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Let This Be The Royals Moment

Oct 08, 2014 -- 4:16pm


I've long tried to understand why baseball fans are so defensive of their teams. Much more so than other fans in other sports. All fans are defensive on some level, but it’s just different in baseball.

In the NFL, criticism is not only welcome, it’s often expected from the media and fans. Fans want wins, plain and simple. In college sports, fans are defensive, allegiance is a huge part of the fan culture, lines are drawn, but at the end of the day, most fan bases know their roles in the hierarchy of what college sports are. Kansas State relishes being disrespected, Mizzou fans expect things to go wrong in the big moments, Kansas fans, walk around in their own little world of Jayhawk supremacy.

Baseball is different. It isn’t about allegiance, it isn’t about popularity or hierarchy or even wins. It’s a local, cultural, familial bond. The one thing baseball has that no other sport has, is the exclusive attention of fans every day for 4 months out of the year. To fall in love, you need prolonged intense contact. Baseball has that with its fans, and it creates this bond with a team that is more familial than any in sports.

If you have children or siblings, you understand this: no one is allowed to take shots at your family, but you. When your kids are on the big stage, they can do no wrong, we all have soft spots for our own. If your little ‘Charlie’ misspells ‘balloon’ at the spelling bee, its not him, it’s the system, “they didn’t go over that in class! How is he supposed to know that word!”

We protect our own. The Royals… the Royals are Kansas City’s own. The Chiefs aren’t playing games everyday for four straight months. When I criticized Mike Moustakas for being a poor hitter earlier this season, you’d have thought I said Kansas City’s child was a bad speller. Let’s forget his slash line this season was .212/.271/.361, “that’s my player! It’s not his fault!” was the reaction.

There is something myopic and nonsensical about defending players blindly because of the color jersey a player wears. But there’s also often myopic and nonsensical about love. Kansas City is in love with the Royals. They’ve stuck by them for 30 years. I can finally say, “I get it.”

It’s why when I hear people say, “It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Kansas City,” which I’ve heard a lot on our post game shows the last few weeks. My response is this: Yes it is, but let’s not lose sight of what this is really all about. The Chiefs are doing great, Sporting KC has done so well recently and K-State, Mizzou and KU all have things to be happy about recently, but lets not lose sight of what the Royals are doing. This time is about the ROYALS. It’s a great time to be a Royals fan. What’s happening with them is uniquely “Royal” and uniquely Kansas City.

You can have great passionate relationships with any team, but with the Royals it is different for so many reasons, not just the bond, but what that bond represents because of 30 years of losing, because of turmoil, because of the constant reminder their failure is your burden as a fan, because you never left.

It is a great time to be a sports fan in Kansas City, but this about the Royals. Let this be THEIR moment. Let it be yours.

Wizard & Genius: Malzahn takes on the master

Sep 18, 2014 -- 9:50am

By  @TJCarpenterWHB

It’s not hyperbole – long before the HUNH offense, Bill Snyder revolutionized the way undersized programs recruit, scheme and attack traditional powerhouses.

He turned upsets into expectations. He did it with unique strategies and a new way of thinking. After 30 years, opposing coaches still can’t figure out him and his Kansas State Wildcats.  Which is what makes this Thursday night’s game against Auburn so much more intriguing.

Similarly, Tigers’ coach Gus Malzahn marches to the beat of his own drummer. He’s often called an offensive “genius”. Is it hyperbole?

I don’t know, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

What I do know is Auburn at Kansas State will be the best coaching match-up of the 2014 college football season.

Perhaps Malzhan’s most valuable coaching attribute is that he has no tendencies as a play-caller. He is unique in this regard.

Everyone has tendencies … but not Malzahn.  His system allows plays that acutely attack the weakness of each specific defense.

In a different way, Snyder has been equally as effective; there is no better coach at finding and exploiting the tendencies/weaknesses of an opponents. Malzahn the master of surprise, Snyder the master of attack.

Thursday isn’t Ali and Liston … it’s Byrne and Fischer.  (HERE - [hperlink - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Game_of_the_Century_(chess)], let me help you!)

For a football junkie, this the match-up you dream about.  One you circle on the calendar and remember forever – all the more so given Snyder’s age.

He’s one of the best coaches in college football history in part because he turned a perennial doormat into a champion out of nothing but cunning and guile.  And he did it twice!

Malzahn is perhaps the hottest young coach in the game today – the star of the hour.  Not simply because he’s been successful everywhere he’s parked his bus on every level in every way, although he has.

Rather, it is because he’s done it without a noticeable blueprint.

He sees situations, assesses them, finds the solution, and then coaches up his players on who to execute it.

Both Malzahn and Snyder are remarkably good at solving problems and adapting to adverse circumstances, and both win at an elite level.  So, which one wins on Thursday … the young upstart wizard or the crafty master?

One thing’s for certain – I wouldn’t miss this for anything.

Chiefs Training Camp Report, 8/12/2014

Aug 12, 2014 -- 1:56pm
- Eric Berry was kept out as a precaution as his tendonitis flamed up today
- Mike Catapano continues to battle a virus, I don't know what kind, but it's kept him out of camp for nearly the entire duration.
- Andy Reid said the 1st team quarterback (Alex Smith) will likely get the first half.
- Demetrius Harris, after struggling early in training camp displaying the same athleticism and consistency he did in OTAs and minicamp has now started to the same ability again. He had several big "go up and get it" plays today over the middle.
- Albert Wilson and Dwayne Bowe both had very bad drops today in practice. Plenty of space, both hands on the ball, just dropped it.
- Frankie Hammond has disappeared.
- In 11 on 11 drills with Alex Smith throwing the ball he worked in tandem with two different skill position groups that rotated in and out: 1st: Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Junior Hemingway - Jamaal Charles, Anthony Sherman/Anthony Fasano and 2nd: AJ Jenkins, Kyle Williams, Albert Wilson - Knile Davis, Travis Kelce/Demetrius Harris. (my personal prediction is that this is as close to a 2-deep as you will see to start the season barring injury)
- Defensively, Ron Parker and Sean Smith appear to be the 1st team corners to this point in practice. They really like Ron Parker with that first unit.
- Hussein Abdullah had a nice snag interception off an AJ Jenkins tipped pass in coverage. 
- Cairo Santos did not miss a kick today. Ryan Succop continues to sit out, not even working outside until the final special teams period, which he watches.

Chiefs Training Camp Report, 8/11/2014

Aug 11, 2014 -- 12:52pm
- Sean Smith had high highs and low lows today in practice. He got a couple INTs and then was flat out dominated off the ball a couple times by Donnie Avery
- Ron Parker and Sean Smith were put in with the first team defense on a number of 11 on 11 drills today
- Chase Daniel continues to struggle at camp throwing interceptions, but that is not unlike his performance from TC last year.
- Frank Zombo may be the odd man out in LB corps, Dezman Moses injury may change that, but as it stands right now, Outside Linebacker group consists of Hali, Houson - Ford, Martin - and then if Zombo were to make the team, he would be the 5th OLB on the 53.
- Albert Wilson continues to play well, I still believe Frankie Hammond will make the team over Wilson, but camp is long and right now Wilson looks like the more productive of the two. Kyle Williams also continues with strong performances at camp.
- Albert Wilson also may prove to be a better WR option next season than DeAnthony Thomas, who has smaller hands and less weight on his frame. 
- DAT is clearly the fastest football player in pads they have at camp. I asked Adam Teicher about how Thomas compares to Dante Hall, who has the same height and about 10-pounds heavier. Teicher said Hall was a stockier player than Thomas, but wasn't nearly as fast as DAT is. Whether he plays on offense much remains to be seen, but I think he'll be a gamer on special teams.
- DAT also worked on kickoff drills today as the catch man on several "Music City Miracle" drills. They did a shorter version of the play as well that involved Knile Davis as the catch man.

Chiefs Training Camp Report, 8/4/2014

Aug 04, 2014 -- 2:38pm
- Mike Catapano has a virus, hasn't practiced in a week, waiting for the virus to run its course.
- Mike DeVito suffered a hand injury during practice, will have his hand x-rayed.
- Mark Harrison (hamstring), Junior Hemmingway (hamstring), Dezman Moses (elbow), Kyle Love (ankle) all sat out practice due to injury. 
- Joe McKnight is off the PUP list and was back out in full pads today.
- Kyle Williams had a standout day today at WR, he's been one of many including Hammond and Albert who have had excellent camps at WR.
- Daniel Sorensen had a couple more picks today, he's just got a nose for the ball, he has more interceptions than any other player at practice. He's been picking off passes since rookie OTAs earlier this summer.
- Demetrius Harris has been slowed significantly by pads. Wanted to wait to make the statement, but he's not as dynamic once the pads have come on as he was when he was snagging balls in OTAs and minicamp. 
- That being said, Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce both continue to look very good at practice. 
- From yesterday's practice, Sorensen jumped a route in goal line work and had an interception in his hand, then Fasano grabbed it away from him for the touchdown and then spiked the ball in Sorensen's face.

Chiefs Training Camp Report, 7/30/2014

Jul 30, 2014 -- 1:44pm

By @TJCarpenterWHB


- Eric Fisher is still not participating in 1 on 1 drills against the defensive lineman, though he does participate in 11 on 11 team sessions
Mike Catapano missed practice today with an illness. Sanders Commings (ankle) and Mark Harrison (hamstring) left practice early.
- Travis Kelce continues to engage in all practice drills and activities (not a new development, but he doesn't seem to be bothered at all by previous injury, he's cutting and bursting well.)
- Ron Parker continues to get snaps over Sean Smith on defense.
- Frankie Hammond and Albert Wilson continue to stand out at WR.
- Aaron Murray remarked today that he hasn't had to worry much about the secondary jumping routes against his WRs. Murray hasn't played against the first team defense, but the fact he hasn't felt challenged by the secondary may speak to a lack of depth.
- In goal line 11 on 11 today, the 2nd team defense stifled the first team offense on multiple plays, stuffing and tackling Jamaal Charles to the ground. In addition to that, the 2nd team offense with Cyrus Grey and Knile Davis were able to punch it in several times against the first team defense.
- DeAnthony Thomas had his best day of camp so far. He's seeing the field much better than he was earlier in camp and even broke multiple tackles as opposed to just outrunning or juking guys to advance his position.


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