Don't Kill The Mellinger

Twitter Tuesday: Alex Smith, floppy-hair pom-poms, Eric Fisher, and “it’s a hard G -- just like me”

Updated: 2013-08-27T17:47:47Z

By SAM MELLINGER

The Kansas City Star

Alex Smith’s father once tried to talk him out of football and into cross country. He had two scholarship offers out of high school, despite every school in the country watching his games to recruit teammate Reggie Bush. He once lost a starting job to J.T. O’Sullivan, then broke his shoulder because the doctor botched a surgery. He was labeled a bust, won back the job, then lost it just as things were getting better because, of all things, a concussion.

And part of him is still pissed about that.

Alex Smith, already, has had a wild NFL career. He opened about it all here.

This week’s eating recommendation is the guacamole at Ponak’s, and we have two reading recommendations, both involving ESPN. The first is about ESPN, and how it is the most dominant player in college football. The second is by ESPN, and about a new allegation that Bobby Riggs threw the famous Battle Of The Sexes match with Billie Jean King.

As always, thanks for your help and for reading.

And that’s how it’s done, you guys.

Dave Toub is the star of the Chiefs preseason, no doubt about it. The Chiefs have kickoff return touchdowns in each of their last two games, and in the third took one back 79 yards. With a 55-yard punt return for good measure. Actually, they have as many or more return touchdowns than:

- Offensive touchdowns.

- Interceptions by the offense.

- Interceptions by the defense.

- Interceptions by the offense and defense combined, actually.

- Alex Smith rushing attempts.

- Dexter McCluster receptions.

- Sacks by starters.

Toub came to Kansas City with a shiny reputation, but it’s impossible to say how much of this is coaching and how much of it is the players and how much of it is a small sample size.

It’s entirely possible that special teams will a big enough advantage for the Chiefs to push them from, like, 7-9 to 9-7 or so. It’s also possible that we shouldn’t put too much emphasis into things we see in the preseason, good or bad.

Well, except for the drug-trafficking stuff, yeah.

Only if you mow my lawn. Actually, forget that. Hands off my mower. You people are animals. No offense.

Most impressive, by far: Greg F. Holland, who has struck out 81 batters in 51 innings, twice saved both games of a doubleheader, and now converted 28 consecutive saves.

Least impressive: Alcides Escobar at the plate. Ugh.

Not yet. I thought he was much better in Pittsburgh, and that was reconfirmed with a rewatch of the game. There’s also something you can’t see on the video: a toughness coming through that the coaches are thrilled to see.

Your boy Vahe Gregorian pointed this out in a column, but there were more fans at certain training camp practices than his games at Central Michigan. That comparison is fairly accurate about the jump in competition, too, and everything else that comes along with going from any college (though especially a mid-major) to the NFL.

Fisher has been banged up, already, and it’s good to see him grunt through those things and block NFL pass rushers. There’s nobody on the roster who you’d expect to improve more between Game 1 and 16 than Fisher, but the Chiefs are much more certain now that he’ll be OK in Game 1.

Sure: In Bill I trust.

Yup. Too many fans and their instant gratification society don’t understand.

I assume it would, if I read them. Just like Twitter is not reality — no offense, you guys — the comments at the end of online newspaper stories are not reality. Those comment sections are partly an attempt at creating a community, and partly a shameless mechanism for more clicks. They are not, even partly, a place to go for thoughtful or intelligent discussion.

Which is fine.

I read most Tweets, respond to every email, and listen to every voicemail. I’m not hard to find.

There is this tendency by many — especially media — to paint fan bases with broad brushes. I try not to do that. I’m sure I often fail. That said…

Before the season, all I remember hearing from Royals fans is that they just wanted an interesting, improved team. Just get to .500. Maybe I’m forgetting all of the playoffs-or-bust talk, maybe I’m not remembering the if-we-drop-more-than-five-games-out-of-the-wild-card-before-Sept.-1-I’m-gonna-be-pissed talk.

The Royals are two games over .500. They don’t suck. They also have virtually no chance at making the playoffs — Baseball Prospectus gives them a 0.5 percent chance — so if you want to make the case that it’s football season when the Royals aren’t in a playoff chase that’s fine.

I just didn’t hear that before the season.

Also, to answer your question: making a bowl for the first time out of the SEC would be good, no?

And one more: Jordan Clarkson. I’m telling you, the kid is a stud.

Yes. Do this:

Or this, and there’s NSFW language here:

Well, first of all, YOU have a fantastic day.

I’m trying to figure this out, too. On the surface, it makes no sense. The Royals are built on pitching and defense. Baseball wisdom says that bats go hot and cold, but teams built on pitching and defense should be relatively steady.

My sense is that there is some learning going on, that this is a young team taking longer than it should to understand what it takes to avoid these kinds of wild swings. Trading for James Shields was supposed to address this. Alex Gordon is a near perfect model for the kind of attitude and approach you want over 162 games.

But, with few exceptions, nearly everyone on the roster has been streaky. Even Gordon, he was hitting .340 over the first 50 games and then .190 over the next 50.

So, I don’t know. I don’t have a detailed answer here. But I do know that part of a manager’s job is to navigate through these kinds of things, and minimize the deep falls.

You people are sick.

That’s not usually how this business works. I’m happy here, both at the Star and in Kansas City. Especially relative to many others, I have very few complaints. I’m lucky to have my job, and can honestly say I think about that every day.

But forever is a long time, and in media, unless you’re Frank Boal or Jack Harry or Randy Covitz, forever is an impossibly long time.

Noted.

Of course he believes that.

My guess — and that’s all it is; I’ve had one executive tell me this is too low, another said he wouldn’t spend this much — is three years and $48 million. The Royals will have the money. They can afford this. And, especially when Lorenzo Cain is healthy, the construction of both their roster and ballpark are a terrific fit for Santana.

But would you spend that much on him?

It’s a hard G — just like me.

No question. I expect them to have at least a five-game streak in here somewhere, and, probably, a five-game losing streak as well. Quite possibly back-to-back.

Pretty much, yeah.

I haven’t watched a Batman since Keaton. They’d have a better chance if they could, like, fuse a Batman movie with Halle Berry’s Catwoman.

Otherwise, eh. There’s probably a game on.

This has been a staple question of Twitter Tuesday since, well, pretty much since we began this silly little weekly meet-up. And I’ve always leaned Royals, with the idea that they had a better chance this year and next than the Chiefs do this year.

I’m sticking with that, but let’s be honest, you don’t feel real confident in betting on either team — one hasn’t won a playoff game in 20 years, the other 28.

My goodness, man. I hope they’re ahead of you. In 28 years — I’m gonna go ahead and assume you weren’t old enough (or, perhaps, even born) to remember the 1985 World Series — the Kansas City sports highlight of your lifetime is Joe Montana (on fumes) leading the Chiefs to a playoff win over the Houston Oilers — THE HOUSTON OILERS!

Other Chiefs-Royals highlights include, but are not limited to…

- two 13-3 seasons that ended in first-round playoff losses.

- Hal McRae’s awesome postgame tirade.

So, jeez, man. For all our sakes, I hope they’re ahead of you.

You know how coaches, when they take over a new team, always say that "everyone on the roster starts with a clean slate?" I think we should do this with Knile Davis.

We all know about his fumbling issues. Also, we all know that Andy Reid had a chronic fumbler in Bryce Brown last year that he stuck with. The situations are different, of course, but I think Reid will give Davis an opportunity to prove himself trustworthy.

The fumble in Pittsburgh the other night isn’t a good start, but as a backup running back, you have to figure he’ll understand the importance of not screwing up.

Which is a long way of saying I’ll take the touchdowns.

Oof. Really? That would match their win total of the last three seasons combined. I’ve been a little less optimistic than most about Charlie Weis at KU from the very beginning, but I’m not sure what he showed last year to make you think they’ll take a big jump.

You can talk about the five close losses — if we’re counting seven points or less as close — but the fact remains that they lost each of those. They won one game, and that was against South Dakota State.

Jake Heaps — great story on Heaps here — can’t be worse than Dayne Crist, but what has Weis done to get the benefit of the doubt?

Kansas, despite the 1-11 record, was better in Weis’ first year than the year before. And the recruiting trends have been promising. But anything more than 3-9 sounds awfully optimistic to me.

Gotta keep the ladies guessing.

There’ve been some good ones over the years. Marcus Dixon. Elijah Johnson. Sheldon Richardson. Jose Guillen. Zack Greinke. Eric Winston. Shaun Smith.

But right now, I’m going with Tamba Hali for insight and Dwayne Bowe for entertainment.

Let me start by saying that whenever I have a bad interview, I always assume it’s because I asked stupid questions.

That said, it sure seems like whenever I talk to Tony Moeaki I always walk away assuming I asked stupid questions.

Love you right back.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365, send email to smellinger@kcstar.com or follow twitter.com/mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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