I wanted to share my sentiments with members of the forum as well.
What would really be cool is if we invented some nicknames for our players, like "Billy The Kid" (Billy Butler) or "Mr. Incredible" (John Buck) or "Cool Hand Luke" (Hudson or Hochevar).
I watched Billy play tonight. He looked a little slow getting a jump on the ball in left field, but that was the only negative. He ripped the ball a couple times, getting two base hits. He also made an incredible on-the-money throw to John Buck from left field. I was telling my dad that, despite our 8-19 record, I really think we're on our way to developing some cornerstone players - maybe like our very own version of guys like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Johan Santana, etc. (OK, maybe without Santana, but you catch my draft). As for Butler, I think the kid's here to say. I'm really excited to see a Teahen-Gordon- Butler middle of the order for many years to come.
And what also looks promising is that the Royals will have about $25-30 million opening up this winter for free agent money. My thinking is that the Royals should try to sign another top-notch starting pitcher (a guy entering his prime, like Gil Meche). I wouldn't devote so much money at free agents that it would make us unable to keep our young guns.
Greinke has good stuff, but, man, just about every ball the Angels hit tonight was hit hard. He just simply got rocked. I don't think he's hurt - he hit 95mph a few times. Greinke's still only 23, and is still younger than Buckner, Hochevar, and Lumsden. He still has plenty of room for improvement. Even in 2010, he'll still only be barely 27.
I really think that this team will improve offensively. I'm an emotional fan - I get upset after losses. But after tonight I'm really not phased - I know this ballclub can get better this year. They have plenty of young talent in that lineup. We have been getting quality starts in the rotation like we haven't gotten since the mid-'90s. The bullpen needs the most improvement, but with Hudson and Elarton returning, that probably means Bannister will be sent to the 'pen. Hudson also might start out in the 'pen. Bale and Dotel will be returning soon. Help is coming.
Did you know that the Royals actually had just about the same record as the Cardinals after June 15? If they can begin playing .500 ball around mid-May, it really will be a fun summer at the ballpark.
That said, it was still rather frustrating to see Buddy Bell *not* pinch-hit the .348-.434-.587- hitting Reggie Sanders or the .280-.325-.413- hitting Mark Grudzielanek for the .208-.255-.302- 19 K-hitting Tony Pena, Jr. in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out and two on base against Anaheim's top set up man. That was actually rather ridiculous.
Wait a minute. I got negative again. Somebody slap me.
My 2008 Royals 25-man roster projection:
CF - David DeJesus (hopefully, our leadoff man for several years to come)
2B - Mark Grudzielanek (if he performs above expectations this year, let's keep him next year
RF - Mark Teahen
3B - Alex Gordon
DH - Billy Butler
1B - Ryan Shealy
C - John Buck
LF - Mitch Maier / Shane Costa
SS - Angel Sanchez
C - Gregg Zaun
IF - Esteban German
OF - Shane Costa / Mitch Maier
OF - Joey Gathright
SP - Gil Meche
SP - Mark Buehrle (one of 2 major offseason pickups)
SP - Zack Greinke
SP - Luke Hochevar
SP - Jorge De La Rosa
LRP - Brian Bannister
MRP - Ryan Braun
MRP - Neal Musser
MRP - Gabe DeHoyos
SU - Jarod Plummer
SU - Joakim Soria
CP - Mariano Rivera (a man can dream, can't he?)