It’s a shame that the economics of the game make it almost a certainty that James Shields’ career as a Royal is over.
But the “B” side of this is that the trade for him accomplished what it was meant to do … and more, with the rise of Wade Davis, also acquired in the deal that sent Wil Myers to Tampa Bay.
Shields anchored and thus helped clarify a previously shapeless rotation, and he instilled a winning mentality symbolized by the celebratory props (fog machine, etc.) he brought with him.
These two years obviously became essential to the franchise, the bridge between the future being forever on the horizon and actually arriving in the form of the Royals’ mesmerizing run to game seven of the World Series.
He has left an indelible imprint already, and there now is some risk for any team in giving a long-term contract to Shields, 32, who has thrown 200 or more innings every season since 2007 and threw more than anyone in Major League Baseball this season.
Shields deserves the best contract he can get, one the Royals can’t give him, and he’ll be missed.
But he’ll also remain part of whatever future success this era of Royals will enjoy, the wellspring of a fundamental change in direction.
2. One Thing Is Not Like The Others
Had a good visit Thursday in Columbia with Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel for a column for the Sunday Star. We talked about a lot of things, including his view of the new College Football Playoff.
He’s a proponent of it, and, yes, he still has high regard for the Big 12, MU’s former conference.
But he also wonders about the equity of the new system when it comes to measuring a conference that doesn’t play a championship game, or an independent, against those leagues that do play title games.
“You can give all the reasons why, but to me, there’s absolutely no fairness in that at all. It just doesn’t make sense to me,” he said. “So I would suggest they give both (the Big 12) two years to get two more teams (to be able to host a title game) and tell Notre Dame to get in a league. It’s just unfair. …
“It’s nothing against the Big 12. It’s a great league. And nothing against Notre Dame. But nobody can tell me that’s fair.”
Of course, part of the dynamic would look different if MU hadn’t followed Texas A&M out of the Big 12 to the SEC.
But that’s another conversation, and an exhausted one at that.
3. Four Is Enough
Pinkel believes an eight-game playoff might ultimately be a better solution. But he knows the complications and issues with that, including schedules swelling to 15 or 16 games and the danger of diluting the regular season.
Going back to 11 regular-season games might make it more palatable.
“But universities don’t want to get that revenue cut off, so they’ll never go to 11 games,” he said.
4. Egging Them On
As he raved the other day about the relationship between athletes and fans in Kansas City, Chiefs’ punter Dustin Colquitt mentioned someone recently tried to buy eggs for him in a grocery store.
“I’m like, ‘Dude, I’ve got it,’ “ Colquitt recalled, smiling. “‘I appreciate it, but just keep coming (to the games) and keep yelling.’”
5. Saving The Governor’s Cup
Would the Chiefs somehow prosper more as Missouri’s only NFL team if the Rams leave St. Louis?
There are a lot of ways to look at that.
But it not only would leave a void in St. Louis not to have an NFL presence but arguably also be a blow to the state overall.
During a conference call Wednesday about trying to keep the Rams there, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon made his case about the impact of having two NFL teams here.
“Being an NFL city is a matter of civic and state pride and one of international significance,” he said. “As we’ve worked over the last six years to expand Missouri’s brand world-wide, I can tell you that having an NFL city, and especially having two as we do in Missouri, is a huge advantage.”
By way of example, Nixon suggested having an NFL team confers a city is a “world-wide player” and spoke of the economic impact.
Some of those arguments are in the eye of the beholder, measured differently on different scales, especially as you consider the economic sacrifices that might be in play to keep the Rams here.
All of which will be worth thinking about as the drama plays out in the months to come with the sides posturing, haggling and battling.
Contractually, the Rams are to have a “first-tier” stadium on its way after this season or will be free to turn to a year-to-year lease as they consider other options.