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Examiner
  • Tim Crone: A glass-half full look at the Royals

  • The Final Four teams have been determined and the No. 1 overall seed Louisville still appears to be the team to beat. The Cardinals have unbelievable quickness at all positions, but they have two guards that are human jets.

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  • The Final Four teams have been determined and the No. 1 overall seed Louisville still appears to be the team to beat. The Cardinals have unbelievable quickness at all positions, but they have two guards that are human jets.
    The Kansas Jayhawks will be talking about their loss to Michigan for years to come.
    But enough talk about basketball. At 3 p.m. Monday, the Kansas City Royals home opener will be the talk of the town. We are all pumped up this year for the potential improvement of the professional team with the longest playoff drought.
    The Royals, as most everyone knows, have not made the playoffs since they won it all in 1985. My youngest daughter is 30 years old and she does not believe my stories about how great the team was for a 12-year period.
    If you have been a Royals fan, you truly know the agony of defeat. I remember last year’s home opener. I was charged up because it was supposed to be our comeback year. I had great seats and like the other 42,000-plus fans I was ready to roll.
    In the first inning, Luke Hochevar gave up seven runs, the entire crowd immediately went into shock and the team really never recovered. I have never seen such a positive home crowd go numb so quickly. A fan directly behind me, who had started with about two brews before the first pitch, immediately went into an “our time” chant, which was, of course, the 2012 team slogan. So that was how the grand old game took shape in Royals land in 2012 – again!
    But I refuse to see the cup half empty rather than half full. A new year brings new hope to those of us who still bleed blue. If you follow the Royals at all you must admit that this is the first real five-man starting rotation the team has had since Saberhagen, Gubicza, Jackson, etc.
    The way you win big in baseball over the long season is pitching and defense. I really like the makeup of the team’s bullpen with Greg Holland as the closer along with strong young arms like Kelvin Herrera, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, and J.C. Gutierrez. It may not be a popular thought, but I think Hochevar can be an outstanding long reliever. It will be interesting to see if Bruce Chen can make the switch to the bullpen. Plus, the organization has depth with young arms. If Danny Duffy can recover in a positive way from Tommy John surgery, we could be solid on the bump.
    Our defense was strong last year with Salvy Perez catching, Alcides Escobar at shortstop, Chris Getz at second and Lorenzo Cain in centerfield. You have to play the the big defense up the middle. Plus, we still have gold-glove guys like Alex Gordon in left and potential gold-glove winners with Mike Moustakas at third and Eric Hosmer at first.
    Page 2 of 2 - Our team speed is good overall with the exception of Billy Butler, but he makes his living with the bat. The big question this year is can the young everyday players start hitting to their potential at the major league level? The answer to that one will have to be determined after 162 games.
    Our bench seems stronger with utility guys like Elliot Johnson, former American League MVP Miguel Tejada, and an experienced Jarrod Dyson.
    With all these positive thoughts that I am throwing out I must say I think the Detroit Tigers will win our division again. That said, I still think Kansas City has a real opportunity to be a wild card contender. Of course all my golf buddies think I am nuts! It’s still that half-full theory for me. Spring is here and I am a Royals fan. PLAY BALL!
    * The injury to the Louisville guard was a horrible situation. I thought CBS made a great decision in choosing not to replay the scene over and over again.
    * I have been wrong about many things since I began writing articles for The Examiner. I was really wrong in my prejudgment of the Miami Heat and LeBron James. They are a great and talented team. James is the most dominant athlete since Tiger Woods. I was also wrong about Tiger. He does still have a chance to break Jack Nicklaus’ major record of 18. I believe Tiger will win this year’s Masters.
    * The weather this spring has been a nightmare for all high school spring athletes, coaches and ADs. My motto remains “Sooner or later the sun is coming out and you need to be ready to play!”
    * My quote of the day comes from a guy that I have quoted a lot – a fellow Independence native – President Harry Truman: “The successful man has enthusiasm. Good work is never done in cold blood; heat is needed to forge anything. Every great achievement is the story of a flaming heart.”
     

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