It’s Friday, the most glorious day of the week. And time for Friday musings, the most glorious set of random thoughts imaginable. So let’s get started.
▪ Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals, your 2015 American Central champions. It’s the first division championship for Kansas City since 1985, when I was still inspired by sunsets. Now that I have to squint to make out sunsets, not so much. And far be it from me to point out that the St. Louis Cardinals have won 10 division championship – soon to be 11? – since 1985. That would not be sportsmanlike of me at all.
▪ Seriously, it’s been fun to see the Royals’ revival. It’s been good for baseball around these parts and that’s a good thing. I get a little overstuffed with football and it’s nice to see the game I care the most about get some love. And the Royals are a really good team with a bunch of likeable players. That said, I’m not sure how I’d do with another Royals-Cardinals World Series. If I could be assured the good guys (Cardinals) would win, I’d love it. But sports carries no assurances.
▪ There’s been an interesting transformation with the Royals this season. They’ll go into the postseason with pitching doubts but trust in their offense. The additions of designated hitter Kendry Morales and second baseman Ben Zobrist have been key. They’ve perfectly filled lineup holes. And the continued development of Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas has helped produce a lineup that can match up with almost any – except perhaps Toronto’s – in the American League.
▪ Speaking of Toronto, but the Blue Jays trail Kansas City by two games in the race for the best record in the American League. And that’s a big race. Nobody wants to go into a potential series with Toronto facing the possibility of games 6 and 7 at Rogers Centre.
▪ As for Kansas City’s pitching – then I’ll get off this topic – it’s not what the Royals were expecting. Since getting to 77-48 on Aug. 25, the Royals are 12-15 and the pitching has been mainly to blame for the malaise. Kansas City’s postseason rotation is up in the air. It’s likely going to include Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez and Kris Medlen, but in what order? Cueto has stopped the bleeding with a couple of good outings in a row, but he’s still given up 71 hits over his past 40.1 innings. Think about that. Ventura is 3-1 in his past five starts, but has a 4.34 ERA and 1.621 WHIP (average baserunners per inning). Volquez is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA in his past four starts. The best of the KC starters has been Medlen, who is 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA in his past five starts. It’s not an intimidating group.
▪ Baseball’s postseason should be off the charts. And if there’s a National League wild-card game between Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs, make it a priority to watch. It’ll like be Gerrit Cole going for the Bucs and Jake Arrieta for the Cubbies. That’s as good a pitching matchup as you can ask for.
▪ Been watching any of the new television shows? I haven’t had a chance, but my DVR is going 24/7. Maybe I’ll get a chance to catch up someday. One of my priorities is to catch up on the past two seasons of Ray Donovan.
▪ I just read through a list of all the scary movies coming out in the next few weeks and thought it would be fun to watch them all at the movie theater. Hey, some people like to establish low goals.
▪ I’m very much looking forward to the Wichita city council meeting on Oct. 6. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.
▪ My fantasy team is 0-2 and I’ve already lost interest. I suspect this happens with many fantasy football owners, doesn’t it? Unless you have real money on the line. Is everybody playing on DraftKings and FanDuel? Judging from all of the ads on radio and television, you must be. I know just enough to lose my 401k doing things like that so I resist the urge. Actually, I feel no urge whatsoever.
▪ I’ll be heading to Target in a while to purchase a couple of copies of Don Henley’s new Cass County record. It’s going to be a classic, folks. Henley has been making the rounds to promote the music. I’ve heard and seen him more in the past week than in the previous 40 years. Favorite song: Tough to pick, but Cost of Living, his duet with Merle Haggard, is the one I’m singing the most at the moment.
▪ I think I’m going to upgrade my iPhone this weekend, too. It’s a status thing. I want to be like the cool kids. I probably don’t need to upgrade my phone, but I’ll walk out of that AT&T store feeling a little better about myself.
▪ When does Aaron Rodgers vault into the discussion of all-time greatest quarterbacks? Should he be talked about now?
▪ I’m highly, highly impressed by Pope Francis and believe him to be one of the most transformational people in the history of this planet.
▪ When I talk to young people, I tell them there’s nothing better in this world than a fall night with lows in the mid-50s. They usually look puzzled.
▪ Speaking of puzzles, I haven’t done a jigsaw puzzle in years. I also haven’t played ping-pong in a while and I used to be pretty good. I haven’t been on a boat in years, either. I need to do more things.
▪ I believe in progress and I understand that progress isn’t cheap. Wichita is a great city but it could be better. I love it when new businesses start up or when streets get repaired. I’m so glad we are expanding Kellogg and doing some heavier lifting when it comes to our infrastructure. But for me, a new or heavily-renovated Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is at the top of any wish list.
▪ Thanks, everyone, for reading. It’s a privilege to get to write for mass consumption. Or even a little consumption. Have a great weekend.