Don't Kill The Mellinger

Twitter Tuesday: Moose, Royals, Chiefs draft, Mayweather and brisket

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas AP

Like a lot of us, George Brett has a tendency for hyperbole. He doesn’t make things up, but he will exaggerate something to make a point. I think a lot of us do that in conversation. I know I do.

So the other day, at the Joe McGuff ALS Golf Classic, he said this about the Royals:

“They’re doing what they’re capable of doing. All of the Royals, they’re less selfish. Moose has more hits to left field in one month than he had his whole career.”

Now, obviously, this isn’t literally true. It seems like it, and Mike Moustakas’ home run in the season opener was the first to the opposite field in his career, but he does not have more hits to left field in a month than he had his whole career.

But Brett isn’t exaggerating by that much.

According to the always awesome Baseball-Reference, Moustakas has 10 hits to the opposite field in 25 games this season. Last year, he had 11 such hits in 140 games.

What’s particularly interesting is the quality of Moose’s contact the other way. It used to be that if he went to left field, it was probably a mistake, or he got fooled on a pitch. He seems to be concentrating that way now, and the numbers are fairly incredible.

Again, according to B-R, Moose was a .343 hitter last year when he pulled the ball and a .201 hitter when going to center or left. This year, he is a .259 hitter when pulling the ball and — ahem — a .406 hitter when going to center or left.

It’s a total transformation. According to the always awesome FanGraphs, Moose pulled the ball 50.5 percent of the time last year compared to 37.6 percent this year. He went opposite field 21.4 percent last year, 37.6 percent this year.

It really is remarkable to watch. He deserves all the credit that’s coming his way.

The reading recommendation is Greg Bishop on Floyd Mayweather losing the fight he wants most to win, and the eating recommendation is the steak sandwich at the Cigar Box.

As always, thanks for your help and thanks for reading. Let’s get to it:

Well, we’re all friends here, right?

Waits.

/sound of crickets/

RIGHT?

OK, so can I admit that I didn’t watch the fight? That I had no interest? That my objection was part moral^, part economical^^ and part practical^^^.

^ A percentage of every pay-per-view buy goes to the pocket of one of the most detestable human beings in sports.

^^ 100 percent of every pay-per-view buy could go to, literally, ANYTHING the purchaser desires. In my case, that could be diapers or clothes for my son, or, well, daddy might reward himself.

^^^ Despite what I said on the Border Patrol predicting Manny Pacquiao in a sixth-round knockout, there was a 99.9999 percent chance that Floyd Mayweather would win a boring decision and I would hate myself for investing.

But, whatever, to answer your question the best multi-sport day I can remember is roughly a 28-way tie between every Thursday of the opening weekend of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I realize you explicitly said “multi-sport,” so please feel free to pair it with whatever spring training baseball game was going on that day, you know, sort of like how Hank and Tommie Aaron hold the all-time record for most home runs by a pair of brothers.

I hate this comparison, and I hope John doesn’t feel like I’m picking on him when I say that. There are many, many people who have had similar reactions.

I hate the comparison for a lot of reasons, including that Dorial Green-Beckham’s off-the-field issues include shoving a woman down a flight of stairs and grabbing her by the neck. Marcus Peters’ character questions include being kicked off his team by a coach who has made it very clear Peters is welcome back around the program whenever he wants, with both sides moving on with nice things to say about the other.

But the main reason I hate the comparison is that, at least for me, the reasons for the Chiefs to stay away from Green-Beckham went way beyond the off-the-field stuff. If Green-Beckham never even smoked a cigarette, and if the worst thing he did to a woman was not call her back, I still wouldn’t like the pick for the Chiefs. He seems to me to be a horrendous football fit for the Chiefs and Andy Reid, who emphasize versatility, precision route running, and the football smarts to understand concepts and read coverages along with the quarterback.

Success in the NFL draft involves WAY more luck than anyone — particularly the networks that fill months of programming by making it seem like a science — would like to admit. But I do think that “fit” is one of the most important elements, that a bust in one place could be a star in another, and vice versa. In that way, Green-Beckham needs to be in a place that can better bring out his significant and specific talents.

All of that is a decent description of why I really like the Peters pick, too, actually.

The attitude stuff is part of the package, but it doesn’t bother me for a few reasons. First, I think playing cornerback demands a confidence or edge that borders on the absurd. Also, let’s not blow this out of proportion. There were no crimes committed, and it’s one thing to pull some of that stuff in college, against a coaching staff you don’t like and presumably don’t respect, but it’s quite a different thing to pull it against a head coach who’s been in the league since you were in kindergarten, a position coach who is in the Hall of Fame, and an assistant position coach you grew up watching.

But, more than all of that, the football fit looks superb. Watch some of his games from college, and he jumps off the screen as the kind of guy the Chiefs want to build around. He is physical, particularly at the line of scrimmage, at his best in press coverage, and aggressive to the ball.

My favorite play of his, actually, isn’t even in pass coverage. It’s against an end-around, in the Colorado game. Watch the combination of anticipation, instincts, speed, aggression and confidence. This is ridiculous:

There are no such things as perfect prospects, at least in the years where the Colts aren’t picking first overall, and I’d have a lot more questions about the character of the guy who went first overall in this draft than 18th.

But, whatever. I guess my point here is that it’s too easy to sort of categorize every non-football flaw in a guy’s scouting report as the same, and to not really go through the specific football strengths and weaknesses.

I don’t know anything. None of us do. But in the draft, I do believe it’s valuable and telling to analyze the thought processes that teams show. And in this case, I think the Chiefs did really well.

They’re a playoff team.

Well, of course some of it. The Twins have been winning lately, so the Royals have now played seven games against teams that are currently above .500. They are 3-4 in those games. They have played 18 games against teams that are currently below .500. They are 13-5 in those games.

Starting on May 15^, the Royals play 12 of 14 against teams with winning records. Maybe those games will be more telling.

^ Birthday of stars, by the way. George Brett, Don Nelson, Dan Patrick, and, ahem. Me.

But I’d point out a few things here. First, baseball history is FULL of playoff teams that treaded water against the best teams and beat up on the rest. There is no shame in this, the same way there are tens of millions of dollars to be made by hitting nothing but mistake pitches. The Royals lost 13 of 19 to the Tigers last year. The Giants were below .500 in the regular season against teams that made the playoffs.

Also, I think the Royals have played well, regardless of opponent. The defense has been stupid good, and that’s not something that’s easier against bad teams than good. The offense has been so good that even if you’re a skeptic and want to shave, say, five or 10 or even 15 percent of the numbers, they’re still performing really well.

They’re a good team. They have good players. It’s OK.

I’m probably not the one to talk about this, because I’ve been in this area my whole life, but I can’t imagine there are a lot of places that care as much about how their teams are perceived or covered nationally than here. Kansas City would be top five in the Places That Obsess Over Amount And Tone Of National Coverage Power Rankings, is what I’m saying.

But the thing about the Sunday Night game … I know that many of the people who want more national coverage will quickly tire of the national perspective. The broadcasters won’t know the Royals as well as the regular guys, and they will trot out a lot of story lines that Royals fans are tired of hearing about — Vegas has the over-under of references to Brett Lawrie, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Trout, or any of that other stuff at 104 1/2.

Now, all that said, of course the Royals hold be on the flagship broadcast more than once — though, to be fair, I see at least eight more games where the Royals will be on Fox or Fox Sports 1. But like everything else in life, there is a trade off.

Mostly, I’m just happy all the games are on TV now.

Still implies that he never drops out of the rotation, a different question than whether he’ll be in the rotation at the end of the year. The answer is 40 percent.

The best thing the Royals did this offseason was insulate themselves with some rotation depth. They did it mostly with injuries in mind, but it could work with extended struggles from someone in the rotation, particularly if the Royals think Chris Young could handle regular starts again.

Ten percent, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s a mutual option, and mutual options are never likely to be picked up. Either the player is going to be able to get a bigger salary, or the team isn’t going to think he’s worth the money.

This one is a little different, because it’s a $10 million salary for 2016, with a $3.2 million buyout. That’s a different equation than, say, declining Billy Butler’s $12.5 million option with a $1 million buyout.

But the Royals have a lot of starting pitching coming up. There is something to be said for a veteran presence, and there is a saying in baseball that there is no such thing as a bad one-year contract, but I do think that saving the $6.8 million combined with Guthrie’s age — he turned 36 last month — tilt the scales a bit.

Might be my favorite city in the country. The top three is Chicago, New York and San Diego, I’m not sure of the order, but I do know I’ve spent way more time in Chicago than the others.

You’re already going to Wrigley, which would be near the top of my list. We’re too far out to know what the NBA or NHL playoff schedules might be, but that would be cool, too, especially if it’s a Blackhawks game.

But, whatever, three humble suggestions: 1. take a run or walk along the lake; 2. drink at Stanley’s; 3. don’t get suckered by the deep dish. You can do better.

I would love to tell you I have a ton of different options here, a thousand different looks or colors that I could pair together just right, but, well, like I say, I would love to tell you all of that. I also don’t want to lie.

With Kendrick, I tend to look at it a little differently. I don’t see what he does as any sort of reflection on what I need to wear. Instead, I see him as a comfort. Because I know he will be dressed so effing well — he walks the dog looking better than me at a wedding — there becomes a certain ease in my own presentation.

Especially because I know he’s going to be wearing one of those hats. Those damn hats. I can’t compete with those hats.

This is my idea of a hat.

71.3 percent.

As it turned out, both he and Wade Davis gave up hits, but by that point, c’mon, those two guys and a no-hitter on the line? Yordano Ventura could throw a no-hitter someday. Danny Duffy, too. But the Royals’ most likely path to a no-hitter might be combined. They’re actually not as rare as you might think — the Phillies did it last year — and the Royals have a bullpen full of cyborgs.

I liked it, partly because screw that guy. His team played damage control on that as well as they could, and by the time the fight came off each woman had a credential to cover it. But the way they handled it, to me, both showed class and brought more attention to an issue that I think deserves a lot of attention.

Mayweather is a great boxer, there is no question about it, but he is also a detestable human being and the spotlight of the fight reminded a lot of people that, among other things, Mayweather once beat the mother of his kids, threatening to kill her and their kids, who watched the whole thing. His 10-year-old son wrote a police report.

I wouldn’t have had a problem if either or both of them handled it the other way. Maybe they could’ve brought more attention to the issue being at the fight. But I suspect if they went to the fight, their ability to cover the fight would’ve been compromised either directly or indirectly, and that if they had used the opportunity to say more about Mayweather’s reprehensible behavior they would’ve been accused of grandstanding and the message diluted.

The way they handled it spoke volumes. Good for them.

Well, absolutely they should, and even if I’d have different contestants — Bryant’s instead of a place that’s white tablecloths — this is objectively the right thing to do.

But the bigger problem is that you can’t get legitimate barbecue at the stadium. There used to be a Gates, but that’s no longer there. The barbecue served there is an Aramark creation, which is a bad look on a few levels. I don’t know all of the logistics that would go into putting actual Kansas City barbecue at the stadium — I’m sure it’s more complicated than I think — but I do know it’s been done in the past.

We disagree.

I love that Kansas City voted the way it did, and I realize I’m writing this in a week where it’s supposed to rain everyday and the Royals are playing home games.

I should say up front here that I HATE the idea of public money subsidizing billionaire team owners to help them make even more money off the taxpayers. I’ve written about this. But I’m also a realist, and by NFL standards, certainly, Arrowhead was in need of an upgrade. And with the Glass family being against a move downtown — which would’ve been awesome — then renovating a beautiful old ballpark was the next best thing.

But the rolling roof plan was a bit awkward, and overpriced, particularly when there are so many other needs for public money in Jackson County. The tie of having these big events is a bit like a sucker’s bet, to me. I don’t think cities get nearly as much out of these events as people often think, and certainly not nearly as much out of them as politicians would like people to think.

Either or both would be fun, no doubt, and there is something to be said for the memories of being around those events. But after the ticket allotments and VIPs and everything else, I’m just not sure how many actual Jackson County residents would be able to go to the games (and no ticket comes cheap). Financially, it’s just a really bad idea.

So I actually applaud Kansas City with how the vote came down, though not as much as I applaud Kansas City for giving the NFL draft a lower television rating than not just the Royals game last Thursday night, but the Royals postgame show.

Well done, Kansas City.

So I looked this up, and yikes, Kansas City takes a beating here. It’s bad enough he points out that Bourdain basically took back what he said about Kansas City barbecue being the best in the world, but then came comparisons with the Kroger deli counter and Arby’s. The blog post in question here isn’t a total rip job. There are nice words for Joe’s, Bryant’s, Q39 and especially Jack Stack.

But, anyway, about the brisket … we’re already established that we’re all friends here, so you know I come from a place of love when I say I agree about the brisket. Sorry. But it’s true. I don’t think there’s a knockout brisket in Kansas City. There is not one other barbecue entree or side that isn’t slap-your-face good somewhere or somewheres around here, but for whatever reason, nobody’s been able to master the brisket. It’s like Shaq at the free throw line or something.

There are lots of places to get incredible ribs, burnt ends, fries, sausage, chicken, everything. I am hopelessly biased, but I think the overall barbecue here is better than Texas, Memphis and North Carolina. And there are a lot of places to get good brisket in Kansas City. Joe’s. Jack Stack. Q39. I haven’t been to Slap’s yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

But I don’t think I’ve ever had great brisket here.

Congratulations!

A lot has changed in seven years. Alex Gordon plays left field now, not third base. Luke Hochevar is now a badass relief pitcher, not a struggling starter. The catcher is Sal Perez, not John Buck. The first baseman is Eric Hosmer, not Ross Gload. The center fielder is Lorenzo Cain, not Joey Gathright, and the Royals manager is no longer a man who rides his unicycle around the warning track and asks for pictures to be made with guys on opposing teams.

I think we all knew this at the time, but jeez, those Trey Hillman years just get weirder and weirder the more time passes.

Any child-rearing advice beyond that, well, I hope you’ll allow me to refer back to a similar question in January. When my wife and I found out we were having a child, I did what I think any dummy who is about to be in co-charge of a human life would do: I read as much as I could, and asked as many questions as I could of good parents.

I don’t know how much help it is, but I did come up with two basic goals I try to keep in mind everyday.

So, well, here’s what I wrote in January:

The first is more about what I think the spirit of your question is, and that’s how to be the best dad you can be. I heard this from a lot of people who I think are great parents, and it has the benefit of making intuitive sense and simplifying a very complicated thing: The best thing you can do is be a role model. Live the way you want your child to live. There’s a saying that kids forget almost everything they hear but hardly anything they see, so the best way to raise a good kid is to live as a good adult. Be nice to people. Hold open doors. Pull out chairs. Smile. Don’t get angry at small stuff. Work hard. Love. Ask questions. Pay your bills on time. Be a good driver. Treat people with respect. Your kids are going to be watching you, so make sure they’re seeing a good example.

The second thing is more selfish, and that’s to enjoy it. Enjoy it all, even and especially the parts that might suck. Own it all, absorb it all, the tantrums, the refusal to sleep, the diapers with the lethal odors, the mistakes, the fears, the everything. You only get one time through with a kid, so you might as well enjoy every step. Depending on your situation, you’re probably not going to have as much time with them as you’d like. But it’s up to you how much you make of the time you have.

Anyway, makes sense to me. That’s what I’m trying. Hope it works.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365 or send email to smellinger@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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