Well, it's that time folks. But before Cousin Eddie and the kids arrive to spend the next 10 days eating all your food and drinking all of your good adult beverages that you were saving for yourself, let's discuss something serious. And by that, I mean the Kansas City Royals.
This writer is in the giving spirit, and we are comparing the current Kansas City Royals roster to everyone's favorite toys that they received as a child. But since we are discussing the Royals, there will unfortunately be some gifts from Santa that you may not like. Don't worry folks, at least there will be no socks. For this exercise we'll examine the 40-man roster with the obvious choices.
Noel Arguelles (Magic 8 ball) - "Magic 8 ball: Do I really exist?" Answer? "My sources say no" Arguelles was supposed to be a prized possession after signing a huge international contract out of Cuba a few years back. With that, he has gone 8-19 with a 4.92 record while only reaching AA ball. He's soon to be 23 and still on the 40-man roster.
Billy Butler (Legos) - He's the foundation of the current roster. He can be overlooked by the potential glitz and glamour of Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, but Butler is old Mr. Reliable. Like legos, you can always count on Butler being there when you are bored and need a pick me up.
Lorenzo Cain (Microscope Set) - I wish this wasn't the case, but Cain always seems to be injured. We were excited to see him play centerfield last year, as most of us wondered what the Royals actually had in Cain. However he ran into a wall in Oakland, and was pretty much done for the rest of the season.
Jarrod Dyson (Superball) - When I think of playing with a Superball as a child, I remember trying to throw it off the wall so hard that it would often go right past you in the opposite direction. Before I was even able to turn my head it was already behind me. That sounds very similar to Dyson's speed attributes on the basepaths.
Alcides Escobar (Viewfinder) - At first it seems kind of dull, nothing special. But as you look through the viewfinder you find yourself wanting to go back and see more. That is how we all feel as we watch Shortstop Jesus play baseball. Sometimes he leaves you thinking, did I really just see that?
Jeff Francoeur (Pet Rock) - A Pet Rock does nothing for you, much like Frenchy does for the team. It seems like a good idea at first, and nearly everyone had one at one time, but you eventually throw it out 6 months later. Unfortunately the Royals haven't reached that point after two years. Alternate Toy - (Wiffle Ball) Alternate Alternate Toy - (Troll Doll)
Danny Duffy (See 'n Say) - If you follow Duffy on twitter, you realize he has a vocabulary all to himself. His California roots seem to provide the background for his gnarness, something that many Kansas City fans are just now learning. The See 'n Say was created as an educational tool to help children learn vocabulary. With any hope, as Duffy returns from Tommy John surgery, he'll have fans creating their own words to describe his pitching efforts.
Alex Gordon (Army Men) - Like these classic toys, Gordon may not do anything special that makes him stand out from the rest of the other equally talented outfielders. However Army Men are so universal that everyone always found a use for their Army Men, and every major league team could find use for an Alex Gordon on their squad.
Luke Hochevar (Sit and Spin) - It seems fun at first, right? Well in all actuality, you are just going around in circles and never really getting anywhere. You never go anywhere folks! That sounds a lot like Hochevar's career with the Royals.
Eric Hosmer (Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots) This may be more hopeful foreshadowing than anything. Standing 6'4" and coming in at 230 lbs, Hosmer is the size of many NFL linebackers. If he is able to bounce back from a poor 2012, Hosmer will be the fighter in the middle of the Royals batting order through at least 2017.
Donnie Joseph (Donatello Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Action Figure) - Get it? Ha!
Mike Moustakas (Tonka Truck) - Someone with the nickname Moose probably played with Tonka trucks as a kid. Moose is another cornerstone of the Royals and defensively showed great signs of being able to handle the full workload at the hot corner last season.
Felipe Paulino (Etch-A-Sketch) - Paulino was plucked off the waiver wires, much like the random Etch-A-Sketch you always see at garage sales. This toy doesn't get enough credit, as they are actually a lot of fun. However Paulino's season was done when he joined the Tommy John crew, much like the classic Etch-A-Sketch drawing that you dropped on the floor at your Great Aunt Mildred's house.
Salvador Perez (Radio Flyer Wagon) - We're not talking about the crappy cheap plastics ones made today. Instead, Perez is the heavy duty stamped metal version. It's the classic all-around toy, and Perez is quickly becoming a great all-around player. Not only does Perez have a cannon behind the plate, but he's developing solid power for a catcher as well. Let's just hope his career from this point forward can hold up as well as the original Radio Flyer wagons.
James Shields (Stretch Armstrong) - No matter your reaction to the trade, you can't sneeze at the fact that Shields has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past six seasons. With 14 complete games over the last two seasons, here's to hoping Shields is stretched out and ready to do the same in Kansas City.
David Glass (Star Wars Action Figure) - There is little doubt that many in Kansas CIty aren't big fans of Glass and Company.
Rex Hudler (Big Wheel) - It's colorful, much like Hudler. Many hated Hud at the beginning of last season, but he quietly developed a cult following over the season. With Hud being known for his catchphrases like "Call the cops" and "Busdriver", Hudler is always going places...much like the classic Big Wheel. For those of you not on #TeamRex, he can be your ChattyCathy.
Denny Matthews (Matchbox Car) - Maybe the premier toy, for the premier person involved with the Royals. When people ask me my favorite Royal of all-time? I'd say it's likely not someone such as George Brett or Carlos Beltran, it's Denny. I grew up listening to him on the radio, and fans are still fortunate to have him on the air...much like my journey with matchbox cars (Shoutout to my parents and the plastic tote of matchbox cars located somewhere in their basement).
Dayton Moore (Play-Doh) - I'm actually kicking myself that Moore gets to be such a cool Christmas toy, but ultimately it is Moore's job to mold the team into what it is. Let's hope Dayton remembers to put the Play-Doh back in the canister when he is done playing. I don't think fans can handle this team drying out so quickly in 2013.
Ned Yost (Magna Doodle) - At times when you see the lineup the Royals roll out each day (especially the batting order), I picture Ned sitting in the dugout, treating it like a magna doodle.