You don't need me to tell you that we're in a real funk, as we seen the NL West lead diminish from 6.5 games to just 3 in one week, and we've lost the NL's best overall record. We know that Ryan Ludwick has been a letdown since his acquisition from St. Louis, or that the Diamondbacks just kicked our ass 7 of the last 9 times we've played them at Chase Field. Now the vultures are beginning to circle, claiming their suspicions about the Padres were indeed correct and that they're going to crash-and-burn and miss the playoffs.
In 2003, the Kansas City Royals were in first place until the end of August. The thing that made it wonderful and baffling all at once is that nobody was quite sure how they were doing it. It was like a magic trick. I was watching them every single day, and I had no idea how it was done. Only, it really wasn’t like a magic trick. At a Vegas magic show, when you don’t know how something is done you think, “This guy’s is a great magician.” In baseball, when you don’t know how something is done you think, “Oh boy, this ain’t gonna last.”
Yes, the writer of this piece, Joe Posnanski, is making the claim that the season of '03 Royals will end the same way to this year's Padres. I'll let Wonko or whoever pick this statement apart. I'm not writing this to tear some Jon Morosi-wannabe/douchebag a new one. A blogger named Mike Williams made a very interesting comment on Joe's post that I found to be inspiring.
No offense, Joe – but this Padres team reminds me more of the 1985 Royals than the 2003 Royals. Best pitching in baseball, an offensively challenged team led by one superstar having a great season (Brett/Gonzalez). Oh, and don’t forget the Bud Black connection to boot!
As I recall, the 85 Royals had some anxious moments down the stretch, including getting swept by a bad Texas team to end August, and getting swept 4 games at home by a horrible Seattle team in mid-September. Seriously – the similarities are quite eerie.
Let's look at the 1985 Royals for a minute: They had one player, 3B George Brett, who had a batting avg over .300. Two other players, 1B Steve Balboni and 2B Frank White, hit for power and drove in runs, but had averaged that were below .250. The '85 Royals had a the best pitching in baseball that year, with Charlie Lienbrandt (17-9, 2.69 ERA) and AL Cy Young Award winner Brett Saberhagen (20-6, 2.87 ERA), who was just 21 years-old. They had a seven-game skid of their own: They lost seven of the last eight games in May, found themselves three games under .500 and 5.5 game behind the Angels. No one believed that they could win it all either, and they came back from deficits against Toronto and St. Louis to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy that year. Oh, and some guy named Bud Black was on the pitching rotation of the Royals that year.
Any of this sound familiar? Isn't there a team right now that's in a funk, has a superstar infielder, a young kid that becomes an Ace for the team, and has an annoying habit of winning games?