Watching the Phils battle the Rockies this afternoon gave me an idea for a good question to ask all Kansas City Royals fans.
Name the player you wish the Royals had not given up.
Let's see, this would be the most most valuable player no longer on the team. MVP-NLT.
Here's my vote: Raul Ibanez.
Ibanez has been a clutch hitter across the breadth of his career. His average is in the .260s this year, but he has 34 dingers and 90-some RBI. He's been a decent left fielder who doesn't take those funky routes to the ball Royals left fielder's take. He's managed to be on two teams playing on the big stage in October, and he's come through both times.
He just battled a tough pitch into center field to score two runs for the Phils at a crucial point in today's game. The Royals desperately need clutch players, players who battle, players who get the job done. He's not flashy, his ego appears to be in check, he doesn't spend half the season on the disabled list, he doesn't swing at bad pitches, and he plays hard every day. And, as you saw in the bottom of the eighth, he hates making outs. Just hates it.
Watching Ibanez today shows just how poorly Royals' management has evaluated talent. They could've kept him in the fold. They didn't.
Make a list of the outfielders they've sent into the green fields of Kauffman Stadium, starting with Juan and Jose. No need to go farther.
Today, Royals players are floating on some lake somewhere fishing for bass. Raul Ibanez is on the field in Philadelphia playing in the October sun.
Who gets your vote for MVPNLT?
--Lofflin (And don't even think about bringing Mike Sweeney into this discussion...)