- Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
- December 15, 2009 - 5:29 PM
-These baseball teams that corner the market on high-priced veteran talent are driving me crazy. They don't leave medium-market teams like the Twins any chance to win a World Series.
That's right - in the last week the Kansas City Royals have added not only catcher Jason Kendall, but veteran starting pitcher Phil Humber.
Bud Selig should do something to right this competitive imbalance.
I had my buddy Ryan Lefebvre, the former Gophers player and current Royals broadcaster, on the radio show Sunday morning to talk about his book, ``The Shame of Me,'' about his battle with depression.
Of course, instead of being a Modern Sensitive Male and comforting him, I ripped his team, asking whether signing Kendall was a key to the Royals' vaunted youth movement.
Lefebvre gave me an all-too-reasoned response: That he and I spent a lot of time around a team in the '90s that was every bit as pathetic and aimless as the current Royals. The 1993-2000 Twins.
I'll offer this difference: Even at their worst, the Twins were not far removed from a World Series title, and they had obviously competent people (Tom Kelly, Andy MacPhail, Terry Ryan) in place. Their players just weren't good enough.
The Royals have a manager, in Trey Hillman, who seems overmatched to me, and who makes way too many comments about Royals' fans just not understanding the process of rebuilding a team. I would say nobody understands the process better than Royals fans.
Here's what we know for sure about the Royals, or any low-revenue, low-payroll team trying to rebuild in baseball's modern era: Until a group of young players emerges at ``the major-league level'' (I wrote that just because you miss hearing Bert say it), everyone in the organization tends to look stupid and overmatched.
I do think Hillman is overmatched. yet iif he had a talented group of young players to manage, the Royals would have a chance to right themselves, just like the 2001 Twins.
But he doesn't, so they don't.
I hereby promise not to ever write that ``This is the year the Royals make a move'' until I have more proof of that as a possibility. And right now the Royals look pathetic and desperate. Signing Jason Kendall for two years is a cry for help.
-Is there anyone in Minnesota - or the nation at large - naive enough to believe that Randy Moss would never again display his contrarian nature?
Moss is a Hall of Fame receiver. I won't debate that. He's also a world-class contrarian, and perhaps the best front-running receiver this side of Terrell Owens.
He had quite a week. Bill Belichick sent him home for showing up late for meetings last Wednesday. (I side with Moss on that one _ if you're stuck behind a snow plow, you're stuck behind a snow plow.) Then two Carolina Panthers defensive backs said that Moss appeared to quit during the game. (I concur. I've seen it before, and when things are going Moss' way, we'll see it again.)
What I found most interesting about the coverage of this event was the reaction in some corners - I heard this in several places within the ESPN family - that Tom Brady and Belichick had leaped to Moss' defense.
Listen closely to their comments, and waht you heard was non-denial denials. They attacked the Panthers. They said generally nice things about Moss. Never did they say ``Randy did not quit.''
That's because Randy quit.
-I've been saying it all season - if you're going to lose 60-plus games (70-plus?) you might as well give your best young players experience in clutch situations. I was glad to see Kurt Rambis do that on Monday night in Utah.
He designed a pick-and-roll play for Jonny Flynn with the game on the line. Flynn blew by Deron Williams and scored the game-winning bucket.
I liked two things about that play: 1) Rambis gave Flynn a chance to decide the game. I would have liked that decision even if Flynn had missed the shot.
2) Rambis allowed Flynn to run a pick-and-roll, which is perfectly suited to his strengths _ he has the speed to get to the rim and the explosiveness to finish at the rim.
In situations where he isn't standing around trying to figure out the offense, Flynn is dynamic. The real question is whether he has the size and willingness to become a decent defender.
-Enjoy Northern Illinois tonight. I'm impressed that the Gophers basketball team had the guts to schedule one of the eight best teams from Illinois.
-Patrick Reusse and I taped another Unsportsmanlike Comment for startribune.com today. It should be up by Wednesday or Thursday. I apologize for being so mean. I blame Reusse.
-Over the last few weeks, I"ve started wondering if the Vikings might have a tougher time with their first playoff opponent than with the Saints in the NFC title game. I'm not sure the Vikings would match up well with the Eagles or Cardinals, and the Packers are playing better. The Saints have not looked impressive since blowing out what we now know to be a mediocre Patriots team.
-You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.
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