Rag on the players all you want. Call for the head of a manager; it’s practically America’s second pastime. But dare to suggest that a team’s medical staff isn’t up to par? Now you’ve gone too far.
That’s the message sent by the Royals, who have banned one of their most loyal fans and followers, after he wrote a blog post criticizing Kansas City’s head athletic trainer. Oh, and this isn’t your typical blogger writing from his parents’ dimly lit basement. He co-founded Baseball Prospectus. But then, as their win-loss record will tell you, the Royals aren’t much for numbers.
Dr. Rany Jazayerli started Baseball Prospectus in 1996, and has been breaking down the game ever since. He started his own blog, RANY ON THE ROYALS, to apply his analytics to his favorite team. In a post last week, he noted how the Royals have had a miserable history of injuries since 1995, with one common thread: Nick Swartz has been the trainer all this time. And this is a man who invented the statistic “Pitcher Abuse Points;” he might be worth listening to.
While the Royals front office might not have been listening, they certainly read Jazayerli’s post.
I was just informed last night that I’ve been blacklisted by the team. That’s right: I’ve been banned by the Royals! The way this team is playing, I’m not sure if the Royals are trying to punish me or reward me.
Jazayerli admits he might have been wrong in focusing on Swartz specifically, rather than the medical staff as a whole. But the only possible reason for this is that Swartz has compromising pictures of owner David Glass. Why else would the man who’s been in charge of the health of the team still have a job after 15 years of avoidable injuries?
Contrary to what the Royals might think, I don’t have a vendetta against Swartz. I don’t have an agenda here – unless you count “I want to see the Royals win” as an agenda. But sports is the ultimate results-based industry. In the short run, excuses are fine. In the long run, well, it doesn’t matter how good your reasons are for missing the playoffs year after year – all that matters is that you miss the playoffs year after year. If you’re not successful, you lose your job and someone else gets the opportunity to see if they can be successful.
Oh, and Joe Posnanski agrees with Jazayerli. Sorry Joe, I guess you didn’t get the memo. Hope you like covering the team from the parking lot.
It’s not all bad for Jazayerli. I’ll dust off the old chestnut about the raffle held at Kauffman Stadium. First prize was tickets to a Royals game. Second prize was season tickets to the Royals.