Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Hearts be still in those regions of the USA where the diaspora of "midwestern angst" has spread...those paragons of powder blue, the Kansas City Royals, are kicking up their heels.

NOT, despite rumors to the contrary, a picture of the right
side of Rob Neyer's noggin...
Today's 2-1 win over the out-on-their-feet Detroit Tigers is the tenth in a row for the team that has spawned more alliterative detritus than a room full of monkeys equipped with--no, not typewriters, not even lower life forms use those anymore--let's just say loaded with beta-ware. Yes, the Royals have been making monkeys out of their fans for the last quarter-century...and now, when the drumbeats from Joe Poz's bunkered Carolina hideaway have faded into the lingering dusk, they are making noises that just might make the seasoned sailor consider a quick lashing to the mast before those sirens start to dance on their eyelids.

But consider this: that ten-game winning streak (the first such in 2014; last season there were five of them) puts the Royals into a category of team that's hit our radar screens 82 times in the past twenty-five years. We can look at the season records of these teams, and discover how well a ten-game skein translates into year-long success.

The Royals' oddly-named mascot
(Sluggrr, for a team that perenially is
at the bottom of the HR totals) has
to watch from afar as the boys in pale
blue are powdering the ball at last...but
on the road (24, vs. 15 at home).
So what does it tell us? Of those 81 previous teams, 66 of them (81.5%) finished the season at .500 or better. The Royals, with their ten-and-counting streak this year, have pushed their WPCT up to .549; the aggregate WPCT for teams that have at least a ten-game win streak over the 1989-2013 time frame is .551.

Forty of the 78 teams (leaving the current Royals, and all three of the teams with ten-game win streaks in 1994, when there was no World Series) have gone to the post-season. That's just over 51%.

So that means that these Royals, with their great bullpen and their sudden flurry of offense (thus far, they've scored the most runs in the majors in June), are currently even money to make it into the playoffs.

Now, that's no lock, but it's a lot better than what's been the case for a long, long time. The questions needing more definitive answers--whether the Royals can add enough power to their offense, or continue with the tightrope-walking results of their starting staff (just three HRs in over 100 IP thus far in June)--are going to have to work themselves out over the course of the year, but the Royals might benefit from the indisputable fact that baseball, just like nature, abhors a vacuum.

So...flutter away, ye hearts of the monkey-men, stalwarts of the angst-ridden powder blue diaspora. The crumbs have been scattered; the trail of tears is locked--and loaded.