As you have heard by now, the other day 610 Sports was interviewing Mike Moustakas about his time in camp. It was, I assume, the standard boilerplate interview. Until the issue of Moustakas beginning the season in the minor leagues came up…
As transcribed by Royals Review:
Wright: (To Moustakas) “There’s a decent chance that no matter how well you do this Spring Training, you might still start the year off in the minors just because of Baseball’s rules and wanting to hold on to eligibility, all that stuff. Do you think about that?”
Kendall: (Jumping in) “No, he wants to stay in the minor leagues all f—ing year. Are you s—ing me right now?”
NW: “Well, you heard the question, Jason?”
NW: “The Question wasn’t-“
JK: “Do you wanna start in the big leagues this year?”
NW: “Well hold on, is it not a legitimate question? I know he wants to start in the major leagues.”
JK: “He wants to start in the big leagues in this year.”
NW: “That wasn’t the question, Jason.”
JK: “Rewind yourself.”
I’m just going to stop at Rewind Yourself because that’s the quote of the year. Just a few days into camp, this one is going to be difficult to top. Especially with Jose Guillen riding off into the twilight. (Quick aside: Was anyone else surprised to hear that Guillen was retiring. I honestly thought he retired three years ago.)
A couple of things are going on here… Allow me to play clubhouse shrink for a moment.
Issue one – the veteran versus the rookie.
Yes, the tired but true clubhouse cliche rears it’s ugly head. Veterans – especially those on the fringe of their career – (and Kendall has been on the fringe for the better part of a decade.) are a notoriously crabby bunch. Especially when they see the replacements arriving. Of course, Moustakas isn’t a replacement for Kendall (I wish), rather he’s a symbol. New versus old. The gritty, wily veteran has had his day and the future – while it isn’t here right now – it’s certainly close.
If you’ve been paying any kind of attention to what’s happening in Surprise, you know that the entire focus of this camp has been about the minor leaguers. The tweets, the stories, the features… All about the young guys. Sure, there’s been mentions of Jeff Francis keeping the ball down in his bullpen sessions, or how Jeff Francoeur is a nice guy… But ultimately Royals fans don’t care. They don’t care about the guys on the “one and done” contracts. Nor do they give a damn about Kendall and his rehab. And all the attention on the young guys – players who haven’t done anything at the major league level – will undoubtedly play on the insecurities of the veterans.
Kendall is grasping at relevancy but his age, past performance and injury have him well on his way to the land of retirement.
The message here: Go talk to Kendall about the art of a .300 OBP instead of Moustakas, because Moose hasn’t spent a day in the majors.
Issue two – Clubhouse leadership and professionalism
Is it possible Kendall thinks he’s exhibiting his “leadership” qualities? If that’s the case, it’s misguided. The question was harmless, perhaps a bit weak, although a little complex for a baseball player. That service time stuff is for their agents. Although in Moustakas’ case, this has been discussed for the better part of a year. I’m sure he knows the situation and I’m sure he has an opinion. And I’m sure he’s savvy enough, if his opinion runs contrary to the Royals, to keep his mouth shut and toe the company line.
What’s hilarious is we all know how the Royals are with members of the media when they dare step out of line (I know, it rarely happens, but still…) Ask a difficult question and the ban hammer is swung with impunity. I wonder if the Royals PR was present when this went down. And I wonder if there will be any kind of rebuke for Kendall for his unprofessional behavior. The interviewer from 610 had the right to be in the clubhouse and had the right to ask his questions. He also had the reasonable expectation to perform his job without interruption. It’s not up to Kendall, who wasn’t involved in the interview to be judge and jury concerning the questions. It’s not his business.
Bottom line, Kendall interfered with someone doing their job. If the roles had been reversed you can be sure the Royals would have gone ballistic. Will Kendall be punished for his unprofessional behavior? Ha. The Royals will probably lay the blame at the feet of the interviewer for his line of questioning and give Kendall a plaque or something.
Issue three – Rewind Yourself
As I said, the early candidate for quote of the year. This will be used frequently this year at this site (and many others.)
— Billy Butler is leading the league in grounding into double plays? Rewind yourself!
— Bruce Chen isn’t as good as you thought… Rewind yourself!
— I thought the Royals had that game in hand after jumping out to that massive lead… Rewind yourself!
— I miss Trey Hillman… Rewind yourself!
— Jason Kendall needs to rewind himself and ride off into the sunset.