A Royal Mess
Its only 15 games into the 2006 season for Kansas City but the Royals are already under siege from the local media and fans. Three times in the last 4 years they’ve lost at least 100 games. The Royals have already clinched a losing record for the month of April. That makes 16 times in the last 17 years they have ended the first month of the season without a winning record. No other team in baseball lost 11 games in a row last year. The Royals have now done it in back-to-back seasons.
Its not like the Royals are without any talent. Team captain Mike Sweeney is a tremendous power hitter and off the field he’s a humble down-to-earth person. He’s like a right-handed version of Jim Thome. He had four hits in the first game of the series and just missed hitting two homeruns. It was a game that both teams desperately wanted to win. The difference, in my opinion, was that the Royals looked like a team "hoping" to win and the Indians played like a team "expecting" to win.
One of the best things about playing Kansas City is coming to Kauffman Stadium. Its practically a relic by today’s standards but, it has aged better than any park of its era. Opened in 1973, Kauffman Stadium is already the 5th oldest stadium in the American League behind Oakland, Anaheim, New York and Boston. Its located just off the freeway and sits adjacent to Arrowhead Stadium (home of the Kansas City Chiefs) so there is plenty of parking. The park holds close to 41,000 and has a very intimate feel. The grounds are always immaculate and what makes the park unique is the water fountains that span the outfield area just beyond the fences from left field to right field. Ballpark concessions include the famous Kansas City barbecue and if the Royals get twelve hits in a game every fan can redeem their ticket for a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts.
Royals Manager Buddy Bell certainly has alot of hard work ahead of him but, he has been through all of this before and is the perfect man for the job. Buddy understands the demands of the game and just how difficult it can be, especially for young players. He has great patience with players but, he’s not afraid to undress someone if they don’t play the game the correct way.
Making matters even worse for the Royals is the fact that the Central Division is home to some of the league’s best players and pitchers. In their recent 3-game series against Chicago the Royals managed just 1 run and 11 hits. Its going to be very difficult for Kansas City to avoid losing a hundred games for the 4th time in five years.