It’s time to take stock here.
I’ve been getting some mildly unsettling feedback from family members and a friend. Patty and Brooks say I’m a “glass-half-empty” sort, and a good friend of ours — who had been a loyal reader even though she has lived in LA for years — told me recently she had unsubscribed from the blog because I was “too negative.”
In addition, I can’t tell you how many times, when I was at The Star, people would crinkle up their faces and say, “Why don’t you print some good news once in a while?”
That, of course, drives us journalists absolutely crazy. We (and I’m lumping my blog in with The Star and other papers) write positive stuff all the time. Most of my recent posts would fall into the “positive” category, but the negative stuff makes a stronger impression and stays with people a lot longer than the “good news.”
For example, the cases of young women who were kidnapped, raped and murdered — think Ann Harrison, Pamela Butler, Ali Kemp and Kelsey Smith, among others — stay with us a lot longer than the name of Officer Mark Engravalle, the Roeland Park policeman who paid for the diapers and baby wipes of a down-and-0ut mother of six who was arrested July 6 for shoplifiting at a Wal-Mart.
Hey, that’s just the way it is! Bad news often shakes people to the core; it upsets their sense of security, and it reminds us — again and again — that we are a broken people.
Do we want to be reminded of that over and over? Hell no! But that’s the way of the world. So people should quit deluding themselves and stop asking why newspapers and TV stations don’t do more Good Samaritan stories or more stories about fuzzy animals at the zoo. As it is, there are plenty of those stories. Just read your KC Star or go to their website. But you don’t have to; you already know I’m right.
So, does it sound like I’m about to capitulate and stop writing “negative” stories? Like crossing my fingers and saying I really expect the downtown streetcar line to be operating by the time the Big 12 Conference basketball tournament starts next March? You already know the answer to that question, too…No, I’m doubling down on negative…I see a “yes” in the pot and raise it two “no’s.”
Now, with that off my chest, and with you braced for the worst, let me give it to you…
The Royals — the team that leads their division by about a dozen games and causes grown men to get glassy eyed — probably aren’t going to win the American League Championship, much less go to the World Series.
First of all, last year was magical. It was lightning striking out of a blue clear sky (thank you, George Strait). Regardless of how good the team appears to be this year, you just can’t expect a repeat. Dominoes only fall into place once in a while, you know.
Second, I can point to several specific and troubling aspects of this team.
— Johnny Cueto doesn’t appear to be superman after all. He puts his jersey on one sleeve at a time and can’t even get the top button attached. He’s just a “loaner” — a guy who’s passing through and waiting for a big payday on the open market next year. He’s not committed to the Royals at all. He’s already looking down the road. Now, you won’t read this in The Star (because the hometown paper doesn’t want to ruin the working script) but he told a Boston radio station on Thursday, “I would like to come here (Boston) because it’s a championship-caliber team.” How do you like that? Huh? Does that sound like a guy whose mind is on winning a championship with his pass-through team. Also, I don’t think for a minute Cueto is a team player. On Tuesday, May 19, after pitching for his previous team, the Cincinnati Reds, in a 3-0 loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, he told a reporter: “I did what I actually was supposed to do. You know what? I did my job,” Gee, Johnny, I wonder how much your teammates appreciated that comment? Or how much they liked you in any sense?
— Alex Rios is a pretty boy who can’t hit and doesn’t go all out in the field.
— Lorenzo Cain looks like he’s on a sea cruise these days, waving at balls he used to catch and grinning and loping when he finally runs down the ball and throws it back toward the infield.
— Pitcher Yordano Ventura, the hero of Word Series Game 6 last year, is a kid who can’t control his emotions and probably won’t make it with the Royals. Right, I think the Royals will give up on him next year or the year after. It might well take a dumping for him to grow up and become a real pitcher. Or maybe he won’t make it at all. Baseball history is littered with young guys with live arms who could never figure out big-league hitters.
There you have it. Once again, I hate to be the turd in the punch bowl, but somebody’s gotta do it, and you can always count on me to tell you when the glass is half empty and when the punch is putrid.
Have a great weekend…