesome, Dee Brown, Aaron Guiel, and Carlos Febles. You also have the immortal 2005 pitching staff with the top 3 starters looking like this: Zack Greinke finishing 5-17 wityh a 5.80 ERA; Jose Lima was 5-16 with an astoundign 6.99 ERA; and Runelvys Hernandez was 8-14 with a 5.52 ERA. Manny Parra would hav efit in great with this staff.

Yes, Royals baseball has been brutal of late. Moreso than the Brewers from the mid 90's to the mid-2000's. I'm headed to KC this week to watch a couple games. It will be interesting to see if any exciting events happen at the newly remodeled K.


Anonymous said...

The Brewers have a brutal next month as far as the schedule goes. I fully expect us to be about 6-7 games back by the All Star break. Maybe more if the usual suspects still don't start hitting.

brad said...

Corey Hart has also only played in 12 games after his all-star berth.

Bill Hall = 4Ks in 3ABs said...

I fall in the "A" category. Sadly, between STL, CHI and the Crew, I think the Crew is underachieving the least. Overwhelming odds say that one of those two will find their bats first, and the division is done.

I'll still be around, though, prematurely graying as Prince tries to steal third, or Braun gets picked off (WTF? again?).

On the positive, kudos to Mcgehee. Dude's been rakin' and it's been a joy to watch.

Matt said...

Here's what is going to happen.

The Brewers are going to continue to scuffle along until Justin Verlander no-hits them on Sunday.

Then the Brewers are going to go on a tear for a while (something like 14 wins in 18 games), and we're all going to look back on the Verlander no-hitter as the moment when the Brewers turned things around with the bats, at least for a while. Alas, it won't last all season, and the Brewers will be eliminated from playoff contention in late September, but good fun will be had by those who continue to follow the team.

garcia said...

I don't think Macha would throw out his JV team against J.V. like Yost did 2 years ago... Bill Hall was the best hitter that day with 3 walks!! However, he won't be in the line-up against J.V. since he is a righty.

On another note, why does Hardy continue to hit 2nd? and Cameron 5th? Travis Henry and Shawn Kemp use more protection than that! You should just put Gerut at 5 and Kendall at 2... at least then we would know you're retarded.

Anonymous said...

Wrong, it just got worse. 12-7.