The first high school football games of the season started last Friday night. None of the opening games presented any surprises or upsets. The Gold Division of the Suburban Conference – or the Big Six – should be an odds-on favorite for a team likely to win the Class 6 state championship.
Rockhurst should also be included as a possible contender after it thumped Columbia Rock Bridge in its first game. Columbia Rock Bridge played Blue Springs for the championship last year.
The preseason for the Kansas City Chiefs has to be making KC fans nervous. Donald Stephenson has been suspended for the first four games due to his use of PEDs. That is a major blow to an already struggling offensive line. The secondary also appears weak.
It has been 29 years since the Kansas City Royals have been in a playoff chase. I am playing the back nine in my life, and I am thrilled with this baseball season. My children and grandchildren are now seeing how much fun it is to have a winning baseball team in our hometown.
A fair amount of negative talk is still coming from all the non-believers, but come on, man! The folks might complain even if you gave them a $100 bill. Let’s give the boys in blue, the coaching staff, and even the front office kudos for at least creating some excitement for the fans.
The crowds have been spirited all year. My pet peeve has always been to see local Kansas City residents come to the games sporting gear in support of the opposing team. I must admit that I am a Yankee and Cardinal fan, but when they play the Royals I bleed blue. It is sweet to see the entire stadium covered in blue.
We have had partial season tickets for the past three seasons and have seen a definite shift. Most fans around us have jumped on the bandwagon to wear blue. I have little patience for fair-weather fans. I have been tempted on many occasions to share my view of “get in or get out.” Fortunately my wife keeps me grounded enough to keep it to myself.
This team does need the total support of the Kansas City fan base. No one has dogged Billy Butler more than me, but I am forced to give credit where credit is due. He has been a big plus since the injury to Eric Hosmer. From a baseball and business standpoint a contract extension for Billy would need to me looked at hard and long.
Dayton Moore and, yes, even the much-maligned Ned Yost have done a great job of staying the course. They have built the whole team on pitching. The starting rotation has been more than solid and should be considered in the top three in the American League. The bullpen is totally lights out. If the Royals are able to hang on and win the AL Central Division it will be because they have the best relievers in the division.
In addition to superb pitching the organization has been able to develop one of the best defenses in the major leagues by obtaining everyday players who are good athletes who are able to run and throw. With their speed they also get the plus side of leading the American League in stolen bases. It is a two-for-one deal.
Even though the team lacks power, it is not built on the three-run-homer theory. Kauffman Stadium is a pitcher’s park, and the organization was built with this in mind. I love our chances. You win in baseball with great pitching and defense. Life is not built on yesterday, it is built on today and today the Kansas Royals are in a playoff hunt.
• I am glad Andy Reid is not letting Jamaal Charles do much in the preseason. He is the most important weapon the team has and he must touch the ball 25-30 times in the regular season games in order for the team to be successful on offense. Look for DeAnthony Thomas to be an upgrade to the loss of Dexter McCluster. That guy can flat fly.
• High school sports fans need to get out and support all of the fall sports. In addition to football, softball, swimming, tennis, golf, soccer, cross country and volleyball are great sports that require a huge effort by the athletes.
• My quote of the week comes from Walter Alston, longtime Los Angeles Dodgers manager: “I’ve always believed that baseball is still a game. You ought to enjoy it, get some fun out of playing, and yet give it everything you have.”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org