The Royals still have something to play for, Zack Greinke will make one final start and Bobby Witt Jr. remains amazing.
It’s been a moment since I’ve had the time to sit down and publish a proper edition of the newsletter. It’s looking like that will continue into next week. Not wanting to leave your thirst for Royals content unquenched the last week of the season, today’s issue focuses on a couple of items I’m watching these last few games.
Further down the road, I have a notebook filled with ideas for offseason content. October may be slow on the newsletter front as we’re all distracted by a postseason tournament and the piece of metal the commissioner will present to the eventual champion, but there will be sporadic content.
As always, thank you for subscribing, reading and commenting this season. This has, somehow, been my 19th season writing about the Royals. Your clicks and feedback have been my fuel. Although it’s possible I’ve descended into madness. It’s also possible that it’s difficult to tell. I’m glad you’ve come along for the ride.
Thank you for making this season more enjoyable for me that it should have been. I hope you have found this newsletter brings a unique and (somewhat) entertaining perspective to this game and this team.
Here are the things I’ll be watching as the curtain mercifully falls on the 2023 season:
The Royals need to go at least 3-2 to avoid tying the franchise record for most losses in a season. If they go 1-4 (or worse), they will set a new record. I get that you may be feeling a certain kind of apathy toward the Royals’ record and that’s totally understandable. Especially once the team crashed through the 100-loss floor. Yet I can guarantee that there’s not a single player in that clubhouse who wants to be part of a team that sets a record of any kind for losing.
It’s amazing that we’re even having this discussion as the Royals have been trending toward a 110-loss season since about the third week of the year. A hot September means that avoiding the ignominy of 106 losses is very possible. It’s weird to take a positive from over 100 negatives, but I firmly believe that, if the team could avoid tying or setting the record, the season would close on a not-so-sour note.
I was pleased to learn that Zack Greinke’s five scoreless innings against Detroit would not be his final appearance in 2023. He is the scheduled starter for Sunday’s finale against the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. This is a perfect opportunity to get to the yard one final time and pay tribute to one of the best ever to do it for this team. All signs seem to point to this being the final start of his major league career.
The temps may crack the 90s, making it perfect baseball weather. The Yankees are usually a great draw (ick), but since this is the last series of the year, it’s an NFL Sunday and the team from New York isn’t playing for October, I have no idea how full the stadium will be. If you’re able, I encourage you to get out there and watch a sure-fire Hall of Famer work his craft one more time.
While I’m disappointed that I have other obligations and will be unable to attend, I hope the city turns out for Greinke and his family. He deserves a massive sendoff.
If Greinke represents the past, Bobby Witt Jr. is the future.
Obviously, all the focus is on Witt needing just one more home run to become the latest entry into the 30-30 club (30 home runs and 30 steals). A couple of months ago, I didn’t really think that was a possibility. After the Royals had played their 104th game on July 26, Witt had just 16 homers. Then, in the 31 games to September 1, he bashed 12 round-trippers. Quite the power surge that made a 30-30 season almost a foregone conclusion.
Except since September 1, the power has dried up. Witt has hit just one more home run and has been sitting on 29 dingers for the last couple of weeks.
There are just five games left in the season, but if Witt finds a way to go on a tear he could end with 100 runs scored, 100 RBIs, 30 doubles, 10 triples, 30 home runs and 50 steals. There has never been a player who has put up those kind of counting numbers together in a single season. Here’s something that may blow your mind: Witt’s currrent output as of Tuesday—93 runs scored, 93 RBIs, 28 doubles, 10 triples, 29 home runs, 48 steals—has never been matched or bettered across the board.
Hell, a simple 30 home run/50 stolen base season has only been done three times in major league history. Eric Davis went 37/50 in 1987, Barry Bonds was good for 33/52 in 1990 and Ronald Acuña is some kind of amazing this year, currently sitting at 41/68.
Even if Witt doesn’t hit those round numbers, it’s ridiculous we’re talking about him in this fashion. He’s a complete talent…a special, special ballplayer. The Royals should do everything they can to lock him up to a long-term deal this winter. It’s difficult to imagine where this team would be without Witt on the field.