In the last 15 years, the Kansas City Royals have put some pretty pathetic teams on the field. As some time has passed since some of these historically inept Royals teams have come and gone, it is interesting to take a look back at the worst of them all, the 2005 version of the Royals.
Having the benefit of perspective, it really is astonishing to think that anyone in the organization expected that team to do anything other than suck really bad.
The 2005 Royals were entering the season coming off of a 104 loss season, their second 100 loss season in 3 years. And as hard as it is to believe now, up to that point, those were the Royals’ only 100 loss seasons in franchise history. Little did anyone know, that was just the beginning of a stretch of some of the most disgracefully inept (borderline insulting) brand of baseball anyone would ever witness. In order to fully appreciate the level of stink that graced Kauffman Stadium 81 times in the summer of 2005, we must first take a quick look back at 2004:
The 2004 Royals came into the season with some glimmer of hope, as crazy as it seems now. They had just completed a 2003 season that saw them lead the division most of the year and remain in contention into September. The Royals felt that if they only could carry that positive momentum into 2004, and add a few key pieces, that they would be ready to contend again. Enter Juan Gonzalez and Benito Santiago and a slightly higher payroll. Clearly this approach was miscalculated at best, and delusional at worst. Nonetheless, it represented a somewhat honest attempt at fielding a winning team for the first time in quite some time, which was refreshing in its own way.
As soon as the next off-season hit, it was like Royals ownership and management immediately wanted to get the message out that since they went for it last year and it failed miserably, that it would be a cold day in hell before they would ever try anything like that again. Come April 4, 2005, Royals fans who took off work early and spent their hard-earned money to come out to Kauffman Stadium for Opening Day, were therefore treated to this opening day lineup:
David DeJesus-CF, Ruben Gotay-2B, Mike Sweeney-1B, Calvin Pickering-DH, Matt Stairs-RF, Angel Berroa-SS, Terrence Long-LF, John Buck-C, Mark Teahen-3B, Jose Lima-SP
Not shockingly, the Royals were beaten 11-2 by the Tigers in their first of 106 losses that season. The 2005 Royals would start the season 5-9 before going on a 9 game losing streak to fall to 5-18. They would eventually fall to 8-25, before Manager Tony Pena decided he had enough and quit. Interim manager Bob Schaefer got in on the fun, going 5-12 before Buddy Bell was brought in as the permanent replacement for Pena. In most seasons, a 9 game losing streak would be far and away the low point in the season. Not for this team…not even close. They would go on to treat their fans to losing streaks of 5, 5, 8, and 19 games before going into just standard Royals Stink Mode in late August. To put it further into perspective, that 19 game losing streak saw their loss total rise from 63 to 82 before their win total rose from 38 to 39.
The passage of time allows us to look back at seasons like 2005 and find the humor in some ways. If Project 2012 can come to fruition and the Royals are fielding championship caliber teams for years to come, the 2005 season can then become nothing more than a hilarious footnote in Royals history.