Well it looks like Just South of North's very own Casey Knopik has started a trend. That's right everybody is hopping on the Kansas City Royals bandwagon. The Royals currently are tied in 2nd place in the American League Central division, 1 game back of the Detroit Tigers, which is as close to the lead in the division this team has been since the 1st Bush was working on starting a recession. Royalmania has gone nationwide as evidenced by Sports Illustrated featuring the star of the Royals staff, Zack Greinke, being this weeks cover boy (this of course means the Royals will go in the tank by losing 15 out of their next 18, with the Manager and GM getting fired and the city going up in flames).
By making the cover of SI Greinke has done a complete career 360. In 2002 Greinke was named Gatorade National Player of the Year and was selected in the first round of the 2002 draft. He went on to be named the Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Year and The Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year in compiling a 15-4 record with a 1.96 ERA at two levels of Minor League ball. Everything looked promising for the young pitcher.
Then 2005 came along and Greinke struggled going 5-17 with a Carlos Silva-esque 5.80 ERA. The spring of 2006 was no better as Greinke left spring training for personal reasons. It turns out he was suffering from social anxiety disorder (kind of like what Casey has, which explains why he throws things at people when they talk to him). He eventually returned to the team and bounced between starting games and working out of the bullpen.
Last year Greinke again reminded the Royals organization as to why they drafted him in the first round as he rebounded from personal issues to have a solid season (13-10, 3.47 ERA). He ended 2008 with a string of 14 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. That streak of scoreless innings continued into this year when he pitched his first 24 innings without giving up a run (now get your calculators cause that equals.....38 straight?). The streak was snapped when he gave up an unearned run against the Tigers, a game in which he pitched a complete game, his second in a row.
So far this year I'd say Greinke has pitched pretty well. He is 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 36 strikeouts, 6 walks, 2 complete games and 1 shutout in 29 innings pitched.
This leads me to believe that maybe Casey knows something the rest of us don't? Here I thought he became a fan just because of their cool fountain and the fact that the city initials sound like his name.
By the way you can catch Zack and the rest of the Ragin' Royals in action tonight at 8:10 pm eastern time against the Toronto Blue Jays. Greinke will put his 4-0 record and spotless ERA on the line against Brian Tallet (1-0, 2.95 ERA) who is making his second start of the year.