As the regular season winds down, many teams are already facing an offseason filled with golf rounds and hot-stove strategy.
But we're not going to let them get off that easy. No sir. No way. In an attempt to bring some closure between franchise and follower, we're giving a blogger from each team the opportunity to give a concession speech for this year's squad. Next up in our series is our old pal Ryan Wood, a Kansas City Royals fan who previously wrote about the franchise's "10 Best Things" as well as his 20-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. chocolate bar.
Greetings, my fellow Royals fans. It really only seems like yesterday that the season outlook was so bright for the Kansas City Royals, what, after starting the campaign with an amazing 3-2 record. "Our Time," indeed.
But our opponents had other ideas, and after a walkoff HBP loss, followed by 10 straight losses to start the home schedule, and then one more beatdown for good measure ... well, truth be told, I could've made this concession speech five months ago.
Alas, here we are, hereby conceding the season to some team which doesn't lose 12 in a row when enthusiasm is high, which doesn't spend $13 million on Jeff Francouer, and which doesn't trot Luke Hochevar out every fifth day just because he was a No. 1 draft pick six years ago.
Jose Canseco's Old Milwaukee commercials provide an interesting theory on Royals fandom of late, saying that the Royals didn't start slumping after 1985, but rather "the rest of the world started cheating." I hope that's the case, because it seems so easy for everybody else (here's looking at you, Oakland).
But now's not the time to feel sorry for ourselves. After 26 years of excuse-making concession speeches, it's best to be honest about where things veered off course, and to make sure the Royals find new hilarious ways to blow it going forward. We need to keep things interesting.
Mistakes were made: Yes, the Royals did complete a trade in the offseason that sent Melky Cabrera to the Giants in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez. This, however, was not the mistake.
In actuality, the mistake was the Royals not specifying that Melky's treasure chest of banned substances was to stay in Kansas City for Sanchez to use. This ended up being a major problem for both teams, though the Giants at least got a potential batting champion out of it before the test results came back. You live and learn, KC.
The rest of the mistakes were just things the Royals tend to do. Signing Jeff Francouer to a multi-year contract. Signing Yuniesky Betancourt to any contract. Stuffing Johnny Giavotella in Triple-A for most of the year. Things like that.
Mudslinging time: Of course, why dwell on internal mistakes when we can instead blame external factors for our demise? The Royals were largely irrelevant after the 12-game slide of suck in April, but we weren't without antagonists who we can conveniently blame for distracting the Royals to another losing record. So let's do precisely that.
• Chris Perez, for being particularly annoying all year and blabber-mouthing the Indians straight to last place. Among other things, Perez mocked the Royals' "Our Time" slogan by announcing it's #TribeTime on Twitter (I'm seeking confirmation, as Cleveland steams toward 95 losses, whether it's still #TribeTime. Perez, so far, has not responded to my tweets).
• Robinson Cano, for giving us reason number six billion to hate the Yankees. Cano implied that he'd select a Royal for the Home Run Derby only to snub Billy Butler. It was a humorous sideshow to a great All-Star week in Kansas City, and watching Cano post a zero at the Derby amidst a chorus of boos was delightful. I was so proud of my fellow Royals fans that night.
• Melky Cabrera, for having the gall to show up to the All-Star game, hit a home run and win the MVP award at Kauffman Stadium. As superfan/blogger Rany Jazayerli said, it's definitely "The Most Royals Moment Ever."
• God, for equipping humans with flimsy elbow ligaments that took out Joakim Soria, Danny Duffy, Felipe Paulino and Blake Wood this season.
Hope for the future: Certainly we have reason to hope, Royals fans. Once we can successfully lobby for rules changes that will minimize the impact of a starting rotation, Kansas City will be tough to beat.
Because let's face it: The 2013 offense is going to be good. It's all lining up. Billy Butler and Lorenzo Cain are going into their age-27 seasons. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas will no longer be sophomores. Salvador Perez is going to be baseball's next great catcher. Alex Gordon will continue to rake. This lineup is set up for many years of success, and we're just starting to see it bloom.
Also, the Royals get to play the Houston Astros six times in 2013.
A change is going to come: Here's what the Royals need to do: Go outside the organization and get a good starting pitcher. Then get two more. Make sure they're solid. Make sure they have strong elbow ligaments. Make sure none of them are destined to star in a Sega Genesis commercial due to their incompetence like Brad Radke once did.
Take those pitchers, and give them the peace of mind of knowing a good bullpen has got their back, and an exciting offense is going to hit the cover off the ball in 2013. Get the infection of losing out of the clubhouse for good, and watch the wins roll in.
So fear not, Royals fans. When it comes to this franchise, I am feeling as confident as Dan Gilbert did when he guaranteed the Cleveland Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before LeBron James. Never mind how absurdly wrong he ended up being; that kind of faith is just what the Royals need to help turn things around.
It turns out that 2012 wasn't Our Time, but if the Royals use that slogan long enough, it's going to pay off. Stealing from Gilbert's Comic Sans statement, "You can take it to the bank."
Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the Kansas City Royals (for once).
Previous Concession Speeches: Houston Astros