Reflections of another semi-tolerable Royals baseball season while wondering how many thumbs-downs general manager Dayton Moore has received in his search for a new field manager. :
Hannah or Homers: Viewers of Royals telecasts had a better chance of obtaining a ticket to the Hannah Montana concert at the Sprint Arena than they did of winning any money during the Sonic Slam inning. K.C. finished dead last in the major leagues with 102 home runs, 16 fewer than the Minnesota Twins. :
Big Bucks on Buck?: How much money could you have made if you had bet before the season that catcher John Buck would lead the club with 18 home runs? Or that only one other K.C. batter would reach double-digits in dingers (Alex Gordon with 15)? :
Amazing Stat of the Year: David DeJesus scored 101 runs despite hitting only .260. How could that be? A high on-base percentage. DeJesus led the club with 64 walks and was plunked 23 times by pitches, the second highest total in the majors. Philadelphia's Chase Utley was hit 25 times. :
Renee Zellweger Might Concur: Late in a lopsided game, Ryan Lefebvre said to radio booth partner Denny Matthews, "What do you think I would rather do? Set my hair on fire, or attend a Kenny Chesney concert?" :
Mr. Good News, Bad News: Mark Teahen looks as good in a suit as any baseball player I've ever seen. The Royals' right fielder can run, he can throw (17 outfield assists while playing a new position) and he can : uh, strike out (127 times) and ground into doubleplays (a team-high 23). In the same vein, Teahan hit a respectable .285, yet managed only seven home runs and drove in a paltry 60 runs. :
Runs Batted In Drought: Outfielder Emil Brown, despite logging a mere 366 at-bats, led the Royals in RBIs with 62, only 94 fewer than major-league leader Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and the second-lowest team-leading RBI total in club history. :
Speaking of Third Basemen Named Alex: Probably the best thing you can say about Alex Gordon's rookie season is that he shouldn't have to worry about the sophomore jinx in 2008, not after hitting .247 and striking out a team-high 137 times during his rookie year. On the plus side, Baseball America's 2006 Minor League Player of the Year led the club with 36 doubles. :
McClure for Manager?: With two full seasons on the job, Bob McClure has lasted what amounts to an eternity for a contemporary Royals pitching coach. Ordinarily, such a feat would qualify McClure as managerial material, but then who would replace him as hurlers' honcho?
The Other Ryan Braun: Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Ryan Braun is a cinch for NL Rookie of the Year honors after hitting .324 with 34 home runs and 97 RBI after an early summer call-up. Meanwhile, baseball's other Ryan Braun, a right-handed reliever, posted the highest earned-run average among Royals' pitchers, an unspiffy 6.64.
Like Father, Like Son: Shortstop Tony Pena Jr. has at least one thing in common with his dad, a former major-league catcher. Pena Sr. never saw a pitch he didn't like, and Pena Jr. walked only 10 times during more than 500 plate appearances in his first K.C. season.
Final Thought: While they're remodeling Kauffman Stadium during the off-season, maybe they should consider moving in the outfield fences, too.