Sunday, March 30, 2008

Royals Season Preview 14: Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune

Once upon a time, the Twins were the class of the AL Central, a small-market success whose model for winning would be extolled from the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball to teams across the country, and Joe Morgan. Now, with the Tigers' return to power and the Indians stacked with young talent and even the White Sox, a recent World Series winner, pushing for another division title, the people in Minnesota are feeling a little threatened. This was a division they carried all those years, winning widespread praise when the convenient line from national pundits would have been, "The Central sucks." Now, it's as if the Twins are an afterthought, picked by the two leading national sports magazines to finish last, behind even the -- gasp! -- Royals.

Their response:

Tom Richmond, special to the Star-Tribune

Can you spot the Royal in the picture? (HT to Kinsella.)

Of course, the Twins have ample reason to fear the powder blue. The fans -- and the hometown paper* -- may not have come around to the reality yet, but the players have:

“Kansas City’s going to surprise some people,” Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said. “They were starting to play well in the second half last year. They have some good players over there, and they keep adding a veteran here, a veteran there to help those guys.”

A brave new world is upon us, indeed.

*Check out this chart:

Det Cle Min Chi KC
Starting lineups 5 3 2 4 1
Middle of the order 5 2 3 4 1
Starting rotation 4 5 2 3 1
Bullpen 3 5 4 2 1
Managers 5 3 4 2 1
GMs 4 5 2 3 1
Team owners 5 4 2 3 1
The “expert” 4 5 3 2 1
Farm system 2 4 5 1 3
Baseball town 5 3 2 1 4
Stadiums (in 2010) 3 2 4 1 5
The totals 45 41 33 26 20

Yes, the Royals, as rated by the Star-Tribune, have the worst starting lineup, middle of the order, starting rotation, bullpen, managers, GMs, team owners and "the 'expert,'" whatever the hell that means. (It means some beat writer's opinion, which is laughable.)

A guy who goes by jsherwin1 tried defending the Royals, only to get shouted down by opatz012, who wrote, "I can't even imagine the Royals having a decent baseball team. They're like the Detroit Lions of baseball. So get over your jealousy of the twins because they actually have a shot of being over .500 this year. While the Royals will spend another season cleaning the grime off the floor in the cellar."

You won't have to "imagine" the Royals being decent much longer, opatzy-boy.

This isn't over.

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