MLB: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals

Sunday on the Deck

So, the Royals were on the real FOX last night and yet, we were treated to a night of Steve Physioc calling the game. By all accounts he is a fine human being. Anyone who has ever run across Rex Hudler will attest to what a genuine person he is. Ryan LeFevbre is well liked and accommodating. Denny Mathews is a legend Рa guy I have spent the better part of my life listening to. All fine, likely outstanding, people. I am weary of how each of them calls a game.

Like many, I find a Physioc call at best annoying (when you can watch on TV) or virtually game-obscuring when on radio. Rex? Well, once in a while I would like more analysis at the expense of all the catchphrases. With Ryan, I am pretty sure I am one ‘some people will try to tell you’ away from harming myself or those around me. And then there is Denny, who owns a place in many of my fondest Royals’ memories of the 70s and 80s, but am I the only one that thinks he is simply bored with and tired of baseball these days?

Or maybe I’m just a grumpy old man.

Speaking of grumpy and old, at least in baseball terms, what do you suppose the temperament of James Shields is these days? Since being traded to the White Sox, James has allowed 21 runs in just over 8 innings and if you want to pile it on he has given up 31 runs over this last 11 innings! Not long ago, I was querying folks more observant than I about what a comparable package from the Royals’ system might have been to acquire Shields. Now, I really don’t care.

What I do care about is having fun and, right now, watching Whit Merrifield play baseball is fun. There are those around (and I will resist the urge to blame a particular generation) who are quick to inform us that Merrifield will regress. That you are just plain silly to offer even a casual Merrifield-Ben Zobrist comparison. Let’s face it everyone, it is just not sophisticated to get excited about anything, to dream a little bit or to maybe, just maybe, sit back and enjoy a moment in time when a player is just plain hot.

That said, one ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about point’ centers around Merrifield’s microscopic 1.8% walk rate and I saw one tweet somewhere along the way comparing that number with Ben Zobrist’s walk rate in this, his 11th major league season. Zobrist is a marvelous player, who is currently walking at a 15% rate this season. That is standard operating procedure for Ben, who has posted double digit walk rates in every major league season EXCEPT his first two.

As a rookie in 2006, Zobrist walked 5.6% of the time in 52 games and followed that up with a 2.9% walk rate in 31 games in 2007. He did not have Whit’s good BABIP fortune those two years, but Ben did not hit line drives at the current Merrifield rate of nearly 28% either.¬†Listen, Whit Merrifield is not Ben Zobrist, but to limit the similarities to being two white guys who play more than one position is no less illogical than saying that, in fact Whit is the next Ben.

Last weekend, I offered (among other blathering) that the Royals could quite suddenly see an offensive surge by simply having Kendrys Morales start hitting. A week and 10 hits later, you have to be encouraged by what appears to be an awakening of sorts of Big Ken’s bat.

Speaking of last week, we touched on the short-lived remainder to Omar Infante’s career and this week Omar is gone. My goodness how times have changed. Your Kansas City Royals essentially ate $14 million to make their team better. That is a manly baseball move.


Related Articles

7 comments on “Sunday on the Deck”

If Whit had a solid walk rate in the minors, it would be one thing. Zobrist had a 15% walk rate as a minor leaguer, Whit was below 8%. There is reason to be very skeptical until Whit shows he can draw a free pass now and then.

Clark Fosler

Certainly reasons to be skeptical, but comparing walk rates of a rookie season to that of an 11 year veteran was my complaint. Also, the real point of my comments on this topic were to poke a little fun at those that constantly must point out what is going to happen later while disallowing any joy at the current good fortune.

Kansas City Oracle

No one Cain drain the excitement out of a baseball game like Denny. The worst is that he thinks listening to 20 to 30 seconds of crowd noise is good radio. NO OTHER RADIO ANNOUNCER DOES THAT. It is so strange that he is bad on play by play because he is very good at just talking baseball.

A very well known ex-Royal told me in about 2000 that Matthews was bored broadcasting baseball and the Royals should have kept Fred White and let Denny go.

I think Ruan is good. Hud is a joke.

Kansas City Oracle

Went to game. Great time. On way home heard Denny’s call of the walk off. New low. With no raising of voice or hint of happiness, “ground ball to left field, single, Cain will score and Royals win the game.”

ron williams

also very disappointed in the royals announcers.

Adam S.

Grew up listening to Denny and I must say he is a legend. His style of calling the game is very classic and old school. A reserved coolness letting the moment tell the story instead of tired idiotic phrases made up for P.R. purposes. “The Royals Win” accompanied with a roaring crowd will always be all that is needed. The rest is just jibberish for the ADHD crowd.


I’ve noticed those who dislike game analysis dislike Physioc. Those of us who prefer being told from the radio, what’s going on, strategy, why’s and wherefore’s of what’s happening, think Physioc is one of the best radio announcers around.

Comments are closed.