Hopeless Joe’s Hopeless Royals Chat

Hopeless Joe is, of course, a longtime Royals fan. How could he not be? Recently, he answered a series of questions about the Royals from other fans who are so hopeless that they don’t even exist. Here is a transcript of that chat.

Q. So, George Brett. Will he save this team from oblivion?

A. Well, despite the wise words of John Wathan (“There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll have an impact“), I am, as usual, skeptical. The last time a new hitting coach really changed anything was back in Little League, when my first hitting coach–our star second baseman’s father, who was trying to make up for a lack of steady employment by spending thirty hours a week working on “Little League-related matters”–was caught under the bleachers with our left fielder’s mother, “examining the grass down there.” His replacement, an accountant far ahead of his time statistically, advised us all to steer clear of the ball and wait for a walk, because the ball is dangerous, and we might get hurt. Our already-pitiful record got even worse. And that’s why I don’t think George Brett has much of chance to turn things around. I do expect an increase, however, in the number of Royals players who crap in their pants, even excluding any age-related incontinence that might be plaguing elderly third base placeholder Miguel Tejada.

Q. What do we do about Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer?

A. Unfortunately, I am to blame for Moustakas’s struggles, because he is on my fantasy team. So I apologize to any other Royals fans out there for doing that to them. I feel bad for Eric Hosmer, since his batting average is 100 points higher than Moustakas, and, still, they are lumped together in all discussions of lousitude. Not that Hosmer and his .654 OPS is awesome, but while he’s perhaps merely one three-month-long hot streak away from turning around his season, Moustakas probably just needs to start this one over from scratch. Which he can, if that time machine I’ve been trying to invent ever works out. It probably won’t, because why would anything I set my mind to accomplish actually happen?

Q. The starting pitching’s been fine though, right?

A. I’m going to give you the same answer that my doctor gave me when I asked him about my weight. “Yes, Hopeless Joe, your weight is fine, but there are dead people whose weight is fine too.” So, yeah, I guess one can’t really complain about the isolated performances of James Shields, Ervin Santana, and Jeremy Guthrie. Or, for that matter, Greg Holland, Luke Hochevar, Tim Collins, Bruce Chen, 4.1 scoreless innings from Lou Coleman, Alex Gordon, and David Lough. So, 40% of the active roster is not worth complaining about… which means the team can win, say, 40% of their games. And over the course of the season, that seems like about what we can expect. Starting pitching has been fine though, or at least three of the starting pitchers. Wade Davis, on the other hand, has a WHIP of 1.877, which is also the first 4 digits of the Youth America Counseling Hotline. Coincidence? Is anything really a coincidence anymore?

Q. But what about the future? Maybe there’s hope in the future?

A. Ah, hope. Yeah, there’s hope. Even though it seems like three generations ago when the Royals had the best farm system ever seen in baseball, it’s actually only been a couple of years. Then again, the Royals’ AA affiliate has a 16-38 record, a .296 winning percentage, 11 games behind the team in next-to-last place. And the 25-30 AAA Omaha team is led by future stars Xavier Nady and someone named Will Smith, sadly not the actor. The highest qualifying batting average on that AA team, incidentally, is .279. And the second-best qualifying ERA is 5.54.

Q. So what’s the answer?

A. Contraction, probably. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for Moustakas, Hosmer, Wade Davis, and anyone still watching the games. Or the realization that this is just a baseball team, and, heck, it’s probably healthier to root for a team that always fails, because at least then you can say there’s something worse in your life than your actual life. And that, for whatever it’s worth, should make you feel just a little bit better.

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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

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Pirates Hurdles
Pirates Hurdles

The Tale of the 1997 Pirates. Coming off a 73 win season led by 22 year old C Jason Kendall flanked by a stable of good young SP (Neagle, Schmidt, Lieber, Loaiza, and Cordova) armed with the game’s #1 farm system sporting 7 of the top 88 prospects in baseball (4 of the top 26), the Bucs surged to a 79 win mark. The 2000’s were going to be theirs for the taking. A year later Brian Giles would be stolen for a Ricardo Rincon, how could it all go wrong?!

I kept reminding all 3 people who listen to me of this when people spoke of the impending rise to greatness in KC. Maybe it is just bitterness or misery loves company, but it is crazy how this stuff happens to franchises already down and out. The Bucs took 15 years to get back to 79 wins, ugh.