Danny Parkins: The Royals and Cautious Optimism
Let me preface this by saying I’m optimistic about the 2011 Kansas City Royals. In fact, on Wednesday’s show, I said I was “all in” on this team. So this is not me throwing a wet blanket on any other fans who may share in my optimism. Because you’ve certainly earned the right, having not been to the post season since the World Series, to dream after a 4 – 1 start. But let me caution you with this:
What makes this Royals team exciting will also make them, at times, excruciating.
The Royals are exciting because they are young. And young players are full of potential. Which means the Royals can potentially be great in the future. But in the here and now, they are much more likely to be consistently inconsistent than anything else.
The Royals are also exciting because they are fast. One of Ned Yost’s main goals with this team is to capitalize on the fact that they were among the league leaders in hitting last year, but in the basement in terms of runs scored. It doesn’t take a sabermatrician to figure out that means guys were going station to station and not getting in scoring position. So far, the Royals have been aggressive on the base paths, leading the majors in steals through 5 games. But that aggression is a high risk proposition. Which makes the Royals just as likely to run their way into an extra run, like they did Tuesday against the White Sox when they executed a double steal in the second inning – as they will be to run themselves out of scoring chances; like they did repeatedly in Sunday’s marathon game against the Angels.
There will be days where the Royals starters put the young bullpen in an impossible situation. There will be days when the magic of four straight last at-bat wins wears off. And on those days it will feel like so many have in the past, where there seemingly is no hope as a Royals fan.
But remember, this team is different and there is hope. Because for every frustrating moment that is sure to come, there is a potentially equal positive that will come about in the next game.