Hot links: The nation is enamored with the Royals

Sports Illustrated

Despite their 5-2 loss Wednesday against Colorado in Denver, the Royals are the toast of baseball.

That’s Billy Butler on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and multiple national media companies have stories about the Royals.

**Former Star columnist/all-around good guy Joe Posnanski has a piece on the Royals being on the right track:

“This is a team playing great baseball, and their confidence grows. Fans confidence grows too. It has been a long time since anyone thought this: The Royals might actually know what they’re doing.”

**At Fox Sports, Gabe Kapler has a good story on pitcher James Shields, noting that since 2012, Shields is neck and neck with Jon Lester in FIP (Shields 3.54, Lester 3.47).

Kapler writes, “If you traveled back to his early days in the old Devil Rays uniforms, you would encounter a much more excitable, emotional man. You might see him occasionally show up a teammate after an error, or throw his hands in the air in disgust after an unlucky bounce. He was volatile.

“That’s not the man I stood shoulder to shoulder with in Tampa Bay, and between 2009 and ’10, he became even more self-assured.”

**The most interesting baseball man in the world, ESPN’s Jayson Stark, notes that the Royals are on pace to hit right around 100 home runs this season. They have 78 in 126 games, a pace of 100.2857. What is that important?

Stark writes: “You should know that playoff teams that fail to hit 100 home runs are almost as rare as a day without a Kardashian headline.” However rare that may be, there is a Royals connection that should make fans around here feel better.

**Richard Justice on Sports On Earth suggests that people should root for the Royals, even if this sentence will make fans swallow hard:

“Let’s be clear about one thing right up front: Everything that has happened to the Royals begins with the patience, vision and resolve shown by team owner David Glass.”

**On Grantland, Rany Jazayerli writes about what a wonderful ride this season has been:

“The Royals’ playoff odds, which were barely out of single digits at the trading deadline, are now above 70 percent, including better than 60 percent odds of winning the division. There are still six weeks left to go, but this is already the greatest playoff offensive the Royals have launched in a generation.”

**At the website Give Me Sport, Lew Freeman tries to explain how the Royals have put it all together, writing:

“To a large degree the Royals defy logic — and resemble the A’s of the previous couple of years, winning with virtual no-names with potential.”

**Finally, Nick Groke of the Denver Post says the Royals should give hope to fans of the struggling Rockies, although he acknowledges:

“Kansas City is winning in ways that would baffle a diehard Rockies fan.”

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/pgrathoff

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