Judging the Royals

Lee Judge: OK, so what the heck was I thinking?

If you’ve been paying attention (and even if you haven’t), you might know that I recently reposted a column from last season.

Critics have attributed it to laziness, which is totally inaccurate — it was stupidity.

And the people who know me best can vouch for me on that count.

Like the sinking of the Titanic, it wasn’t just one thing that led to the disaster; it was a combination of things that led me to screw-up.

During the season, I show up at the ballpark at around 2:30 or 3 p.m., because that’s when players do “early work,” which I recently described on this blog.

Watching a player work on his bunting or base-stealing footwork is informative. And this is a great time to talk to the players and coaches one-on-one, because it’s rare for other media to be there then.

For the most part, players and coaches appreciate someone taking an interest in the details of the game. These guys know a lot, and if you like to talk baseball, they like to talk back.

I love listening to ballplayers and coaches and learning about the game and then bringing what I’ve learned back to the website.

I hoped others would be just as interested in why you run a delayed steal, or how a double cutoff works. And a gratifying amount of fans share my interest.

OK, so how did I mess up so badly last week?

Some readers have suggested I write a book about the 2015 season; they’d like to see my columns in book form. Over the winter I’ve been taking a whack at it to see if it would work.

I wrote a couple of hundred columns last season, so going through and selecting the stuff that’s still interesting has been a chore. I’ve been looking at the material I wrote last year and updating it with new information. Some of the material is from my posted columns; some of it is brand new.

I’ve also been asked by the editors at The Star how soon I would start writing about the Royals again and, until recently, the answer was mid-March. That’s when I am planning to go to spring training.

But then I went to FanFest and heard some interesting stuff from Alex Gordon (he never really planned on leaving), Ned Yost (teams with established closers are getting another one in an effort to copy the Royals), Mike Moustakas (hitting .212 forced him to grow up as a hitter) and Dave Eiland (he wants the Royals' pitchers to lead the league in hit batters).

So I took a break from my break and wrote some extra columns, columns I wasn’t required to write. I was then informed that those posts were doing well on the website — people are nuts about the Royals — and I was encouraged to keep writing.

So that meant I was doing a political cartoon every day, working on a possible book, and trying to turn out two or three columns a week.

I’d just reread the column from last summer about RBIs and whether it took skill to drive them in, and then wondered whether what Rusty Kuntz said last season was true again in 2015: Did guys with 100 RBIs have at least 20 home runs?

Turns out they did.

I thought that was interesting, so I threw in the new numbers and rewrote the first three paragraphs of the old column — for the book.

Then (and here’s the part where I do something stupid) I figured some people never saw the old column and those who did would be interested in those new numbers. Without giving it much thought, I sent it in without pointing out that parts of the column had already been posted.

Which is all we really had to say: ‘This is an updated version of an old column’ (a line that was in fact added to the column after I hit the iceberg).

I don’t think you can call someone who draws 300 cartoons a year, shows up at 2:30 p.m for 7:15 games, writes a couple hundred baseball columns every season and was doing extra work that they weren’t really required to do ‘lazy.’

But you sure can call them stupid.

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