the panic button, revisited

Last week I mentioned how close I was to hitting the panic button on this season.  Well, Saturday night I did it.  Flipped the lid and slammed that mug as hard as I could.  The lights started blinking.  The alarm started buzzing.  People ran from the building with reckless abandon.  

24 straight scoreless innings will do that to you.

Then I wake up this morning, and what do I find?  The Detroit Tigers are in town for a three game series, and a Royals sweep could put them in a tie for first in the AL Central.  A little more digging shows favorable pitching match-ups.  

And again, I begin to dream.  

But no.  I won’t let myself do that.  I refuse.  Because if you are in a building and the fire alarm goes off, you don’t run back in once the thing stops blaring.  You wait.  You let process play out as people go check out the building to make sure all danger is truly past.  Then, once you find out the fire is out (or that there was no fire at all), you go back into the building.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  Wait this thing out.  Let that mug breathe.  Because all of the factors that led to a string of Royals losses aren’t wiped out by one win in St. Louis and sending Luke Hochevar back to Omaha.  We need a bigger sample than that.

That’s why I won’t let myself run back into the “we can contend in the AL Central” building until June 12.  By then we will have answered a lot of questions.  How do we look compared to the current division leaders?  How do we look against our arch-rivals?  How do we look on the road against a decent Toronto team?  How do we look against the team everyone wants us to be?  And finally, for the love of God, can we actually win a series against the hapless Indians?  

If most of those questions can be answered positively, things are looking good.   If we are close to Detroit and have created some space in the standings from the Twins and Wh*te Sox, then I’ll get back in the building.  I’ll start banging the drum for us to make a trade or two.  I’ll allow myself to really hope that we can be this year’s magic team.

But if those questions can’t be answered in the positive?  It’s time to start rooting for an above .500 record at the end of the year.  It’s time to start looking at which of our average players we can package to get a young shortstop who can step in in 2010 or 2011.  It’s time to be realistic and admit that the division is bound to be stronger next year than it is this year, so we have to see a lot of improvement if we’re going to contend over the next couple of years.  

Let’s see how those questions play out. 

18 days and counting.


One Response to “the panic button, revisited”

  1. mar Says:

    did you throw the panic button against the wall yesterday? Or drown your sorrows in smoked meat? The Royals look awful and remind me of last year’s team and I’m already tired of the quotes of “we’ve got to find our spark”. I’m worried the first month was a fluke and we have fallen back to our old ways. . . . .

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