There is a saying "at least things can't get any worse." Well, in Kansas City the saying goes "It can always get worse."
You know I was ready to bury the Kansas City Chiefs in this week's Five-Orite Friday. I felt like I had every right to do so. The team is God awful and there are stories lines in the Kansas City sports landscape like the OKC Thunder, Royals and Kansas State that are more interesting that the horrible Chiefs. Then I watched Thursday night football on NFL Network. Which is where we start this week.
1. Chief Loser:
I have grown up in KC and lived here my entire life. So being a Chiefs fan pretty much comes with the territory. Over the past few years I have become numb to Chiefs losses. A lot of that has to do with the day job of covering the Chiefs. I worked the Chiefs post game show in in 2007 when the Chiefs started the season 4-3 and went on to lose their next 9 games. After doing that you become detached to all of the awful ways the Chiefs find to lose. I was fully prepared to have the same apathetic and detached reaction to the blowout vs. the Chargers but then GM Scott Pioli's was flashed on the screen and then I got a text.
The text I received was from my best friend who is from KC and is now transplanted out in Los Angeles. He texted me last night during the game asking about which QB the Chiefs should take in the upcoming draft and things of that nature. Then the topic shifted to GM Scott Pioli, his contract, and the Hunt family owning the team. He sent me something that really stuck with me and actually elicited an emotional reaction from me. That rarely happens when it comes to the Chiefs.
The comment was that other fan bases in other cities demand more from their sports franchise and their owners. This implication that somehow the Chiefs fans share some of the blame for this utterly and historically bad team because we don't 'demand' more from the team felt almost slanderous to me. I take offense greatly to that notice. If anything the Chiefs fans are the only who give a crap about the embarrassing output that the Chiefs continue to say passes for professional football.
People in KC are pissed. They are angry. They voice their frustrations on a consistent basis. They show their displeasure in the empty seats at Arrowhead on game. They show it by flying banners over the stadium before games. The idea that somehow if Chiefs just start demanding it a little more and a little hard then things would change is laughable. All of sudden after we demand it more then all of a sudden Harry Potter will show up to waive his magic wand and it will fix everything.
I hate this idea that somehow KC fans are soft on their franchise. That fans in New York, Dallas and LA are somehow better because they are louder and to a certain extent, dumber than the Kansas City sports fans. I guess the only way to prove to the rest of the country that we 'demand' the Chiefs to be better is to storm the gates of Arrowhead with torches and pitchforks and burn that mother down.
Trust me. Chiefs fans are doing their part to 'demand' the Chiefs get better. The Chiefs organization and the decision makers at the top are the ones who are not demanding that this team gets better. But hey...at least the stairwells at the Arrowhead offices are candy wrapper free. So...you know, the important things are being taken care of around there.
It did not take long for the Royals to make one of those very hyped and much promised pitching acquisitions now did it. Earlier this week the Royals traded minor league LHP Brandon Sisk for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starting pitch Ervin Santana. When news of the trade came down my fear was that the Royals being the Royals that they had given up too much for Santana and his 5+ ERA he carried around last season. When I heard Brandon Sisk's name those fears went to rest. This has the potential to be a pretty good trade for the Royals. There is one very important condition that needs to occur in order for this to be a really good trade for the boys in blue.
This cannot be the only pitcher the Royals acquire this off-season. Plain and simple. Ervin Santana can't be the Royals opening day/ace pitcher next season. If you haven't read K.C. Star Columnist Sam Mellinger's take on this please do. I love Sam's writing and he nails a lot of the way I feel concerning this trade. If this ends up being the only major move the Royals make this off-season then we should hold out zero hope for the team getting better anytime soon. I have said it before and I will continue to say it. Royals GM Dayton Moore needs to make a trade that hurts. He needs to move one of HIS drafted prospects to get better pitching talent. Whether its Wil Myers, John Lamb, Mike Moustakas, Aaron Crow, Alex Gordon or Eric Hosmer. It needs to happen.
That is how the Oakland A's have done it and it worked out pretty well for them. And Kauffman stadium is like way nicer looking than the dump they play in.
3. Thunder Struck:
Well it did not take long for fans and commentators to completely freak out about the Oklahoma City Thunder. 3 days before the tip off of the 2012-2013 NBA season the Thunder shipped sixth man virtuoso James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and draft picks.
If Harden was not going to sign an extension then the Thunder made the right move trading him. Now, I think the Thunder screwed up by letting it getto a point where they had to trade him. Last April I wrote an article on if the Thunder were forced to choose between locking up James Harden or Serge Ibaka long-term that they should choose Ibaka. I stand by that statement. But I also wrote in that article there is no reason the Thunder could not have both for the long haul. That they should not be deathly afraid of having to pay the luxury tax like it is some walker trying to claw into your house.
After I wrote all of that the Thunder went and got all freaked out about having to pay the luxury tax and made a move that looks to be more driven by money than basketball. The luxury tax is something that can really hamper teams in markets like the one the Thunder are in. But you never...EVER take for granted the window you have to win a title in the NBA. Prime example being the Chicago Bulls. Especially when you find yourself in a position like the Thunder were/are. Being a young, athletic team that just lost in the NBA Finals and having two players who are in the top twenty players in the league you need to push all your chips into the middle of the table and sacrifice money now for winning now. The Thunder got into their own head and now they don't have James Harden.
James Harden now moves on to Houston where in his debut as being 'the man' for the Rockets he dropped 37-6-12-4-1. This was hours after signing a max extension worth just under $80 million. I don't know if Harden is the superstar the Rockets think he is/will be but he did get started on the right foot.
Quick side note. You really need to read SB Nation NBA guru Tom Ziller's article on the James Harden trade. If you are an NBA fan and don't already follow him on twitter you need to right now @teamziller
To pour more salt in the wound the Thunder's fans were treated to a sloppy opening game vs. the Spurs where the Thunder had a chance to win it at the end. Only to see Kevin Durant get the ball stolen and Russell Westbrook get completely lost on the last play of the game that lead to Tony Parker sinking the game winning shot. The Westbrook is everything that is wrong with the Thunder narrative has already kicked into high gear.
Man...this is going to be a fun NBA season. You will enjoy it too Thunder fans. The team is still a title contender without James Harden. All is not lost.
4. Cat Chatter
It is almost getting boring talking about how awesome the Kansas State Wildcats have been this season. Notice I said almost because for KSU fans it is not boring at all. There is not a whole lot to add to the accomplishments K-State has reached this season. They are the second ranked team in the BCS and if they win the rest of their games they will play for the BCS Championship. They have already achieved a level I did not see them reaching this season. My one piece of advice to all the EMAWs out there is really enjoy this moment. Don't get caught up in the who is ranked behind you in the BCS and could leap frog you if they win out and all of that nonsense. If you do that you won't able to fully appreciate how special this season has been and will be. Soak it in for as long as you can because it is fleeting.
5. Lets talk about shirts man:
Time to end Five-Orite on a somewhat lighter note. Mizzou finally got their first SEC win as a member of the conference. And what happens when you win a 'big game' in college athletics? You print shirts to commemorate the occasion and that is exactly what the Tigers did. Making these shirts is something MU had planned to do from the beginning of the football season. Unfortunately for MU their season has not gone exactly as planned and that win came vs. Kentucky and not Georgia, South Carolina or Vanderbilt. They did not plan on their fist SEC win coming against bottom dweller Kentucky. But it did and for a little bit the shirts were out on the open market. That pretty much seems like a good microcosm of how MU's first season as a member of the SEC has gone so far.
Follow me on twitter @craig_a_brenner and until next week peace out.