Always a seller, never a buyer. Always a bridesmaid. Well, not quite. Usher is more like it. Always the usher, never the bride.
That's the fate of the Kansas City Royals during the annual July 31 player bazaar and everyone in this town knows it will be at some point in late May. No use pretending... though many do find it useful. The Star writers sometimes find it a useful way to stay employed. Some local sports intelligentsia need to manufacture a reason to be hopeful or have something to talk about on endless radio shows -- at least until football begins. The Royals' brain trust.
Can anyone remember a year the local nine were buyers on July 31st? I have a vague memory of one lousy year when they bought... and it came to nothing. But the memory has long faded.
And, like everyone else, I'm growing tired of this blasted heat and the Royals, so I'm going to let it go for a while. We'd all be better off if we just lowered our expectations. Kansas City got its first white major league team from Philadelphia, and that team had been more than miserable for years. We've had, in our white major league history, one shining moment of great baseball in our town and that was it. Call it our Thomas Hart Benton moment. Greatness has not become routine here.
Maybe I'll be eating these words next year. Maybe the home nine will be buyers next year. Maybe they won't need to buy. The second baseman from Omaha will be spectacular, the Moose will regain his stroke, Danny Duffy will be the second coming of The Bulldog. The first baseman in Omaha will hit 50 homeruns. They'll trade Billy Butler, to our great relief, because ALL he can do is hit .300 year after year.
Speaking of trades...
I was thinking about this yesterday. Mike Aviles was in a Boston uniform getting his first base hit for the league leading Red Sox. Detroit took the day off, but Wilson Betemit no doubt enjoyed it a little more knowing his new team was also leading the league. In Philadelphia Sunday, Raul Ibanez doubled for the league leading Phillies, having escaped Kansas City in 2003 due to indifference on the part of the Royal's brain trust. Philly has the best record in all of baseball, by the way. And Sunday, well, Sunday he hit two home runs, one to tie the game in the ninth and a double in the 10th to win it. (And, when you think about the one that got away, John Mayberry Jr., blasted a walk-off home run last night against the Phillies keeping Cincinnati just barely in the pennant hunt.) And Carlos Beltran was two for four yesterday while patrolling right field for the league leading San Francisco Giants. Jeremy Affeldt, by the way, threw two scoreless for the Giants in relief.
Oh yes, and Zack Greinke gave up two runs yesterday in six-and-two-thirds against a potent Cardinals lineup for his ninth win. And, you knew this is coming, his league leading Brewers moved to three-and-a-half games over the Cards. He also laid down one fine bunt -- a key to the Crew's five run fifth.
One time Royals all. Except Mayberry, who should have been. But the Royals' brass seem to do anything they can to keep from mentioning the franchise's one bright shining moment, which might be why they didn't draft him right out of their own back yard.
Okay, time to stop bellyaching. But, somehow this all seems too familiar. It rings up with something awfully familiar from modern American life. More on that later. Joe Posnanski offered the money quote of the hour today: the idea that we now live in a world of "retaliation by posing." You can read him yourself to get the context. I'll try to weave that in, as well. Stay tuned.
In fact, you can get an interesting glimpse at what I'm thinking by reading the comments under Bob Dutton's hopelessly hopeful piece which I just got around to reading today in the Star. The comments are much better than the story. Of course, the comments also contain some of the usual crap, but if you start with JCE3227, you get an idea. He or she points out how major league baseball is like so much else in modern life... to quote a trusty old jazz/blues tune... "Them that's got shall get, them that ain't shall lose..." or something like that.
Photograph courtesy http://www.reception-wedding.com/bridesmaid_etiquette.htm