Monday, September 8, 2008

Daily Links - 9/8/08

I live in Kansas City and in 2004 I bought a partial season ticket package for the Royals. I didn't do this because I am a huge Royals fan (my allegiance was and always will be with the Cardinals), but because I love baseball and the 2004 Royals seemed like an interesting team. They were coming off of a 2003 in which they were over .500 for the first time in 75 years (or it seemed that way, at least) and the team went out and spent some money on big name free agents (Juan Gonzalez and Benito Santiago are the two I remember off the top of my head). They had Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney and the reigning ROY: Angel Berroa. They also had some interesting pitching: Zach Greinke was a rookie that year and Mike McDougal and Jeremy Affeldt were nasty in the bullpen.

But things went horribly wrong for that Royals team. Gonzalez was hurt early in the season and played a total of 33 games for the Royals. Santiago was old and really bad. Greinke was magical at times, but the other pitchers were pretty disappointing. Tony Pena had managed in 2003 by the seat of his pants and all of his crazy manuevering somehow worked in his favor, against all odds. In 2004 every crazy move worked out the way it statistically should have: horribly.* And (here is the part where I actually get to the point and give you a link) Angel Berroa turned out to be a really poor baseball player. Joe Posnanski, TBSWIA, provides his account of Berroa's Royals career here. The next season I did not renew my season tickets but instead took the money and bought the Extra Inning package and several sets of Royals tickets to games that I actually cared about - a tradition that carries on to this day.

*Ok, so I am stealing the Posterisk thing from Joe, which I figure is fair since I am linking to his blog. The highlight of the 2004 season had to be opening day, which I attended with a friend. The Royals were behind big going into the ninth inning and somehow got the tying run to the plate in the form of Matt Stairs, one of the few true power threats that the Royals possessed. To counter Stairs, a lefty, the White Sox brought in Damaso Marte at which time Tony Pena made one of his absolutely insane moves and burned Matt Stairs for... wait for it... Mendy Lopez. I mean, sure, he was playing the lefty/righty matchup, but I think that 99 out of 100 times you would rather have Stairs face a lefty in that situation than have Mendy Lopez in the game at all. Luckily for Pena this was the 1 out of 100 time that it worked out: Mendy Lopez hit a game tying homer, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Carlos Beltran followed with a walk-off home run, making the game perfect. By the way, Mendy Lopez batted .105/.209/.184 on the season with exactly one home run.

I agree with this post that finds the recent Dustin Pedroia-for-MVP movement a little bit over the top.

And actually, the links are going to be light today because my computer is running extremely slow and I need to get going. I will try and update this post later in the day.

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