The Royals were never going to make a big move before baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline Thursday. They were always going to nibble at the corners and dig in their heels with the guys on the roster. Because the Royals are stuck in what is now their new normal — not good enough to expect in the playoffs, and not bad enough to blow up and start over.
The last game of the Cleveland series left a bad taste in the Royals’ mouths, but with 58 games left, the team can still turn this season into a happy memory. They will need to play their best of the season from here on out. But the difference between what’s required and what they’ve shown might not be as big as you’d think.
As a practicing Muslim, Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah does not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. But his priorities won’t waver even after Islam’s monthlong period of fasting ends on Monday.
Jamaal Charles earned every cent of his contract extension. The shelf-life of running backs is cruelly short, and Charles is absolutely right to get paid while he can. More importantly for the Chiefs’ future, this does not affect their ability to work out more complicated contract situations with Justin Houston and Alex Smith.
As the 6-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday showed, the mark of these Kansas City Royals is that they shrink as the moment grows. The Royals are dropping an opportunity eight years in the making with a combination of weak hitting, bad decisions and an inability to justify the trouble. They seem to wait until the stakes are just high enough to let you down.
New Sporting Kansas City defensive midfielder Jorge Claros, “The Pitbull,” talks about the day he almost died with a chilling calm. Three years ago in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, he was shot twice while in a car with his wife. One bullet lodged next to his shoulder blade, the other entered the back of his head, millimeters from his brain and death.
Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has been the hottest hitter in the American League on a team that is in desperate need of hitting. With the Royals chasing a playoff berth, one thing they need is for Hosmer to keep doing what he’s doing.
When the team you follow owns the longest playoff drought in major North American sports, it’s easy to think you must be perfect, that any little mistake or shortcoming will cost your guys glory. At least this year, in the Kansas City Royals’ situation, that’s not true. This is not a treacherous climb up a mountain as much as it is a brisk jog, most of it uphill but also with a few water breaks along the way.
LeBron James is leaving the beaches of Miami and taking his basketball talents to the rust belt of Cleveland, and the shocker is that he was able to do this in his way, on his terms. If it’s true that no athlete of this generation has faced the specific scrutiny of LeBron, it is also true that no athlete has done a better job of controlling his own message. The entire sports world was after his story this week, and he was still able to tell it in his own words.
“(Momentum) carries over until the first pitch,” said Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost before the game against the Detroit Tigers and then, as if to emphasize the point, his team gave up three runs before its first at bat.
Billy Butler justifiably sees himself as the Kansas City Royals’ most established hitter, and wonders why he’s been occasionally benched and now moved down in the lineup for the second time while Eric Hosmer appears to have birthrights to the top of the batting order every day. The team sees Butler as an underperforming and now overpaid hitter on a roster in desperate need of consistent production, exposing an ego that’s always simmered just beneath the surface.
The NFL is rolling in gobs and gobs of cash, incredible television ratings and the ease of selling a product so popular that more Americans watched this year’s draft than any World Series, NBA Finals or World Cup game so far. So why does it still need an antiquated blackout rule?
With Washington’s NFL team nickname under growing scrutiny, the woman who in 2005 helped launch a successful trademark challenge against that organization predicts it won’t be long before the Chiefs are hearing a similar outcry. The Chiefs are aware of it, and are preparing accordingly.
It’s important to recognize that these Royals are, in fact, abnormally streaky. They were the same way last season. So, for better and worse, this team has learned how to get through these times. They should be better at avoiding the bad times — especially with this pitching and defense — but they do have some experience.
The last hurdle between the KC Royals and real contention is being able to back up a nice surprise with some real performance. The hard part isn’t putting together a nice run when nobody’s really watching you as much as it is keeping it up when it’s not just your friends and family paying attention.
The Kansas City Royals lost Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks. They have won 13 of their past 16 and on Friday will almost certainly play in front of the first sellout crowd since the home opener. This is the best time in recent memory to be a Royals fan, and there are grown fans who will have to ask their fathers what the rest of this summer will be like in Kansas City if things fall into place.
There is only one way for this to end, and by now, surely both sides know that. KC Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston is noticing other NFL stars around the league being taken care of by their teams. He wants the same treatment. Both sides know that any alternative will harm the Chiefs or Houston or both, an outcome that nobody in Kansas City wants.