Carlos Betran played his first big-league season in 1999. That was so long ago Tony Muser was still the Royals’ manager, and, actually, that was so long ago Tony Muser was still the manager and many Royals fans were optimistic.
Beltran was a star, right from the beginning. That first year he hit .293 with 22 homers, 27 doubles, 112 runs, 108 RBIs and 27 stolen bases while playing a graceful and beautiful center field. He was a nearly unanimous selection for Rookie of the Year.
The Royals lost 97 games that season.
Beltran was the Royals’ most talented player from 1999 until they traded him 2004. His teams, despite a decided advantage at one of the game’s most important positions, lost 97, 85, 97, 100, 79* and 104 games.
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* 2003 really was a mirage in the desert.
Watching the Royals in those years was a little like watching Benny play with those other kids in “The Sandlot.” Most nights, he was the best reason to watch an otherwise hopeless team. Too many nights, he was the only reason.
He did so many amazing things on the baseball field. Simply watching him run was to watch supernatural athletic gifts in motion. He glided, so smooth the biggest knock was that he didn’t try hard enough. That wasn’t true, but surrounded by incompetence, it was a natural criticism.
It’s not that he didn’t try hard. It’s just that he made everything look so easy, including this catch on what would’ve been a home run, perfectly captured by wizard photographer John Sleezer:
Beltran announced his retirement this week, the end to one of the great careers in modern baseball history. He played in 20 seasons, for seven teams — 2,586 games, 435 home runs, 312 steals, 565 doubles, 1,582 runs, 1,587 RBIs, three Gold Gloves and the last of his nine All-Star Games coming 17 years after he was Rookie of the Year.
Only four others have 400 homers and 300 stolen bases: Barry Bonds, Andre Dawson, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez. In Royals history, there have been 10 seasons of 100 runs and 100 RBIs. George Brett did it twice. Beltran did it four times, including his masterful 2003 — .307/.389/.522, 10 triples, 26 homers, 41 steals and caught just four times.
The next year, in 2004, when he was traded to Houston midseason, he was even better — .267/.367/.548, 36 doubles, 38 homers, 42 steals and caught just three times.
Beltran will have my Hall of Fame vote the moment he is eligible, and if he doesn’t make the cut his first year, it will only be a matter of time.
I don’t know what hat he’ll have on his plaque. He was great with the Mets, too. But I don’t really care about any of that. What matters is that Beltran happened, and in Kansas City we saw a kid become a star and then watched over the years as the rest of the country realized it, too.
There aren’t a lot of Hollywood endings in sports, but Beltran going out with a world championship 20 years after he broke into the big leagues is pretty close.
The Chiefs will likely be favored in every remaining regular-season game. The only team with a winning record that they have left to play is the Bills, and they’re 5-4 with two straight losses by a combined score of 81-31. The Dolphins are 4-4.
I actually believe the best team left is the Raiders, but it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs losing to them twice, particularly with the second one at home. The Chargers are better than 3-6, but still. They are 3-6.
So, the part of my answer where I take you far too literally includes a reference that based on the data a 4 1/2 point favorite wins about two-thirds of the time, and a 7-point favorite wins about three-fourths. If that’s roughly where the Chiefs will be the rest of the way — they opened as 13-point favorites against the Giants this weekend, but the Giants are almost a literal dumpster fire — statistically you would expect them to lose once or twice.
Now, to get a bye, they’ll have to pass either the Patriots or the Steelers. With the tiebreakers, the Chiefs 6-3 are effectively a half-game behind the 7-2 Patriots, and 1 1/2 games behind the 7-2 Steelers.
Those teams play each other in Pittsburgh on Dec. 17, but otherwise they, too, have very soft schedules. Maybe even softer than the Chiefs’ schedule.
But I actually do think the Chiefs will finish 6-1 or even 7-0. I know I’m going against the recent trend here, but I think the Chiefs will be better these next seven weeks than they’ve been the last, say, eight.
I believe they’re getting healthier, which should show up especially well on the offensive line and with the pass rush, depending on Justin Houston. I also think they’ll be able to stay focused week to week. Even so, they’re going to need help to get that bye. Let’s put the odds at 27.8 percent.
Even without a bye, I think we’re looking at a divisional matchup with Pittsburgh or New England.
I get the possibility of facing the Jaguars in that wild-card round, and nobody in Kansas City wants to see Leonard Fournette in the playoffs. The Jags are really good defensively — they’re tough, they take the ball away and they’re terrific against the pass.
But I also think the Chiefs are good against bad quarterbacks, and nothing’s certain, but I’d like their chances against Blake Bortles.
All of that would set up a divisional matchup in Pittsburgh or New England, probably against the loser of that Dec. 17 game, and here’s one more thing I’m probably alone on: I think the Chiefs would have a better chance against the Steelers than the Patriots.
Part of this is I don’t think the Steelers are that good. They’re fine, don’t get me wrong. Le’Veon Bell is a Hall of Famer. Antonio Brown, too. And Ben Roethlisberger. But Roethlisberger isn’t what he was, the Chiefs have been able to limit the points, he’s going to make some mistakes, and I think the Chiefs can get out there with something like a 23-17 win. At some point, that matchup has to flip the other way.
But, well, a few hundred words into this and we’re at a rematch in Foxborough. And I don’t like the Chiefs’ chances there in a rematch. Feels like there’s a 93 percent chance Justin Houston will be on the sideline, not playing, the Patriots will have their defense figured out, Tom Brady will be doing Tom Brady things, the phones won’t be working, and Andy Reid will be saying, “Look, we’ve gotta get better, and that starts with me.”
Once you get into the 1900s, you’re going back a little too far for me to feel good about comparisons.
But I think this team is better than any of those others, even the 13-3 team in 2003, and I know you’re going to talk about how this year’s defense stinks too, but I think they’re better at quarterback, skill positions (barely), defensive talent and defensive coordinator.
I’ve written about the cynicism before, and I probably will again. I’m not sure you can have an honest and full conversation about this team without at least thinking about that. What’s more, I’m not here to tell you the season will end any differently.
In the scenario I laid out before, I suppose making the AFC Championship Game would be seen as some amount of progress, but the end result is effectively the same. No parade. No AFC trophy. No feeling that the Chiefs had made tangible progress in the AFC.
Nobody can tell you how to be a fan, but here’s the way I look at it: My opinion of the Chiefs’ playoff chances will be colored by Justin Houston’s health, the offensive line, Kareem Hunt’s strength, whether the defensive line is getting push, whether the defense can just be like a speed bump against the run and how the bracket lays out.
It will not be colored, even a little bit, by the Elvis Grbac face or a blown 28-point lead or the holding call on Eric Fisher or anything else that’s happened to the Chiefs in past playoffs.
Fundamentally, I just do not believe any of that has anything to do with anything that will happen in January 2018. I understand that’s different than most fans. I’m OK with that.
Now, what is absolutely related is how all that past heartbreak would affect how one more heartbreak would be digested.
It would get ugly.
We would see people calling for Reid to be fired, and for him to take Bob Sutton with him. We would see people talking about “a five-year plan,” and trading Alex Smith, and John Dorsey’s mistakes in how he negotiated contracts with Houston, Eric Berry and Tamba Hali.
All of that emotion would be natural, and understandable. Get your heart broken once, and you can blame her. Get your heart broken a dozen times, and you have to wonder what you’re doing wrong.
One of the byproducts of the Chiefs’ historical mediocrity is that it becomes easy, and at times prudent, to consistently expect the worst.
The rules of perception seem to go in one direction, but not the other, and what I mean is that the same way it was always irrelevant that the Chiefs were the best team in the league after five weeks, it’s ultimately irrelevant that they’ve been struggling the last four games.
But, at least in part because the Chiefs have left their fans down far more memorably than they’ve lifted them up, it’s easy to think the negative trend is the one that will stick.
All of which is a setup to say it’s too early to say the Chiefs “can’t” fix anything that is wrong.
If they win their last seven regular-season games by an average of 42-0.2, that would not be proof of them fixing anything. Same way their first five games, even the blowout win at New England, weren’t proof that they’d make the Super Bowl.
This Chiefs team has never been about the regular season, or about just making the playoffs. This has always been about advancing in the playoffs.
So I’m not going to rip them for much of anything in the regular season, unless they somehow tanked so badly they missed the playoffs.
But your question is essentially about whether the Chiefs can fix the problems on defense, and my answer is a qualified yes.
▪ They don’t need the defense to be great, they just can’t have it be terrible.
▪ Justin Houston’s health might be the biggest factor. If he is injured, or playing at something like 70 percent in January, you will have at least one very pessimistic local sports columnist.
▪ They need to figure out their second cornerback. I happen to like Terrance Mitchell more than Kenneth Acker, but also wonder if it’s worth giving Phil Gaines a shot. I’m well aware that some of you just cussed me out, but virtually everything Gaines has done this year has been out of position. He’s not a slot guy, but that’s where they had him playing before Steve Nelson’s return. I want to be clear here: my vote is Mitchell. I think he competes, I think he’s confident, and I think he makes some plays. But if Gaines is still confident, and the team isn’t sold on Acker or Mitchell, I don’t know. Maybe it’s worth a look.
▪ They need to toughen against the run, and in that narrow view, the Dallas game was actually encouraging. They kept Dan Sorensen off the field a little more, which really showed up. Teams had basically been isolating and running directly at him.
▪ The defensive line has to get more of a push. I’ll admit this right here: the line was much better against Dallas than I initially thought. They weren’t consistent enough, but they had much better pushes than I realized watching live. Chris Jones, in particular, won more than his share of 1-on-1s, and even a few doubles.
One of the major issues has been a lack of pressure on the quarterback, but some of the above — Houston’s health and the D-line — will take care of that. Between Houston, Dee Ford and Hali, that’s too much talent at the edge with some real dudes in the middle not to have pressure on the quarterback.
Will they be able to do it? I don’t know. I was probably more skeptical of their Super Bowl chance than most after five games, and I’m probably more optimistic than most now.
Put it at 30 percent?
No. Bill Snyder’s worst loss was in the 1998 Big 12 Championship game, when K-State blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, losing in double overtime, when a win would’ve put the Wildcats in the national championship game.
I realize your definition of “worst,” at least as it’s implied in your question, is different than the one I’m using here. There is a good case to make for the Vanderbilt game, albeit with a very different perspective and definition of the word.
But I just don’t know how anything can hurt worse than The Sirr Parker Game. Snyder compared it to a death in the family, a stunning* analogy from a man who’s always talked about the right priorities.
* And disappointing. I mean, come on.
If you are a K-State fan too young to remember 1998, first of all, I hate you for your youth, but second of all, think of the hurt you felt in 2012 when your team lost to Baylor two wins from a possible national championship game.
Now, multiply it by 100.
You are now halfway there.
Every year I think about how different K-State would be if they finished against A&M, and even if they won the national championship.
Maybe it wouldn’t be all that different. Who’s to say. There is a school of thought that part of what Snyder struggled with before he retired was recruiting higher up the rankings but sacrificing on fit. If they won or even played for the national title, maybe that process would’ve just been sped up and amplified.
But maybe it would’ve changed everything. Maybe it would’ve meant a better replacement than Ron Prince after Snyder retired, maybe it would’ve meant more peace for Snyder after football, maybe it would’ve been a springboard for K-State to be consistently great instead of very good.
This is all just speculation, of course. K-State won 11 games in four of the next five years after 1998, so the program did maintain success.
If nothing else, it sure would’ve been a better cap to all the turnaround stories people like me write.
Also, if you’re talking about the worst team K-State lost to, it began the 2013 season with a loss to North Dakota State. I understand that NDSU went undefeated and won the FCS, but still.
Well, there’s Ned Yost.
I’m not sure that’ll ever be topped. Literally, people were telling me I was an idiot because I wouldn’t say he was a bad manager who deserved to be fired. There were people on the radio spending entire shows mocking the man.
Yosted was A Thing: it’s what happened when things were set up for you and you completely biffed. Pull the prize chip off a plate of nachos, and spill all that cheese and guac and delicious steak* onto your lap, and your friends would all yell, “YOSTED!”
* Or, if you’re at the Falloon, the burnt ends.
Now, the man will be in the Royals Hall of Fame. Might have his dang number retired. Once 2014 happened, people were telling me I was an idiot because I wouldn’t say he was a great manager who deserved all the credit.
Look, I get where you’re coming from with Odom. Last month — LAST MONTH! — people were openly talking about whether he should be fired. This is only his second season.
But, now, the same team that visibly quit in a shameful 35-3 loss at home to Purdue — which, by the way, has a first-year coach and is currently 4-6 with losses to Rutgers and Nebraska — has won four in a row and really might finish 6-0 after a 1-5 start.
It’s a hell of a thing, and if nothing else, Odom has proved he still has his players’ respect and effort.
But he’s not yet Ned level*.
* Also, good grief, Ned. Glad you’re OK.
The feedback from the A-Team podcasts has been over the top, and we’re all thankful for each one of you who listen.
The best part of those things, aside from Terez — who does nearly all the work, by the way — is that they’re basically no different than the three hours we spend next to each other watching games.
Even if it’s possible, I don’t think any of us are good enough actors to fake the love we have for each other.
I mean this sincerely and literally: Terez, Blair and Vahe are three of my favorite people in the world. Not everyone has that with work, particularly not with people you spend this much time with at work, and I’m so thankful for that.
I’m also thankful that the Star has decided against firing Blair and Terez despite their constant potty mouths.
So, I’m conflicted on this, actually.
Personally, I would rather drink the cloudy water that comes out of our garage sink than this beer. I might use this beer to soak wood chips before I smoke ribs or brisket, but even then, I’d probably also want to add coffee or apple juice or something.
But, I’m also guessing those 48 cans cost something like $8. That is VALUE. Also, look at that packaging. Kirkland is not trying to fool you. That is a beer that’s comfortable in what it is — from the looks of it, Coors Light but lighter and cheaper.
I’m well aware that I’m not the targeted demo for this beer. But you know what? I sure as hell have been the targeted demo, and so has anyone else who’s ever played beer pong, or, really, many people who’ve ever attended college.
A no-frills beer that probably costs around 50 cents per 12-ounce can?
Who can be against this?
I don’t want it in my fridge, but I know for certain that I will respect the bejeezus out of you if I go to your house and you have this in your fridge.
Not as much as you think.
Almost verbatim, that’s what I’ve heard from people on both sides of this — within the Royals, with other clubs who’ve negotiated TV deals, and with TV execs who’ve done deals with all different markets.
Quick disclaimers: I haven’t done much reporting on this in the last few months. Negotiations should be getting started sometime this winter, so I’ll try to keep a close eye on it.
But the thinking goes, basically, that TV networks value households. Bigger cities mean more households, so TV networks value bigger cities.
Think about it like this. The Royals drew an 8.46 primetime rating in 2017, which was second in baseball. That’s great! But that equaled 78,000 households, which ranked 13th in baseball. That’s, well, that’s not as good.
The Giants, Phillies, Mets, and Dodgers reached more households with ratings less than half of the Royals’. The Twins drew a 4.51 and reached essentially the same number of people (79,000 households).
But the problems keep going. Kansas City is close to being “maxed out,” in the words of one TV exec I talked to over the summer. The Royals drew a 12.3 in 2015, which equaled 114,000 households. That rating was the highest of any team in any year since the 2002 Mariners, but this year, five teams averaged more than 114,000 households.
So a network* would be buying, in essence, a low-ceiling product.
* The Royals would prefer to stick with Fox Sports, but the awful contract they’re working with right now prohibits them from talking to anyone else until the deal’s completion after the 2019 season. So, not only is it one of the worst deals in baseball, but it also could keep the Royals from getting their best NEXT deal. Hoo boy, that’s a bad deal.
Having a strong local following helps, obviously. I would be misrepresenting what I’ve been told to say otherwise. The White Sox, A’s, Marlins and some others are essentially irrelevant right now as a TV product in their markets.
At least people care about the Royals here. The same way the size of Kansas City puts a cap on reach, the connection with fans provides a floor.
But by everything I hear, it’s just not as important as market size. As someone with experience negotiating these deals put it: These contracts are usually 10 years, some more, so TV networks aren’t worried about the farm system or whether the right fielder is going to hit for power.
Probably both, and this is going to sound strange and vague so I’ll explain what I mean, but it depends on both the athlete and the fan.
For public figures like athletes, social media can be a terrific tool to connect with fans. In the coldest evaluation, athletes can use social media to build capital with the public that can be cashed in later — a bad game, off the field incident, a new contract, a new team, things like that.
The best local example I can think of is Jeremy Guthrie. He was an OK pitcher for the Royals — an innings eater from 2012-14, before a wretched 2015 — with a reputation and popularity among Royals fans that far exceeded his on-field worth.
He did this, primarily, through social media. He let people in, made fans feel like they were part of the behind-the-scenes stuff. I don’t know that Jeremy had any tangible benefit from that, and I mean that literally. I just don’t know. But it is obvious he built a swell of popularity in Kansas City that you typically would not expect for his contributions.
There are also some negatives. Social media is immediate, and it’s emotional, and that’s part of what’s great about it but also part of what’s dangerous. And athletes have more to lose than most, at least financially. Performing is difficult enough, and if social media is going to make life more difficult or more complicated, then it’s best to stay away.
We matter in this too, though. Because the same tweet or Facebook post can be taken positively or negatively based on nothing more than who’s reading it. Confirmation bias explains most of the world, so a lot of this is whether the post is coming from your favorite player or your most hated rival, but there’s also an ugliness in people that tends to show up unapologetically on social media.
Too many of us just can’t wait to be offended about something. Too many of us believe athletes owe us more than they do. Too many of us believe athletes are objects, not people, and the upshot too often is that people type things on social media they would never say out loud, let alone to the person they’re typing at. That’s true across social media, of course, but can be particularly true when fans are addressing athletes.
As much as anything, that’s why most athletes are either off social media, rarely use social media, or keep everything so bland and corporate that only the very craziest among us could ever be offended.
I don’t know if you’re the only one, all I know is I’m in a slightly different category: I don’t believe it’s possible to know yet.
This season has been an unqualified disappointment, even in the low expectations world of Kansas football. Beaty’s biggest mistake, far as I can tell, was raising expectations before this season, though pretending like he didn’t raise expectations was also a weak look.
He may be a disaster. I don’t know. But I’m fairly certain that firing him now wouldn’t help, either for next year or the future beyond.
I don’t know how you’d expect KU to hire someone better after a third consecutive coach would not be given even a fourth season. KU already had to grab a position coach at a historically underachieving program. Maybe you’re encouraged that Dustin Delaney is now available?
The question here is a good one. There is no question that recruiting has improved. Morale is better than it was under either of the two previous coaches. Those are both very low standards, but you have to start somewhere, right?
One of the very real knocks against Beaty is that his team has not provided any tangible evidence of being well-coached. That is as plain as I know how to say it. With most dumpster fire takeovers, if the coach is going to succeed, you can see some on-field signs pretty quick. The Texas win last year was nice, but that was 10 losses ago, basically all of them blowouts.
I understand the desire from some to fire him. His teams aren’t winning, and he’s paid to win games. If you only care about going surface deep, you can sell firing him as a sign of program ambition.
But in the ways that matter, that’s all PR b.s., because unless Mike Leach or some better option is walking through that door, sticking with Beaty now is the price you pay for letting your program sink this low.
Beaty has not earned trust. I’m not saying that. But I do think he should at least be given the chance to fail honestly, with upperclassmen he recruited.
We’ve seen the results when KU fires coaches too early. In many real ways, that’s what got all of this started, when Lew Perkins kneecapped Mark Mangino.
Let’s see what happens when KU gives a guy a chance. This is not a vote of confidence for Beaty. It’s a vote of cynicism on continuing the other cycle.
Ummm ... fairly crazy?
Anything can happen. I didn’t think the Royals would re-sign Alex Gordon, and I didn’t think a screaming toddler would wake me up at 4:30 this morning to play this weird game where we send matchbox cars down a spare bed post tilted like a ramp so I’m never going to be sure about anything.
But think about a few things. Right now, the Royals have $100 million tied up in nine players, and after the two highest payrolls in club history produced exactly zero winning seasons I’m supposed to believe Glass is going to push the payroll even higher to keep that team together?
Also, remember how surprised most people were when the Royals signed Gordon and Ian Kennedy to deals worth a total of $142 million? Hosmer’s contract alone will be at least that much, and Moustakas will probably get close to $100 million.
So, now, you’re looking at an owner not exactly known for making it rain now willing to do all of this?
If you merely add Hosmer’s and Moustakas’ projected salaries to what’s already on the books, you have a new club record payroll with only 11 players.
I just don’t see it, and if I’m honest, as much as I like Hosmer as a player I think it’s probably the right baseball move.
The Royals need to get younger, and more athletic. They’ve been trending the other way in both those categories for a few years now, and if it means the big league team loses some games, I’m OK with that.
There’s value in losing. I’ll keep saying that as long as it remains true. The Astros built a world champion in large part by losing. The Cubs did the same thing on the way to the 2016 championship. The Royals did it, too, setting up their parade.
The Royals front office needs to get better in some areas. Their drafts haven’t produced enough, and their big league moves haven’t been good enough. I believe they need to hire more scouts, and re-evaluate how they combine analytics with traditional evaluations.
All of that is going to be more feasible if they’re picking high in the draft, with the international money that comes along with it.
I just don’t think they’re close enough to winning in 2018 to justify these types of contracts. I wish they were.
They set themselves back a year ago by trying to win and rebuild at the same time. It’d be a shame to repeat that mistake just one year later.
My answer will have nothing to do with Trevor Rosenthal, other than the opinion that he should not be signed if part of the evaluation is that he’s from Lee’s Summit. If the Royals believe his upside would be worth it if he was from Louisville or Los Angeles or Libya, then sign him.
My answer will focus primarily on the first part of your question. Because I’m just not sure what the mistake was. There seems to be this perception among some that Holland wanted to stay in Kansas City, but the Royals kicked him in the junk and told him to go away.
That is just not true.
His elbow popped toward the end of the 2015 season, and the Royals wanted to sign him immediately. The idea was to keep him in the organization while he rehabbed, pay him for that year, and welcome him back in 2017. My understanding is that the Royals offered him more guaranteed money than any other team at that time.
Holland told them no. He wanted to rehab on his own, with help from agent Scott Boras, who has an excellent medical team. That was Holland’s decision, and in some parts of the organization, it was taken as a rebuke of their own medical staff.
Holland took a year, got healthy, and the Rockies offered him a $7 million guarantee, with incentives up to $28 million more, plus an opt-out after one year. That is a tremendous contract for a guy in his first year after Tommy John surgery, and if you believe the Royals should’ve matched that, we’re just going to disagree.
The lesson from Holland is not that you should give aging, injured relief pitchers whatever they want.
Well, ultimately, adults have to take responsibility for their own health. But this is not where you want to make this point.
The culture of football is that you play. The culture is toughness. The old line about the most important ability is availability came from football. You can’t make the team from the trainer’s room, etc.
There isn’t a single man in the NFL who in some way doesn’t believe he got there without toughness and, for reasons both pure and ugly, coaches have exploited that culture to push guys back.
So, in that context, if you’re expecting a player — particularly a star quarterback, but this is true of everyone — to mentally break out of the chaos of a game to voluntarily give the doctors all the time they want while the game they’ve prepared their lives for drains away in front of them then we have different expectations.
Not to mention the fact that by very definition head injuries impact decision making, so expecting anyone to make the rational decision with a head injury is some combination of absurd and dangerous.
This is part of why many players don’t trust team doctors.
“We call them team doctors, right?” one player told me. “They’re not our doctors.”
I get that we all need to be our own advocates, in a perfect world, but the NFL is far from a perfect world. It’s so rare that Ben Roethlisberger is cheered like some sort of renaissance man for having the COURAGE to tell doctors he might have a head injury.
Look, I’m realistic enough to understand the NFL isn’t going out of its way to diagnose head injuries. It’s bad for business. But I also expect the league to do the bare minimum when head injuries are so damn obvious.
Because what they’re doing now is bad for business, too.
I would love to talk more high school football and, actually, I might have something for you this week.
I’m really glad you asked this question, because it gives me the chance to openly ask everyone reading this for help.
I’d love to write more high school stories. I covered high schools my first five years or so here, and truly enjoyed it. There are connections you can make with coaches, kids, and parents that just aren’t possible covering professional sports. The stories matter in different ways, and I want to do more of that.
I want to know about high school kids accomplishing amazing things, or overcoming hardships, or places where adults aren’t working for the kids’ best interests.
Every once in a while, I call a few coaches or administrators around town to see if they have anything, but this is my open solicitation. If you know of something I should be doing, please holler.
This week, I’m particularly grateful for good customer service. This happens all the time, for all of us. Hardware stores are amazing at this. A few weeks ago, a man at the Westlake on Westport Road dropped whatever he was doing to pick out about $3.37 worth of hardware to make a rolling trash can for my 3-year-old’s Halloween costume.
But I’m thinking of this now because last week, Southwest broke a suitcase. I checked the bag, and it came out smashed. Torn up. Ruined. Right there on the spot, the very nice woman at Love Field offered a brand new replacement, clean exchange, same size, everything. The whole process took about 45 seconds. I was taking that suitcase to my mom’s, to bring back some clothes and keepsakes. This could’ve been a terribly inconvenient problem. Instead, I got a brand new bag.