I am tired of the Kansas City Royals' “moral victories.” I am tired of having to find the “silver linings.”
This is Major League Baseball, not fourth-grade Little League. What's the actual result when someone finds the moral victories in a game? The game was lost. Sure, one can take good things away from a loss but when you do that time and time again, it belies the point. Having to say things like, “well, the Royals got shut out but MJ Melendez got a hit!” is getting beyond tiresome. Great for Melendez (or whoever) and his young career, but baseball is more than just accolades for a rookie. See also: “he’s hitting the ball right at guys!”
Is there any team in sports that can kill momentum and hype more than the Royals? This offseason was all about finding a way to compete and at least beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The expectations weren’t even "playoffs or bust," but rather a rise from 74 wins to mere mediocrity. An 81-81 record would be applauded.
Maybe fans are the suckers for believing this team would be different. There is still a ton of games left and this could just be a slow start, but it feels like foreshadowing for the full season. Being in the bottom-three in run differential at the time of writing this does not inspire any hope whatsoever.
Watching the young starters getting shelled game in and game out (outside of Daniel Lynch) has been disheartening. Some top picks aren’t even starting. While having a near 40-year-old and a former Rule 5 guy pitch extremely well is a good thing, the Royals need more and need pieces for the future.
Whether this is an organizational issue in developing pitchers, drafting the wrong guys, or arms simply needing more time, something is wrong. Do I have the answers? No, and I am not paid to have them. I love the Royals and am writing this (somewhat) scathing review because I care. The worst thing a team can have is apathy.
This brings me to my next point. Fans aren’t showing up — or, in other cases — even able to watch games on television. If you exclude fans from watching the games, they won’t get invested, they’ll find something else and you are stuck in a cycle of losing fans year after year. The issue is massive, and blackouts are brutal. The rise in the price of parking, coupled with the astronomical cost of buying a beer makes going to watch a team lose 10-0 sound like a nightmare. If a bad product is being fielded the majority of the time, at least make it affordable to support.
I'm not saying don’t have positive takeaways from this poor start. Take the good from Bobby Witt Jr. getting on a hitting streak, Lynch looking like a viable starter, Melendez getting called up and looking comfortable and Michael A. Taylor making one of the most incredible catches you’ll see. With that said, it is okay to be frustrated.
It is okay to acknowledge the fact this team is vastly underperforming — albeit in a small sample size. Being upset doesn’t make you a bad fan. In fact, it shows that you care. I will continue to watch nearly every single game. I am not boycotting this team. I will root for their success and not cheer for any downfalls, but there have been enough moral victories and silver linings to last an entire year.