The media made Kansas City Royals' third baseman Mike Moustakas mad -- and if someone publicly called for our demotion, we probably wouldn’t enjoy that either -- and now it seems Mike Moustakas has made the media mad.
Mike hit two doubles and drove a third baseball to the warning track on Wednesday. People have been talking about Mike being sent back to the minors, so after a game like Wednesday’s, some of those same people wanted to talk to Mike.
But if someone was burying you on Tuesday and wanted to talk to about the great game you had on Wednesday, you might not feel like doing so.
The media gathered around his locker, but Mike wasn’t there. After a while, he showed up, did something at his locker, then walked off again.
At that point I decided to punt. It looked like Mike was going to make everyone wait some more -- so I went back to the press box, grabbed my backpack and returned to the clubhouse.
Moustakas was still not at his locker so I started talking to one of his teammates. I said forcing the media to wait was kinda funny, but he probably wasn’t helping himself. We’d get sulky about being put on hold while deadlines approached and look for payback opportunities ... just wait until the next time Mike takes an 0-fer.
And once he got back to his locker he deflected questions about his performance and repeatedly talked about the pitching performance of Jason Vargas.
So not only were the members of the media forced to stand around staring at each other while their deadlines approached, once Moustakas showed up, we couldn’t get the quotes we wanted.
However you decide to feel about this -- and it’s America, no matter how little information we possess, wehave
to have opinions about everything -- give Mike Moustakas credit: in one of the biggest at-bats of his career, he came through.
Moustakas came to the plate in the second inning with one out and the bases loaded. The game was still scoreless. Strike out, pop up or hit into a double play and Mike would get booed. People would be saying his critics were right. Mike Moustakas should be sent to the minor leagues.
Instead, he roped a bases-clearing double down into the right field corner, giving Jason Vargas and the Royals bullpen all the runs they’d need for a 3-2 victory.
On Wednesday the Royals third baseman was the hero, but if the media gets another chance to be negative about Mike Moustakas, don’t be surprised if we take it.
Royals 3, Rockies 2.
Should Mike Moustakas go to the minors?
Let me start by saying I don’t know. Moustakas had a terrific game on Wednesday, but it’s only one game. I don’t know what mechanical adjustments Moustakas is working on, I don’t know if they want Pedro Grifol to be the guy he works with, I don’t if the minors would be the best place to get his work in, I don’t know his state of mind and whether a trip to the minors would help or hurt it. So many things go on inside a team that we’ll never know about—that’s why I try to stick to what I can see on the field.
In any case, I wrote this piece back in spring training and with the current discussion about Mike’s future, now seemed like a good time to post it.
Every time a player struggles, someone’s sure to suggest they be sent back to the minor leagues. But Omaha isn’t Lourdes; a trip back to Triple A isn’t a magical cure. If a demotion to the minors is a wakeup call -- the player needs to be reminded that being a big leaguer isn’t guaranteed -- or if the players has something specific to work on and the minors is the best place to do it, then maybe it would do some good.
But if the player has a good attitude, is putting his work in and simply needs to make some kind of an adjustment, the minors may or may not be the best place for him to do that. If a trip to the minors is supposed to "restore a hitter’s confidence" let him play T-ball -- he’d rake. If you’re sending a player to the minors because you just don’t have any better ideas, sacrifice a chicken -- what the hell, maybethat
I’ve talked to big leaguers who went back to the minors on rehab assignments and they all say the same thing: you might see a starting pitcher with major league stuff once a series or maybe even once a week. And it’s rare to see a top-of-the-line reliever because if he’sthat
good, he’ll be up in the big leagues. If your problem is getting around on the inside mid-nineties fastball or laying off that nasty slider away, pitchers in the minors may not be good enough to consistently expose your problem.
So a guy can go down to the minors, put up good numbers and look like he’s fixed, but actually hasn’t changed a thing -- he’s no better than he was when he was scuffling in the big leagues. One player told me that a trip to the minors can actuallyhurt
your progress. You get back to the majors by putting up numbers and if you make an adjustment you’re going to scuffle for a while until the adjustment feels normal. So screw that, stick with the approach that’s failing in the big leagues, because that approach is good enough to dominate in the minors -- and that will get you back to the big leagues.
A trip to the minors might help some guys, but might hurt others.
*In the second inning I wrote myself a note -- "vargas got it going on?" -- and he did. Six and two third innings while giving up only two runs to a very good Colorado Rockies offense.
*When some guys hit a home run they get pull happy and Johnny Giavotella hit a very big home run recently. So Gio hitting a line drive to center field and lining out to right are good signs.
*In the sixth inning Rockies second baseman Charlie Culberson got picked off third base with a runner on first and the tying run at the plate. Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas caught him napping -- a horrible base running mistake by Culberson that ended the inning.
*Yes, in the seventh inning someone should have caught that Nolan Arenado pop fly that fell for a double. Infielders are taught to go back until someone calls them off and nobody called off Pedro Ciriaco. Lorenzo Cain had a long run so the play was probably Nori Aoki’s. It looked like he could have got there and outfielders are supposed to call off infielders whenever possible -- they’re moving forward, infielders are moving back.
Jason Kendall on Keith Olbermann’s show
Wednesday night Jason Kendall will be on ESPN2 with Keith Olbermann, talking about his new book, "Throwback". The show’s on at 10:00 PM Central Standard Time. Here’s an excerpt from the book in which Jason talks about pitchers:
It was a good pitch
One thing I hate is when a pitcher says: "It was a good pitch, but he hit it out." Hey, he hit it out of the ballpark; it was not a good pitch. The pitcher will say the pitch was down, but it wasn’t down enough: the guy just ran around the bases. They’ll tell you the pitch was six inches outside; well, make it twelve inches outside, because he just hit the shit out of it.
I can’t stand the pitchers and pitching coaches that tell you a guy hit a ball 400 feet on a good pitch. It must not have been that good of a pitch; they just went up three runs. If it went off a 60-year old lady’s head, 12 rows up in left center, it was not a good pitch.
How to win Jason Kendall’s catcher’s mask
Here’s the deal: click on the link below and it takes you to a landing page for the new book "Throwback." St. Martin’s Press is encouraging readers to help spread the word about the book and if you do, we send you a signed bookplate -- an autographed sticker that goes into your copy of the book. You also get a chance to win an autographed Jason Kendall catcher’s mask.
(If the link doesn’t work -- our system has somehow been adding "/_blank" to it -- just copy and paste the link or delete the "/_blank" if you get to an error page.)
By the way
The promotion of "Throwback" will go on for a few more weeks; when you come out with a new book, that’s about how long you have to make it a success -- after that, the circus moves to another town. If you’ve already bought a book, Jason and I will be doing at least three signings in the Kansas City area. (I’m guessing Jason’s autograph will a bit more valued than mine, but I’ll be there just in case.)
We’ve got signings at Barnes Noble stores on the 22nd and 31st of May and another at the downtown Kansas City Public Library on June 19th -- details to come.