I actually opened up a window to start this post yesterday but ended up electing not to because I wanted to keep Marky Mark Teahen in the foreground for a bit longer.
When I went to ESPN.com yesterday afternoon and meandered on over to the baseball section, I had to do an eye-rub/head-shake to reassess what my eyes had just taken in. The only picture visible on the page was a huge one of Zack Greinke. After quelling the overwhelming disbelief at seeing a Kansas City Royal headlining the Major League Baseball content on a Sunday afternoon at ESPN, I read the feature Peter Gammons article that echoed many of the same sentiments that others (Christina Kahrl, Bill Simmons, and Tom Verducci to name a few).
Of particular note was the quote of an anonymous baseball executive saying he thought Greinke would win the Cy Young. This year.
Anyway, the point I set out to make was that it is kind of weird reading about the Royals in national media outlets. I am not sure how I feel about it. Maybe I am too much of a fandom protectionist, but there was a certain appeal, personally, in rooting for a team that no one cared about. Now that they're the sexy dark horse pick I find myself grappling with the definition of myself. Who am I if I'm rooting for a possibly good baseball team? It's been so long...
It is also somewhat frustrating to read articles of a glossier nature that miss what I feel to be key points in the potential for a break out season--like talking about Kyle Farnsworth and Ron Mahay in the pen without making mention of possibly the best signing of their offseason, Juan Cruz. Obviously, there is no way to talk about absolutely everything, but Cruz is the acquisition that clearly makes this bullpen potentially great, not the Professor.
What should be most important to Royals fans is the following Trey Hillman quote about Mark Teahen:
I still think I'll probably mix and match with [Alberto] Callaspo," says Hillman. "But we've seen some very good instinctive plays from Teahen, plays that encourage us.
The signal that sends (Willie who?) is very encouraging.
So this season finds the lot of us entering into some weird fan limbo where our team has been historically awful since the Strike but they might actually be good.
What am I?