Royals Authority

Deconstructing The Process

fiore

1B ∙ 1969—70

Mike Fiore came to the Royals via the Orioles in the 1968 expansion draft, played 107 games in their inaugural season, and hit the first home run in team history. The solo shot came in the team’s fifth game, and broke a 0-0 tie in Oakland with Blue Moon Odom on the hill. Fiore ended the season with 12 homers.

But his time with the Royals is most remarkable for his walk rate and on base percentage in 1969. At .420, his OBP was .066 points higher than the next guy on the team. His OBP in the minors had been around .400, so it appears to have been a real skill for Fiore. Out of players with 400 PAs in team history, Fiore’s walk rate of 19% remains by far the highest. Few people, if any, were taking note of such a useful skill in 1969 however, and after Fiore started 1970 with a poor average and no power—but still taking his walks—he was sent to the Red Sox in exchange for Tommy Matchick after playing just 25 games.

Bill James had this to say about Fiore’s short stint with the Royals:

There was NO understanding or appreciation whatsoever of the value of his walks. On the contrary, he took a lot of static for failing to drive in runs. He was a first baseman and hit third/fourth; he was supposed to drive in runs, not take walks. When he started slowly in 1970 they gave up on him in two weeks. I think it is unlikely that Fiore was really as good as his 1969 stats. I think it is likely that, given more playing time, he would have hit .250 with a .390 on base percentage, not .274 with a .420 on base percentage, as he did in 1969. But I also think it was foolish for the Royals to give up on him when he had a little slump early in the 1970 season.*

Fiore was never given a chance to play on a semi-regular basis in the majors other than in ’69. In very limited time with the Red Sox, Cardinals, and finally the Padres, he did not do well. But he kept piling up walks in Class AAA through 1978. His 1969 season remains one of the strangest and most under-appreciated by a Royal. I’d love to hear from Fiore about his approach, what he thought about the value of walks at the time, and what feedback he got from his hitting coaches and managers. He may not have ever been a star, but in today’s era, he probably would be better appreciated at least to the point where he could have gotten more of a shot.

*James, Bill. “Hey Bill.” http://www.billjamesonline.com/hey_bill/?Year=2011&Month=6#29226 (June 20, 2011).

Long time readers know, one of my favorite things is to quote the Buddy Bell Axiom:

Never say things can’t get worse.

It seems appropriate because we are now talking about a Royals team that has scored a grand total of two runs in two games against the Houston Astros. They have 15 hits in that time. All singles. Their last home run was May 18, 2014. (Yeah, I need to add the year as a qualifier. You never know.)

I don’t usually like to compare sports teams in different leagues. But last night something happened I thought was appropriate. The Royals were at home against the Astros. On the other side of the 435 loop, Sporting KC was at home to New York. Sporting, with their rebranding, new stadium and engaged ownership, are definitely in the ranks of major league sports. As such, both the Royals and Sporting will be spending the summer competing for the entertainment dollar of Kansas City. You can get tickets to Royals games for as low as $7. At Sporting, the cheapest ticket is $32. This makes sense as the Royals will have 81 home dates while Sporting will play a quarter of that at home.

Last night, Sporting drew an announced crowd of 19,221.

The Royals drew 17,862.

Let that sink in for a moment. On a Tuesday night in May, with all things being equal, more Kansas Citians chose to spend more money to attend a soccer game in KCK than a baseball game at The K. You could have walked up to the box office at Kauffman (or logged in to StubHub), bought a ticket for under $10 and basically selected where you sat once you entered your stadium. Or you could have bought a standing room only ticket at Sporting Park and squeezed along a rail behind the north goal.

Spare me your “But soccer sucks” rants. Whether or not you like soccer isn’t relevant to the point.

The point is, the Royals aren’t just losing on the field. They have waged a three decade long war against their fan base. Every time I meet someone in their teens or 20s who is a Royals fan, I ask them, “Why?” Why would you give your fandom to a team who shoves a subpar product in your face and otherwise treats you like the garbage that sticks to the bottom of your shoe? Myself? I’m a lost cause. I was there for the glory and I remember it and I think about how perfect it would be to get back to that level. I guess that makes me kind of dumb. Or hopeless. Or both.

This Royals franchise is at a crossroads. 2014 is the year it was all supposed to come together for Dayton Moore and his Process. And here we are, treading water in the dreaded sea of mediocrity. What is the cost of another failure? Wholesale firings? I’m not necessarily against that (I’ve called for Dayton’s dismissal and I continue to stand behind that. I wrote it, after all) but that likely means another complete rebuild. Or at least a rethinking. That’s probably a good idea, but how long would it take a new regime to affect change? One year? Two years? Do we have the stomach for that? Do we have a choice?

I don’t know anymore. And that makes me sad for the state of baseball in Kansas City.

Last year, we were at a similar point and the Royals went on a second half roll where they at one point won 15 of 20 games and wedged themselves back into contention. Can they do it again for the second consecutive season? Watching the hitters fail at an alarming rate and the pitching regress, I’m skeptical.

But I’ll keep coming back. Yet it increasingly feels like I’m in the minority. And that’s not a good thing for the Royals.

Hello out there cyber-space travelers. My name is Aaron Stilley, and I am a Royals-aholic. Blogfathers Craig & Clark are welcoming me aboard as a third wheel here at Royals Authority, and I am excited to be joining such excellent writers and fans. My main bloggy home to this point has been a solo venture called Royal Heritage. I’ve also written about Jackie Robinson’s time with the Monarchs, did a weekly post at I70Baseball.com for a while, and twit it up at @Royal_Heritage. My interest in Kansas City, baseball, and history led me to start digging into the history of the game in KC, so I focus almost as much on the Cowboys, Unions, Packers, Blues, A’s, and Monarchs as I do the Royals.

I was born and raised in Kansas City, and am just old enough to half remember the ’85 World Series. I was a fairly casual fan as a kid, but have fond memories of going to Royals Stadium with my family, my dad telling me Willie Wilson was faster than greased lightning, watching Frank White’s grace at second base, Bo Jackson being Bo Jackson, George Brett’s last home game, and singing “Woolly Bully” with my brother when Danny Tartabull came to the plate. Baseball completely dropped off my radar during high school and college, so I have a Royals blind spot around 1995-2003. But after college, I was living in Minneapolis and then Iowa City, and I found myself missing Kansas City. The Royals started to serve as a lifeline back to my hometown and my friends and family there. I couldn’t actually see many games, but I read game recaps religiously for those terrible teams in ’04-’06, attended games on visits home, and eventually found some of the great writing going on at fan sites. Reading Moneyball sometime in there was also a big influence on my love for baseball returning, as well as on seeing the game through new-school eyes.

In 2007, my wife and I moved back to KC, and I haven’t missed many games since. Attending games at the K again on a regular basis was idyllic. In 2013, my wife’s job situation led us to move to a suburb of Minneapolis, so baseball is once again serving as a long distance connection back to the place I love.


I’ll probably be commenting on the current state of affairs for the team on occasion, but for the foreseeable future, I’ll be focusing on kicking off my list of the top 100 Royals players. In light of the maddening offense and Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer injuries, it might serve as a nice break to go back and look at what went right for some players. I compiled the list in a very stat-heavy way, which I’ll explain below, but I don’t want the actual posts to be too bogged down by stats. I’ll attempt to convey the shape of each player’s time with the club and explore how they found success.

I’m using a strict formula for my rankings, so the list doesn’t exactly reflect my opinion of who the top 100 players are, though I guess you could say the formula is my subjective guess at how to best rank players. Adam Darowski’s work at the Hall of Stats had a big influence on my method. Here’s how I’ve done it:

  • All players with at least 500 plate appearances or 50 innings pitched were considered.
  • Three numbers are used: 1. Wins Above Average (WAA) from Baseball-Reference.com, 2. an average of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) found at Baseball-Reference.com and Fangraphs.com, and 3. a 0-10 rating for playoff performance.
  • Because I’m only trying to capture peak performance with WAA, any seasons with negative WAA are thrown out.
  • To put WAA and WAR on the same scale, I multiply WAR by .47.
  • Any Royal to appear in a playoff game automatically gets at least a 1 on their playoff rating. The more postseason games and the better the performance, the higher the score. There’s some subjectivity in those ratings. After running the player ratings with the playoff points, I decided the playoff factor was giving guys too much of a boost. So I multiplied the 1-10 ratings by .7, meaning any player to appear in a playoff game automatically gets .7 points added to their score, and as much as 7.
  • Add those three numbers together.

I’m looking forward to getting started on the list and my time at Royals Authority. Cheers.

I am a Royals fan.

That’s a rather straightforward declarative statement. Not a surprise, either. This is a Royals blog, after all. On the scale of “shocking development” to “no duh,” it gal

The last 25 years or so (I’ve lost count and really, it’s not all that important) the Royals as a team have presented us with little to be happy about. A nice run of games here or there – That 15-5 run from last year was pretty insane – but largely we are talking about some really dreadful teams. It’s been a struggle finding reasons to watch. Thankfully, there have been some individual performances of quality in the midst of some awful team efforts.

Happy Greinke Day was born in a season where the Royals lost 96 games and had Jose Guillen in the lineup. Horrible team. A great individual season gave us reason to watch at least every fifth day.

The 2011 team had 325 doubles, which was the second highest total in the league. It featured four guys – Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur – who all hit at least 44 two-baggers. They lost 91 games, but the offense could be kind of fun to watch.

Eric Hosmer’s second-half renaissance was equal parts amazing and enjoyable. Even if it wasn’t enough to rescue the Royals from the hole they dug for themselves in May.

Your mileage may vary on the positives above, but the point is, when you’re a fan of a dreadful team, you need to search for those kind of things. You need something to pull you to tune into the game. A favorite player. A good player. A sustained performance of the highest quality. Something. Anything. It’s about finding something fun to watch on an mediocre to poor baseball team.

For me thus far in 2014, it’s been all about Yordano Ventura.

Ventura has been Must-See TV. The fastball, the change and the curve. I can’t wait for every fifth day to roll around so I can watch him start. He isn’t as dominant as early ’09 Greinke, but that electric stuff is so fun to watch. The Royals offense is awful. Their pitching is keeping them around .500. And Ventura is the most entertaining of the bunch.

As I said above, this is just my personal preference. You may like James Shields. Or Greg Holland. Or Wade Davis The Reliever. Any of those (and others) are acceptable. But for me, Ventura has become my favorite Royal.

It was immediately obvious something was wrong with Ventura on Monday. Diminished velocity. Location was all over the place. He just wasn’t right.

This is his confrontation with Dexter Fowler, the third hitter in the game for the Astros. Gameday doesn’t do justice to how badly Ventura missed.

FowlerPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the saddest image of all, Ventura’s velocity chart from Brooks Baseball:

Ventura_Velo525

 

That decline after around pitch 33. Oh, jeez.

The Royals announced during the game Ventura left with lateral elbow discomfort. He’s going for an MRI on Tuesday. A quick Google says lateral elbow discomfort is basically tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication. At this point, we can consider this the best case scenario. If the Royals were incorrect in their initial diagnosis (or decided to float a smoke screen) and it’s the medial portion of the elbow… Yeah. We’re all baseball fans. We know what’s happened this year to basically every decent young pitcher. And we’re Royals fans, too. Total doomsday scenario.

I’m reserving my total freak out for when the announcement is made, but let me put it this way: I’m stockpiling like it’s Y2K. You can’t be a Royals fan without a touch of fatalism. What happened to Ventura on Monday is simply another notch on the bedpost of bullshit we have to endure as Royals fans. I’m not going to type the words, but I fear it’s coming. It’s just better to be prepared.

To add insult to injury, the same game Ventura leaves with elbow discomfort, the Astros young phenom George Springer goes 4-4 with five runs scored and a monster jack into the fountains in left. Sometimes, baseball just isn’t fair. Sometimes, it’s three decades of crap.

Nobody said baseball was fair. As Royals fans we’ve become accustomed to abuse. What happened Monday was just cruel. It’s not about Ventura pitching this team to October. He’s good, but he’s not that good. For me, it’s about watching a potentially great pitcher do his thing every fifth day. It’s about looking forward to a game. It’s about electricity. It’s about excitement. It’s about fun.

Hey… Looks like Alex Gordon is warming up.

So the schedule maker got a little freaky. The Royals just finished a seven game west coast swing a couple of weeks ago. Now, they head back to California for three games and a short road trip.

They’re headed to Anaheim, former home of Steve Physioc, Rex Hudler and Jason Vargas. They will face an Angels team that is hot, winners of 18 of their last 30.

This is a pretty complete team. They lead the majors in team WAR and has an offense that ranks among the top of the AL.

Angels_Offense523

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Angels offense is all about Mike Trout. And that Albert Pujols guy is close to being that Albert Pujols guy. And Josh Hamilton is on the disabled list. Basically, this is the team you figured the Angels could be at the start of the season. This is how MLB Depth Charts sees the lineup:

Angels_Lineup523

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course Mike Scoscia would hit one of his lowest OBP guys first. David Freese is struggling and Raul Ibanez is eligible for carbon dating. So, like any lineup there are some holes. But the weapons are pretty powerful. The bench is useful, too.

Angels_Bench523

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pitching isn’t too shabby, either.

Angels_Pitching523

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few more walks than league average, but sweet strikeout numbers and the xFIP is looking good. This is a team that if they keep their crap together will be in the mix for the postseason. Oh, yeah. The Royals will face their top two starters this weekend.

Angels_Rotation523

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m probably most excited to see the opening game. Just to see how Danny Duffy follows up his last outing that was so great.

Finally, it’s all about the runs. The Royals are hanging around because of their pitching. But you knew that. The Angels? Based on what I’ve shown you above, their run differential is positive and spectacular.

Angels_Runs523

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s going to be a difficult series for the Royals, but one that comes at a good time for this team.

Have a great holiday weekend. Thanks for the warm welcome back. I said in the comments last night, it’s great to see so many familiar names pop up in the last couple of days. There may be a post this weekend, but don’t count on it. We’ll talk to you again on Tuesday.

 

Well, Ned Yost did, but that’s not the point.

However, I think there is a plan when it comes to Mike Moustakas.   I am not saying it is a good plan, but Mr. Moore might have an idea.  Hell, Moustakas is hitting – more accurately not hitting – to the tune of a .152/.223/.320 triple slash:  there needed to be some kind of plan for something!

One would assume the Moore plan is based on the Alex Gordon model that eventually turned a spiraling downward third basemen into a Gold Glove All Starish left fielder.  That excludes a couple of key facts:

  • When Gordon was sent down for real in 2010 (he was demoted in 2009 as well, under the guise of injuries/rehab), Alex was hitting just .194/.342/.323 on May 1st.  For his career, 1,399 plate appearances, Alex sported a .249/.311/.360 triple slash.  (Yes, I’m using triple slashes here – you don’t get advanced metrics Mr. Moustakas until you routinely top the Mendoza line).   Moustakas has been worse that Gordon, even in his best year, at least offensively.
  • When Alex Gordon came back later in 2010 as an outfielder, he managed to hit just .218/.311/.360.  Two months in Omaha where he hit .315/.442/.577 did not a major league hitter make.
  • Only after an off-season of a complete swing rebuild (this remains Kevin Seitzer’s most valuable contribution to the Kansas City Royals) did the player we see now actually emerge.

The more accurate ‘plan’ would be the Mark Teahen experience.   Teahen was floundering as well when sent down in May of 2005 with a season mark of .195/.241/.351 and career line of .237/.297/.369 in just under 600 plate appearances.   He proceeded to smack AAA pitching around to the tune of .380/.500/.658 in just under 100 plate appearances and then just kept on going in the majors.

For one beautiful summer, Mark Teahen was tremendous, hitting 50 extra base hits in just 82 starts (including 16 home runs) and raking to the tune of .313/.384/.557.   Of course, Mark went into decline after that, but 2014 is the ‘go for it year’, so who cares about 2015 right now?   Could Moustakas do the same as Teahen?  I could see it, sure.  Sadly, I could see him come back no better as well.

He could be Andy Marte.

You might remember Marte as the 2004 #11 prospect in baseball.  And #9 in 2005 and #14 in 2006.  Trust me, Mark Teahen was miles better in the majors than Marte and Mark doesn’t have a job anymore.

Maybe there is not a plan.   There’s a chance that Yost and Moore just got fed up with Moustakas and wanted a change of scenery for all involved.   However, as this whole string of words started out, my guess is they are hoping for a big month in Omaha out of the former star prospect while Danny Valencia rides a hot streak in the majors, followed by a triumphant return to KC for Mike (maybe they’ll have a parade, too).

Reasons and plans, or lack thereof, aside:  this was an actual big boy baseball move.  One that admits that the Royals pinned their hopes on a guy who simply was not getting the job done.   In a small way, it makes the Royals seem like an organization thinking first of getting better instead of making themselves appear to be the smartest kid in the class.

 

As an aside, great to be back here at Royals Authority.   While I had fun over at Royals Review, a more casual and less corporate environment made all the sense in the world to both Craig and myself.  We are, after all, just a couple of grumpy old men, sitting in the lobby of Authority HQ smoking cigars and leering at the receptionist.  

 

The move had the inevitably of the Sonny Corleone hit, yet the subtlety of that time Jerry bashed Tom over the head with a sledgehammer. Or an axe.. The Royals finally closed their eyes and did what was long overdue. They sent Mike Moustakas to Omaha.

There is much rejoicing amongst Royals fans. Finally. Finally, they are doing the right thing. Maybe this is the opportunity for Moustakas to rebuild his career the same way Alex Gordon and Billy Butler did theirs.

I’m not so sure about that. Three things stand out in my mind. First, while both Gordon and Butler struggled mightily at times early in their careers, neither player hit the depths where Moustakas currently resides. In 2008 when Butler was farmed out, he was hitting .263/.330/.339. Not so much power – just one home run and 11 doubles in 206 plate appearances – but he wasn’t an automatic out. Gordon, who you could argue had his development hampered by injury, was hitting .194/.342/.323 after returning from a thumb fracture suffered in spring training when he was sent down. Again, not an automatic out.

The difference is Moustakas is a career .236/.290/.379 hitter. That covers over 1,600 plate appearances. And he’s getting worse. Going back to the start of 2013 he’s hitting .216/.273/.355. That’s in 653 plate appearances. Gross.

Second, both Gordon and Butler are mentally strong. Gordon is a workout animal and I don’t think Butler has ever doubted his ability to hit the baseball. Yeah, it’s a bummer getting demoted and you never know how anyone will react. Ahead of his demotion, Gordon looked absolutely lost. Like he wanted to be anywhere but the diamond. The demotion and subsequent position change seemed a true last-ditch effort on the part of the team and the player. It doesn’t feel all that dissimilar to what’s happening now with Moustakas. But one thing we’ve learned over time is Gordon works tirelessly at his craft. Butler just seems irritated whenever he doesn’t barrel the ball. He’s always taken a ton of pride from his hitting. (I know I’m going all “body language” on you here, but it goes to mental state. Which is important in a player who has the tools but is struggling.) Fortunately, Gordon and Butler responded.

Will Moustakas? I’m not sure. We know he doesn’t watch video and while I haven’t heard anything negative about his work ethic, I haven’t heard raves either.

And third, Gordon and Butler possessed a more rounded hit tool than Moustakas. Both players were hitters, if that makes sense. Moustakas came through the organization as a power hitting prospect. The projections were always along the line of he won’t give you a high average and the OBP will be on the lower side of acceptable, but he could challenge the Steve Balboni Record. As I showed above, when Butler and Gordon went down, both were contributing offensively by getting on base. Moustakas isn’t contributing at all offensively.

Now what? I assume the Royals gave Moustakas some sort of idea of how long he will be in Triple-A. Now it’s up to him to pull his head out and perform. My reservation is even if he does well in Omaha, it won’t stick. We’ve been down this road before in spring training and Venezuela. He’ll hit great against lesser competition, but when it comes time to put it together in The Show he hits a rough patch and all the good quickly becomes undone. I hope that’s not the case. Because the Royals need a power bat in the lineup. They need Mike Moustakas to reach his potential.

I’m just afraid we’ve already seen his ceiling.

Coming off a couple of tough defeats, the Royals needed a shot of adrenaline to jump start their club. Jeremy Guthrie was the man on Wednesday, throwing seven innings of three hit, one run ball to keep the Royals in the game before handing it off to the bullpen.

Guthrie is a confounding pitcher. A pitching wizard. Take Wednesday, for example. Guthrie delivered a performance of quality, but it’s a performance he won’t be repeating too frequently. It’s not difficult to see that when digesting some of the numbers.

— Twelve of Guthrie’s outs were recorded on the ground, compared to seven in the air. For the game according to FanGraphs, Guthrie posted a ground ball rate of 57 percent. Compare that to his seasonal rate of around 43 percent. We know Guthrie has a home run problem (and that’s being kind) so it behooves him to keep the ball on the ground. That’s something he doesn’t do, but he was able to on Wednesday.

— Guthrie threw first pitch strikes to 10 of the 26 batters he faced. That’s a rather thin 38 percent first strike rate. For the season, league average is around 60 percent and Guthrie has outpaced his counterparts, posting a 67 percent first strike rate. It reasons that he can’t afford to fall behind in the count. I mean, that’s kind of an obvious statement, but it applies double to a pitcher like Guthrie who doesn’t miss many bats. The league is hitting .301/.333/.603 against Guthrie when he starts the plate appearance with ball one. Ummm… That’s not good. Despite regularly falling behind in the count, he surrendered only two hits after throwing ball one to open the plate appearance.

— White Sox hitters swung and missed only four times. Guthrie threw an even 100 pitches. I love simple math. That’s a four percent swinging strike rate. For the season, he gets a swing and a miss just under six percent of the time. Not a huge difference, but there’s not far to go when you’re already at six percent.

— Guthrie gets most of his swing and misses against his change and slider. Both pitches generate a whiff around 10 percent of the time. On Wednesday, he threw 19 sliders and got one swing and miss. Tip your cap to the White Sox for laying off the slider. They swung only four times, according to Brooks Baseball. He also had a single swing and miss against his change, although he threw 14 of those.

From Brooks Baseball, Guthrie’s velocity chart is a model of consistency.

Guthrie Velo 521

Guthrie threw five curves all night, none after pitch number 48. The massive dip around pitch 79 is his slow curve he will play with on rare occasions. Pitch f/x classified it as an eephus. And it was awesome.

Guthrie Eephus 521

It was a masterful performance. You could say Guthrie drove Uncle Hud’s bus on Wednesday. (Even though that sounds kind of NSFW.) As much as I loved it and as much as the Royals needed it, but the numbers suggest this is a performance we won’t be seeing too frequently. But as I said at the top of the post, Guthrie seems to have a knack of coming up roses in important spots. I tip my blogging cap in his direction. And hope he continues pulling those rabbits out of his magic hat.

Maybe you read the news at Royals Review. Or maybe you just still have this site bookmarked after nearly two years of dormant activity and just happened along this post. Either way, it’s true.

We’re going to power this thing back up and see how it goes.

I can’t (and won’t) make any promises about posting frequency. We may just put something online when the mood strikes. Or we may strive to get a post up every day. I’ve spent the last few days getting under the hood of the blog, making some upgrades and such. We’re both kind of technological agnostics, so it’s possible something cracked. As long as you don’t get some sort of 404 error, then I think we’re good.

Reset your bookmarks. Update your RSS feed. (I think that may be working.) And make plans to make this a destination. We’re a pair of long-time Royals fans who, after nearly 10 years of blogging, still may have a thing or two to say from time to time.

Thanks. More soon.

A few weeks ago, Clark, Nick and myself learned that Will McDonald of Royals Review was going to be turning in his Hot Pockets, exiting his mom’s basement and entering the real world. He was leaving the blog he founded many years ago. How did we know this? The powers that run the SB Nation baseball blogs approached us about joining their network. The idea was to bring our group to the SB Nation platform, get together with the remaining writers at the Review and form a larger, stronger collective to deliver the ultimate Royals website.

We accepted.

So you are reading our final post at Royals Authority. We’re closing up shop and moving down the street to Royals Review. It’s a larger neighborhood with a pretty damn strong infrastructure.

The move is not without some trepidation. Will McDonald is a force. A talent. We’re not going to Royals Review to replace him. His style is incredibly unique. We are going there to be ourselves. To use our voices to continue to cover the Royals the only way we know how. It will be fun. And maddening. And sometimes a little strange.

Change happens. It’s necessary. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get used to the new order. We are not going away… The only thing that’s changing is the name of the website and the URL where you will find us. That’s it. Our content isn’t going to change. I suspect a large number of you visit Royals Review daily. Consider this our effort to make your life easier. One bookmark, all the info you’ll need. In the off chance you’re not aware of Royals Review, we urge you to follow us down the road and see what it’s all about. You’ll like it.

The three of us have been a team at Royals Authority for a long time. We’re still a team. This is really about changing our address and joining forces with three outstanding writers that love the Royals. If this was an ad, at this point, I’d tout this as being “50 percent more!” With the amount of writers on staff, the goal moving forward is to post several times a day. With our roster, I’m thinking that won’t be a problem. So if at Royals Authority you’ve been visiting once a day knowing you’ll likely be reading that day’s output, at Royals Review we’ll have several stories each day as well as game threads and recaps. You’ll want to return again and again.

Our hope is to provide you with the best landing spot on the internet for Royals news and views.

Making a move like this isn’t easy. In the last couple of years, we’ve been fortunate enough to build a community of our own. We have countless commenters whom I immediately recognize. (I don’t want to name names, because I’ll inevitably forget someone.) Your comments and efforts at community have been greatly appreciated. We hope you will hop on the moving van and join us at the new digs. The commenting system may be intimidating at first glance, but if you jump in I think you’ll find it welcoming. Plus, the comments are threaded. Threaded! This provides a great opportunity to have an actual internet conversation.

Yes, it will take some getting used to. For all of us. For the last week or so, Clark, Nick and myself have been wandering around the inner sanctum of Royals Review, learning the software and trying to get comfortable with the new platform. If you aren’t a member of the Royals Review community, I suggest you head over there and sign up so you can start commenting. If you don’t want to comment, sign up anyway… Each time you visit the site, it tells you how many “new” comments have been posted since your last visit. It’s so damn easy to follow along with the community. And they’re constantly evolving the software to make things better. It’s a great landing place for us and for the blog.

Still, this move is bittersweet.

In 2005 I started a Royals blog and called it Warning Track Power. At the exact same time, a couple hundred miles away, Clark opened shop in his corner of the internet with a blog called the Royals Op-Ed Page. In July of that year, we were approached by Evan Brunell, the owner of the now-deceased Most Valuable Network. The idea was to join forces and create a Royals blog for his network.

Royals Authority was born.

We opened for business July 14, 2005. (Holy crap… We’ve been doing this for almost seven years. That’s an eternity in internet years.) I don’t remember our first post or any of the details of the first couple of weeks. It seems I’ve blocked out entire years. (Just like Dayton Moore.) I do know that we’ve grown our daily readership from the hundreds to the thousands. That’s pretty cool. And it’s something neither of us dreamed was possible when we started.

Thank you.

Still, this being the internet, we haven’t been standing still. After a few years, we jumped from MVN to Bloguin to be their featured Royals blog. After around a single year on that platform, we added Nick to our lineup and angled our way into the arms of ESPN and their fledgling SweetSpot Network.

In the meantime, we tried to host a bulletin board, self-published two books – the second of which was really good, but nobody bought – and learned how to design our own site. It’s been fun. Believe me, if it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t be doing this.

We owe Evan a great deal of gratitude. He’s told me on more than one occasion that bringing the two of us together was one of his better success stories in the time he operated MVN. That’s pretty cool. There have also been a ton of great writers along the way who have encouraged us and motivated us. Joe Hamrahi at Baseball Prospectus has been a huge champion of this site and I personally owe him a ton. I’ll try to pay it off the entire All-Star weekend. Marc Normandin at SB Nation has been instrumental in our move. He’s another guy who has done far too much in helping us advance our work. Geoff Young of the recently departed Ducksnorts has always been ready to help with advice and provided the motivation for the Royals Authority Annuals.

And the mainstream media in Kansas City has always been extremely welcoming to us. Joe Posnanski wrote the foreword to our first Annual. Sam Mellinger has been fantastic to exchange emails with from time to time. Bob Dutton is always available to answer a question… We probably don’t bother him enough. Kevin Kietzman at WHB has become a huge champion of this blog. So has Todd Leabo. It’s possible one of these guys directed you to our blog. They didn’t have to do that, but they did. And we appreciate it.

Thanks also have to go out to Rob Neyer, who was instrumental in bringing us on board at ESPN. As you probably know, he’s since moved to SB Nation as well. We’re stalking you, Rob. Also, thanks to David Schoenfeld, who took over the reins as ESPN’s lead SweetSpotter. Both guys have been instrumental in championing our work, linking to it with regularity and helping drive our audience.

And of course we have to thank you, the readers. Every day we get countless comments, emails and Tweets. It’s astounding to the three of us that we have created something that has become part of a daily ritual for so many. Too cool. There’s something about this Royal fanbase… We’ve been beaten down for so long, we need each other to survive. Yet we remain strangely hopeful that someday this team will turn it around and will get back to the summit. Personally, when that happens, I’m going to blow the internet up. I can’t wait.

What will happen to Royals Authority? We own the domain, and I suppose I’ll keep renewing it. The writers and commenters have wrung our hands and occasionally celebrated for the last couple years at this spot. It’s been our hangout. Our little corner of the Royals web. I have no clue how often our archives are visited, but I figure it’s worth it to keep those open. Plus, maybe I’ll get around to updating the Payroll tab at the top of this page and this site can continue to be a resource.

But we’re moving on… To a new look Royals Review

This isn’t the end. It’s a beginning. One that we’re excited about. We hope you are, too.

We are looking forward to working with Jeff Zimmerman, Old Man Duggan, Royals Retro and the entire community of Royal Review. And we wish Will the best of luck in his endeavors in the real world.

This new beginning is going to be great. I hope you’ll join us.

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