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Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Royals return to national glory


Mark your calendars, sports fans: on the 4th of July, the Royals will be featured on Sunday Night Baseball! NESN.com's Daniel Rathman:
Fourteen years is a long time. I'd love a little context here; has any other team gone as long? If not, who's currently in second place? (I'm making inquiries, will add update when I know something.)

That game back in 1996 really was a dud. Tim Belcher started for the Royals, and he was actually in the middle of a fine season, one of his very best. But he got knocked out in the sixth, and was succeeded by relievers Jason Jacome (5.65 ERA after the game), Hipolito Pichardo (5.91) and Tim Pugh (8.44). The Orioles weren't any better, featuring starter Rocky Coppinger (6.55), Jesse Orosco (6.86) and Alan Mills (5.65).

Those are just snapshots. Coppinger, Orosco and Mills would all improve their ERAs quite a bit by season's end, and the Orioles went to the playoffs. Still, Jon and Joe might have wondered what they were doing in Kansas City that evening.

They might wonder again on the Fourth of this year. Particularly if Trey Hillman can't jigger his rotation so Zack Greinke's pitching that night. Regardless, there's almost nothing the Royals can do in one game to rebuild that long-lost respect. To do that, the front office will have to stop making foolish moves and the team will have to win 75 or 80 games.

Which isn't to say it won't be fun, watching them. For at least a few innings, they'll seem like a real Major League team again.