<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d6246235\x26blogName\x3dKevin\x27s+Royals+Blog\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://kevinagee.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://kevinagee.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-3074220402547471409', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

The Day The Sun Came Out


+ =

Ironically, Tuesday, March 29, 2005 will go down in history as one of the most important dates in Royals history. What’s so ironic about that? That 10, 15, or 20 years from now, nobody will remember why. Nobody – perhaps not even myself – will associate 3/29/05 with That Time The Kansas City Royals Chose Calvin Pickering Over Ken Harvey, but if the Blue Wave have rattled off a few playoff appearances in the next decade or two, the cause of that success can be traced back to yesterday’s events.

It’s important to understand that our now-successful FREE CALVIN PICKERING! march wasn’t so much about the actual act of sending Harvey down to the minor leagues in order to make room for Pickering. Like so many other things in our daily lives, what mattered more was what the act represented. On Tuesday, the Royals represented the franchise Rob Neyer, Rany Jazayerli, Bill James, Daniel Smith, and countless other KC fans always wished they were, and hoped they are. On Tuesday, the Royals took the next step towards becoming a respected organization in the Major League Baseball societal spectrum. They acknowledged that results matter.

Had they not opted to ship Harvey down to Omaha, it certainly wouldn’t have been the end of the world. After all, he can hit left-handed pitching pretty well, which would’ve made him a decent platoon partner for Pickering when the opposing team starts a southpaw. He also seems to be the best defensive first baseman in the system, and has always hit for a reasonably-high batting average. All of that sounds good, but it isn’t, at least not when compared to what Pickering can do on a baseball field. Three years ago, the Royals brass would’ve fallen for the act like a drug dealer walking into a sting operation, but they proved they wouldn’t now, and won’t in the future. No longer will a finished Kevin Appier be dragged to Opening Day just because he’s a recognizable face to Royals fans. Never again will we see bad players like Scott Pose, Brian Meadows, Doug Henry, and Chad Kreuter get too much playing time because of their “veteran presence.” The old Royals would’ve chosen sentiment over talent, but they proved that those days are long gone, and that the finishing touches of a Moneyball organization are being laid into place like bricks on a brand-new chimney.

One overlooked aspect of “The Moneyball Way” is that for a team in any market to achieve its greatest success, it must choose to focus on what a player can do as opposed to what he can’t. In a way, the Royals are guilty of doing the latter with Harvey this season, but make no mistake: he forced their hand in this decision. He might be upset because of a feeling that he has “tenure” with the team and that he was lied to, but Allard Baird made himself painfully clear at the beginning of this competition. To keep his job, Harvey had to show an improved approach at home plate. He had to accept the fact that if he didn’t show an increased willingness to work himself into hitters’ counts, that he’d be sent to a place where he could continue to work on such a thing and also not hurt the Royals’ chances of winning games in the process. He did neither, hit a paltry .238 with only three extra-base hits as a result, and Baird kept his word. After all, results matter.

But perhaps “results matter” should be amended to say “track record and results matter,” because Pickering didn’t exactly light the world on fire with his .222 average and, like Harvey, a homer and two doubles. Unlike Harvey, however, Pickering’s actually shown a very solid approach and very good plate discipline throughout his career, and it’s clear that Baird favors his ability to get on base over Harvey’s … inability to get on base. One could make the argument that Harvey actually had a slightly better spring than Pickering did, but Baird put his words – that he looks more at how a player achieves his statistics in spring training than the statistics themselves – into action.

The new line of thinking extended past Pickering’s newfound freedom. Jimmy Gobble, the team’s winningest pitcher a year ago, was also shipped to Omaha not only because of a crowded pitching staff, but also because he has to work on missing more bats. When it comes to the starting third baseman, the team didn’t allow the temptation of acquiring another stopgap player to get in the way of a clearly-ready Mark Teahen, just as the Royals recognized the very-underrated Ruben Gotay’s hitting talent at second base. And perhaps most importantly, they weren’t at all swayed by Harvey’s designation of being selected a 2004 All-Star, seeing it for what it was: a choice-by-default because of the flawed way baseball selects the participants of the Mid-summer Classic.

In the end, what we have is evidence that the Royals are on the right track towards becoming a winning baseball team. Prior to yesterday, I think most of us wanted to believe that the thought processes of the men and women running the show had changed from the archaic baseball beliefs of the old regime, but it was only a hope and a belief. Now we have proof. We as fans have been presented with the knowledge that a better tomorrow IS on the way. And until we get to tomorrow when the Baseball Gods finally shine upon Kauffman Stadium, we can rest assured that not only do results matter, but that winning does too.
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »