No baseball today

Last night was the University show choir’s annual spring show, and Kates and I took both girls for the first time. The performance, as usual, was fun and a wonderful showcase of our amazingly talented students – not to mention an opportunity to be introduced to some show tunes with which we were previously unfamiliar. I particularly enjoyed one soloist’s performance of “Stars and the Moon” from “Songs for a New World” and haven’t been able to get it out of my head today. (I just Googled it and learned it’s a Jason Robert Brown composition, which is interesting because I noticed a resemblance to “The Last Five Years” right away.) But more importantly, Phoebe and Faye enjoyed the show, too, and the usually squirrely Faye barely moved a muscle on my lap as long as there was action on the stage.

Of course, we came home and flipped on the Royals game to find the boys playing in a pouring rain in Chicago, which only appeared to make the cold conditions more miserable. The White Sox eventually tied the game, leaving the umpires to suspend play and prevent the game from going into what surely would have been extra innings for the second night in a row. … The remainder of the game was supposed to be played today, along with today’s regularly scheduled game, but both were called off because of more rain.

It worked out well because Phoebe’s afterschool program sponsored an ice skating clinic this afternoon. I took her for the ice skating while Kates and Faye did some shopping. … Shortly after the skating session started some instructors corralled everyone to the middle of the ice to offer some pointers and practice help. But after a few maneuvers, Phoebe only wanted to skate around the rink on her own. She took off right where we left our first skating trip at Crown Center in January. We skated for nearly two hours straight and closed the rink down long after most of the others in her class had left.

But about those Royals …

I had been watching Thursday night’s game but left the room to take care of something in another part of the house as the bottom of the seventh inning was beginning. … I returned to hear the broadcast team referencing a fight that apparently had just occurred. Not again, I thought. Then they began showing the replays.

Five players were ejected, including good ol’ Yordano Ventura, who, in four starts so far this season, has yet to leave a game because of managerial move. Two games by injury, two games by ejection.

Today, four Royals and White Sox players were suspended for the fracas. Fair enough. They all deserved it and no one more than Yordano Ventura and Jeff Samardzija, in my opinion.

But after last weekend's brouhaha with Oakland and now this weekend's series against Chicago, all this talk of the Royals being the “bad boys” of Major League Baseball is getting ridiculous.

Last year, the national media, which wasn’t accustomed to watching the Royals scrap out hits and runs every day, was astonished to see the team make the playoffs. Then, they didn’t give them a fighting chance in their preseason predictions. And now, they’re being knocked around by columnists because they play with emotion and they’re responding to opposing teams are taking shots at them.
To be clear, I don’t like pitchers intentionally throwing at batters, no matter what teams are facing off, and the Royals could have handled all of this better on the field. But they have every right to be playing with a chop on their shoulder.

The Kansas City Star’s Lee Judge does a nice job of breaking down Thursday night’s fight here. …
“Baseball fights tend to involve two guys who are actually mad and a bunch of teammates who come out on the field because baseball protocol demands it. If a teammate gets into an altercation and you don’t come out on the field to protect him, you might as well get on a bus back to Triple-A the next morning; you’ll be an outcast. …

“It’s a fine line: the Royals have to show that they won’t be pushed around — and it seems like teams are trying to push them around — but at the same time the Royals have to keep their eyes on the prize and not let suspensions or fight-related injuries keep them from reaching their goal.”
(Update: 04.27.2015) As he usually does, Joe Posnanski nails it in a column today. …
“So, something is working … and I don’t think the Royals mind this new business of being the heel. I’m quite sure most Royals fans don’t mind it. For years, they were irrelevant. Last season they were fluky. Last October they were quaint. This offseason they were written off.

None of those identities are sustainable for very long. But this theme – loathed, despised, viewed as punks – getting booed in every town, having writers rip them and having players gripe … well maybe it works.”
In other news …

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