Three for the weekend: Royals, Chiefs, and Charles Wheeler
The Kansas City Star
The idea was to have a goal, something tangible, something to motivate me to workout during the time of February and March where it’s so easy to stay in bed an extra hour because it’s cold outside or the game went late last night or both.
So I did a fair job of preparing for tomorrow’s Rock the Parkway, enough that I won’t require medical attention, but not enough that it won’t look ugly. Anyway, I’ve heard really good things about the race, so I am looking forward to it.
If you’re gonna be there, and see a floppy-haired asshat running fairly slow, say Hi.
I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, but again: congratulations to Danny Boi and many others around Kansas City (including, in my mind, Jim Nutter) for helping former mayor Charles Wheeler stay in his home until July, when he and his wife can move into a duplex.
This story has roots in sports, because the attention started after Wheeler did a radio interview pegged around his appearance at the Royals home opener. Wheeler was also the mayor when the Royals first hosted the All-Star game in 1973. Crown Center, KCI and Worlds of Fun opened during his time as mayor. The downtown airport is named after him.
This is a touchy issue for some, because his house was set to be auctioned because Wheeler didn’t pay some $40,000 in back property taxes. Wheeler’s wife has taken sick.
However you stand on the specifics, it’s a very cool thing to see strangers come together to help a man who did so much for Kansas City.
Andy Reid and John Dorsey spoke to a group of sponsors yesterday, and Dorsey said they had it down to “four to six” candidates as the “best player available” in the upcoming draft. The Chiefs have the first overall pick, of course, and it’s always been my guess that they’d like to trade it but will be unable to get value.
Reid had a good line about the preparation, too: “Me and Dorse, our wives aren’t here yet, so we’re around each other all the time. It’s like college. Well, not really like college.”
Your first-place Royals are back in action tonight and it’s been talked about plenty, but worth repeating. The next 11 games should give us a much better hint of what these Royals are about than the first nine.
Not that a 6-3 start is meaningless, but the Royals now play four good teams in four different cities, an 11-game stretch they know will be used by many to determine whether the 2013 Royals will be different than 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 … well, you get the point.
Toronto for three games this weekend, then two in Atlanta, three in Boston and three in Detroit. If the Royals win five or more, at least some of the well-earned skepticism will chip away.
For whatever it’s worth, I do think this team is different. It’s probably equal parts James Shields, a completely revamped rotation, and a group of position players coming of age and who believe in themselves.
I mentioned this in the column off the home opener, but Ned Yost said something really interesting:
“The most important thing that we have this year that we probably haven’t had in the past is a true confidence in each other,” Yost said.
Now, athletes and coaches constantly talk about how things now are so much better than those same things used to be. So this isn’t a complete head-turner. But I don’t know how often I’ve heard a manager essentially say his team didn’t used to have a true confidence in each other.
Ned spoke with a fair amount of detail there, things that really line up with what a lot of us who are around the team a fair amount picked up on: the hitters now have confidence in the pitchers.
There is no way to know exactly what that means, of course. I tend to think we make too much of “team chemistry,” but this isn’t a “team chemistry” thing as much as it’s a “team confidence” thing. Those are very different. Confidence is essential.