Last year, the Orioles and Rangers won the American League wild card spots with 93 wins each. Right now, as I type this through the haze of unbelievability^ that is the Royals since the All-Star break, the Rays hold the second wild card with a win percentage that calculates to 92 wins.
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
The Royals, winners of all but three of their last 20 games, would need to finish 30-16 to win 92 and 31-15 to win 93.
The last time the Royals won 30 of 46 games was 1993^.
^ Originally, I had it as 1977. So a 16-year mistake. Still, 93 was a long time ago. Michael Jordan hadnt yet retired, even the first time.
Somehow, though, that doesnt seem impossible. The last three weeks, this Royals team has done everything but put Jarrod Dyson in a commercial, sliding across home plate with an American Express card.
This weeks eating recommendation is the kitchen sink at Succotash. The reading recommendation is Charles Pierce on Tiger Woods (again), because theres no chance it wasnt going to be awesome.
Very busy week, including the completely bizarre feeling of heading to Detroit for the Royals games Thursday and Friday instead of the Chiefs game here (Teicher, Covitz and Vahe will have you covered). As always, thanks for your help and for reading.
So, well, yeah. Theres a lot of this going on. I think I mentioned this on Twitter, but I was cleaning out my voicemails the other day and there were three straight legitimate meltdowns after the 7-0 loss to the Twins last week. I mean, you shouldve heard these things. Shields is a bum, the Royals have no heart, they pee down their leg, on and on these things go. That was one of three losses THREE! in the last 20 games.
Which leaves 17 games for
@mellinger PARAAAAAAAAAADES!— Phillip Zeeck (@pjrzeeck) August 12, 2013
see? This is fun.
This Royals team is the first non-sucky one since 2003, but the difference is that this team is legitimately good. Especially if a few hitters can get hot at the same time. That team in 2003 was smoke and mirrors and Jose Lima signed sight unseen from an independent league.
@mellinger I don't want to get ahead of myself, but this Royals team might be the best baseball team ever. Like, of all time.— Jared Speckman (@Speck60) August 12, 2013
@mellinger Any word on tv ratings for Friday's Royals and Chiefs games? I'm curious who KC decided to watch.— Chuck Artis (@chuckart9) August 12, 2013
A blowout. Chiefs got a 22.7 rating and 39 share; Royals got an 8.9 and 15. More than twice the audience.
Guys, the NFL wins. Always. Theres more interest in the Royals right now than at any point in the last decade, and in some ways maybe theres more interest in the Royals than the Chiefs.
But when it comes to TV numbers, its always a mismatch when anything goes against the NFL.
Theres a stat, and I might be off by a bit here but the bigger point is true: if you just took the 30-some minutes where the lights went out and the Super Bowl was delayed, it was the years most-watched show other than the Super Bowl.
@mellinger IYO will Bray be the #3 QB? Yes or no?— Eric Acuña (@NiceguyEric) August 12, 2013
Yes. Like I wrote in the column the other day, if hes not then something went terribly wrong. Of course, Bray seemed, at times, willing to test that theory against New Orleans.
But the Chiefs really want Bray to win the job. Part of that is his talent, and what I wrote about in the column the Chiefs think they have the right environment for him. Also, part of that is Ricky Stanzi.
Sure seems like the Saints gameplan was to throw the ball to whoever Brown was covering, unless the guy Vince Agnew was covering was more open. Its just one preseason game, so whatever, and the Saints are the Saints but I do think theres going to be a lot of that as long as both those guys are on the field.
Actually, who am I kidding? I think theres going to be a lot of that as long as either guy is on the field.
@mellinger: Worst presser question? Choice is between "Can you talk a little about [x]" and "what do you think about that" after long spiel.— Andrew Bare (@HalfwayToHobo) August 12, 2013
I hate the "talk about" question with a fiery and self-righteous passion.
What I hate more is when Im listening to my tape and hear myself ask it.
/hangs head in shame, cusses at self./
Lets have Bob himself answer this one:
I think Angelina Jolie should play me in the movie. Can change the character into a woman. No problem there. (Or have her play the general manager. Either one for the same reason.) I mean, if Im sitting in the audience, thats who I want to look at.
Hard to argue.
@mellinger Favorite Royal to interview/interact with?— Eric Gromacki (@Gromacki16) August 12, 2013
Honest to goodness, its a really good clubhouse. Wasnt always like this, particularly during Jose Guillens reign, but its a group that legitimately gets along, stays positive, and for the most part doesnt carry around a big league ego.
There are four that come immediately to mind: Sal Perez, Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler and James Shields.
If youre going to give me just one, Ill take Billy. He thinks about the game in a way I think many fans miss, and hes good at walking you through his thoughts.
Whoa. I assume you love this woman, so Id urge you not to do or say anything rash. Just explain to her what she did. Give her a sip, so she knows. Turn this into a positive.
Also, how was the marinade?
Something to keep an eye on, for sure. I like Smith, a lot, and think hell be really good here as long as hes healthy. But, yeah. He didnt throw to a wide receiver in New Orleans, and his tendency in training camp has been for short passes.
This is a combination of design and playing to Smiths strengths (quick decisions, accuracy), trying to get playmakers like Charles (if hes healthy) and McCluster space to operate, and the fact that the Chiefs have as many as three good tight ends and as few as one good receiver.
Im expecting Smith to go downfield more as the preseason moves on, and into the regular season. If nothing else, you have to in order for the shorter passes (and Charles in the running game) to be effective.
And Smith can do this. He doesnt have Tom Bradys arm, but he also doesnt have Chad Penningtons.
This is such a weird time here in Kansas City. July and August have been mostly cool, and the Royals relevancy is stretching into football season.
If someone catches Alex Gordon eating a brownie, Im stocking up on canned goods.
Its weird enough already, that Im going to be in Detroit watching the Royals Friday night instead of at Arrowhead watching the Chiefs. Maybe I need those canned goods already.
@mellinger made a bet: If Baldwin gets over 400yds & 3 TDs, I'm eatin wings @ Peanut in a white dress SB Sun, no napkins. Just so you know.— Christopher Sauer (@cjsauer) August 12, 2013
I had a joke for this, but
I cant improve on that. Nicely done.
I say true story, but I might also be "Get off my lawn" guy. When I run, it tends to be with the Biggie Pandora station or a bunch of songs from Spotify that came out in the 1990s. There are some exceptions, of course, particularly "Red Nation," but I have no idea if Id like that song if it wasnt what the Seal Team Six guy was listening to on his way to kill Bin Laden.
Because you root for a Kansas City team.
Again: Kansas City fans expect a monster around every corner because, for a generation, theres been a monster around every corner.
@mellinger How does one handle success after a sucktastic 20 years of baseball? I don't know if I have it in me. I keep expecting bad.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) August 12, 2013
I mean, we could
@mellinger worse for KCs playoff hopes (could say Championship hopes but that's crazy): Zusi ACL, Santana blown elbow or Smith being Cassel?— Brandon Urban (@burban77) August 12, 2013
do this all day.
The answer here is Smith being Cassel, by the way. Sporting has other good players, the Royals have other good pitchers.
One of my favorite lines from Dutton: if you see me running, you better run, too. Because it means somebodys coming. With a gun.
@mellinger what's the best fantasy football team name you've ever seen? What will your team name be this season?— Joe (@JDec89) August 12, 2013
I think I mentioned this on here before, but ever since I started fantasy football in high school, my team was named after the now-defunct Sams Town casino. Then a few years ago, I had a loaded team and totally screwed it up and changed the name to Badly Coached Chokers. I have vowed not to change it back until we win a ring.
Also: one of the guys in my league named his team "Dont Kill The (expletive)."
Well, they have lost seven of their last 11. You know, not that anyones scoreboard watching^.
^ Did you notice the quote from Butler in Duttons game story from last night ? "You cant help but watch Detroit is doing. I noticed Cleveland lost tonight. We jumped in front of them, and its a great feeling."
I mean, honestly, I just sort of pick one and pretend I know what Im doing.
@mellinger The o/u was set at 3.5 for KU, 8.5 for KSU, and 5.5 for MU. How would you bet each of these lines if say, you were a betting man?— Justin Moore (@JustinMoore615) August 12, 2013
Those are the exact lines I wouldve set for each team, so keep that in mind, but Id go under on KU and over on the others.
Totally agree with your thought about his importance. Particularly among the Latin guys, hes the most respected man in the clubhouse, someone the others really look up to. And I said this last week, but Lorenzo Cain wouldve had my vote as the team MVP before he went down.
Thats why I see these last two wins, in particular, as so encouraging.
/pretends he didnt hear the question/
@mellinger can I have a hug? A good, real hug, none of this bro-hug nonsense. Gotta get in there, make it count.— Kevin Scobee (@scobes15) August 12, 2013
/checks phone awkwardly, walks away in silence/
Bill Self is the easiest, and its not close. Hardest nobodys REALLY hard. Or, at least, nobodys so hard that if its a bad interview I dont blame it on my own stupid questions. Bill Snyder can be difficult, but he can also be incredible depending on his mood, I suppose, but also the topic and questions.
I always thought Haley was putting up a front when the cameras were on, because if you got him one-on-one he was terrific.
The hardest interview in the last few years was Scott Pioli. I was always frustrated, because I think hes a smart guy with a lot to offer (he could be terrific on TV, depending on what direction he goes) but couldnt get out of his own way in conversation.
@mellinger Jamey Carroll: Smart pickup or one 39-year-old too many?— Jon (@jonralston) August 12, 2013
Both, actually. They had to do SOMEthing to fill a hole at second base that amplifies the (note: hindsight alert) mistake they made drafting Christian Colon instead of Chris Sale three years ago.
@mellinger Looking beyond this season, what are potential 2Bmen the Royals could be interested in adding?— John Williams (@JQuasar2010) August 12, 2013
I dont know what the Angels are going to do with Howie Kendrick, whos owed about $19 for the next two seasons and has a limited no-trade clause that included the Royals for this season but may not in the future (his list shrinks as the years go by).
But do Kelly Johnson or Ryan Raburn do anything for you?
@mellinger On Twitter Turesday, explanation of why what seems like very good Royals defense scores average in Defensive Efficiency Rating?— KC Oracle (@KCOracle) August 12, 2013
Different metrics. Heres an explanation of Defensive Runs Saved, and heres one for Defensive Efficiency. DRS is considered by many the better metric, in part because it combines film and computer studies.
@mellinger Should Jamaal Charles be labeled injury prone?— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) August 12, 2013
You shut your mouth.
@mellinger How many more stupid questions does Dutton have to answer before he breaks bad?— Clinton Thomas (@ClintT13) August 12, 2013
I dont know, but Im showing up at the game tonight with a compliment just to be safe.
I have no idea what this means, and, just a guess, Im happy about that.
Us floppy-hairs need to stick together, be united. Divided we are weak, but together we are strong and, besides, how can I not be happy for a guy with a ridiculous haircut whos doing what he loves and, lets be honest, WAY overachieved where it counts.
This blog is a forgiving place, my man.
Just dont let it happen again.