Andy Reid is sitting in his office, talking about the place he goes to relax. This is months ago, the first time we talked for what eventually became this story in Sunday’s paper.
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
His place to relax is a beach house in California. He goes there every year after the football season, though the family didn’t make it this past year after Reid was fired in Philadelphia and he was taking calls about a new job.
He is talking about the freshness of the air, the soothing sounds of the waves crashing. Football is never far from his mind, though, so he keeps a notebook nearby for when plays come to mind. There is one exception, and it’s when he takes a paddleboard out into the ocean.
"This is what I really understand when I’m on that paddleboard," he says. "I am a shark’s and a killer whale’s buffet. If I fall in, they’d be the happiest things on earth. I try to keep that in perspective. That trumps all my thoughts. So I’m not hurrying anywhere."
Just a reminder: most of these guys you see in front of TV cameras with the logo backdrops are a lot funnier than they usually let on.
As always, thanks for your help and for reading. Let’s get to it:
@ Trevor_Pyle Chiefs training camp and Royals playing meaningful games. Is the air a little sweeter today?
Well, tastes a bit like St. Joe here so … yeah?
What’s crazy is just how quickly things can happen. You know? Seriously. Three weeks, a lot of you guys wanted Dayton Moore fired^. I was close.
^ Some of you still do. I understand this.
Now, the Royals are winners of 14 of 17 and within legitimate range of a playoff spot. And, so, about that … I understand that Baseball Prospectus gives the Royals a 4.3 percent chance to make the playoffs but, generally, baseball folk consider teams in contention if they’re within five games this time of year. So, you know. A fan base can hope, right?
About the Chiefs … please correct me if I’m wrong, but I sense a general "thank GAWD it’s not last year anymore" sort of sentiment from Chiefs fans. Is that about accurate?
We’ll get into this more during the week and the fall, especially with the Chiefs’ first preseason game on Friday, but what are you guys expecting? I’m at 7-9 and, two points about that:
1. If you pushed me off that number, I’d go down to 6-10 before up to 8-8.
2. I still think of this as optimistic, and think the Chiefs can improve fairly quickly.
We can talk more about what all this means in the coming days and weeks.
@ PowercatRyan With all of the MLB suspensions coming out on Monday, which ones help the Royals chances to make the play-offs the most?
Getting a lot of this, and obviously it’s Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz. Cruz is probably the bigger loss of the two, simply because the Tigers at least made the trade for Jose Iglesias (sort of the antithesis of Peralta, in that he’s a terrific defender and horrendous hitter).
But I’ll say this: it would’ve been better for the Royals if Miguel Cabrera or Carlos Santana were suspended.
I think you always learn something. I learned a lot about George Brett, about Andy Reid, about Mariano Rivera, about Greg Holland, about a certain Kansas City athlete for a story that will run later this month and this is all just in the very recent past. But I think it’s important to remember that there are ALWAYS barriers put up, especially when you’re only around people for limited periods of time before you write about them.
Wright — a friend and former co-worker — is better at breaking down those barriers than anyone I know or have read. His stuff, when he works out the access, gets close to that authenticity that we all strive for.
But we’re still seeing glimpses, and in most cases, the glimpses that others want us to see. This is the part where I always remember Eugene Robinson. Kids, Google him and "Super Bowl" and "Man of the Year."
I’d keep an eye on Terez Paylor and Tod Palmer. Both seem to be averaging, roughly, 17 bylines per day. That’s not natural.
@ RealJEllis how has your late summer coverage of this year's # Royals differed from the past?
Well, I’m covering them. That’s different. Last year, it’s not that I stopped paying attention or watching or making phone calls or whatever, but the interest in the Royals sure seemed to nosedive as soon as the Chiefs arrived in St. Joe.
Now, it’s sort of split. Which is confusing for a lot of you…
See? This is all new…
@ KCSaraK I'm sure you're gonna get this one a lot this week, but can you explain how the Wild Card thing works? 1st time caring.
… a bit of a learning experience, you might say. Last night, a man Tweeted me that a problem with the K is that there’s no place where the standings are shown. The man added that this is the first time he ever looked.
My advice is simple, and obviously you can take this or leave it or make fun of it: but just enjoy it. Have fun watching games where the outcome matters, where you’re not trying to dissect Eric Hosmer’s swing and figure out what he’ll be two years from now or whatever.
And I know we have fun talking about parades and champagne and Jeff Francoeur getting a World Series ring^ and as long as we all know it’s joking I hope we all know that each loss isn’t the end of the world.
^ This is a bit of pandering, but did you know the Royals are 20-11 since dumping him?
By the way, about those losses … I’m not trying to be a wet blanket here, but the Royals’ last 10 games (and their next two) have been against bad teams playing badly. Now, you can’t penalize the Royals. They’ve beaten up on those teams, and good teams beat up bad teams. But a bigger test (and, eventually, the better chance of making up ground) comes against better teams. Boston this weekend, Detroit next weekend.
This one’s easy, actually. Watch the Chiefs game until the scrubs come in. Then watch the rest of the Royals game. DVR the Chiefs if you’re hardcore.
Also: don’t believe any great catch that Jon Baldwin may make.
@ PhilGarver Coming to KC soon for a few games. I need a nice place for a few after game cocktails. Suggestions?
If you want food, the Peanut. Live music, the Phoenix. A beer on a patio, McCoy’s. Old-school Pop-a-Shot, Kelly’s or the Quaff. Crash a bachelorette party and possibly see someone puke, the P&L district.
You know what’s crazy? The Royals would actually have to slow down to win only 15 of 20. They’d have to lose of their next three.
@ Paul_Parks Royals win total prediction?
I said 83 before the season, and I’m sticking with 83 now. They just seem like a slightly-above-.500 team to me. Great defense, good pitching ... and an offense.
@ Speck60 It's really hard for me to not think about what could have been if the Royals didn't poop themselves in May. # TT
Here’s another thought: as good as the Royals have been for 17 games, if you put this stretch together with their lowest point — that 4-19 diarrhea in May — it comes out to four games under .500.
@ dyoungjr81 so Myers is raking now, but what happens to him next year when pitchers figure him out. Will he be Hos all over again?
I don’t know, neither does anyone else, but here’s the more relevant question for THIS year …
@ morelandj Would KC be in the same position with Myers in RF as they are with Shields every 5th day? No storylines or sugarcoating allowed.
… and the answer is no.
David Lough is hitting .300/.316/.442 this season in 62 games. Myers is at .329/.379/.533 in 39 games. Using Baseball-Reference’s numbers, Lough is at 2.5 WAR and Myers is at 1.6. Obviously, a chunk of that is in Lough having 23 more games and you assume that Myers would have those extra games (maybe more) if he was still with the Royals.
But, either way, the difference between Myers and Lough this year is smaller than the difference between James Shields and whoever the Royals would’ve given those 23 starts (24 tonight) to.
San Francisco’s view, Yankee Stadium’s monuments, Kansas City’s fountains, Wrigley’s bleachers, and San Diego’s San Diego-ness.
@ pappystuckey was looking forward to your writing this season...but can't get behind the $* Star paywall! Will u be posting anywhere esle?
Not unless I get fired.
@ bobwearing What are the chances that this will be Gary Pinkel's last season in Columbia?
It’s possible, but not likely. The math changed when Mizzou went to the SEC. First year in a brutal conference, plus a ridiculous string of injuries, and I think you have to give Pinkel the benefit of the doubt after their first bowl-less season since 2004 (!).
But with everything else that Pinkel has been through, well, it’d be a good idea to win some more games this year.
@ ClintT13 With Sporting KC nearing 30-straight sellouts, I've often wondered how big of a stadium they could consistently fill. Thoughts?
I’ve thought about this, too. I think the Sporting braintrust built that place the perfect size. There’s no question they could fill a bigger place, but maybe not regularly, and I do think there’s some value in making your tickets hard to get. The fact that they have a season ticket waiting list is a boilerplate point in the "Sporting’s really coming up!" talk^.
So I think that if the goal is to maximize the "brand" and "experience" of Sporting homegames, capacity of just below 20,000 is probably perfect. But if the goal is to sell the most tickets possible, I think they could get to 24,000 or so fairly regularly.
And remember, when they built that place, plans included possible future expansion.
@ hscottmiller Prediction: KC earns the 2nd wild card, but loses the playoff 2-1 when Wil Myers hits a walk-off HR off Shields.
Sorry to repeat myself, but: Kansas City fans expect monsters around every corner because, as far as most can remember, there’s been monsters around every corner.
@ Brad_Hope Does 90 wins make the playoffs in the AL?
I think 92 is the number. The Rangers currently hold the second wild card spot, and their .558 win percentage calculates out to about 90 wins. But you have to figure that with so many teams in contention — four, including the Royals, are within five games — someone’s going to catch a bit of a hot streak.
Besides, last year it took 92.
Answering this question is the extent of my lifetime acknowledgement of Shark Week.
You all realize you’re more likely to die from a toaster than a shark, right?
@ EvanFahrbach In the cliched movie "Rally Sauce" about the 2013 WS Champion Royals. Who plays the columnist who wrote off their playoff chances
Brad Pitt’s the only one with the abs to pull it off.
Christopher Walken, I think.
@ BobbyCave When was the last time a Royals broadcast got a bigger rating than a Chiefs game? Will it happen in the next month?
Slow down. Absolutely no chance. Zero. None. Like, zip. Not even close, really.
Football is king, especially with TV ratings.
@ popestr I bought a bottle of Tank 7 in Norway for $50. Totally worth it, right?
That’s a steal.
I’ll be working on some carpel tunnel, I think. What I won’t do …
… probably just best we leave that one alone.
There’s a chance it happens tomorrow, actually. I don’t think the Royals expect Wade Davis back, so the leading candidates would be Luis Mendoza (who last pitched out of the bullpen on Friday) and Duffy (who is scheduled to start for Omaha).
I’d rather see Duffy. Assume most of you would, too.
No. Maybe I don’t understand this question. But, guys, soccer IS here to stay. It’s not going away, no matter how many of you have an irrational hate for it. And it’s not getting bigger than the NFL, no matter how many of you have an irrational hate for people who don’t care about soccer.
Besides, I’m not sure the Royals and Sporting are fishing the same waters. It’s hard for me to imagine Sporting playing in front of empty seats just because the Royals are in a pennant race. Both teams can survive. Thrive, even. Let’s stop with the tests about whether it’s a legitimate thing.
This might sound weird, but I think I’d vote for Lorenzo Cain right now. He needs to get better offensively, both in getting on base AND hitting for power, but his defense has been so over-the-top spectacular at a premium position that it pushes him up. He’s been the best defensive player for a defense that’s propping a pretty good pitching staff up as an outstanding pitching staff. Cain is leading the Royals in WAR, if that’s your thing and, besides, nobody is hitting enough to demand it.
And Shields would be my pitcher of the year, narrowly over Santana.
David Glass, and hear me out: in the movie it was the owner, so it makes sense, but in recognizing the, um, aesthetic difference between Glass and Rachel Phelps, you change the rules. Peel off a piece of clothing for losses, not wins.
Reid used McCoy plenty. In the last three years, LeSean McCoy’s 680 carries are 11th in the NFL. If you factor in pass catches, McCoy got the ball more than all but eight running backs in the NFL over that time — Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice.
That’s pretty good.
That’s between you and your god, but if you’re not eating, can I ask if anyone else got a weird sort of pleasure in popping really big zits back when you were 15?
@ PhilGarver I heard rumors you were seen walking out of the Biogenesis Clinic. True?