September 21, 2009
Current record: 61-88
Season highlight It has to be something involving right-hander Zack Greinke(notes). In consecutive starts last month, Greinke set the team record for strikeouts in a game with 15, and then tossed a one-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 31. If Sports Illustrated exaggerated by calling Greinke the best pitcher in baseball, it wasn't by much.
Season lowlight Many of those concerned with the Royals future gave out a collective groan when ownership announced it was extending the contract of general manager Dayton Moore through 2014. Generously, Moore's work can at best be described as incomplete. No doubt, injuries have hurt the Royals record — but you also have to investigate why the Royals have so many injuries. Being in a small market leaves less margin for error — but the team had an attendance surge this season thanks to ballpark improvements. Look at the mess the Royals bullpen is. Now look at how Moore did almost nothing to even change it, much less improve it. Bring up kids from the minors. Make some trades. Get creative. But no, none of the above.
We knew the Royals were done for when ... Coco Crisp(notes) got hurt. His last game was June 12, but his shoulders were barking long before that. If Crisp doesn't get hurt, if Alex Gordon(notes) doesn't get hurt and if gramma had wheels she'd be a wagon.
Nice digs We were darned optimistic about the Royals from spring training right up to their 18-11 start. Maybe they were the "Rays of 2009." Their stadium was looking good, for sure, as Y! Sports' own Curtis Granderson(notes) pointed out.
Nice closer We tried to honor Joakim Soria(notes) by setting him up with the Answer Man. What happened became the most-hated post in Big League Stew history, except for whatever Kaduk has extensively written about Phillies fans.
Attention Walmart shoppers A Liberty, Mo. resident wearing a John Buck(notes) T-shirt threatened to shoot up a Kansas City store. Just the kind of advertising the team needed in the middle of perhaps its worst summer ever.
Dog days Reliever Kyle Farnsworth(notes) injured his non-pitching hand when one of his American bulldogs bit it as Farnsworth tried to break up a fight among his pets. Farnsworth hasn't had a great season, but considering the Royals didn't really trust him to hold leads in the first place, he's been fine. And a fine peacemaker among dogs, especially!
Rescue from Greinke's Island We tried to give Zack a nickname and failed. Then we asked the Royals to trade him to a good organization that would care for him and treat him like he deserves to be treated. They probably won't listen to that plea, either.
What the team has to do for 2010 Have better preventive medicine so players don't get hurt as often. ... Find more guys like Billy Butler(notes), who is developing into a fine hitter. Alberto Callaspo(notes) is another good offensive player at second base. Alex Gordon probably will be fine at third base, too. There's a good thing Dayton Moore did — sending Gordon back to the minors.