Don't Kill The Mellinger

Twitter Tuesday: Chief-on-Chief violence, Bill Self, (very) early Royals prediction, MU tragedy

Updated: 2014-01-28T20:11:27Z

By SAM MELLINGER

The Kansas City Star

— It’s cold here. Did anybody mention that? I can confirm the reports. It’s cold. You’ll want a jacket if you go outside. Maybe some gloves, if you’re carrying something.

But, guys. C’mon. I know it’s New York and the Super Bowl so overreaction and hyperbole are sort of like corner hot dog stands and oxygen, but, please. It’s not the arctic.

Yesterday, it was in the high 30s. Today, it’s supposed to be colder, but, basically, the weather in Kansas City yesterday. In Jersey — and that’s where they’re playing the game, as much as everyone keeps saying New York New York New York — the high is supposed to be 38 on Sunday.

I think the VIPs here will survive.

But I’m sure you’ll be updated often between now and kickoff, with breathless reports about snow and ice and trips to the grocery store to stock up on canned goods.

Guys, it’s football. Happy to see two of my favorite writers say this and this.

This week’s eating recommendation is the chicken shawarmah at Aladdin Cafe, and the reading recommendation is Ben Shipgel on Richard Sherman.

Let’s get to it. As always, thanks for your help and thanks for reading.

Well, in their defense, this is the gold standard. Only the most thoughtful and insightful and generally life-changing questions are included here, because those are the only questions worthy of my answers.

I mean, that’s just indisputable.

Dammit. Not the start I was hoping for.

And no, I’m not helping you with your homework. I did as little homework as possible when I was in school, I’m not taking on more now.

And besides, don’t be insulting. My help on your homework is worth no less than $1.25.

Honestly, I didn’t know real people watched the Pro Bowl. Don’t get me wrong. I know people watch the Pro Bowl. I’ve seen the TV ratings that say millions and millions of people watch the Pro Bowl — last year’s game actually did a bigger number than parts of the World Series — it’s just this was like knowing that millions of people watch Honey Boo Boo or don’t eat meat.

Those are people I just don’t know.

But the other night, a lot of you were talking about the Pro Bowl, an exhibition football game that has no real meaning, played by men who’ve generally been pretty open and obvious about the fact that they don’t care much about the actual game.

Around 11.4 million people watched the Pro Bowl (more than baseball’s All-Star Game), which is down a bit from last year, but even if you take away friends and family of the players and degenerate gamblers and people whose remote controls broke, that’s still a lot of people.

And a lot of them are, well, you.

And his defense didn’t blow a four-touchdown lead.

Too soon?

First, if you haven’t seen it:

There is really only one logical thought to have about this:

WHAT THE f*#)!*)% ARE YOU DOING DERRICK JOHNSON ARE YOU F*()(#*%&ING CRAZY??????

Football itself is crazy. The men who play it at the highest level have to have a little crazy in them (except for kickers and punters).

But considering the context — a silly exhibition game/vacation in Hawaii, and not only a teammate, but his most valuable teammate, and DJ was risking himself AND Charles — that might be the craziest thing I’ve seen on a football field in quite some time.

I have no idea what this means, and I’m quite happy with that.

Did a rookie win album of the year or something?

Wait, don’t tell me. I don’t care.

Me and the Black Keys will be over here. You and your Macklemores stay off my lawn.

I’m embarrassed to say I had to look up this great American hero.

I will say, though: doesn’t the Bryant’s on Brooklyn sort of stand as a statue to the man?

What can I say about that suit, that hasn’t been said about Afghanistan? It looks bombed out and depleted.

Take the under on 31 degrees as the lowest temperature during the game, no on Knowshon Moreno crying during the national anthem, no on the announcers saying "marijuana," Obama picking the Seahawks, yes on Wes Welker dropping a pass, and bet as much as you can spare on the power staying on (that’s a real bet on Bovada).

Son, don’t you come in here asking weak questions not like. Not only have I been to Salina, I’ve been to a wedding at the Red Roof Inn (I think that’s what it was) in Salina. They had it in this big indoor area in the middle of the hotel, but there were some kids in the pool, and during this really quiet, serious moment you heard off in the distance: CANNONBALL!

Also, as a kid, I had the high score on the Galaga machine at that same hotel. My dad had a lot of family there, we used to go there for Thanksgiving.

Like all generalizations about a big group, it isn’t literally true. And like many generalizations about a big group, you can pretty clearly see where it comes from.

I have to pause here for a second to mention that I have a friend who considers himself a KU football fan first. This friend is very strange, as you probably already knew, and often says things that are not and should not be taken seriously. But, still. He’s a taxpaying and upstanding citizen. Actually, take out the upstanding part. And now that you mention it, I’m not sure if he pays taxes. Forget I mentioned this.

Anyway, MOST Kansas fans are clearly more into their basketball than their football, just like MOST K-State/Oklahoma/Texas/Alabama/others are more into their football than basketball. This isn’t new. This isn’t outlandish. This isn’t controversial. It’s just fact.

And it’s completely understandable. If you have two kids, and one is a Harvard MBA and the other sits on your couch all day scratching himself, I bet you’d have a favorite, too.

Yes. Because the whole point of that video game is to take over a crap program — or, better yet, create your own crap program — and build it into back-to-back-back national championships until brought down by scandal or boredom.

I mean, what else do you do with these games?

And while we’re on the subject, I haven’t played (m)any video games since my early 20s, but I submit to you that you can know a lot about a man’s character by the kind of team he picks on a sports video game.

Like, if you’re playing an NBA game against a guy who picks the Heat, that guy is an a-hole.

Well, there has been a lot written about Bill, obviously, including a lot by me. He is a chameleon, first of all, a man who can talk to his players about rap music and boosters about the old days and his bosses about revenue^. He is constantly adjusting, both around the talents of his different teams but also picking off things that work for other teams. He is ridiculously good socially, and I mean that specifically with his players. He can cuss them like dogs one minute, and then the next put his arm around them and make sure they know where he’s coming from.

^ I’ve always thought a great example of this is how often he uses the word "soft." In a lot of ways, Bill sees the world through the lens of whether something is soft or not soft. If you’re soft, Bill does not have time for you. If you’re not, he wants you to play for him. Soft is mocked, not soft is cheered. Anyway, Bill is not unique in wanting tough players, of course, but I do think he uses this particular word more than most coaches and I also believe it is not a coincidence that it is a word that unlike perhaps any other resonates with the demographic he is coaching but also plays well in press conferences and publicly.

But one thing that doesn’t get mentioned a lot is how smart he is. Most successful coaches are smart, obviously, but Bill’s mind works at another speed. In practice, he’ll often stop a drill or a scrimmage after a minute or two and then run down a dozen different things that happened involving eight different players, complimenting this, destroying that, you-should’ve-screened-instead-of-cutting there, going all the way back to the last stoppage, without missing a thing.

That’s the same quick mind he uses to deliver recruiting pitches, donor speeches, press conference analysis, everything. He’s so smooth that people sometimes overlook this part of his game, but I think it’s the backbone of everything he does.

No.

Here’s the thing: it could happen. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world. I mean, in some ways, it makes as much sense for him to stay one more year as it did Marcus Smart to stay for this season.

But it’s a big longshot.

I think in the end — and I’ve said this for a month or two — he’s going to want to stay but will have to go.

I don’t like questions that take up two tweets, but…

…this is obviously a complicated and sensitive situation. I think some of the angles ESPN took in its reporting don’t line up with what I see as reality, but, sadly, there are no heroes in this story. Missouri’s vigorous self-defense didn’t answer all the questions, either.

Vahe, to me, wrote the most sensible piece I’ve seen on all of this. You should read the whole thing here, but the money line:

"If all the boxes can seemingly be checked in the system, and this happens, then something is wrong with the system, isn’t it?"

I do applaud Menu Courey’s parents for saying they don’t intend to sue, and instead would like to use the attention the case is getting to make sure similar situations don’t happen in the future.

I think we all hope we would conduct ourselves with such grace in such an awful situation.

I don’t. Arkansas, like Missouri, is a mixed bag of great moments and undesirable ones but is always tough at home (took Florida into overtime there, and beat Kentucky in an outrageous finish) and Missouri struggles on the road. It’s chalk, but you have to expect both teams will win the home game.

Whether they make the tournament is a more difficult question, and something I got into in this column over the weekend. It figures to be decided in Missouri’s next six games, and the next three in particular. The SEC is awful this year, which means lots of chances for bad losses and not as many for good wins.

But if you’re making me choose, right now, I would say they come up just short.

And I reserve the right to change my mind. A few times.

Got into this the other day, too. Three years and $40 million seems like a reasonable expectation for him, and the right teams seem to be interested for Santana to be well paid, even as the market for him hasn’t been what he hoped when his agents initially threw out the ludicrous notion of him signing a $100 million contract.

I understand why this question is still hanging around Kansas City, and like I said in that blog post, the chances are higher today than a month ago simply because he still hasn’t signed.

But this is a fairly significant longshot. The way I see it, it would basically require Santana turning down longer contracts and more stability to take a one-year gamble that he’ll have another great season and (when he’s a year older with more innings on that elbow) be in line for a bigger contract.

It would also almost certainly require some sort of wink-wink agreement that the Royals would not give Santana another qualifying offer.

Either that or it would require David Glass, after extending the payroll to another franchise record, doubling down and giving a risky, long-term deal to an aging starting pitcher whose elbow may or may not blow up.

So do you think that’s more likely than the Yankees or Dodgers or Mets or Mariners or some other richer team outbidding the Royals?

So if you haven’t seen it, the Royals landed seven in Baseball Prospectus’ list. They are:

Yordano Ventura, 12th.

Adalberto Mondesi, 29th.

Kyle Zimmer, 34th.

Miguel Almonte, 46th.

Sean Manaea, 78th.

Hunter Dozier, 96th.

Jorge Bonifacio, 99th.

All of the reasonable caveats of baseball prospects and lists of baseball prospects should apply here, but I do think it’s worth noting that the Royals made the James Shields trade (whether you agree with me that they gave up too much or not) without depleting their farm system.

That’s an enormous change from what the Royals were before David Glass wised up and realized he needed to spend money on amateur talent.

I think the team is basically set. Santana is the wild card, and if they sign him, they’re probably going to trade away some pieces to clear money. I would guess — guess — that means some combination of Luke Hochevar, Greg Holland, Emilio Bonifacio, guys like that.

Clearly, that would be a big enough move that we would readdress this. But for now: I’m saying 89-73, and they win a crappy division that opens up after Verlander (who isn’t likely to be healthy by opening day) continues to age and the Tigers take a minor step back while reloading for a bright future.

There are two answers.

What time is it now?

7 pm, just before dinner.

 

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