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Sports Editorial

KSAL Staff - May 31, 2016 8:00 am

MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS

MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS

Someone is to blame for the devastating collision between third baseman Mike Moustakas and left fielder Alex Gordon that sidelined both players, Moustakas for the season.

Gordon and Moustakas aren’t wild-eyed rookies that lose their composure going after a foul ball; however, that’s how they played this one. The manager and coaching staff should, and probably have, made it abundantly clear which player is to make the call in that situation.

Since Moustakas was going out and Gordon was coming in, it should have been Gordon’s call. Either Gordon yelled and Moustakas didn’t pay attention or Gordon didn’t make the call. In any event, the injuries shouldn’t have happened and what a costly mental mistake it was.

How much is the absence of Gordon and Moustakas going to hurt the Royals’ chances to win the AL Central? Not as much as you first think.

In 42 games, Gordon was hitting a substandard .211 and leading the team in strikeouts with 50. Another factor—which has gone unnoticed—is that he’s lost a step on defense. Gordon has never fully recovered from his severe groin injury last season.

Moustakas had been mediocre while playing 27 games; he was hitting .240 with seven homers. But he has been nothing great. DH Kendrys Morales is also off to an awful start; he was hitting .187 after 45 games with 38 strikeouts. Morales missed several games in late May because of a strained thumb.

The rookie replacements are another matter entirely: they have been performing well-above expectations. After two games of subbing for Morales, Brett Eibner was hitting .375, including the game-winning hit in the miraculous comeback against Chicago last Saturday. Morales might be on thin ice. Cheslor Cuthbert is now the regular third baseman and he was hitting .254 in 17 games through the Saturday (March 28) White Sox game. And rookie Whit Merrifield has performed admirably at second base, third base, and left field. Merrifield was hitting .375 after eight games.

Gordon and Morales have been hitting so poorly that they won’t be missed if the rookies keep playing well. And Moustakas is out for the rest of the season, so he’s a non-factor.

Kansas City has regained momentum with their recent play and—after the March 28 games—the Royals were tied with Cleveland for first place in the AL Central. It’s going to be an entertaining and exciting pennant race in the AL Central; KC, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit all have talented ball clubs and any of the four could come out on top.

The high-ranking administrators of TV networks that televise major league baseball games—and make the final decisions on how to focus the cameras—are stereotyped, almost beyond saving.

During active play, most of the TV cameras are aimed at the pitcher’s back with the hitter facing the pitcher. When the batter hits a pitch, it’s often difficult to see what happens for a second or two. This wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s done with every plate appearance by every hitter.

TV could show the entire field with their cameras if they would do so. It looks like a seat in the upper deck, but you can see all of the action on the field, including the flight of the ball. Using this method would increase the excitement for the viewers in many crucial moments of a ball game.

That’s not to say this coverage should be used all the time; it would, however, assuage the boring mood caused by having the camera focus  on the pitcher and hitter for every at-bat. If you agree with this assessment, drop Fox Sports Kansas City an e-mail and tell them we would like to see more variation of TV coverage, often with the entire field in the picture.

The NBA playoffs are a different animal compared to the regular season; the contact allowed by the referees is amazing. It doesn’t even look like basketball. Defense is secondary during the regular season, but that changes significantly when the playoffs begin.

In the fourth quarter of the fifth game of the Golden State-Oklahoma City series, Marreese Akeem Speights (6-10, 285) drove to the basket and crashed into the OKC defender, Kevin Durant (6-9, 235). Speights mashed him. It’s a wonder Durant was able to get to his feet. Durant was set on defense and took the charge; the call was a foul on Durant, which was both an amazing and terrible decision by the ref.

NBA basketball in the playoffs is more like football without pads than the game it was intended to be. It’s amazing the players are able to get off shots because the play is so physical. If you like ferocious, physical play, be sure and tune in for the finals.

City of Salina