Another baseball season come and gone; the autumn breeze rustling through the changing leaves, children waiting at the bus stop with their arithmetic texts strapped to their backs, and the Boys of Summer running to October with the World Series dream still alive to chase down like a shot to the right-center gap. Of course, the Royals are having none of this. They're content to suck the life out of us fans and leave us deflated and once again sans pennant.
But! This season was different in that we were eliminated while the young Royals fans waited for the bus as the new school year started instead of being eliminated by the end of May when the old school year was ending. Progress?
Either way, since the front office obviously doesn't care about winning the actual World Series we thought they'd enjoy some actual awards, as bestowed by myself and JR.
Let's do this.
Willie Bloomquist Memorial Grit Award
JR: Normally, I am not a fan of players that get too much playing time based solely on their Grit Quotient, but that all changed this year. That's right, I unabashedly became a fan of a fairly mediocre player because he played hard, had a good attitude, and didn't completely suck. I'm talking about David Lough. Really, he fits all the criteria of a gritty player-- smaller white guy, projected by most everyone to be a AAAA player, not much power, speed, or coordination. He looks like a less-charismatic Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's pretty much the definition of a replacement-level player, but fans love him. He also isn't Jeff Francoeur, which is probably where all this adulation stems from. Nonetheless, he'll likely be the fourth or fifth outfielder for Kansas City in 2014, making him the odds-on favorite to win this award again next year.
BWJ: Gritty grit grit!! Oh, maaaaaan I love me some grit.
Arright, if you’re thinking about putting together a baseball team, you’re thinking about good baseball players. Well, you’re gonna wanna get some grit to go along with that. ‘Cause unless you’re using your baseball team to deliver pizzas, you ain’t gettin’ anything done without it. Grit is power. It pulls trailers, hauls dirt, pulls boulders. Grit gets the cap off your beer. And only the 2013 Kansas City Royals have the best combination of mediocre white guys with grit. TINK ABOUT DAT
So, where was I? … ...Oh! Yes. Getz. Definitely Getz.
(PS - negative billion points for not using hashtag YOLOUGH in your answer)
JR: I never cared for #YOLOUGH-- I interpret it as "You Only Live Once, Ugh!" Or maybe I'm just jealous that my #LoughBoCop and #DavidLoughie never took off.
Best Royal Hand Gesture
BWJ: Obviously, this is a very important category. But a difficult one. The two best hand gesture-ees this year were obviously Elliott Johnson and Jeff Franceour. Frenchy and Otty were unfortunately more ginger with their upper digits than with their lumber, and ended the season SHITCANNED. Still though, Billy Ray and Hos were also guilty of post base hit two-handed air finagling and ended up above +2.5 RAE (Replacement Alcides Escobars) on the season. I guess that means that there’s no correlation between hand-jivin’ and bat-swingin’ which is unfortunate because this category must then be judged on quality of gesture alone.
That being the case: CROW JIBBER. Back-to-Back Champion.
JR: Elliot revving the dirtbike killed me nearly every time, but I'm going with the rarely seen, but stupidly brilliant Hosmer Homemade Viewfinder. Look at this shit--
*CLICK* *CLICK* Home run, baby. *CLICK* *CLICK*
Eh, who am I kidding? Crow Jibber all the way.
Best Grand Slam by Justin Maxwell
JR: In a shocking upset, my nomination for this award is not from 2013. Justin Maxwell's best grand slam happened in 2009 when he was rookie for the Washington Nationals. It was a walk-off to complete a sweep against Jeff Francoeur's New York Mets. But that's not all; it was also the Nationals last home game of the season. Think about that: a walk-off to end the year for your faithful fans. The Nationals were not a good team in 2009, but that's a hell of a moment to be one of your final moments until the following April. Of course, the Marlins ended their 2013 with a no-hitter, and I'm not sure any of their fans gave a shit. Honestly, when I'm presented a category like this that only seems to have one choice, my main goal is to somehow not select that choice. And I nailed it.
BWJ: This is how I experienced the 2013 Maxwell Slammo. So, as you know, I listen to all of the Royals games on the radio. As I was listening to this one, I thought to myself “Yo, the MLB.com Gameday usually does a live look-in around the end of the game so OOH!! Let’s check it!” and so I did, and I saw that Maxwell was up and was cursing Yo$tey for not playing the percentages and batting #YOLOUGH instead then the internet started buffering and the radio was still about two pitches behind so I looked back and saw a brief shot of a still buffering Maxwell rounding first with his helmet off and so I went to twitter and everyone was all “OMG” and then the radio caught up and Captain Forehead pooped everywhere and then I pooped everywhere and then 72 hours later we were shut out two games in-a-row by the Seattle Mariners and our season was over.
Worst Kauffman Stadium Promotion
BWJ: This is the first year since about 1992 that I hven’t attended a single baseball game at The K, and I think then that there is no coincidence about the fact that this has been the most successful Royals season in that time. Lack of Bellwether = baseball success. This also means that I can’t add to my cottage collection of bobbleheads, t-shirts, and fishermans caps (so many fishermans caps). I love stupid shit. And I love free shit. Stadium giveaways deliver on both promises. So despite the Anti-Ketchup-On-Hotdog-Nazi-Coalition’s failure at preventing this I can’t say that I was all that disappointed at the crap handed out at the Kauffman Stadium turnstiles this year. Nope, I was more upset that The Glass Family ruminated exactly 0% on any of my ideas. I mean, Otty on a tricycle!! That’s GOLD!!
JR: The bobble penises in red, yellow, and green hats were pretty embarrassing. I guarantee you that KC-Metro-Area proctologists end up making bank over the next several years removing these spring-loaded ceramic dongs from the b-holes of unsuspecting sports fans. "Million to one, shot, doc! Million to one!"
Royals Fan of the Year
JR: Competitive category this year, what with Drunk Fountain Chick, Rosin-Bag Thief, Obese Leprechaun Gut Shaker, Double-Bird Flipper Dude, and Andy Reid. But I'm going with this dude. Why? Because I consistently spotted him in the stands throughout the season. Like, nearly every game. He wasn't always dressed like a Hot Topic threw up on him, though. Often he would be wearing Royals gear, but he pretty much always looked like a sullen teenager. I don't know if he's a great fan or not, but I think winning this award might cheer him up some.
BWJ: I agree. It was quite the comprehensive list of candidates this year. Jimmy seems like a really great guy. Jessica seems like a really great...drinker of schnapps. But I think because there’s a baseball game on and I’m distracted, and because it’s past my bedtime, I’m just going to pull a Time Magazine (is that still a thing?) and cop out to name YOU the Royals Fan of the Year. Yes, YOU. Now if ‘YOU will excuse me, I have to go construct some more tweets about poop.
JR: If we're using TIME Magazine as our best fan barometer, can I nominate the mom breast-feeding her grade-school-age son? In fact, she might even be the Drunk Fountain Chick.
#1 Thing That Kept the Royals Out of the Playoffs
BWJ: Oh,so many things. So hard to pick just one. The Escobar-full offense. The Getz-full offense. The Moustakas-full offense. Where to start? Well, Alcides Escobar is clearly the best defensive shortstop of this or any other generation, and that more than makes up for his *cough cough* 56 OPS+. Don’t even start with Chris Getz. Without Frenchy and Otty, whence the grit, I ask you? WHENCE?? And Moose hit a game-winning home run once this season, so it’s obviously not his fault. Nope. The one thing that kept the Royals out of the playoffs this year was clearly Wil Myers. I mean could you imagine Wil Myers in RF with James Shields on the mound for Game 1 of the World Series? Coulda had it. THANKS, DAYTON.
JR: Quite the list, and it just goes to show that the Royals really didn't have much business jumping back into the hunt in the second half of the season. I did notice that Ned Yost was conspicuously absent from your list, despite him clearly blowing at least five games this year because of his desire to get a certain pitcher a win (or keep him from getting a loss) and his bizarre lineups, pinch hitting moves, pitching changes, etc. However, he just got TWO MORE YEARS, so he obviously isn't to blame.
Really, it's on Dayton Moore. He's a big reason the Royals won this year, but he's just as big a reason why they didn't win more. They went 8-20 in May, largely on the backs of guys who shouldn't have been on the roster (Frenchy, Johnson, Getz, et al.) or guys who shouldn't have been on the coaching staff (Jack Maloof and Andre David) or guys who shouldn't have been in the role they found themselves in (poor Wad Davis nearly had his career ruined by Dayton's plan to have him start). If the team had won just one more game a month this year, they'd be in the playoffs, but in May alone they probably should have won at least four or five more games. When the team finally sent the bums packing or changed their roles and brought in guys who were basically on the major-league scrapheap, they completely turned the season around. Dayton's delay in making changes and stubbornness to stick with things that weren't working are the biggest reason this team didn't make the playoffs this year (and really, why it's taken so long for them to even get this good).
Actually, can I change my answer?
I blame David Glass for not moving the Royals to the NL when he had the chance. I'm probably delusional, but I still think they could have made the playoffs years ago beating up on the horseshit that passed for teams over in the Senior League. I want to thank the Astros for coming over this year to try to even things out a bit, finally.
BWJ: "Wad Davis" lol
JR: I'd like to thank you Bellwether for your contributions this year. And thanks to our readers for continuing to visit this ridiculous blog in 2013. Feel free to check in once in a while during the offseason. We'll likely scatter three or four posts over the next five months, then release another deluge of sarcasm in the spring.
Go Royals! You're the Best You've Been in Over Twenty Years!