There's a special reason I start with the Royals in FTG's team-by-team preview, and it's not the poster boy of free agent market absurdity Gil Meche. But you'll have to read on to find out what that is...
These are heady times in Surprise, Arizona, where the Kansas City Royals broke camp this past week. And why shouldn't they be? Just look at the laundry list of coveted superstars the Royals have brought on board this year: Octavio Dotel (he was great in 2004! snatch him up on your fantasy team! I'm actually kinda serious...), David Riske (fast becoming a journeyman), Jason LaRue (Gage sheds a solitary tear), someone named Joakim Soria (not to be confused with the catfighting Noah), Ross (I'll fucking kill you if you keep calling me Choad while consistently relegating me to role player status--I bat .300, goddamnit!) Gload, and of course, everyone's favorite $55 million 4.65 career ERA (it's 4.82 the past 3 years!) man, Gilbert Allen Meche.
Yeah. That's the best they could do. In a word, the Royals are fucked. They'd be fucked even if they didn't have to play the White Sox and Tigers a total of 36 times this year. They'd be fucked even if they had not desperately inflated the free agent pitching market by throwing an obscene amount of cash at a mediocre-at-best middle-of-the-rotation won-a-career-high-15-games-back-in-2003 starting pitcher. They'd be fucked even if Mike Sweeney decided it was time to man up and stay off the DL this year. Why, you ask? Because they're just not that good.
A quick glance at their depth chart shows below-average and not necessarily up-and-coming players at every single position. Sure, Reggie Sanders is seemingly ageless and "is one handsome man" as Hawk would say as DJ sits there uncomfortably, but he's 39. If the Royals had any talent in the farm system at all, why in God's name are they wasting their time on Sanders when this team obviously isn't competing for anything this year? His veteran leadership, I suppose? Maybe, but Christ, you gotta think the Royals have a better option than Reggie Sanders. The only bright spot I can see is their third baseman Mark Teahen, who's still only 25 and showed a hell of a lot of improvement last year. The rotation doesn't need much analysis when your top two pitchers are Meche and Odalis Perez. Suck.
So with no hope save for the delusional variety hovering around Royals camp this year and many years past, how's the season being spun by the fans, you ask? Well, the bloggers are already bracing for disappointment. Which is odd, because when the Royals have sucked as long and as bad as they have, how can you be disappointed? You have to expect everyone to tank, right? I guess not. But at least they don't buy into the delusional optimism you see on the official Royals site, where Gil Meche is determined to earn his $11 million/year and Octavio Dotel is on the comeback trail.
But the main reason I wanted to kick off the team-by-team previews by disparaging the Royals is because I detest Rob Neyer, Royals superfan #whatever-the-fuck. Your team doesn't even have a player good enough to be a superfan of. I can't remember exactly why I detest you, Rob, but I think it has something to do with your holier-than-thou fancy-pants statistical analysis, your shit-eating grin and plaid shirt in your old ESPN headshot, the fact that you have disappeared behind the elitist Insider curtain, and that I vaguely recall you once making disparaging remarks about my White Sox. Yeah, it's becoming pretty clear to me now.
So enjoy another season of the Royals getting their asses handed to them, you cockjob.