Royals and the Art of War

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camaraderie

(ˌkæməˈrɑːdərɪ)

n

a spirit of familiarity and trust existing between friends

 

The Royals possess and exhibit camaraderie. The Oakland A’s do as well. So does every single team in baseball or any sport for that matter. More importantly, the fans of a team share the same camaraderie with one another.

As the above definitions suggests, camaraderie is a wonderful thing. What the definition does not reveal is the unintended consequences that result when two or more groups of comrades get together in competition. The Royals-A’s series is a good example.

Did the Brett Lawrie slide into second base warrant retaliation despite it being technically legal?

Yes. Yordano Ventura took care of that, and Lawrie walked it off, indicating that he acknowledged he deserved it. There’s very little dispute over this no matter where your allegiance falls. Ventura could have handled the aftermath with more class, but everyone was cool with how the last two games transpired Sunday morning.

Was Scott Kazmir’s pitch at Lorenzo Cain’s foot intentional?

We’ll never know. A’s fans will say “No way.” Balls get away from pitchers all the time. Royals fans will say (with some hesitation) “Absolutely.” Kazmir had complete control the entire game, and that particular pitch made no sense considering the count and the batter. Both sides have a reasonable argument for their position.

Was Kelvin Herrera’s pitch completely out of line?

This is the $64,000 question (which is probably $1 million set for inflation). You won’t collect any money, because there is no correct answer. On the surface, Herrera’s 100 mph high pitch behind Lawrie was unjustified. It couldn’t be in response to Kazmir’s pitch…that was too unclear in terms of intent. And it couldn’t be because of Lawrie’s slide into Alcides Escobar two games back…Ventura took care of that. Therefore, Herrera (and by association, the entire Royals clubhouse) is classless.

Perhaps further context will help.

In 12 games, the Royals have been hit by a pitch 14 times. Moustakas and Cain (currently among the best hitters on the team) have been hit four and three times, respectively. Alex Rios is currently on the 15-day disabled list due to a pitch to his left hand. The Royals have been target practice for the first four teams they faced. It’s frustrating at the very least, dirty and dangerous at the worst.

In a press conference after Sunday’s brawl, Lawrie commented on how it’s completely unfair to be in fear of his life every time he steps up to the plate. He claims he’s not allowed to do his job because of the Royal’s shenanigans. Do you see the irony here? The Royals have been forced to play with this alleged fear against every team they play, not just one newly established rivalry.

Every starter for the A’s will play in their next series. Two starters for the Royals will not because of the “reckless” pitching they have faced nearly every single game since the season opener. Royals fans understand this. Most people outside their fan base do not.

Which brings us back to Herrera’s pitch.

We can only speculate why Herrera threw behind Lawrie. If he wanted to hit him, he would had…he’s pretty damn spot on with his placement. Perhaps, Herrera’s message wasn’t to Lawrie, but to every single player on every single team in baseball: Quit hitting my teammates. Laying low didn’t seem to work. To protect their house, the Royals had to be a bit more aggressive. Future opponents will certainly think twice before hitting a Royal, and that’s all the Royals have wanted. Mission accomplished. Herrera should get fined and suspended , because “dems da rules.” And that’s fine. The Royals will pay the costs necessary to ensure their players are safe from HBPs, because MLB isn’t doing anything to help them.

Six months after being called the greatest fans in baseball, people across the nation are calling the Royals and its fans classless thugs*. To those people, I posit this: How would you react if it was your team getting hit (and thereby jeopardizing its players and win record) nearly every game? You would get frustrated. You would seek revenge. You would stand behind your team knowing they feel the same but with stronger emotions.

It’s called camaraderie, and as long as other groups of comrades put our comrades at risk, expect a reaction you would expect from yours.

 

* It’s amazing what just ONE ALCS trophy in nearly 30 years can do to one’s image

 

 

 

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