There's a reason Rob Neyer doesn't archive his blog...

I'd like to start by paying as little attention to today's 8-1 beating as possible. The defense was poor, the offense was poor, and Zack Greinke just didn't have "it." In fact, the only thing even remotely entertaining in the game was the 53 mph curveball that Greinke threw at one point. I believe that was his slowest one yet -- at least, it's the slowest I remember him throwing.

  • With that out of the way, I can focus in on my main topic for today: former Royals fan Rob Neyer. I became a Neyer fan right around the time I was introduced to Moneyball, which was sometime in late 2003. Prior to my great awakening, I viewed Neyer as nothing more than a traitorous jerk, because he seemed to always complain about the Royals (even during their magical 2003 season), and because he expressed his opinions in a style that, well, made him sound like a complete asshole (ex.- "so and so has no business in a major league uniform").

    Anyhow, once I realized the value of statistical analysis, Neyer began to make a lot of sense to me. We even enjoyed a fairly harmonious 2004, as my disagreements with him were very rare. Perhaps it was because I, like Neyer, remembered that I had not disagreed with a single move the Royals made prior to the 2004 season. The free agent signings made sense, they were all short-term, and the Royals looked poised to improve upon a 2003 record that was, for lack of a better term, pure luck.

    Of course, we all know what happened. 104 losses. A new record for futility. It was a miserable season, but through it and the run-up to this season, I felt that Neyer remained a fair critic of Royals management.

    But then something happened. Neyer began to turn against RC's Official Hero, Allard Baird. And in the process, Neyer began to ignore that he had, in fact, agreed with at least some of the moves that Baird made prior to the 2005 season -- moves that he now criticizes. For instance, on Neyer's blog right now, you can read the following:

    Rob: Joe [Posnanski] really is a master of the form -- as much as it hurts to admit this, he’s twice the columnist I’ll ever be [RC interjection: only twice???] -- and I found his concluding sentence particularly masterful: “It doesn’t sound like much of a plan.”

    As you and maybe a few readers might remember, I was just bemoaning the ineffectiveness of “the plan” a week or two ago. Was paying $2.5 million to Jose Lima a part of the plan? Were Terrence Long and Eli Marrero a part of the plan? The plan’s got little chance of working because the plan doesn’t include much money spent on baseball players. But for the plan to have any chance of working, it’s got to be executed almost flawlessly. And brother, don’t get me started on the flaws.

    Are we to now believe that Rob Neyer disagreed with the Terrence Long acquisition? I distinctly remember Neyer expressing quite a bit of excitement over the deal shortly after Baird acquired Long and Dennis Tankersley in exchange for the overpaid Darrell May. Of course, it's difficult to prove, since Neyer doesn't archive his Rob & Rany discussions.

    But alas, I found an e-mail exchange I had with Rob in the hours after the trade. And while it's a bit short on details, it offers tangible proof that Neyer is a bozo:

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Monday, November 08, 2004 2:21 PM
    To: Neyer, Rob
    Subject: contact form

    Dave Sanford
    What are your thoughts on the Long/May
    deal today?

    My thinking is this: the Royals missed an
    opportunity. The focus should have been on
    getting rid of May's salary, NOT on getting
    something in return for May. So now, instead
    of paying a lousy left-handed pitcher $3.225
    million, we're paying a lousy outfield $3.225
    million. And it's much easier to get rid of
    a lousy pitcher than a lousy outfielder.

    I guess my logic is dependent upon the belief
    that it was possible to dump May's salary.
    Was it possible? Or do you think that regardless
    ofwhat the Royals did, they were going to
    wind up having to pay a lousy player $3.225
    million? If that's the case, I would much rather
    have paid May.

    Neyer, Rob ( to me

    I'll have something on the site later today, but
    I'm happy. -rob

    There you have it. If I remember correctly, Neyer's approval of the trade had more to do with Tankersley's acquistion than Long's, but the point is that before our putrid start, Neyer was perfectly comfortable with Long on the roster. Needless to say, Neyer is being incredibly dishonest. Hindsight really is 20/20, huh Rob?

    Anyhow, Neyer now appears to be nearing the end of his rope with regard to the Royals. He assails Royals management at every turn, and the hiring of Buddy Bell seems to have finished him off (I vehemently disagree with his "analysis" of the Bell hiring -- which unbelievably includes the minor league managerial records of the candidates Neyer believes would have been more successful than Bell -- but Kevin did a great job with that issue earlier today, so I have nothing to add). In Neyer's ESPN column (subscription required), Neyer concludes with the following:

    This season marks my 30th as a fan of the Kansas City Royals, and columns like this one are painful for me (which is why I rarely write them). It's been a pretty good run, and I'm grateful for each of those 30 seasons (yes, even this one).

    But it's been a dozen years since I lived within easy driving distance of Royals Stadium, and perhaps the distance allows me the perspective to write the following: Maybe it's time to give up...

    The Royals have become a laughingstock, and maybe it's time to find them a new home, where the laughs might someday be outnumbered by the cheers.

    Frankly, I don't believe him, but if he's really done with the Royals, then I say so long. I just hope he's careful not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out. And maybe in a couple years, when Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, and Justin Huber are hitting in the middle of the KC order, those of us who stuck around will let him back into Royals Nation. Maybe.

    At 6/06/2005 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dave -

    I'm really happy that you and Kevin have taken on the job of defending Allard Baird. Although I don't agree with you that Allard is doing a good enough job as GM, I do think there should be a counterpoint to his detractors, and you and Kevin are doing us Royals fans a service by taking on that role.

    However, be careful of becoming overzealous. For instance, its a bit shaky to call Neyer "incredibly dishonest" based on a post of his which you qualify by saying "if I remember correctly", and about which you admit that Tankersley (and not Long) was the main subject.

    Similarly, you lit into Kaegel about JP Howell based only on undocumentable assumptions about his sources or lack thereof. Kaegel has been wrong in the past, but you still probably have no way of knowing the source/basis of what he wrote at any given time.

    A lot of what Allard is doing is very defensible, and I think you are better when you stick to that, rather than focusing on how others interpret his moves.

    At 6/06/2005 2:37 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Thanks for the feedback. Calling Neyer "incredibly dishonest" might not have been the best choice of words, but I do believe that Neyer's failure to acknowledge his own previous support for the acquisition of a player he now criticizes Baird for gives him a credibility problem. And it doesn't matter if his approval of the trade was because of Tankersley (which I acknowleged) -- the point is that he was once comfortable with the trade.

    As for the Kaegel comment, I acknowledged my error in today's post. But keep in mind that Kaegel has a history of reporting his own speculation without attributing it as such. For instance, we saw it several times this past spring, as Kaegel continued to report that Harvey was "likely" to make the team out of ST. There was never any attribution to the "likely" comment, and it became clear that it was merely Kaegel's own personal opinion -- Baird certainly never said such a thing.

    But moving past that, if Kaegel had a source that told him Howell was a candidate for the start, then WHY didn't he give that source some kind of attribution? It wouldn't even have to be a name...A "source close to the team" would do just fine. As it was, I think it was a reasonable conclusion that Kaegel probably just looked at Howell's ERA and figured he might be a candidate.

    Thanks again for your post, and keep reading!

    At 6/09/2005 12:20 PM, Blogger ME said...

    I used to be a fan of Neyers but he only wants to focus on the negative. During the miracle run of '03 he spent the whole year writing that they weren't that good instead of just enjoying it. And he did approve of the May/Long trade.

    At 6/10/2005 11:59 PM, Blogger wadephillips said...

    If I remeber correctly Neyer was quite happy getting a propect like Tankersly while trading salaries. I am down with Neyer also thanks for your thoughts


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