Sep 11, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Royals player Jarrod Dyson (1), left fielder Alex Gordon (4) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrate the Royals 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals begin their final head-to-head series of the season tonight. The Tigers are trying to wrap up the division and Kansas City is trying to make the postseason for the first time in nearly three decades, so Mike Vamosi (of Kings of Kauffman) and I decided to (virtually) sit down and discuss the current state of the two teams. My questions are in bold and his responses follow.
When was the last time Kansas City made the playoffs, and what would a Wild Card berth mean to Royals fans?
MV: 1985 is the dreadful date all Royals fans know as the last time KC made the postseason. This fan base is a little different due to hard times, and just being in the race leads to excitement within the fan base. Making the Wildcard playoff would end the longest drought (I believe that’s accurate) of the four major sports leagues and mean a ton to fans.
What have been the biggest keys to the Royals’ American League best 34-19 second half record?
MV: Pitching, pitching, pitching in addition to defense and timely hitting. Eric Hosmer has returned to his rookie year form which has steadied the offense while waiting for Billy Butler/Alex Gordon to lift the offense. The starting pitching has been good during the run as well, the bullpen which has the motto of get the ball to Holland has also contributed. I guess the best answer here is a little of everything has contributed.
How important are these last couple weeks to general manager Dayton Moore and his job with the team?
MV: Important, his offseason moves were made to make this season a playoff year not just lead to meaningful September baseball. I don’t think Moore is in jeopardy of losing his job but if for some reason the team tanks (can’t see that with the resolve they’ve had all season) maybe the discussions are had among ownership.
Given where everything sits now, would you opt to go back in time and undo the big Shields-Myers trade, or do you think they needed the trade to get to this position of playoff contention?
MV: I was a big believer in making strides this season and 2014 being the “all-in” season for the franchise. Shields has been solid but seeing what Wil Myers has done in Tampa, and given the Royals RF situation, how can you not wonder “what if”? I’ve tried not to dwell on the past. I was angry at first but looked at it as the team needing pitching even if the price was too high.
Ned Yost has taken a good amount of heat on the internet for some of his managerial decisions. What is your opinion of him, and what is the wider KC fan base opinion of him?
MV: I’m big on the #Yosted movement. Sure managers don’t matter as much as us fans want to believe, but he’s one of the more stubborn managers in the game. While he’s done some positive things, and been more successful than previous managers the Royals have had, Yost has made moves this year that have hurt the team. The base I think tolerates him but if you were around twitter on Monday a lot of frustrations were unleashed from head-Royal-fan Rany Jazayerli who penned an article just on that game in Cleveland to let him have it.
Give me a Royals fan’s perspective on the Detroit Tigers.
MV: Easy, we’d like to be where you have been the past 3-4 years in winning the division and competing for the World Series. Last season it was frustrating to face the Tigers because of all the close defeats, and, while cool to see Miguel Cabrera get the Triple Crown, it was a slight bummer it happened at the K. Hard to say KC fans see Detroit as a rival like, Cleveland or Minnesota, or even the White Sox because those teams have had incidents against the Royals where the Tigers just beaten us regularly until this season.