The way the Kansas City Royals are going these days, they’re soon going to change their colors to silver and black.
The fightin’ Royals have spent the first three weeks of the baseball season emulating the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, except for the fact they’re winning most of their games instead of losing them.
The latest dust-up for the Royals occurred Thursday night when chief instigator Yordano Ventura gave Chicago’s Adam Eaton the evil staredown after Eaton had the audacity to ground back to the mound. When Ventura fielded the ball, he glared at Eaton and then words were exchanged, which once again led to the obligatory emptying of the dugouts.
Ventura, who was so poised and unassuming last year as a rookie including a cucumber-cool performance in Game 6 of the World Series to force a deciding game, inexplicably believes he’s the second coming of Muhammad Ali, except he’s in the lightweight class. He hasn’t made it through a game yet this year without some type of disturbance and the word is getting out that it’s easy to get under his skin.
It’s up to Kansas City manager Ned Yost to nip this in the bud right here and now. Ventura has a world of talent, but he’s no good to the Royals if he’s getting kicked out of games, receiving suspensions or setting off firestorms that cause his teammates to be excused from the proceedings.
After Thursday’s latest bouts, Lorenzo Cain is a candidate to miss a game or two. Ditto for Edinson Volzquez. At the least, they’re going to be lighter in the pocket book, which alone should discourage their trash talking and pugilism.
Of course we can’t forget last weekend’s series with the Oakland A’s, which was baseball’s version of the Crips and Bloods. Nary an inning went by where there wasn’t some woofin’ going on and a show of manhood.
Of course, fans are eating this up. Brett Lawrie, Oakland’s baseball version of Ben Davidson (who famously suplexed KC hero Lenny Dawson more than 40 years ago), was quoted as saying the Royals fans were totally out of order last weekend and helped egg on the shenanigans. Fortunately because of frigid conditions Thursday night, only a few hearty souls were in attendance, though their voices were much clearer to pick up because of the stadium’s emptiness.
I can understand the Royals wanting to be respected. I’m sure a lot of teams in baseball look at what they did last year and write it off as a fluke, though this year’s start should temper some of those thoughts. Royals batters have been getting hit at an alarming rate and there are ways to take care of that.
However at some point, the Royals are going to have to turn the other cheek and let their playing do their talking. They can’t rumble every series, because at some point it’s going to hurt them to have key performers sitting out just because they want to hit opposing players instead of the baseball.
Yost probably had a sitdown today with the Royals. I’m sure the White Sox are going to goad them in Game 2 tonight. It will be interesting to see how they react.