Know Thy Enemy: Kansas City Royals

Comerica Park will be packed to the rafters on Friday as the Tigers return to Detroit for the home opener of the 2011 season. Fans will partake in getting loaded before the game at Hockeytown and other area bars. They’ll stand in line for thirty minutes at a time to use one of the way too sparse restrooms of the CoPa. (Seriously…ever try to piss when the place is sold out? Ridiculous.) They’ll sit through team introductions and listen to brain-dead fat girls squeal for Brandon Inge and react with apathy to Don Kelly. Yes, the boys of summer will have come home.

And facing them will be a familiar foe in the Kansas City Royals, our first AL Central opponents of the young season. In recent years, the Tigers have been a much better team at home than on the road. And the way this season has started, well, they really couldn’t get much worse. We return to the Motor City with a record of 2-4, which probably should be 3-3 if Jim Leyland wasn’t such a colossal moron at times. Sit three starters on the same day? Bat Don Kelly sixth? Bring noted sex offender of koalas, Brad Thomas, in to protect a one run game when Brayan Villareal is looking great in relief? Really, Jim?


Sigh. Anyway, we welcome the Royals to the D. What should we expect to see from them?


The Royals team name comes from the American Royal, a livestock show, horse show, and rodeo held annually in KC since 1899. Holy shit, that’s depressing and I couldn’t make that up if I tried. No wonder this franchise hasn’t been relevant since the mid-80’s. They’ve been around since 1969 and have won one World Series, which happens to be the first baseball championship that I ever witnessed, in 1985. I was rooting for the Royals in that Series, mainly because I thought Willie McGee of the Cardinals looked like an alien and he frightened the 8 year old version of Your Party Host.

Their glory years were, as I mentioned, in the 80’s with stars like George Brett, Willie Wilson, Bret Saberhagen, Dan Quisenenberry, Frank White, and the immortal Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni. In the late 80’s, a guy named Bo Jackson captured the hearts of America by playing for the Royals in baseball and the Raiders in football. Since Bo’s hip exploded, though, no one has noticed that Royals are still in the Major Leagues since then.

Face of the Franchise
Billy Butler wins by default after the failures of Alex Gordon and the trade of Zach Greinke. I feel bad for Butler, actually. The guy is a heck of a hitter but no one knows who he is. Since his 2007 debut, Butler has hit .298 with 56 homers and 279 RBI. Last year, Billy had his best year as a pro with an OPS+ of 139, hitting .318.

The knock on Butler is that he’s a butcher in the field. They’ve tried him in both corner outfield spots, third base in the minors, DH, and then let him settle in at first base. That experiment didn’t last long, though, as he’s now back to being the DH again.

In 64 games against Detroit, Butler’s hit .337 with 7 homers and 43 RBI. Yet they still pitch to him because Jim Leyland is stupid.

Old Friends
Catcher Matt Treanor was recently acquired by KC to replace injured starter Jason Kendall. Mr. Misty-May, as I named him when we signed him, lasted 13 at bats as a Tiger in 2009, never recording a hit, before spending the rest of the year on the DL with a bone spur on his right hip.

His wife, Misty May-Treanor, is a two-time Olympic gold medal winning volleyball player. She may be the best female volleyball player of all time. Sadly, much like gold medal winning softball player Jennie Finsh, she has bad taste in men. (Just lift the restraining order, dammit, Jennie! I swear I’ll be nice…)

Other Superstar Players

Joakim Soria
Jeff Francoeur used to be good.
Melky Cabrera used to be a Yankee. Does that count?

Most Hated Royal
I don’t like Kila Ka’aihue. In his 11 games versus Detroit, the young first baseman has hit .281 with 3 homers and 8 RBI. Those homer and RBI totals are the Hawaiian’s personal bests against any major league team. But that’s not why I don’t like him.

He was a 15th round pick of the Royals in 2002 that has blossomed into their power hitting starting first baseman. Meanwhile, the Tigers waste 8th round picks on the fucking manager’s kid. But that’s not why I dislike him, either.

I don’t like him because Rod Allen cannot pronounce his name. Rod does fine on his own sounding like a clown without Ka’aihue making things worse. I can only hope that Fox Sports has supplied a tutor to spend hours with Mr. Allen on pronouncing Kila’s name this year. That would make me happy for a minute or so before the prick hits another home run off of us.

He’s never faced Justin Verlander, but his three dingers have come off of Ryan Perry, Rick Porcello, and the departed Armando Galarraga. Max Scherzer handled him well forcing Ka-aihue to go 0/3 against him with a strikeout last year.


The seven Royals fans that still remain in the country are nice enough, I guess, but suffer from severe franchise-envy of their interstate rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. They got the best of the Cards in ’85 thanks to some iffy umpiring, but since then it’s been one continuous facepalm for these people. Meanwhile, St. Louis has remained an NL Central threat almost every year and won the World Series as recently as 2006. (Pricks.) The KC farm system looks decent right now, though, so they’re hoping in the coming years they finally have something to cheer about once again.

But I doubt it. They should all probably move, but the Kansas City BBQ scene keeps most of them around. It sure as hell isn’t the Chiefs.

In Summary

The Royals are a constant thorn in the side of the Detroit Tigers, it seems. These are the teams you have to beat up on if you want to win you division. If the Tigers can’t take two out of three from the likes of this current KC team with regularity, they will not be in the playoff hunt when October comes around.

And if Jim Leyland keeps playing and batting his boy Don Kelly sixth in the lineup, making ridiculous pitching decisions, and acting like he’s a spy for the White Sox rather than acting as the Tigers manager…

We’ll be out of the hunt by July.

/doom and gloom

By the way, I'm told Timo Perez homered for the Mud Hens tonight.  Just sayin'.

Go Tigers.