By Danny Clinkscale
I sit overlooking the Surprise Stadium field on a cool morning as the
Royals start official workouts. All is quiet at my location, but quiet is not
the watchword for the Kansas City Royals at spring training, and that is
a good thing.
Ned Yost held his first regular daily press conference before the days
workout, and there were at least 30 members of the media gathered
around him. I can clearly recall times a couple of years back when there
would be no more than five of us. But of course he is now the manager of the
World Series champions.
He is also a manager with a contract extension through 2018, joining his
direct superior Dayton Moore with lengthened contract security, although
how lengthy Dayton's deal is has not been revealed. Yost had previously
often intimated that the clock was ticking on the time that he might want
to manage. But managing a plug and play World Series title team is
too much fun to walk away from.
ESPN will go full scale Royals twice in the first five days of camp. The days
of Royals fans trying to play the East Coast Bias card are gone, at least for the
moment. The Royals have been a noisy team as they have ascended to the
top of the baseball world, and now there is matching noise all around them.
The are training at a complex that just got a $23 million facelift,
courtesy of the city of Surprise, the clubhouse having about tripled in size,
as one of a large group of outsized improvements befitting their new
station in life.
The big question now is will all of these factor take a bit of the edge away from
this edgy bunch, who used that to fuel them past the expectations of all
of the analytical people. They are being done a favor by those same folks
running out many of the same projections of a .500 or lower season, and
no playoff appearance. They say the right things and laugh it off, but you
have to think it will stoke the fire, at least a bit.
The Royals have had good health, and they have had their share of breaks.
But the reality is that they are good, but in a different way than people
expect you to be able to use to win. They also have had an almost uncanny run
of good decision making, and even when some decisions are rightly questioned,
they all work out anyway.
There lies out there the thought, or maybe fear, that all of this remarkable
work has to hit a speedbump at some point. But then again maybe this
is just what the Royals have become. Just enough starting pitching, electrifying
bullpen work, scintillating defense, and improving offense. Then of
course you toss in their noisy brashness. We'll find out soon whether they
continue to roar.
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