Go Ahead, Keep Doubting the Royals
“To be doubted. See, that’s the key.” Most of you have seen the Beats headphones commercial with Cam Newton. Surely that phrase has crossed your mind– to be doubted. No words have been more true for the Royals in the past couple of seasons.
It all began on September 30th, 2014 when the Royals bested the Oakland A’s 9-8 in a 12 inning thriller, advancing to the ALCS for the first time in 29 years. Experts and casual fans alike had little belief in Kansas City getting past the Angels, let alone advancing to the World Series. Yet there they were.
Prior to the beginning of the 2015 season, there were questions in regards to replacing Billy Butler and James Shields. Kendrys Morales replaced Butler on the offensive side, adding a power element that was lacking. Edinson Volquez turned out to be the Royals most consistent starter, replacing Shields as the team returned to the World Series, bringing the title back to Kansas City.
Despite back to back World Series appearances and paying out the seventh highest amount of money in the offseason, the doubters are popping up once again. Nick Carfado, writer for the Boston Globe, considered the Royals as having the third worst offseason this year. Though he gives credit to the front office for the re-signing of Alex Gordon, complaints expressed by Carfado include the departure of Ben Zobrist and the signing of pitcher Ian Kennedy to replace the likes of Johnny Cueto. This should be no surprise coming from an east coast writer; the Red Sox were willing to throw over $200 million dollars at David Price, a guy who is 0-8 starting in the postseason.
The Royals dealt with essentially the exact same criticism last year before the additions of Morales and Volquez. They proved to be exactly what the doctor ordered. In the last three years, General Manager Dayton Moore has proved to be right more often than not in the moves that he has made. Until a signing blows up in his face, I believe Moore gets the benefit of the doubt here.
Its true that the Royals did not make big name moves such as the Tigers and the Red Sox. But winning the offseason doesn’t automatically translate to winning in the regular season. It takes much more than that. The Royals play with this proverbial chip on their shoulder that has proven to be an advantage of sorts.
With their backs against the wall in the ALDS, they bounced back, winning Games 4 and 5 to eliminate the Houston Astros. When it looked like the Toronto Blue Jays offense would over-match the Royals, they finished them off in six games. And when it looked like the Mets might take the World Series back to Kansas City, the Royals refused to stay down and continued to fight. The Royals have a style that made every opponent match their level of intensity. They forced opponents to earn every single victory.
Go ahead and doubt them again this season. Go ahead, consider this lower-market Midwest team to be nothing more than a fluke. And so-called experts, tell me that they wont even make the postseason this year. That very doubt is what helped propel the Royals to a World Series in the first place.