I know this makes me far from unique, but as a young man growing up in Kansas City that dreamed of being a journalist, I became quite enamored with Joe Posnanski. Posnanski, of course, was a star columnist at the Kansas City Star along with Jason Whitlock. Both went on to bigger and better things in far different ways, and both were incredible columnists. While Whitlock had a way of dividing a city on seemingly any topic, Posnanski was much more subtle. He could write something you already knew, something you were already thinking, and make you care about it more than you ever had. Whitlock could make you feel things about him….Posnanski made you feel things about you.
Okay, if you’re still with me I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with our Kansas City Royals. Well, seemingly because the current English language cannot fully express his literary genius, Posnanski has on his blog started JoeWords. This is awesome, and I encourage you to read it, but for the purposes of this article I just want to focus on one of them:
Clemenate (KLEM-a-nayt), verb, to hate an athlete in an entirely healthy, fun sports way (rather than hating them in a crazed, stalking, loaded gun, insane sort of way). Ex. Jonathan Sanchez is making himself far too easy to clemenate this season.
This week saw a flurry of commentary about Sanchez. 610 Sports ran a gag trying to get him blocked from Twitter, Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler bother questioned how much Sanchez loved baseball, and Bob Dutton wrote a scathing piece about the Royals refusal to consider shipping Sanchez out. However, the one that really caught my eye came from Minda Haas. Minda is an outstanding photographer and a good friend of I70 baseball, and this week she wrote this.
Minda is right in many regards, most notably that baseball players are people too and their life need not revolve around baseball for them to be successful. I also agree that personal attacks against baseball players based on their performance are unwarranted, and I think this is what Posnanski was trying to capture when he created the word clemenate.
I don’t hate Jonathan Sanchez, but I clemenate him with ounce of my baseball loving soul. I clemenate his attitude, because it’s hard to watch him play the game and think he cares even a little. I clemenate his methods, because watching him pitch, even when he’s getting people out, is equal parts maddening and sleep inducing. Mostly though I clemenate what he has done to this Royals season.
The Royals are 3-7 in his ten starts this season and he’s given them an average of 4 2/3 innings per start. Every time it seems like the Royals are about to get on a hot streak, Sanchez kills all momentum an uninspiring walk-filled performance. Young teams are streaky, and this Royals team has lived up to that billing, but it’s tough to streak too far in the right direction when you know you’re sending Sanchez to the mound every 5 days.
The bottom line is, Sanchez must go…quickly. We’ve seen far too many young stars grow disenchanted with the Royals version of “trying” to win. You can not in good faith tell Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas that we’re trying to win when you continue to send Sanchez to the mound.