Royals Complaints and Fat Slow Billy Butler
Royals fans have absolutely every right to complain – every one. In the midst of the longest playoff drought in North American sports history (28 years and counting), every feasible complaint is understandable from these great fans of Kansas City. These are some the things that fans complain about that I can tolerate:
We can’t hit home runs – this is very true. The Royals are currently last in baseball with 20 home runs thus far in 2014, and finished 28th in 2013 and 26th in 2012 – and no, it’s not the ballpark.
Dayton Moore is an incompetent general manager – absolutely agreed. He’s terrible at his job and it’s insulting to any hard-working American that he’s still getting extensions after seven years of crap.
Ned Yost is the worst manager in the history of baseball – Ah, Royals Facebook. Ned is not a particularly great skipper, but no manager is responsible in directly determining the outcome of more than five or six games each year. There are people on Facebook who seriously believe that without Ned Yost, the Royals would win 100 games. Get real, people. In reality, we get “Yosted” a lot less than people think.
Ned Yost and “fire the hitting coach/bring back Brett” are two of the most popular three complaints I encounter among Royals fans. However, there is one thing that absolutely grinds my gears, and I can’t stand to listen to people complain about. Something that is so fantastically factually inaccurate that anybody who thinks this should undergo drug testing.
Billy Butler is fat, slow, terrible and should be sent to Omaha/cut.
…Wait, what? Really?
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Billy Butler had a down year in 2013, and that continued into a frustrating first month or so of 2014. Yes, he grounded into a lot of plays (an AL-leading 28). You know who led baseball in double plays the year before? Miguel Cabrera. I’m getting off track, but any hitter batting in the three or four hole is bound to ground into at least 20 double plays per year. It has nothing to do with his speed, or lack thereof. Additionally, Billy is slow and we are in trouble if a game ever depends on him beating a throw to the bag.
Okay, now I’m going to give you two stat lines. The following are two sets of numbers from a couple of players’ first seven complete years in Kansas City.
Player A: .298/.364/.459, 118 HR, 562 RBI, 244 doubles, 1015 games played.
Player B: .318/.368/.497, 98 HR, 579 RBI, 244 doubles, 1002 games played.
Pretty similar stat lines, right? Player A is Billy Butler, and player B is George Brett. You may have heard of him, right? Those stats even include Brett’s incredible 1980 season in which he hit .390 and had a jaw-dropping on base percentage of .454.
I am in no way saying that Billy Butler is a better player than George Brett, because we all know that’s not true. However, Billy Butler is one of the best players in Royals history. He’s 28 years old, and is already seventh on the team’s all-time hit list. He’s in the top eight in RBI’s, games played, doubles, RBI’s, and home runs as well. Billy Butler is the best player the Royals have had since Carlos Beltran. People want to get rid of him – quick, who led the Royals in RBI’s in 2013? The answer is Billy Butler. 2012? Yup. 2011? Sure. 2010? Yes. 2009? Still Butler. Also, in regards to the claim ‘Billy Butler isn’t clutch’, his career average with the bases loaded is .314 with 52 RBI’s in 77 plate appearances. So much for that claim.
I get it, the offense is lousy and there's no denying it. However, if anybody thinks getting rid of the five-time-reigning RBI leader of this team is going to help the offensive struggles, they need help. Billy Butler does ground into double plays, he is slow on the bases and he’s a one-dimensional player. The Royals NEED him more than they need any other player on the roster. I hate to disappoint you, but there is no way that the Royals will not pick up on Butler’s $12.5 million option for 2015. Before everyone starts complaining and telling me how fat and terrible he is, think about it – he’s led the team in RBI’s the last five years in a row and he’s on pace to pick up career hit #3,000 when he’s 38...and you want him gone?
Sports fans in Kansas City are excellent. They’re passionate and overdue for some success to cheer on. However, the attitude on Billy Butler is ridiculous, and he continues to make more and more people look stupid as he heats up from a disappointing first 40 games of 2014.