It’s getting to a point that someone could write a thesis about the Kansas City Royals and all their famous blunders and bloopers of the last 10 years. I’m not talking about writing of how the organization lost more games than anyone else in that time, how it drafted the No. 1 overall pick in 2006 without a general manager or how it lost 97 games with the Cy-Young winner pitching once every five days, or even how it paid a man who can’t play in the field, get on base, walk or hit for power $36 million.
I’m talking about the purely anecdotal evidence from players and managers. The lowlights. The hilariously awful moments. These could fill an easy 100 pages double-spaced.
To an extent, the Kansas City Star did this on Sunday. The Star, of course, featured a massive section, one you could consider a thesis, to preview opening day and this coming season that mainly detailed the Royals’ problems with fundamentals. One part of it highlighted these blunders I speak of.
It was brilliant. The Star reminded us of Kerry Robinson’s famous scaling of the outfield wall, only, upon reaching the apex of his jump, to find out that the ball bounced on the warning track in front of him. It reminded us of Ken Harvey getting hit in the back by his cut off throw, various sunglasses issues and others that you can read here.
Those are the chosen lowlights. Those are what we remember the Royals for in what is arguably the worst period of baseball imaginable. Those are what Joe Posnanski can reel off reflexively, along with moments like when the Royals promoted Eduardo Villacis to start at Yankee Stadium, when Tony Muser complained he had too many players who pounded milk and cookies instead of tequila, when Luke Hochevar let a runner advance to third base because he wasn’t looking, when a cat sprinted around the stadium and when manager Tony Pena showered in his uniform after that dreadful Villacis start and then told the press the Royals would win the division.
These are wonderfully terrible, hilarious moments. But everyone tends to overlook a certain lowlight when the discussing the Royals’ ineptitude.
Let’s go back to 2005. August. In the annals of bad baseball history, this would be Chapter One.
That month, Kansas City lost an otherworldly 19 games in a row. From July 28 to August 19, the Royals didn’t win once. One of the famous lowlights occurred during that stretch. In a game that the Royals had in the bag, Chip Ambres let a fly ball drop to the turf. His catch would have been the third out in the ninth. The other team went on to win the game.
So, yes, people will remember that August month for the losing streak and that game. Maybe that’s why this lowlight has largely been forgotten.
It happened on Aug. 27. The Royals led the Yankees, in the Bronx, 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Jeremy Affeldt, who had been a pretty reliable reliever, was pitching.
With one out and a runner on first base, he forced Jorge Posada into an 0-2 count. Then came the moment.
Posada hit an easy come-backer straight to the mound. Affeldt fielded it and had an easy throw to make for the game-ending double play. But these are the Royals, and easy often leads to a certain kind of remarkable that leaves you shaking your head for all the wrong reasons.
As he turned around to throw to Angel Berroa, who was covering second base, Affeldt tripped over the rosin bag. Let me write that one more time.
HE TRIPPED OVER THE ROSIN BAG.
The loss of balance caused him to poorly throw the ball, and both runners advanced safely. Of course, the Royals went on to blow their four run lead and lose 8-7.
So there it is, the forgotten piece of history. I guess it’s only natural that we forget or don’t emphasize certain parts of the past. Important details of the greatest civilizations have certainly been forgotten or lost. But our conscious keeps details of Tony Pena Jr.’s sunglasses, Robinson’s leap and so on. I say we add the rosin bag as well.