Friday, December 12, 2008

The Hunting of the Snark

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.
--Lewis Carroll, "The Hunting of the Snark"

After crossing the sea guided by the Bellman's map of the Ocean — a blank sheet of paper — the hunting party arrive in a strange land. The Baker recalls that his uncle once warned him that, though catching Snarks was all well and good, you must be careful; for, if your Snark is a Boojum, then "you will softly and suddenly vanish away, and never be met with again."

The snark of the poem is an imaginary creature not to be confused with the word snarky, an adjective meaning "sharply critical, cutting, snide." There is a lot of snarkiness (which is not a word) when it comes to reacting to news out of baseball's Winter Meetings, and not just as it relates to the Royals. This is nationwide, as passionate fans everyone who find they're overcome -- overcome, we say! -- with shock and horror at their favorite team's dealings resort to, well, snark.

Of course, this being a Royals blog, we'd like to report some of the snarkier things that were said about Kyle Farnsworth and Dayton Moore:

  • Royals Review commenter:

    Admit it: Our savior DM is Allard Baird with more money to spend

    I always thought that if Allard was given a $75 million payroll, he’d put a Michael Tucker at every position and a Scott Elarton at every spot in the rotation.

  • Royals Authority commenter:
    Kyle "There she goes" Farnsworth isn't any more use to us than Hubert J. Farnsworth.

  • Kansas City Star commenter:
    Yes, package a bunch of middling tards for someone else's starting middle infielder! I've got it! Why don't we just send Teahen, Gobble, Pena Jr, Gload, Jason Smith, Gathright, and Peralta to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler? C'mon can't package a whole gaggle of AAAA ballplayers for a stud it doesn't work like that...There isn't ONE GUY amongst that group that most teams would want. The only one close is Teahen and Dayton hasn't been able to unload him and that is WITHOUT the pieces of crapola attached.


People -- it's December! Let's try not to get so worked up...

It's too late for me, though... I'm gonna rant.

I find it amazing that a decade and a half of following the Royals has ingrained in some fans the conditioned response of, "This can't be good" whenever the team does something. Whatever happened to finding joy in the small acts of doing -- that is the secret of happiness, you know -- of preparing to make a decision (and we know this Royals front office puts in the necessary prep work) and then carrying it out to the best of reality's conditions? There are those who harped for years, "The Royals don't spend money, they can't win!" who now, as the Royals are spending money, have changed their line to, "The Royals don't spend money the way I want them to, they can't win!" as if baseball were a farmers' market where you get all the fresh pickings to yourself, without 29 other shoppers -- some wearing more expensive suits -- elbowing you towards the outskirts and some hundred-thousand other solicitors, observers ("Oh, I'm just looking") and mendicants who beg, curse, rant and rave, and tirelessly throw out petitions for "Adam Dunn! Aaaaaaaadam Dunnnnnnnn!"

Here's what it comes down to: you have no idea. You don't know that Kyle Farnsworth will be less productive than Ramon Ramirez, and in fact you just may get shouted down by a commenter, "I appreciate all the insight as to why this is a bad deal but why must we always be so negative about GMDM moves. HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING." You can critique the hell out of the front office and sound more-than-reasonable doing so, but in the end you just might get told off by Anonymous: "The question really is what would you have done instead?"

Not "would"... what could you have done, do you think?

We've been apprising Dayton Moore for a long time now, searching for reasons he's not the perfect GM, but instead of -- with your blank piece of paper as a map -- trying to find the mythical perfect general manager, why not try to examine Moore's body of work in context? He inherited a farm system in shambles and a clubhouse culture defined by losing -- horrific, outlandish, rage-inducing losing. Now? Tell me you're not excited to see this team take the field on Opening Day. In fact, tell me you're not excited to hear news from the next day, to see what else GMDM may have pulled.

Look, I'm not a big fan of Farnsworth, if truth must be told, but I'm willing to see how this plays out. I'm willing to give it a chance, to find the positive, hope for the best. You know -- wait to see what happens in April and May. Not shoot this down in December.

Oh, and whatever happened to those snark hunters? Disappeared, that's what. (One of them, anyway.) Take a lesson from that.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,

He had softly and suddenly vanished away --

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

POSTSCRIPT: the Royals have acquired promising outfielder Jordan Parraz, a two-time Class-A Most Valuable Player, from the Astros. He was that "player to be named later" in the Nov. 24 deal for Tyler Lumsden.


  1. Being negative is the coooooooooooool thing to do!

  2. The Tao is right glad there's a least one other then me who isn't ready to tar and feather Dayton for signing Kyle

  3. You know what else is cool? Actually trying to respond to the more informed criticisms of Moore instead of painting all the critics with the same brush. Perhaps learning something about market value, wins above replacement, reliever leverage, etc. Why projections are helpful.

    Failing that, at least be consistent. If you see a move you like, you say it shows how smart The Bravest Gm in Baseball is. If you see a move that is obviously moronic, like giving Kyle Farnsworth a major league contract (ahem), you say, "let's see how it turns out."

    Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is one thing. Blind faith is another.

  4. I'll concede the possibility that Farnsworth suddenly thinks its 2005 and pitches well. However I find it hard to believe that there wasn't a cheaper, better option out there. If DM wouldve been content with DDJ in CF the money they are paying Crisp & Farnsworth could have went to Furcal. Thats what I would have done differently.

  5. yeah I'm not thrilled either, but what can ya do... and baseball talk IS fun, despite anything I may have written that gave an impression of otherwise.