Thursday, April 3, 2008

Brian Bannister on Baseball Tonight, and what's that buzz?

That low, unfamiliar, cicada-mating-like murmur is our part of the blogosphere telling each other that the entirety of the baseball season may be long, but the hours and days remain unchanged in length, and the time spent in first place, from now until the next game, remains unchanged and feels unchanged, as long in duration as the time it takes for about two dozen blogs to exclaim, as if in unison, Wow.

Wow was the first word used by Bruce of KC's Royal Fan Zone in his recent post, which summarized yesterday's game.

Lee Warren has been summarizing at Royals Reflections since 2004, but he'd never encountered a 2-0 start until now (in fact, the Royals have had only two 2-0 starts in 28 years; 2003, of course, was the last time, when they didn't lose until game No. 10).

Blimey, the sentiment is everywhere, even as people like Royally Speaking parse it into list-form logic and sense.

It's what Rany's thinking, smack in the middle of his 23-reasons series (down to No. 2... what's No. 1 going to be? (we know the answer, of course, but the suspense is fun, too)).

Minda, too, who must be breathless, and Chris Rasmussen from Bugs and Cranks, who we recently learned grew up a Royals fan.

Some, like Royals Authority, are just speechless -- figuratively speaking.

Do you believe like Royals on Radio Etc. believes? Even if not, doesn't it feel good to know the Royals' projected record, as Breaking 100 points out, remains 162-0?

And lest we forget, KC Royalty reminds us three times: Brian Bannister.

After a performance like his -- seven innings, two hits, four strikeouts and no walks (he threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 22 batters he faced) -- it's only fitting that he'd be interviewed on Baseball Tonight. The questions were asked by Karl Ravech, who strikes us as exactly the type who, like the rest of us, would have read all those articles:

KR: Alright Banny, you have to out-think guys to get them out, is that the secret to success?

BB: Yeah, y’know, I pitch like a lefty but I’m a righty, so I’m kind of a rarity these days.

KR: So you think backwards. So what does that do to a hitter?

BB: Just try to mix them up, play a little chess game with them. They know I don’t have a great fastball, so they’re kind of looking for something more. And I try to keep mixing it up the whole game.

KR: Royals off to a 2-0 start. Good for the manager Trey Hillman, good for the team. What is the mood in the clubhouse?

BB: It’s great. We’ve been confident all spring, we played well in spring training. We’ve got a good core group of young guys and the older guys have a lot of experience. There’s just great chemistry, we all want to play for each other.

KR: All right, let me know when you meet your match, mentally, as a hitter.

BB: Uh… [laughs] there’s a couple guys out there that confuse the heck out of me.

It's good that Bannister laughed off the last question, because who knows when other pitchers will begin to envy his "smart guy" label. Or as Steve Phillips put it: "He's a smart guy, we talked about that... he hits his spots, he executes exactly the sequence of pitches he wanted, very cerebral pitcher." And never shy about taking a jab at his old employer, Phillips added, "Big loss for the Mets."

Just before moving on, Ravech threw in his two cents: "Always one of those famous ones [lines?], regardless of whether it’s for the Mets or any other team, 'Boy, if only we had a guy like Bannister.' But of course, you had a guy who was named Bannister."

We have him now, and we're not giving him back.

Look, nothing lasts forever, of course. Losses come in baseball, as in life, just as hour hands move. But until we're faced with that reality, anything is possible. Even the bending of time to look into a future flecked with the bright, blinding gleams of victory and never-ending surprise.

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