Well, its good that the Royals are at least talking the right talk here. Theyre at least talking about protecting their most valuable asset.
Sal Perez is a star catcher, a Gold Glover at a premium position and a potential middle-of-the-order hitter wrapped in a package of leadership, smarts, and charisma. Hes also signed for the next six years for an absurdly low $21 million.
Of all the ways that the most promising Royals season in a generation could go under, the quickest would be for Perez who, for all of this accomplishments, hasnt played an injury-free season yet to go on the disabled list long-term.
Toward that end, the Royals have often done a rotten job of protecting Perez so far. You cant eliminate all risk, of course, especially for catchers. But you can mix in a few more days off, do a better job convincing a player with a history of concussions to wear a helmet that better protects against concussions, and convince him that he may think hes Superman but ignoring club direction and playing catcher in Venezuela winter ball isnt cool.
Perezs heart is in the right place. He wants to be great, and wants to help the Royals win. But he cant do that from the disabled list, so in a critical season for the Royals, its up to both sides to protect their mutual best interests.
As always, thanks for reading and thanks for your help.
Wait. Are these the edited versions you guys are sending me?
These are the clearer questions, the more thought out? What the heck do the rough drafts look like?
You people are many things here. You are smart, you are passionate, you are crazy, you are insightful, you are the fuel for this silly weekly exercise. But I never even considered the possibility that these were your edited versions. The questions you send only after deliberation.
I mean, for instance
because, obviously, nobody touches my mower but me. And then
@mellinger am I your long lost son?— David Embers (@davidembers) February 17, 2014
and dont forget about
heres where I draw the line. I play hurt. Two years ago at the Super Bowl, I contracted a horrible disease I would not wish on my worst enemy but was still able to produce award-winning, critically-acclaimed, world-shaping journalism^.
^ Well, it filled space in the paper, at least.
But, Ive also succeeded in keeping the bar of others expectations for me so low that they probably wouldnt notice if I had green skin and sneezed horse manure. Bob Costas is an American institution and, well, I think we can all agree he did the nations television watchers a favor by taking a few days off.
Well, I hate to say I told you so^, but this wasnt hard to see after the way K-State reacted to beating KU. I get it, its a big win, the fourth time in 52 tries. But you have to be able to keep going.
^ I dont hate to say I told you so.
And, look. We all understand there is no way to know for sure whether the emotional high of last Monday night fed into the double overtime loss on Saturday, but I am saying that when you do everything but find a camera and yell Were Going To Disney World! you open yourself up to criticism if you dont win the next game against a team that had lost seven of its previous nine.
But, overall, to answer your question, I believe more in the high than the low. Theres obviously a big difference between K-State at home and on the road, but theyre still having a better season than most anyone couldve expected. Bruce Weber has a lot of pieces in place over there, some positive indications about the long-term.
Losing to Scott Drew is never an awesome thing, no matter how much talent he has, but K-State is still in the upper half of the Big 12 and on the way to the NCAA Tournament in what was supposed to be a very down year for them.
@mellinger how far is KU going to go in the tourney? And r conference tourneys the dumbest thing ever? They just make u tired 4 the big one.— Alex Stilley (@Jayhawker1998) February 17, 2014
Id put the over-under at 3 ½ tournament wins for them, meaning they go over if they make the Final Four and under if they dont, meaning its a pretty typical season for them even if theyre doing it in a very (for them) untypical way.
But I gotta disagree about the conference tournaments. Im old-school here, I guess, but I really like them. I think theres something real at stake there. I know its not as important or prestigious as either the conference regular season or (obviously) the NCAA Tournament, but theres something very cool about all of a conferences fans and schools gathering in one place for a three- or four-day gorge on basketball.
At least, theres something very cool about all of that when the Big 12 does it in Kansas City or Oklahoma City. You can feed it to the fishes in Dallas.
And Ive never been to an SEC basketball tournament, but just judging on the locations, it sounds like a hell of a time.
@mellinger Sam ...HELP ! Jack Stack or Oklahoma Joe's. and why. I will listen off the air.— Rodney White (@Rodney1904) February 17, 2014
Youve come to the right place.
Up front, you should know that there is no wrong choice here and your best answer depends almost entirely on context.
If youre with an older crowd, or if its for an anniversary or special occasion, youll want Jack Stack. The Smokeshow and I had our rehearsal dinner there. This is a great first date sort of spot, and many Midwestern loves have started there (including Chiefs GM John Dorsey and his wife).
If its you and your buddies, or just a regular Wednesday night^, youll want Oklahoma Joes. A Z-Man and fries is, quite possibly, the best hangover meal you can possibly have but everything there is fit for a king. The ribs, especially.
^ Especially if its a regular Wednesday night, because they have burnt ends on Wednesday nights.
Good luck with your decision, and Godspeed.
@mellinger if Mizzou makes the NCAA tournament, is there an argument that Mizzou had the best football/basketball seasons in SEC this year?— Trent Thurmon (@Thurmonator8) February 17, 2014
Well, by SEC math, didnt Auburn lock up the best season no matter what just by winning the football title?
@mellinger Has enough time passed to properly mock Chuck Neinas's ridiculous "upgrade" statement re: TCU/WVU? Or is more debate needed?— AJ (@AJtheHater) February 17, 2014
Did we need this much time to pass?
Its been said plenty, but should be said plenty more Missouri proved itself not just "worthy" of the SEC but better than many in that league, and this is before the schools infrastructure improvements take hold.
Part of this, certainly, is that the SEC is overrated by many. Its the best football league in the country, no question, but I do hope that the success Missouri and Texas A&M have had in that league prove to many that the SEC is not the NFC West.
Missouri was good enough to make the conference championship game a few times in the Big 12, so I dont think we should be shocked theyre good enough to make it in the SEC. Impressed, obviously, especially doing it the year after 5-7.
Also: thanks for the tryout, TCU and West Virginia.
@mellinger playoffs or bust for the Royals this year?— Dillon Davis (@dillondavis3) February 17, 2014
Not to go all Bill Clinton on you, but it depends on the definition of "bust."
There are a lot of points on the spectrum here. 92-70 and missing out on the playoffs is much different than 70-92 and missing out on the playoffs. Dayton Moore got a two-year extension this offseason, which isnt the same as going all-in, so barring something drastic he wont be fired. Ned Yost may be a different story.
But even if the Royals bomb this year, and the front office is cleaned out, the nucleus wont be "busted." No matter what happens this year, you can be relatively certain that Sal Perez will the opening day catcher in 2015. You can be relatively certain that Eric Hosmer will be the first baseman (and batting third, probably), and that Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer and probably Jeremy Guthrie will be in the rotation.
So its not a make-or-break season in the real sense of the term.
But now more than at any point in the last 20 years or more, Royals fans will and should be disappointed if it doesnt reach the playoffs.
@mellinger could Zimmer, Duffy, and ventura all have a spot in the rotation by the end of the season?— Osie Enriquez (@WizardOfOsie) February 17, 2014
I mean, could sure. I guess. But the Royals are being super careful with Zimmer, and rightfully so with so much talent and ending last season with an injury.
Ventura will probably be the guy to open the season, and my gut is that the Royals plan is to use Chen as a bit of a placeholder until Duffy is ready to rejoin the rotation.
Zimmer is more of a longshot. If the Royals are contending in the second half, and think Zimmer can help, I could easily see him being promoted as a boost. But even then, it could be for the bullpen.
Thats hard to see. Whos your five? I guess you could go with Melvin Ejim, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Taylor^, Juwan Staten and DeAndre Kane?
^ UPDATE: Marcus Foster should be here instead of Taylor. I wasnt thinking clearly.
Thats a better all-league team than the Big 12 has had at times in the past, but especially if KU wins the league, its hard to see Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid OR Perry Ellis not being there.
I dont know. I have to say when I first read your question, I thought something along the lines of no effing way, get out of here with that.
Now, Im more like, I still dont see it, but
It wont happen.
I dont think.
Drinkable enough to have five in a sitting, delicious enough to forget Im stuck in the middle of nowhere.
@mellinger So the Royals will have more real major leaguers in spring training than roster spots? This feels weird.— Mid-MO Royals Fan (@MidMORoyalsFan) February 17, 2014
Its like a parallel universe for a lot of people around town used to the Royals embarrassing themselves, and, actually, if youre one of those people you probably dont want to click on this link.
I wouldnt be opposed, but I kind of dig it at 35. If they shaved it down to 30, or even 24 like the NBA uses, thats fine. Generally speaking, the more up and down a game, the more interesting, but I do like that at 35 it still allows very different styles of play. There are different tempos that teams can use to play to their strengths and their opponents weaknesses, but still short enough that you cant just take the air out of it and play scared.
@mellinger How many more cups does Peter Vermes need to secure before we build a statue outside Sporting Park?— Tom Hoffmann (@countzerokc) February 17, 2014
I never thought about this before your question, and I have no idea how into statues the people at Sporting are, but they could do worse for their first.
There would be other candidates, of course. Preki, Tony Meola, someday Graham Zusi and Matt Besler could be in that discussion. But none of them have a case as well-rounded as Peter, who was a great player defender of the year when the Wizards won the MLS Cup in 2000 and obviously now the head coach and technical director.
Now, when were talking about statues, Im old-school enough to believe that you shouldnt build one for a living person except in incredibly rare circumstances, because you never know what can happen.
But if theyre going to build a statue, Peter would be the logical place to start.
@mellinger It's nice Moose is in shape. What about the other bad body w/ a below average 2013. Is Butler still just as doughy?— Gregory Doring (@gregorydoring) February 17, 2014
Are we still at the place where a guy leads the team in RBIs, is second in OPS and ninth in the league in OBP and were slamming him?
Billy wasnt as good as he shouldve been last year, almost entirely because there wasnt enough power for a guy in his age-27 season coming off 29 home runs the year before, but hes still (by far) the most proven hitter on the team.
They definitely need more from him in 2014. That will be helped if Alex Gordon (and Sal Perez) are hitting behind him.
But Im so sick of this little movement where people think Butler is the problem.
Im almost always a mix of wings and unapologetic sexiness. Damn the consequences.
@mellinger Do the Royals have some way of brainwashing their fans to forget the past years and get excited about the new season every year?— T.J. Huettenmueller (@Thuettenmueller) February 17, 2014
Theres a fundamental difference in the way a lot of us sports fans digest the beginning of football and baseball seasons. I dont know if its the difference between the seriousness and self-importance of a lot of football men, especially when compared to the optimism and signal of spring in baseball. But it is a major difference.
Also, the Royals won their most games since the 1980s last year and (at least on paper) improved themselves in (by far) their two weakest spots.
I understand that the Royals have trained their fans to expect the worst, and that its up to the franchise to prove themselves. I also understand that its entirely possible the Royals wet the bed this year. Their track record with any modicum of expectation is a giant disaster.
But if youre already negative about this team, after waiting and struggling through all of those years, then Im just not sure why you bother.
Theyre people, too. With feelings.
Well, first, thank you. Im honored. This is an honor, and a privilege. The first thing to do is to reach out to our gluten-free friends, not with judgment, but with empathy. These are people who deny themselves beer, bread^, cookies, cereal, french fries, potato chips, pasta, I mean, do we need to go on? These people are clearly not thinking right, so they need our hearts, our love. Not our nasty looks and curses.
But if that fails, I mean, toast them with a beer.
^ That Farm to Market flow is where its at.
@mellinger so who will the notorious 5 spot go to for the Royals this season? Don't let it be Hoch...— Reed Koutelas (@KoutelasReed) February 17, 2014
This tweet is a year too late.
@mellinger sure you've been asked this at length, but whose on your NBA Rushmore?...let's say retired only? (No Kobe/Lebron).— adam newman (@adamnewman913) February 17, 2014
Jordan, Russell, Wilt, Bird.
Also, why did they only put four on Rushmore?
Here is the answer key:
Spinach and artichoke
^ This is a ranking strictly based on these items as dips, not condiments.