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Continuing The Crusade

If you’ll take a quick look at the upper right-hand corner of this page, you’ll see that I changed the description of KRB. The FREE CALVIN PICKERING! movement has a home base – right here – even if that home base is very unnoticeable. I wanted to add FREE CALVIN PICKERING! to the title, but that looked extremely cluttered. I'd like to put it in a more prominent place, but that just doesn’t look like a possibility right now. At any rate, I’m continuing the march to get Pick on the 25-man roster with the Royals (and, as a result, Ken Harvey on the 25-man roster with the Devil Rays), and I won’t rest until Phat Calvin’s in the starting lineup on a regular basis.

The Kansas City Star ran an article yesterday on Pickering, and since Dave Haller apparently wants my take on it, I’m going to oblige him. Jeff Passan did a great job of writing an informative and researched piece that presented both sides of the aisle: that of the stat-heads who believe Pickering is going to be something like another David Ortiz, and that of everyone else who believe Pickering is going to do irreparable harm to the team with his ball-catching skills and inability to do anything besides hit.

One thing both sides can agree on is that Calvin’s in the best shape of his life, and that he’ll be more durable because of it. After dropping 20 pounds this winter to get down to 280 (Yes, that’s right. He’s DOWN to 280 pounds), he’s come into camp looking great and ready to compete for a job. Of course, it’s my opinion that the job should be his flat-out, because he IS a better option than Harvey in every way, shape, and form. Rany Jazayerli, defending the stat-head side, even called ignoring Pickering’s track record of getting on base and hitting long home runs “baseball malpractice.”

However, my favorite part of the article was this snippet, designed to make the pro-Pickering crowd look at least somewhat bad:

To strengthen their argument, they sidestep the reality that for every Ortiz, there's a [Sam] Horn, a Bob Hamelin and another player whose love affair with food superseded his drive to succeed. As such, PECOTA projects a short window for the Pickering renaissance.
Everybody remembers Bob Hamelin, who probably developed the biggest cult following in the history of Kansas City professional sports. He was an everyman, an overweight, glasses-wearing dude who looked exactly like my high school science teacher my freshman year. Horn followed a similar career path as Hamelin did, bursting onto the scene with a barrage of homers and walks during his rookie year before failing to reach expectations in subsequent seasons. Heck, Bill Jamessimilarity scores even list Hamelin as Horn’s best comparison.

Getting to the point, that sentence implies that Hamelin and Horn both had terrible careers, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Check it out:

Hammer Time1272.246.352.464.816
Horn Time1040.240.328.468.796

We’ll never know what either of those guys would’ve become had they been able to lay off what’s plaguing Cleveland’s Carsten Charles Sabathia in the present, but they certainly weren’t bad players, even at their worst. If everything goes wrong and Pickering ends up being a .240/.340/.450 guy in the major leagues as the article suggests, he’d STILL be a better hitter than Harvey is.

I don’t see what the holdup is. Allard Baird noted that "You can’t afford to have a statue at first base," meant to be an indictment of Pickering’s defense, but I’d argue that A) Pickering should be DHing, not playing the field and B) Harvey ain’t no great shakes around the bag at first either. I’d rather have a sturdy statue than Harvey, who could probably find a way to trip over his own shoelaces.

Allard, if you’re reading this – and you might be, what with the Matt Diaz signing – just give up already. Ken Harvey stinks in all his "All-Star" glory, Matt Stairs shouldn’t be on the team, and Mike Sweeney needs to play first base to keep his back stretched out. It’s time to – all together now – FREE CALVIN PICKERING! Think of the children.

Some other things...

  • I got my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2005 yesterday, and it looks like BP’s staff has done another bang-up, awesome job with the book. So far, I’ve only gotten around to reading the Royals’ team essay and player capsules (Zack Greinke got a very complimentary half-page), but I look forward to checking out the other team essays and back-of-the-book articles that are always solid and funny. Even if you buy it in-store at the retail price of $17.95, BP 2005 is an absolute bargain and a must-have for any serious baseball fan.

  • After more than 20 years of bickering back and forth with delegates from Columbia who opposed SMS dropping the first “S” and becoming Missouri State University, the bill to do so passed the Missouri House of Representatives, and Governor Matt Blunt is expected to sign it into law. It wasn’t all that surprising that it finally passed (its biggest opponent was Sen. Ken Jacobs from Columbia, a professional jerk-and-a-half who lost his seat in the November election), but it was surprising just how much it passed by. The final vote was a resounding 120-35, which will probably be the score of at least one Royals/Tigers tilt this summer.

    This is a pretty big deal for a lot of people, if only because the pro-change side finally won after all this time. Becoming Missouri State University won’t directly bring more funding to the school, but it probably will make it sound more attractive to athletic recruits, which might produce better basketball, football, and baseball teams, and therefore generate more revenue through ticket and ad sales. Make no mistake; the folks up at Mizzou aren’t happy about this in the least, but changing the name won’t kill the state’s largest public university. It was just time that SMS – err, MSU – was recognized as the state’s second largest public university.

    Anyway, the after-effects of this won’t just be a, “Well that was fun. Now what?” kind of thing. “Southwest” has to be taken down everywhere on campus and in town, the baseball and basketball teams will need new jerseys that read MSU across the front, website logos have to be changed, and people will just have to get used to the new name. Oh yeah, and there’s going to be plenty of time to mock the daylights out of the morons who opposed the change and tried to make it a partisan issue. I’ll enjoy that more than anything.

  • Since I know that all of you are just dying to get more Royals-related material from me, I’ve joined forces with Bill Heeter at Royals Court, the page dedicated to our very own Blue Wave on Most Valuable Network. Don’t worry, because nothing will change here at KRB. I’ll still be writing every weekday on this page, but I’ll also be putting together at least one article every weekend over at MVN. It was an opportunity to good to pass up, and it became irresistible once I realized that I didn’t have to give up this blog to take it. I’ll add a link to the page on the sidebar, and I encourage you to check it out!

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