Below is an interview with MtRoyals (Antonio) of Royal Board, Royal Mania and Royals Nation.
A very recognizable name to anyone who get's around any Royal boards.
Why are you a Royals fan? Were you born in the area or was it your parents? Can you tell us why ?
I was born in the general area (though I think Clinton is almost officially Cardinal Country, sadly). I am from Ewing's birthplace and it has some other connections to the Royals. Bret Saberhagen is said (I have no proof) to have came down in the offseason to hunt. Anyways, I do like to consider myself a free-thinker. My mom is deceased and my dad has a passing interest. I became a big baseball fan when I was 11. Before then, I had lived in Europe for a few years and before that, I lived too far away to take a huge interest in the MLB. Don't tell anyone, but I used to get so angry about taking family vacations because it would interfere with the summer baseball league. I really love all of the teams, but the Royals keep the special place because deep down, the memories of the boy believing in them so much often come to the surface. I still believe in them.
When was your 1st Royals or MLB game ?
Ahh...the good old days. Back when you stood when the Greatest Royal Ever approached the plate to hit and when Moody Belle was better known as Joey. I remember that game so well that I remembered the score, but not well enough that I could refrain from checking my memory. And looking at that starting line-up, wow, that was a long time ago.
That bottom half could use a lot of work, Hal!
Most You've Ever Paid for a Royals hat ?
35 bucks is crazy enough, but to make it even crazier is that I lost it in the Mediterranean Sea when the wind blew it off my head and over the side of the ferry before I could even react. I almost lost a Niner hat the same way but some Euro-kid made a mad dash to save it. Where was he at the second time around?
Alright I'll give you a name and you tell me what you think about them:
David Glass ?
Desperate. Cheap. Clueless. Cheap at Wal-Mart works. Cheap on the field doesn't. I am not really a big advocate in spending just to spend. But if David Glass would wake up and realize that if he'd put a little bit of his own money into the franchise, he'd make a huge profit. This city loves baseball. But hopelessness interferes with that love. People are growing optimistic now, but it's a cautious optimism. He spent so many years being Selig's lackey and if there's any one person in baseball that you don't want to follow, it's Selig. I would love to see the Royals blow off the commissioner's office and just go crazy wild in the draft and the Latin American markets. The slotting is just Selig trying to make the cheap players cheaper because he doesn't have to take on the Player's Union. And it keeps the small markets in their place.
Everyone in unison, "Please buy the Royals, Mr. Buffet of Omaha!"
Dayton Moore ? Can there be a single Royal fan that rips Dayton Moore more than me? It's possible and if there is one, then I feel sorry for Mr. Moore. Right now, I have many problems with Moore's methods. I'm not a fan of bringing in the types of free agents than Moore has brought in. If we're going to spend big, then I want it to be really big on really great ballplayers. I know I'm in the smaller group, but the free agents I want to sign are the short-term guys that can be spun. (Difference between what I want and what Baird delivered is Milton Bradley, Type A free agent, and Doug Mientkiewicz, Owner of famous baseball.) The reason I want those guys is because we're not going to win right now...but if we get them and trade them for prospects for our weak farm system, then I think it'll allow us to sustain winning longer and quicker. Dayton Moore isn't doing it my way, but that doesn't make him wrong in my eyes. It makes it a bit frustrating, but I am well aware that there are many ways to build a winner.
Bud Selig ? Bud is not to blame for the All-Star game that ended in a tie. But the look Selig had on his face when the managers presented their problem to him is the look that most hardcore fans have when they think back on the Selig Era. It's like, what in the world is going on!? I will give the man some due, however. The things that he has tried have worked to the degree that they were supposed to work. But the problem is that they're not long term solutions. How many fans has Interleague really brought back? Other than KC/StL, NY/NY, Chi/Chi, Oak/SF, LA/LA, are there any IL match-ups that are really intriguing anymore? Cle/Cin?! How about the ASG determining home field advantage? Is that a fair gimmick? And that's the problem with the Selig Era. It's known as the Steroid Era, but the Gimmick Era would work just as well because even the steroids are quick fixes to repair the damage from a strike that is almost 14 years old.
Gil Meche ? As a baseball fan, I'm not sure there's been one player that's made me so happy to be wrong...um, so far. A lot of people that were backing the Meche signing have been using Year One as "proof" that they were right, while casually ignoring that we have four more seasons to go. As a Royal fan, I would pat Meche on the back for each time that he proves me wrong. PLEASE, PLEASE, GIL, SHOW ME UP! And here's something very interesting. Most of the gloating fans are predicting regression closer to the mean for Mr. Meche. Right now, he is our number one and I root for him every time out. But I root harder for Greinke to make Meche the number two starter because I think Greinke can be a world class talent to the point that he's in the top 10 or so of the best American League pitchers. Something else that is interesting is going back to September 2006, when RoyalBoarders were talking about which free agents to sign, some people that were jumping up and down about 5/55, were talking about wanting to sign Meche for no more than 3/27. I would have gone more than that even, but I believe in having an upper limit. Until we redefine draft and Latin American spending, I'll complain about every less than stellar free agent we sign. Please, please, Gil, show me up!
What blogs/boards do you visit the most ?
Royalboard, obviously. I kind of feel bad about posting about three times as much as anyone else, but I figure that everyone else has at least triple the social life that I have or something. haha It's been hard to keep up with some of the newer ones because I've been gone a lot recently, but I check Rany on the Royals a lot, I've been checking yours, Royally Speaking, Undying Royalty. During the season, I get frustrated because the guy that does Royales with Cheese doesn't update nearly enough! He's HILARIOUS! I check out Royal Review from time to time during the season. Royalmania doesn't get a lot of hits, but I like it. I even check the Royals on Facebook. And Royals Nation is a must! I've been pushing it hard lately because it's a good site being ran by a good guy, Jack, who is doing some fantastic things. He seems to miss nothing about the Royals and he puts a lot of work into the site. Jack of Royals Nation and Bob of Royalboard/Royalmania are very dedicated fans.
Your choice New-Downtown stadium or the K?
I'm all about the K. There have been a lot of things done recently that I've been defending half-heartedly. I don't really like the economic system, but it is what it is, so I defend it because we have to work within it. I know I would have loved a downtown stadium, but I wanted to keep the K all along and that's what we have, so I am hoping they build the best K possible--and it looks like they are. Yeah, PNC is fantastic. The new Busch stadium is great. All of these downtown stadium are wonderful, but they're all in unique cities. What the city of KCMO really needs to do is develop the area around the K if they want people there before and after the games. If nothing else, it'll help ease the traffic when the game lets out!
Also, the best words on why the K should stay are found here: http://www.ranyontheroyals.com/2008/03/reason-11-park.html
Will you miss Johan Santana?
Of course, I will miss an amazing athlete! I keep a close watch on my second favorite team--the other 29--so I will see plenty of him, but I haven't been to Shea since 2000 and I probably won't be going back there as it's almost at the end of its run. I won't get to see much of Santana in person. As I said about moving to the NLC, isn't the point of winning to face the best and beat the best? Johan Santana is EASILY one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. The Twins got a lot of great years out of him.
If you got a hotdog at the K what would you put on it?
You know...those dogs are so juicy and the bread is so good, I don't even bother with it. Plus, I'm weird and don't like to unwrap, smear and re-wrap the dog. They're heavenly perfection as it is. One of the best places to eat in Kansas City is the K. Great food, great entertainment, great time.
Most annoying MLB fans?
In all of the MLB? I have to go with the theme from your blog and say the White Sox. But, I do have to give some props to Cardinal and Red Sox Nation. They both travel well, which is a plus because I'd like to see more of that from Royals fans. The minus on the Card fans is that they talk like the entire world is against them, so winning the World Series in 2006 wasn't a hard-earned effort by a lesser team, but dues finally being paid for the blunders of the cheating '85 Royals (Denkinger/runaway tarp), the cheating '87 Twins (Homerdome), the cheating '04 Red Sox (Big Papi is the designated hitter? We have Reggie Sanders and Marlon Anderson!). And the Red Sox have gone from Woeisme to Arrogance.
Most annoying AL Central team ?
White Sox. I think more than being annoying, they're just baffling. They're the White Sox, Chicago! I feel a lot of indifference towards them because I just can't fathom how anyone can really stand up boldly and say, "Yes, I am a die hard Chicago White Sox fan!"
Most annoying MLB broadcasters?
Hawk Harrelson and the Drunk of St. Louis, Mike Shannon. I think more annoying than Shannon is that the Cardinal fans think that this Alcoholics Anonymous dropout's problem should be celebrated. Mike, do you hate your wife? Your job?
Is their such a thing as East coast bias or do we use it as a crutch?
The problem that I have with the calls of East Coast Bias is how blind it seems to be. ESPN is a television station. It needs viewers. Most of its viewers are in the East. Great teams are in the East. Viewers in the East support their teams really well. The Royals don't see a lot of ESPN time and yeah, it really does suck. But ask yourself which is worst. Being a constant 100-loss team and getting no airplay or being a good team in the West and getting limited airplay? It really sucks, but com'on, folks! No one outside of the Kansas City region wants to see the Royals (right now). It is getting better, but if we want more time on ESPN, then we need to start playing better ball. I like the direction they are going, but we still have a long ways to go. And as another interviewee mentioned, why don't KU fans complain of the East Coast bias (though Big East teams are on TV too much and get too much love from the selection committee). Besides, it should be called the Northeast bias as no one thinks Clemson gets too much coverage. haha.
Have you ever ran the base's after a Sunday home game ?
No, I have not. But why the heck not? I should have. Blast my shyness!
Could you outrun John Buck ?
Do you know who Mike Rayburn is? Most do not. I was still trembling when I met the man. Do you know Rod Carew? Most do. I was mouthing off to him (unknowing at the time that it was Rod FREAKIN' Carew) in a New York hotel in 2000. Most, I'm guessing, don't know John Buck, so in my topsy turvy world, I guess that means I'd be too busy trembling due to meeting the big guy to actually outrun him. And Don Harmon wears a knee brace when he plays softball against us and I think he outruns me too. I can only outrun small children and unathletic women. (Does my reply count as name-dropping?)
Royals record this year ?
74-88. The Pessimist strikes again! Two years ago, I predicted the Royals would improve by 15 games by the end of the 2008 season. They were three down on my prediction for the 2007 season and I'm sticking with my five game improvement for the 2008 season. From 62 wins to 74 is a 12 game improvement and that's pretty darn good over two years in this sport.
When will the Royals contend?
You're going to make people start the We Hate MtRoyals chants again! Trying to be as realistic as I can be, I have to put it off until Mike Moustakas first full season. 2011. The fan within me hates to say it, but which big time free agents are seriously going to join us? Gil Meche, as well as he did last year and as well as I hope for him to continue doing, is not a big time free agent. "Power hitter" Jose Guillen is not a big time free agent. If we draft a collegiate hitter this year, I think by 2011, we can line up four guys with big time ability at third (Gordon), DH (Butler), right (Moustakas, but hopefully at second) and maybe first (if we draft Smoak, for example). And they would be countered with a rotation of Greinke, Cortes, Hochevar, Meche and hope against hope, Soria with Carlos Rosa as the Closer. And we still might need the Teahen of 2006. NOTE: I don't look at contention as an aberration of 2003. Yes, we were technical contenders, but I think of contending the long term sense of every year, you have to expect the team to be in there for a September battle. No flukes. No outliers. No anomalies.
What would you say the state of Royals blogs and boards is?
.410. 532 wins. 764 losses. That's what the team brings to the table in the "Aughts". The fans, who seem to be much more entertaining in our hopes and dreams for this team, bring the likes of Rany Jazayerli, Rob Neyer and that one guy from Atlanta *cough**cough* John Sickels, while also fulfilling every single one of our aching Royal needs (save for championship gold) that we could ever have with blog after blog after blog. And it's not worthless stuff like "I like the Royals. Go Team!" but stuff that actually analyzes the performance of a team that has let us down so many times. Intelligent people come together to put out an amazing amount of interesting tidbits, facts, stories and tall tales over this team. And it is so cohesive. Eventually every Royal fan that looks for the Royals online will find pretty much every single good or better blog. I find new ones all the time, including today (http://minda33.blogspot.com/). If I wasn't a Royal fan, it would be truly baffling to me. But I am one. And I look forward to every Royal Blue day, win or lose, with great hope and intrigue.
Thanks to Mt for taking the time for this interview it was a great time.
Our next interview will be with the brilliant mind behind Royals Nation, Jack Dempsey.