So I drafted this earlier today, before the news that the Royals have replaced their hitting coaches with George Brett and Pedro Grifo. So I guess something did happen. Whether that’s big news or not is another story.
It feels like a big day for sports.
Tonight, the Pacers take on the Heat in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals. With the series tied 2-2. Huge game. The Pacers have to win a game in Miami to snatch the series away, but I don’t think that happens tonight. After LeBron “fouled out” at the end of game four, I sent my buddy E-bro a message saying LBJ would go for 47-20-12 tonight. You don’t piss off the King. He’s not letting them lose tonight.
I still maintain this is the Heat’s series. But three games have gone down to the final minute and the Pacers could easily be up 3-1 right now. Or down 3-1. Or swept, since Miami won the lone blowout of the series. The Pacers are right there in it. Their size gives Miami fits, their bench hasn’t matched Miami’s but has provided some nice lifts in key moments. Lance Stephenson has had two big games. Roy Hibbert has been an absolute man in all four games. Paul George, though, has faded after two stellar games to begin the series and must to find his legs if the Pacers want to extend/win the series.
Less important is the game in St. Louis between the Cardinals and Royals. The Cardinals are on fire and the Royals, losers of nine straight and 13 of 16, are turning this into another disastrous campaign. Adding insult to injury is last week’s Sports Illustrated cover story on the Cardinals, which pointed out how they’re over a decade into a cycle of being almost perfect with personnel decisions. They’ve pulled off the very difficult feat of being very good on the field, winning two World Series and losing another, and putting together an outstanding minor league system. The Royals can’t even manage to do the second part right, with the most recent crop of phenoms all dropping into the Bust column.
It feels like a big game because, between the losing and some dumb media comments by members of the organization and growing anger in the fan base, this could be the point when something will happen with manager Ned Yost. I doubt owner David Glass will dump General Manager Dayton Moore mid-season, especially with the draft around the corner. But the moment seems ripe for making a change in the clubhouse.
Not that firing Ned will make a difference. I don’t think he’s a good manager, but this mess isn’t entirely his fault. Removing him isn’t going to turn this team into a squad that plays .600 baseball for six weeks and gets back in the race.
It’s another lost year in Kansas City, which is a freaking shame. True die-hard fans1 have waited patiently for far too long for the franchise to get its act together. The organization has sold promise since Moore’s arrival, and the delivery on that promise was supposed to have begun by now. Instead, it looks more-and-more like the prime of the players who have panned out, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler in particular, will be wasted as the organization goes through another cycle of rebuilding from the front office down. Meanwhile a dynasty is budding across the state and there’s really no compelling reason for kids from the western half of Missouri and across Kansas to not choose the Cards over the Royals.
- I freely admit that does not include me. Although I’ve followed them closely again for nearly a decade now, I did abandon them through most of the 90s. ↩