Dear Zack, Please Don't Do That Again
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Royals fan, which means you’re at least a little bit concerned about Donald Zackary Greinke today. However, if you aren’t a Royals fan, let this entry serve as a lesson for just how important Greinke having success is to the Royals’ future and, more importantly, to Royals fans not being sent to the nuthouse.
After hearing of the shellacking he took yesterday against the Brewers – who hit him around to the tune of seven hits (two of which were home runs) and seven runs in two innings of work – even I’m a little curious to see if he’ll recover. I’m even on record as saying that spring training games don’t matter, but when it comes to Greinke, every game is significant. How much does it matter? So much that I’ll look for any reason to convince myself that yesterday won’t be the norm for the rest of his career. This game yesterday wasn’t quite the beating of his life since he allowed eight runs in two innings against the Orioles last year. Additionally, Royals Killer Extraordinaire Carlos Lee hit the two homers, Zack was probably somewhat unlucky because he struck out three guys and walked only one, and he was only allowed to throw his fastball and changeup.
But all the excuses in the world don’t change the fact that he got his butt kicked, and with the track record the Royals have of destroying young pitchers before they even get their feet off the ground in the majors, Royals fans are understandably becoming Chicken Littles all across the web. Yes, Zack Greinke has proven that he just might be human, and as a result, Royals Nation is terrified of what the future holds. Check out the thoughts from one of my favorite KC message boards:
After this poor performance today, they may reconsider who's catching Zack. If Zack doesn't improve substantially before the season starts, he may be starting in AAA.And then there’s this beauty, which pretty much sums all of that up in a few words:
Zack has the most potential, but he is still young and goofs around too much. The way he has pitched the last couple of times, just about any of them could prove to be better if he doesn't get his act together.
The young man has probably spent all winter reading his press clippings. Hopefully he will come around before April, if not why not send him down and get his attention. Some of you seem to forget these are very young men and many have been treated with kid gloves all their lives. Part of the job of the manager should be to welcome them to the real world.
No kidding. If Zack struggles, there'll be nothing to live for.This is how bad things have gotten in Kansas City during the past decade, especially with the young pitching. Greinke’s the only young pitcher the Royals have developed into something even moderately useful during that time, so if Zack – one of the most special pitchers in baseball – goes the way of The Pittsley, that’s it for us. It’ll be all over, because the Royals would surely then be doomed to eternal failure. Preposterous? Maybe not. The Baseball Gods aren’t known for kidding around.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to Greinke recovering, and that light (thankfully) doesn’t belong to a freight train. The bottom line is that he’s proven to everybody how good he is with his Rookie-of-the-Year-caliber season a year ago, and pitchers with Zack’s talent don’t just collapse. Heck, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA player forecasting system gave him a Collapse Rate of zero percent.
Think of it this way: If you own a Mazda RX8 and have a fender-bender that leaves a dent under a headlight, your car is still a Mazda RX8. Similarly, a very, very, good pitcher like Greinke who suffers through one disastrous start is still a very, very, good pitcher. The “dent” in his record doesn’t really mean much, especially in his first start of the season.
What I’m trying to say is that while the Royals need to be alert towards any sign of trouble they see with The Prodigy, they also need to remember who he is as a pitcher is one factor that absolutely will not change (barring a talent-robbing injury, of course). It’s important for us, as fans, to keep that in mind as well. Zack Greinke is going to be just fine.
MVC Tournament Musings
For the second year in a row, the SMS Bears ambushed top-seeded Southern Illinois in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, winning 65-61. I missed the game, choosing instead to take advantage of the awesome 70-degree weather we’re having by playing some basketball and playing catch, so I can’t offer a first-hand account of who played major roles in the win. However, after trailing 42-26 at halftime, the Bears put the proverbial brakes on SIU’s offense, allowing only 19 points in the final 20 minutes. They did it in their usual way, outrebounding their opponent by a wide margin (31-21), and hitting 87 percent of their shots from the free throw line. Somehow, the Bears only committed 14 personal fouls as a team for the game, while SIU was whistled for 25. Suspicious? Yes. Unfair? Definitely. But I’ll take it.
The Bears are going to face the Creighton Blue Jays tonight in the finals, and will have the unenviable task of beating the same team three times in one season. If Tamarr! and Co. find a way to win, they’ll get the program back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Steve Alford’s final season as head coach back in 1999. If they lose, they’ll be lucky to get a NIT berth, and Barry Hinson will have to sweat out another summer of job uncertainty. I’m not Hinson fan, but I’m pulling for the former, even if they’d get a low seed and their rear ends handed to them by a top program in the first round.
By the way, don’t you think Wichita State forward Kyle Wilson looks an awful lot like Dallas Mavericks’ star Dirk Nowitzki?