One Last Look Back: Top Five Royal Stories

Today, we will take one last look back at 2011.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

The season was not much different than what many expected from the Kansas City Royals. In a rebuilding year with a crop of youngsters coming through the system to keep fans excited, the Royals would finish low in the standings and surprise very few people.

There were a few bright spots and plenty of reason to be optimistic if you are a Royals fan. Here are the top five stories from the 2011 calendar year in Kansas City.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to our own Troy “KCRoyalman” Olsen for helping come up with the stories and ranking them.

Number Five: Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur
or I Thought This Was A Youth Movement
The Royals, in the middle of a youth movement, grabbed two veteran outfielders that had many fans scratching their heads. Somehow, the Royals caught a break and ended up with solid production from both of the outfielders.

Francoeur turned his work on and off the field with the young players into an extension that will keep him in Royal Blue through 2013. Meanwhile, the Royals capitalized on the rise of Lorenzo Cain through the minor league system and Cabrera’s productive 2011 into a trade that would bring promising young hurler Jonathan Sanchez to Kansas City from San Francisco.

Number Four: Royals Farm System Is The Best In Baseball
or Maybe Dayton Moore Knows What He Is Doing
After years of “rebuilding” and many fans, experts, and writers of all kinds questioning the consistent moves made by general manager Dayton Moore, the Royals farm system suddenly appeared to be stacked full of minor leaguers ready to bust onto the major league scene.

The excitement level in Kansas City grew and the team, fans, and pundits had a focus on the future. It was no longer a matter of if the team would win, it became a matter of when the team started winning. The number of prospects about to hit the big stage was overwhelming and for the first time in almost a decade, the entire nation was discussing the Kansas City Royals.

Number Three: The Countdown Begins
or The World Will Witness The Beauty Of Kauffman Stadium
With the final pitch of the 2011 All Star Game, the countdown to the 2012 Mid-Summer Classic began. Kansas City will play host to baseball’s biggest gala in 2012, but the hype began in July of 2011.

The unveiling of the official All Star Logo, the unveiling of a renovated stadium that featured some of the most attractive sight lines in all of baseball, and the excitement surrounding the city began to build towards a chance to shine in front of the world.

Number Two: Rookies Hit The Bigs
or The Youth Movement Begins To Arrive
If there was one thing everyone around the Royals was clamoring for from Dayton Moore and the front office, it was patience. Patience with the young players as they developed, patience with the team as it would hit hot and cold streaks, and patience with a fan base that may want to win now, but winning overall would be more important.

Moore was willing to give fans a sneak peak of what he had in store and two of the best the system had to offer, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, arrived on the big league scene. While Hosmer showed poise and determination, fans realized that Moustakas and others would be learning at this level to become the players they were capable of being. The field management staff did exactly what they needed to do when they simply stayed on course with Moustakas and were rewarded with a September that shows the young man is exactly what he is projected to be.

Number One: A Legend Continues To Fade
or Why Can’t The Royals And Frank White Get Along
Last season, Frank White was upset with his passing over at management’s hands but agreed to stay on as a commentator for Fox Sports Kansas City and help keep a legend from on the field in the booth with the Royals organization. Now, as the Royals prepare to move into 2012, White has been told he is no longer needed.

Tired of feeling disrespected, White has vowed to be done with the Royals and has even considered requesting that his iconic number 20 be removed from the wall and put back into circulation. It has been a public and brutal public relations nightmare that has fans steaming. A reconciliation does not seem imminent and the whole situation leaves a stain on an otherwise positive time for the franchise.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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