LARNED — Making decisions to produce a winning major league baseball team is so easy, why don’t all of these general managers do it? The Brass of the Kansas City Royals made George Brett the hitting coach and VOILA! The Royals reel off a six-game winning streak. It’s so easy. World Series here we come!
The Royals were 4-19 over the previous 3 ½ weeks before Brett was hired. Following that little winning streak the Boys in Blue are close to a .500 record at 29-32. Truth be told, that’s probably about what we’ve got here, a .500 team. Sports Illustrated, in their preseason publication, picked the Royals to win the American League Central Division. Of course, that is the same bunch that last summer predicted that the Chiefs would win the NFL’s AFC West and we all know how that turned out!
No, it probably isn’t George Brett’s teachings that have brought the Royals back to close to .500 though his aura and personality certainly would have had some influence. Having Brett in the dugout every day, his fiery competitiveness and his no- nonsense, no-excuses demeanor on display for the younger players has got to be a big influence. So let’s give the guy some credit for this recent turnaround.
Perhaps that is why the Royals’ pitching has turned around recently. A major change since Brett arrived is that before Brett the pitching staff had a 3.82 ERA and since his hire it has been an incredible 2.02. Is Brett out there working with the pitchers during his spare time? Whatever, the Royals overall ERA of 3.49 leads the American League. That is a tribute to general manager Dalton Moore who rebuilt this pitching staff following 2012’s miserable ERA of 5.12.
Actually, the Royals are hitting WORSE since Brett was hired. They were hitting .261 with a .313 on-base and .375 slugging percentage while averaging 4.0 runs before his hire. Since Brett came on board they are hitting .236 with a .303 on-base and .325 slugging percentage and averaging 3.5 runs. So, you Brett fans, we have to look at the intangibles here.
When a team is playing poorly, a professional team, you cannot fire the players so some coach has to go. The hitting coach got axed, Brett was hired and it has all worked out, just not for the expected reasons. Who’s nitpicking? On to the World Series!
It’s so easy.
CHALK TALK: The Kansas State baseball team proved that old adage, “in baseball, good pitching beats good hitting” once again. Oregon State’s strength was pitching. The Wildcats’ strength was hitting. ... The Hoisington Cardinals are in a scramble mode. Their third game on the football schedule with Sunrise Christian Academy out of Wichita has just been canceled because Sunrise is dropping to Eight-Man football this Fall. The Cardinals are looking to find a replacement. ... Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots and ruler of the NFL’s “Evil Empire,” has struck again with the signing of Tim Tebow. He loves to stick it to the New York Jets so you can bet he will find a way to use Tebow to win a game or two. Remember this: The Patriots’ offensive coordinator is Josh McDaniels. Yep, the same dude who had Tebow doing magical things when they were both with the Denver Broncos! ... Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.