Don't Kill The Mellinger

Twitter Tuesday: Protecting Perez, predicting KU basketball, K-State’s ups and downs and more

Updated: 2014-02-18T18:35:08Z

Well, it’s good that the Royals are at least talking the right talk here. They’re 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. He’s 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, hasn’t 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 can’t 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 he’s Superman but ignoring club direction and playing catcher in Venezuela winter ball isn’t cool.

Perez’s heart is in the right place. He wants to be great, and wants to help the Royals win. But he can’t do that from the disabled list, so in a critical season for the Royals, it’s up to both sides to protect their mutual best interests.

This week’s eating recommendation is the Cajun ribeye at Tavern, and the reading recommendation is Seth Wickersham with an inside look at Tony Gonzalez’s last season.

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 …

… and also …

… and don’t forget about …

… here’s 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, I’ve also succeeded in keeping the bar of others’ expectations for me so low that they probably wouldn’t 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 nation’s television watchers a favor by taking a few days off.

Well, I hate to say I told you so^, but this wasn’t hard to see after the way K-State reacted to beating KU. I get it, it’s a big win, the fourth time in 52 tries. But you have to be able to keep going.

^ I don’t 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 We’re Going To Disney World! you open yourself up to criticism if you don’t 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. There’s obviously a big difference between K-State at home and on the road, but they’re still having a better season than most anyone could’ve 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.

I’d 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 don’t, meaning it’s a pretty typical season for them even if they’re doing it in a very (for them) untypical way.

But I gotta disagree about the conference tournaments. I’m old-school here, I guess, but I really like them. I think there’s something real at stake there. I know it’s not as important or prestigious as either the conference regular season or (obviously) the NCAA Tournament, but there’s something very cool about all of a conference’s fans and schools gathering in one place for a three- or four-day gorge on basketball.

At least, there’s 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 I’ve never been to an SEC basketball tournament, but just judging on the locations, it sounds like a hell of a time.

You’ve 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 you’re with an older crowd, or if it’s for an anniversary or special occasion, you’ll 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 it’s you and your buddies, or just a regular Wednesday night^, you’ll want Oklahoma Joe’s. 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 it’s a regular Wednesday night, because they have burnt ends on Wednesday nights.

Good luck with your decision, and Godspeed.

Well, by SEC math, didn’t Auburn lock up the best season no matter what just by winning the football title?

Did we need this much time to pass?

It’s 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 school’s infrastructure improvements take hold.

Part of this, certainly, is that the SEC is overrated by many. It’s 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 don’t think we should be shocked they’re 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.

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 isn’t the same as going all-in, so barring something drastic he won’t 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 won’t 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 it’s 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 doesn’t reach the playoffs.

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.

That’s hard to see. Who’s 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 wasn’t thinking clearly.

That’s a better all-league team than the Big 12 has had at times in the past, but especially if KU wins the league, it’s hard to see Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid OR Perry Ellis not being there.

I don’t 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, I’m more like, I still don’t see it, but…

It won’t happen.

I don’t think.

Probably not.

Saison-Brett, y’all.

Drinkable enough to have five in a sitting, delicious enough to forget I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere.

It’s like a parallel universe for a lot of people around town used to the Royals embarrassing themselves, and, actually, if you’re one of those people you probably don’t want to click on this link.

I wouldn’t be opposed, but I kind of dig it at 35. If they shaved it down to 30, or even 24 like the NBA uses, that’s 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 can’t just take the air out of it and play scared.

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 we’re talking about statues, I’m old-school enough to believe that you shouldn’t build one for a living person except in incredibly rare circumstances, because you never know what can happen.

But if they’re going to build a statue, Peter would be the logical place to start.

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 we’re slamming him?

Billy wasn’t as good as he should’ve been last year, almost entirely because there wasn’t enough power for a guy in his age-27 season coming off 29 home runs the year before, but he’s 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 I’m so sick of this little movement where people think Butler is the problem.

Legalize pot?

I’m almost always a mix of wings and unapologetic sexiness. Damn the consequences.

There’s a fundamental difference in the way a lot of us sports fans digest the beginning of football and baseball seasons. I don’t know if it’s 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 it’s up to the franchise to prove themselves. I also understand that it’s entirely possible the Royals wet the bed this year. Their track record with any modicum of expectation is a giant disaster.

But if you’re already negative about this team, after waiting and struggling through all of those years, then I’m just not sure why you bother.

They’re people, too. With feelings.

Well, first, thank you. I’m 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.

Salud.

^ That Farm to Market flow is where it’s at.

This tweet is a year too late.

Jordan, Russell, Wilt, Bird.

Also, why did they only put four on Rushmore?

Here is the answer key:

Buffalo Chicken

Guacamole

Salsa

Queso

Hummus

Spinach and artichoke

Seven layer

Barbecue sauce^

French onion

Bean

^ This is a ranking strictly based on these items as dips, not condiments.

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