Ned Yost thinks Royals may have caved under pressure of large crowds

Ned YostLess than a week after Ned Yost ripped Kansas City fans for not showing up to games when their team is in a pennant race, the Royals manager wondered over the weekend if playing in front of such a large crowd was an issue for his players.

The Royals lost a couple of crucial games against the Cleveland Indians in front of a packed house on Friday and Saturday. More than 30,000 fans showed up to each game. On Sunday night, Yost praised the fans but wondered if the team pressed too much because of them.

“The crowds have been fantastic,” he said, via Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star. “I think it’s got them juiced up. They want to really perform for them. And that never works. You’ve got to stay disciplined.”

Make up your mind, Ned. As a reminder, here’s what Yost said after Kansas City’s walk-off win last Tuesday.

“I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game? … I know it’s a school night. But I’ve been through this before in Atlanta in ‘91, where it didn’t matter what night it was, that place was packed at the end of August and September. The fans really got into it. They’re a big part of our success, especially at home. Because the electricity they provide, the energy they provide, helps you get through games like this. You know?”

If Yost’s team pulled out its best win of the season in front of a stadium that was half-full and struggled when tickets were sold out, are the Royals better off with fans staying home? In reality, Yost probably realizes he came across like a jerk last week and was trying to pay the fans a compliment. Still, he should probably stop focusing so much on attendance.

H/T Hardball Talk

Kansas City Royals veterans get ‘old guy’ jerseys in response to prospect’s comment

kyle-zimmerAfter a 2013 season that saw the Kansas City Royals finish with 86 wins (their most since 1989) expectations are high around the team’s spring training facilities in Surprise, Arizona.

The Royals boasted a pitching staff that led the American League in ERA (3.45) last season and, despite the loss of Ervin Santana, still has plenty of talent. James Shields returns to lead the starting rotation and Greg Holland, fresh off his first All-Star appearance, will anchor the bullpen.

A name baseball fans will probably hear a lot of in the not-so-distant future is Kyle Zimmer, who’s ranked No. 25 overall on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect list for 2014 and No. 10 among right-handed pitchers. The 22-year old is participating in his first spring training with the Royals, but he’s already made quite the impression with his teammates.

From MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel, Zimmer had this to say on his experience thus far, “So I’m still relatively new to it, but it’s great just being around some of these old guys and picking up tidbits here and there as I can.”

Naturally, it didn’t take the “old guys” portion of Zimmer’s comment long to make the rounds. This was the result.

It’s always good to see players have fun with things like this and take them in stride. For Zimmer it will add to what should be a memorable first time through spring training with the big league club.

Splitting time between Advanced-A and Double-A in 2013, Kyle Zimmer made 22 starts and pitched to a 4.32 ERA with a 6-9 record. The fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft recorded 140 strikeouts and surrendered 91 hits in 108.1 innings.

Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore: ‘I feel like we’ve won the World Series’

Dayton-Moore-RoyalsThe Kansas City Royals had a couple of hot streaks throughout the final month or so of the MLB season, but ultimately they came up five games short of a playoff berth with an 86-win season. However, the team did finish with its first winning record in 10 years. I guess you could view that as an improvement, as Royals general manager Dayton Moore certainly seems to.

Despite the fact that Kansas City continued its streak of more than 25 years without a postseason berth, Moore told reporters in his season-ending press conference that he felt like his team just won a championship.

“In a small way, I feel like we’ve won the World Series,” he said Tuesday, per Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.

Moore immediately regretted the comment. He was obviously trying express how proud he was of the team for the improvements that were made, but he has been getting ripped for comparing an 86-win season to a World Series championship. He later tried to explain himself.

“What I’m saying, I mean, look, ‘World Series’ is the wrong term,” he said. “But I feel very, very good about where our organization is. It means a lot to me. You have to know how I’m wired. The only reason I’m a general manager is that this is my boyhood team. It’s a special place for me.…

“And it means a lot to me that little boys want to grow up and be baseball players so they can be like Sal Perez or Eric Hosmer. That means a lot to me. That means everything to me. That means more to me than winning a World Series.”

Moore added that he expects the team to compete for an actual World Series going forward. He said the comment was more about how proud he is that the team has once again gotten fans to “engage” and love baseball. One thing Moore likely understands now is that a World Series is not a World Series unless it’s a World Series.

H/T Hardball Talk

Royals announcers rip Nelson Cruz after he’s hit by pitch: ‘You’re not that good’

When Nelson Cruz was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning of the Rangers win over the Royals on Monday, nobody was surprised. Earlier in the game, Cruz hit a towering home run off of Bruce Chen and stood at home plate for a moment to admire it. Opposing pitchers generally dislike being shown up like that, so many thought Kansas City reliever Louis Coleman did what he had to do in plunking the Rangers slugger. Cruz disagreed.

As soon as he was hit in the back, Cruz stared at Coleman and began walking toward the mound. The benches cleared and everything remained under control, but Royals announcers for Fox Sports Kansas City Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler blasted Cruz anyway.

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Royals fans spend $5,100 on newspaper letter telling owner to sell the team

The Royals have had one winning season in the past 18 years. They have not been to the postseason since 1985 when they won the World Series. Since that title, it has been nothing but frustration for the brave baseball fans remaining in Kansas City. In a recent letter to the Kansas City Star, a group of fans decided to air their grievances with team owner David Glass.

As Bottom Line Communications pointed out, fed up Royals fan Joe Accurso recently launched a website called No-More-Glass.com. The original goal of the site was to raise enough money to publish the following ad (click to enlarge):

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Kansas City Royals Continue to be a Losing Franchise

According to reliable sources (Wikipedia), “The Kansas City Royals are a Major League Baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri.” Only part of that is true. Here is a toast to one of the only teams in professional sports to defy the laws of physics and be able to reacquire the “expansion team” label. If KC is the so-called “Heart of America,” then the Royals are its atherosclerosis. Kansas City is a place that prides itself on its contribution to jazz and blues, apparently its autocracy (Kings? Chiefs? Royals?) and its barbecue legacy. The latter being the most appropriate in this case, since the town has been trying to unsuccessfully clean up the mess left by the team over the last quarter-century, a mess that has nothing to do with sauce or pine tar for that matter. Anyone have a WetNap?

Legend has it that the Royals began play in 1969 shortly before Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface but right after many Kansas Citians (City-ites?) stepped in a pile of something. Two years later, they had their first winning season under a manager ironically named Lemon. Baseball’s version of Methuselah, Jack McKeon, took over as manager in 1973 (yup, the same one — McKeon that is). Along the way, the Royals became Major League Baseball’s laugh track. The Yankees periodically used the team as their unofficial farm club, with players like Lou Piniella making their way through the confines of Kaufmann Stadium before getting their reprieve in the Bronx.

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Soldier Proposes to Girlfriend at Royals Game on Memorial Day (Video)

Monday was Memorial Day and many baseball teams supported the holiday by wearing tribute caps. Several teams also had soldiers participate in game-day ceremonies such as throwing out the first pitch or singing God Bless America. In Kansas City, the best gesture of all may have taken place.

As I was watching the Angels-Royals game on TV, they showed a soldier who surprised his girlfriend by proposing to her at Kauffman Stadium — only there was a catch; the Royals were in on the surprise. Check out the video brought to us courtesy of Big League Stew:

Congrats to Eddie and Celi on their engagement. It’s never easy doing something like that in such a public forum, but that was a beautiful moment. Kudos to the Royals for helping to arrange it, and I’m glad it worked out much better than this recent ballpark proposal turned disaster.