by John Viril—
Yeah, I know this isn’t really much of a “story”. Really, it’s more an ode to frustration. You can tell simply from the title.
And, I darn well know that Royals “Ace” Bruce Chen beat Sale today. But, everyone knows that doesn’t really mean anything with regard to their relative abilities. We fans would get group hernias jumping for joy if we could replace Chen with Chris Sale in the Royals rotation. Heck, and I even have a sneaky affection for Chen because I think he gets the most out of his ability. He’s a viable major league starter and I congratulate him on the hard work and dedication it takes for him to manage that level of achievement with pedestrian “stuff”.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to like Chen—warts and all—on a day when he pitches 6.2 shutout innings and beats a true no. 1 like Sale.
That brings us to the frustration. Most Royals fans know the story. How, just prior to the 2010 amateur draft, strong pre-draft rumors linked the Royals to lhp Chris Sale at the no. 4 slot. That year, there were three clear elite prospects (Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Manny Machado), and a whole lot of unclear candidates at no. 4. However, other reports emerged that the Royals became unsure of Sale’s contract demands and didn’t know if they could sign him, leading them to take Cal-State Fullerton middle infielder Christian Colon at no. 4. This is sort of like looking back and realizing you decided to take Lindsay Lohan to the prom instead of Amanda Seyfried.
Oh, the humanity!
Of course, Chris Sale fell to no. 13 overall to the White Sox—then promptly tore through the minor leagues to become a left-handed ace for division-rival Chicago by 2012 (17-7, 2.82 ERA, 181 K’s in 181.2 IP). How much better would we all feel about: GM Dayton Moore, owner David Glass, the Royals’ future prospects, the outlook of the economic “recovery”, the probability of discovering cold fusion within our lifetimes, and the fact that Kourtney Kardashian* is a multi-millionare for being stupid enough to have two children with that clown Scott Dizic, if Chris Sale resided at the top of the Royals rotation today?
*[full disclosure compels me to reveal that I live in Tucson and cannot freak'n believe that Kourtney has a University of Arizona degree (located in Tucson, for you non-Arizonans). I'm appalled at this idea, and I'm not even a U of A alum---I just have a nephew in school there].
Had the Royals made Sale that no. 4 choice, the Royals would probably be in contention for the Central title rather than the White Sox and Moore would likely be the toast of Kansas City. More importantly, the “Our Time” campaign devised by the Royals’ PR staff would be a stroke of marketing genius rather than another instance in a long-line of administrative buffoonery from the team’s front office.
To quote The Color of Money’s Grady Seasons in the 1986 Tom Cruise/Paul Newman vehice about pool hustling: “It’s like a nightmare, isn’t it? It just keeps getting worse and worse.” (Btw, karmic confluence has placed this quote in a movie released in the year the Royals were defending World Champions—an altogether too-perfect omen for the next 27 years).
Unfortunately for Royals’ fans, I don’t think Dayton Moore is intentionally “dumping” games to improve the odds later on (like Cruise was doing in the movie). For us, the “nightmare” is the reality we’ve been living since 1985.