This marks the first of a several-part segment we will feature here at The Royal Treatment. In these features, I interview controversial - or uncompromising - bloggers throughout the Royals blogosphere. You know who they are. Lurking or posting around. At often times, they have an attitude. Many posters loathe them. Many posters love them. But they're always lurking around. Controversial, to be sure. Dr. Thunder is no different. And, man, has he captured the Royals blogosphere by storm. He has made his discontent for advanced statistics, Baseball Prospectus, and the concept of "Mother's Basement" well-documented throughout KC-baseball Blog Nation, in but an astonishingly short period of time.
He generated quite an uproar over at Royals Review when his blog, Hapless Royals, was launched almost two months ago. He has routinely cheered and jeered several posters on what I would describe his "home" message board - Royal Board. However, like the rest of the bloggers I will interview - he holds nothing back.
*Note* I do not or will not necessarily agree with all of the content posted by these bloggers. This is a controversial segment, to be sure. I hold nothing personal against anyone in the Royals blogosphere and, although I may not agree with all of you, I enjoy what you have to offer. Note that swearing and personal "calling out", so to write, might occur. The Royal Treatment remains committed to devoting a rugged appeal among these bloggers. This series is unedited....and, yes, raw.
This week, we present the sometimes polarizing but always adamant blogger Dr. Thunder. Thunder gained his blogging momentum from this site, where he posted for several months under the same moniker. He departed TRT several months ago and began his own blog, Hapless Royals, in January. Welcome back to the friendly pastures, Thunder. Take it away.
TRT: Introduce yourself. How did you become a Royals fan? Is it difficult tracking the Royals success out in California, and where do you get most Royals game updates (ex.: MLB Network, MLB Gameday, etc.)?
DT: Considering there are people who are plotting my demise as we speak, I'll just continue to introduce myself as Dr. Thunder. I'm a sexy young 30 year old man and am originally from South East Kansas, Pittsburg actually. I'm married to a woman WAY out of my league, and I have 4 beautiful children. When I say out of my league, I mean it. I fit the stereotype of a military guy. I smoke, I drink, I cuss all the time, work too much, and am always on time, for everything. But the only stereotype I don't fit, is having a fatass old lady. Its weird man. Drive up to Fort Riley some day and look around. Cows as far as the eye can see. Privates are so stupid. They hate living in the barracks so much, they marry the first pig that gives them a shot of ass. Luckily I didn't fall into that trap. I met my wife in Los Angeles and she should have never fell for a guy like me, but my charm won her over. I lived in Texas during my late teens and early 20's so I developed that Texasd rawl, and if you have ever seen the movie Ed Tv, you'll know that it don't hurt with the ladies.
As for how I became a Royals fan, it all started with little league baseball when I was in the third grade. Our coach had us all volunteer for a weekend washing cars and selling sandwiches, pop, and chips to raise enough money to take the whole team to a Royals game. At that point, I didn't even know who the Royals were, but I was still excited about venturing off to the big city. When we got there, I absolutely fell in love with everything Royals. I'd never been in a stadium so big, it was breathtaking. It was a Sunday afternoon game in August vs the Blue Jays. The Royals won that day but to tell you the truth, I couldn't have cared less, I was too awestruck to worry about winning or losing. From that day forth, they've been my sports heart and sole.
I keep track of the Royals now, mainly through the inter-webs. I have a desk job, so I always leave a Royals site in the background to check forthings, especially during the season, I use gamecast or whatever that thing is called on mlb.com to track the game. I always order the extra innings package on cable every year. It's actually a really good deal considering the shear amount of games you get a year for just $150. My only complaint is that there are no pre-game or post-game shows. My wife and I yell out "GOOD NIGHT" as soon as the last out is made because if you've never watched a game on extra innings you're missing out. It seems like the moment the last out is made, they immediately cut to a blue screen with the words Good Night in huge letters, with the most ridiculous music playing in the background. At first its annoying, but after a while my wife and I made a game of it, to see who could predict the exact second it appears.
TRT: You're a military man. How did you get involved with the army, and what inspired you to join? Are baseball and the military related in anyway? In other words, has being in the military taught you, or can it teach anyone, about baseball?
DT: I wouldn't really say anything really inspired me to join the Army other than my family heritage. My father was a Staff Sergeant in the Army from 1948-1952, and my grandfather was a corporal in the Army during world war 1. Yes, you read that right, world war ONE. I never met the guy, he died in the 60's and I wasn't even born until 78. My dad always told the best stories about the Army and the stuff he did, so hearing that my whole life definitely planted the seed for enlisting. The funny thing though, is it wasn't my first choice. I wanted to join the Air Force, but the recruiter seemed like a shifty dirtbag, so I walked next door to the Army office and the rest is history. Baseball and the military are related in a lot of different ways. The military is all about leadership and teamwork. Those are 2 of the things you hear about most when you hear about a baseball team. The new guys don't talk to the established vets, and you know your rank and file, just like when a rookie comes up for the minors. You have to understand that just because a guy is a veteran, doesn't make him a leader, it just means he's been around for a while. I hate the word manager. I don't manage people. I lead people. I am a leader. The manager of a big league ball club has to wear a lot of hats, and I think the reason a lot of them fail is that they are really good at knowing the game, but not knowing the people. Some guys need to be coddled to do a good job, others need their asses chewed daily for them to just do their damned job. It's a fine line, you have to treat everyone with respect, but stay away from group punishment. That shit almost always backfires.
TRT: You are the current administrator and writer for the blog Hapless Royals. Give us a quick synopsis about the intention of the blog. How does it differ from other websites throughout the Royals blogosphere?
DT: The blog is my way of relieving stress. Its about 75% Royals related 25% other shit. It's the common man's blog. No advanced stats, no Vorp (I could write an entire book on that term alone. Where is this magical replacement player? Is there a replacement player farm where they grow these guys?).
It differs from most Royals Blogs in the sense that I refuse to hold anything back. If someone pisses me off, chances are they'll get whats coming to them on there. I don't write it to cater to anyone but myself.
I submit 90% of the material and my only friend left from childhood, Southern Lightning, will supply the rest. He isn't really much of a baseball fan, he's more into the NFL. He's a bandwagon hopper. He was on the Red Sox wagon for a while after they won the series. We play the MLB 2K series on xbox live and he always chooses one of the top teams, and I beat his ass with the Royals every time, because I know how to use each player to their best abilities and he just plays with the set roster. He always wonders why I'd start Gathright or Larue over Sweeney or Buck, and then in the 8th when he's up by one, I'll bring in Sweeney, Buck, or Lime Brown to pinch hit and jack a 3 run bomb. I swear it happens every game, he gets so mad! He currently likes the Chiefs, but during the stellar Cowboys run in the 90's he was all about them, starter jacket and all.
TRT: You make your discontent with the predominance of the concept of "Mother's Basement" blatantly known throughout Royals websites. What is"Mother's Basement", exactly, and where and how did this resentment begin?
DT: First off, who are we to question the GM? A bunch of middle aged armchair quarterbacks with nothing more than a beer gut and stores from the "glory days" to our name, sitting around our computers wishing we were at where they already are. There's a big difference between sitting in your garage having a beer with your buddies bitching about the team, and posting it for the world to see on the inter-webs. I mean seriously, why do you think I flame idiots like NYROYAL and JOBBER on my blog, it's a taste of their own medicine. They sit and bitch and complain and bellyache all day long about Dayton Moore. So I say they're fair game, too. If they can badmouth Dayton Moore, I can badmouth them. The funny thing is, you never see Dayton Moore making up aliases and blasting these guys bitching about him. But if I bitch about these fucknobs, they make up stupid handles like sallyanncavanaugh2 and get all up in my shit. Why? Because they're insecure. They can dish it out, but they certainly can't take it.
Another guy I have a problem with is this Rany Jazzayerli character. You do realize everyone on the internet takes everything he says as the gospel right? It's just a guy with a blog. I heard he wrote some bookor something, but that still doesn't mean he's always right. If writing a book makes your right 100% of the time, we'd all be speaking German right now, praising Adolf Hitler. I like his writing style and his blogs, because he still writes about himself and his kid's births andstuff that he really embraces, not just stats and shit. But I don't worship the guy like a lot of folks do. The man-crush a lot of people have on this guy is amazing. I've actually read people saying, I wonder how Rany feels about this? WHO FUCKING CARES! How do YOU feel about this. Have an original thought! Make your own assumptions and post your opinions, not some other guy's opinions.
TRT: Which of Dayton Moore's player personnel decisions and transactions have you agreed and disagreed with the most?
DT: The funny thing is, I try not to get too worked up about a trade or decision I don't necessarily like. I just shrug it off and figure they know more about it than I do, so good for the guy getting paid I guess. But since you asked, I don't like the Doug Waechter signing. I'm kidding I just figured I'd say that one because its one that I've never seen anyone bitch about. But seriously, though I don't get the Horacio Ramirez signing. No one else was going to give this guy any money above the minimum. Why we gave this guy over a million dollars is crazy to me.
For the one I agreed with the most, hand down the Coco Crisp trade. I like it on so many levels. Here's a guy that fell out of favor in Boston. But was an certified badass in Cleveland. In my opinion, first he hurt his finger, which hurt his status, then Ellsbury catches fire and the Sox win the Series. The guy had a foot out the door the minute Ellsbury stepped into center field. I think you're going to see a much better and much more motivated Coco Crisp this year. And yes, I see the Royals picking up his option for next year, and him tearing it up in his contract year. I may be wrong, I am a lot, but I think this move singlehandedly turned this franchise around for good. I mean come on, we got Coco Crisp for Ramon Ramirez, who we got for Jorge De La Rosa, who we got for Tony Graffanino. Any way you look at it, that's a good trade.
TRT: Which Royals message boards and/or blogs do you recommend?
DT: Royal Board. I spend more time there than any other website. Royals Nation is good for the casual fan. Royals Review can lick my sack, there is nothing but self absorbed cocksuckers that overload that board with their incessant rantings. I'm talking to you Devil_Fingers.
For blogs, MtRoyals' blog is pretty good. To be quite honest I can't remember the name (Editor's Note: Royally Speaking), Royal something. In Dayton we trust is pretty good, but not updated that much. Big League Stew is fantastic. Old man Duggan's blog is good "royalscentricity" or something like that. Everything on that MVN site is garbage. Minda33 and those douche bags. And of course this blog, hey, it's where I got my start.
For other teams, Drunk Jays Fans (Toronto) is a good read, along with Gas Lamp Ball (San Diego).
TRT: It seems I first started reading from you over at Royal Board. How did you discover the Royals webosphere?
DT: To be honest, Royal board is listed on the sports illustrated Royals website. That's where I found it, and have been going ever since. Except for that 8 months I was banned for flipping out on that eyeoftiger dude. During the time I was banned is when I became more involved on your site, Royals Nation. I really don't have a flashy answer for this one, its pretty cut and dry.
TRT: You're obviously not a fan of sabermetrics and other advanced statistics in baseball. Do you know, watch, or read from any national sports writers who share similar opinions?
DT: You know, I wouldn't really say I read any one person's stuff in particular. I just read whatever I see posted by people on Royal Board and your site. And I read the stories posted on the official Royals site everyday, along with Around the Horn and Kaegel's Blogs on there. I used to really enjoy "Royales with Cheese" but he quit blogging for some reason. I'm a big fan of big league stew, as well. Those guys get it. I hated fire joe morgan with a passion. The day they quit writing was a red letter day at the Dr. Thunder mansion. Blue Collar Baseball is a nice blog to read. The guy who writes it just simply loves baseball, period.
TRT: If Dayton Moore were fired today, and Dr. Thunder assumed duties of the Kansas City Royals, which players would you sign, trade, release, etc. etc.? Basically - how would you handle the team from here forth to (hopefully) the promised land? (Assume a David Glass-like budget).
DT: I like this question, but I'm going to give it a twist. If they are STUPID enough to fire Dayton Moore and hire Dr. Thunder, then they are stupid enough to give me all the money I want to run this club. Seriously, who would fire Dayton Moore to hire me? I'm an idiot.
But going on that, Tony Pena Jr. will be the first to get the ax. Outright released. And not with some "we wish him well in futureendeavors" type statement. The press release would read like this: The KC Royals today released shortstop / backup infielder / complete waste of money/ elf, Tony Pena Jr. GM Dr. Thunder had this to say. "The guy should have never been on this roster in the first place. He's garbage and couldn't hit his way out of a wet paper bag. We wish him nothing but embarrassment and humiliation, the same way he humiliated this club every time he came up to bat and swung at a pitch 7 feet outside of the strike zone. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out". Pena was not available for comment.
Next, I'd hire Matt Stairs as man coach. He has no duties related to baseball, he simply there to teach these metrosexuals how to be MEN. He has full authority to slap them silly if he catches anything bitch-like going on with Dejesus or Teahen or any of the other women. Traveling uniforms will be wrangler or levis jeans, chuck taylor tennis shoes, untucked tee shirts, NORMAL tee shirts not these Ed Hardy things I seerich douche bags wearing these days. Everyone on the team will be required to have a facial hair. Period. Acceptable forms include: Giambi mustaches, full beards, trucker beards (think lead singer of motorhead), or fu-man-chu's. No faggity penciled in mustaches, nojockstrap goatees, no soul patches. Hair will be unkempt at all times, 70's style. Black guys, the afro is authorized, white guys the mullet is authorized. Hispanics, just grow everything and we'll figure it out later.
Also, Matt Stairs will be Joakim Soria's personal bodyguard. He will protect him at all times, just one thing though. The braces gotta go. Messed up choppers will only enhance your aura as closer.
Powder blue road uniforms are back! The powder blue home jerseys with powder blue pants. These will no longer be worn with white pants at home. Also, the home whites are the only authorized home uniform, no dark blue tops. 2 uniforms, that's it. Simple.
That's about it. I'd just hire people who knew more about it than me and let them make the decisions until I became comfortable doing the job. I'd just be the figurehead who took all the flak for shit people didn't like.
TRT: How do you feel about the concept of steroids in baseball? Should steroid punishments continue to be instigated, or should players havethe freedom to use any performance enhancing supplement they see fit?
DT: Oh man, the million dollar question. This subject has been beaten like a dead horse by every major sports outlet in America. Here's what I'll say. Anything before MLB rules is a moot point, it wasn't against the rules so who cares, and if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying. Anything after the rules: suspend them for 1 season. If it happens Sept 6th, 2009... Your last day of suspension is Sept 5th 2010.
Drugs will never go away. Players have been using different forms of drugs to get an edge since the game was invented. Its now in this politically correct pussy society we look down on a guy trying to get an edge. There will be more and different ways to cheat, and if they get caught, they should pay the piper. If not, more power to them.
To be honest, I have much bigger things to worry about than who did steroids and when.
TRT: Which non-Royals baseball players are currently your favorite ones to watch, and why?
DT: Manny Ramirez- The guy doesn't give a fuck about what people think about him. His flamboyance is hilarious.
Derek Jeter- The consummate professional. Embodies what a leader should be.
Kevin Millar- Funniest ballplayer in the game today.
Josh Hamilton- His life hit the skids, but he turned it around and might just be the closest thing to Roy Hobbs we'll see in our lifetime.
Albert Pujols- The one guy I will say without a doubt we should have drafted. But revisionist history is douchey, so I'll just say he's a hell of a player, and I wish we had him.
Lance Berkman- Fat, long hair, nice guy. Perfect fit for my dream Royals team. There is probably more, but off the top of my head, that's all I got.
There is probably more, but off the top of my head, that's all I got. Thanks for interviewing me. I appreciate the support on my website. Once the season starts I will update it more regularly. Until then, Stay Classy, Kansas City.
And that is Dr. Thunder.
Join us next week.....when we present a certain Scout.com poster with a burning antipathy toward a certain prominent ex-Royal. Stay tuned!