Tonight's comes from Pete, a Notre Dame grad with some legit sports bona fides. Unfortunately, that will not save him from our wrath.
The first problem -- and this is a big problem -- is the preview ranks the Royals' lineup dead last in terms of, I'm guessing, quality (and not, say, reputation). Here it is:
We could ignore everything else and write 400 words on the preposterousness of this alone. Have you seen the Giants' lineup? Here it is, with each player's 2007 OPS in parentheses (that's OPS, not slugging or age):
Overall – 64 points (28th MLB, 12th AL)
Starting Rotation – 26 points (24th MLB, 11th AL)
Line-Up – 25 points (30th MLB, 14th AL)
Bench/Bullpen/Defense – 13 points (T-23rd MLB, T-13th AL)
Dave Roberts, LF (.695)The team lost 91 games last year, and that's with Barry Bonds (170 OPS+, 6.2 WARP) and a staff ace who could throw at least 85 mph (the joke, of course, is that that same ace, Barry Zito, hasn't hit 85 on the gun all spring. The real joke is that this isn't a joke). If that team avoids losing 100, they can consider 2008 a season well played.
Omar Vizquel, SS (.621)
Randy Winn, RF (.798)
Aaron Rowand, CF (.889)
Bengie Molina, C (.731)
Ray Durham, 2B (.638)
Rich Aurilia, 1B (.672)
Kevin Frandsen, 3B (.710)
Apparently, the Giants' lineup is better than the Royals', and the Giants, according to Pete, are the 20th best team in baseball. How the undisputed worst team on paper could be considered better than 10 other teams is beyond us.
Pete's Royals preview does little from there to address or justify the team's 28th-place ranking. We do want to make two responses though to two points raised in the concluding paragraph.
The Royals are a prime example of the argument that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees are bad for baseball. They have no way of keeping up with the payrolls that those other teams can muster and unless they draft perfectly, it is nearly impossible to keep pace.
We see where you're going with this. Boohoo for Royals fans, right? What have they got to live for? [Insert Midwesterners joke.] I root for the ___, whose management sucks and talent evaluators suck and we've gotten a bit unlucky but it's all the Yankees'/Red Sox' fault, blah blah blah... this is where you're going with this, isn't it?
Do us a favor and keep the Royals out of it. We don't need you making excuses for us.
With the Royals, this is a fan base that hasn’t had reason to hope for many years now, and its a downward spiral when the revenue stops coming in from ticket sales.
Those kind of sentences anger us, probably to an unreasonable degree. No reason to hope? What about all those stories about Alex Gordon being the next George Brett? That doesn't mean anything to us? Or Billy Butler and how he's been mashing the ball all spring, per his career? Or Gil Meche and Jose Guillen, free agents we had to beat other teams to sign? Or Greinke, Bannister, Soria... this is just Rany's list (highly recommended post there) we're going through, but what about that, eh, mate?
Please, crying us a river is one thing, but insisting that we cry a river... well, the phrase "recliner blogging" coins itself there, doesn't it?
POSTSCRIPT: It's occurred to me that we've probably gone a bit hard on Pete. He makes some valid points about Bannister in the comments section, and we'll give him credit where it's due: Dayton Moore is listed as the team's biggest strength. Now that would've been a fine starting point for the preview. Instead, there was a fall from grace, and we're more disappointed souls because of it.