Picking Up Good Vibrations

Right now my gut is telling me the 2011 Royals are probably about a 95 loss team. Plenty of Royals fans will find that number optimistic. But strangely, I am feeling good about the organization as a whole right now. Here are a few reasons why:

∙ Digital Digest: The Royals made their first ever overture to the blogger/social-media community in the form of Digital Digest, a press conference for seven lucky souls who are used to covering the Royals from their computer screens at home, not face-to-face with management and players. The announcement of the event was kind of exciting in itself since it marked a progressive step in the organization’s attitude towards new media; I was even more encouraged when I saw who had been selected. The Royals could have chosen strictly “rah-rah” homers, but they opted for level-headed, passionate fans that can be critical at times. The bloggers got face-time with GM Dayton Moore, manager Ned Yost, and players Billy Butler and Jeff Francouer. (Ned Yost made me happy by using the word “sabermetric” while discussing how he thinks the ordering of a batting lineup is the most over-emphasized aspect of a manager’s job.) The participants asked some great questions and produced a ton of interesting content from the short conference.

According to participant Michael Engel of Kings of Kauffman, they were told that there will probably be at least one “blogger night” at the K this year, where “those invited/approved would be participating in pre-game media sessions and post-game press conferences.” These are some refreshingly progressive attitudes and steps by a franchise not usually known for them.

Moustakas & Brett (photo by Minda Haas)

∙ FanFest: I attended the Royals fourth annual winter party, which is always good for an off-season baseball fix and pumping up of some unrealistic hopes for the coming season. The highlight of the event (other than watching my son play games) was the awards show, which included Royals legends such as George Brett, Willie Wilson and Mike Sweeney presenting awards to some of the minor leaguers we hear so much about but have not had much chance to see in person. Mike Moustakas cracked up the crowd when receiving an award from Brett: “I mean, its George Brett…holy crap!” It was nice to see other top prospects like Eric Hosmer and John Lamb, and get caught up in the hype surrounding the talent in the minors right now.

∙ Futures Game: The Royals announced another progressive, fan-friendly event: a Futures Game that will pit the Double-A and Triple-A squads against each other at Kauffman Stadium on April 2nd. It is a savvy move by the Royals, and shows they understand the interest the fan base has in seeing baseball’s top farm system in action. It is the must-see game of they year at the K.

∙ Billy Ray: Losing Zack Greinke this off-season was a tough pill for me to swallow, but the excellent deal the Royals reached with Billy Butler has taken the sting out somewhat. Billy is in some exclusive company as far as offensive accomplishments through age 24, and that he will be a Royal through what will hopefully be his peak years of ages 25—29 is exciting. He was born to hit baseballs, and it looks like he will be doing a whole lot more of it in a Royals uniform.

∙ Youth: Not talking about the minors this time—as Nick Scott has pointed out, the 2011 Royals are going to be truly young, and that is before any of the minor leaguers start making their way to KC. If 2011 is another losing year, at least we will be watching young guys learning and developing while losing.

So chin up, Royals fans…Good things are happening, and even better things are coming.

Aaron Stilley also bloggercizes at Kansas City Baseball and makes tweet-tweets here.

4 thoughts on “Picking Up Good Vibrations

  1. When you say good things are happening for the Royals…does this mean in a few years? Young teams usually take quite awhile to make a major breakthrough.

    And, the AL Central has really only one other really down team….the Indians.

    Some people are saying anything less than 100 losses is a success. That is pretty dreary to me.

  2. Thanks for reading and the comment. As far as wins and losses, yeah, probably a couple years out on that. I’ve just been having a good sense about the organization as a whole, even if it isn’t going to translate into wins in the immediate future. The wins and losses at the big league level don’t matter much to me this year. A successful year in my mind would mean the studs on the farm keep progressing.

  3. Yeah, if the minor league system for the Royals turns out to be truly outstanding. Then perhaps they can do similar things like the Rays did recently.

    The difficulty of course; is that the window of opportunity seems much smaller with free agency.

    But, when you see teams like the Rays and Rockies at least get to a W.S. recently. And, then this year Giants v. Rangers. At least it feels like there could be a chance for the Royals. Most likely a few years away though. But, there is always hope.

    I always wonder which currently down teams that have had past and distant glory will return to prominence. Like the Royals, Orioles, Pirates, etc…like the Giants & Reds have turned things around last year. It is always cool to see that happen. Ops, sorry for some off-topic rambling.

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