Saturday, March 26, 2011

A look back

This wasn't supposed to happen.

No, I'm not referring to the fact that K-State lost in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament (though there is credence to that argument). Instead, I'm referring to the posting of this season wrap to The Writings. It was actually intended for another web site. (GASP!)

Never fear, dear readers. I'm not turning my back on The Writings, nor cheating on them with another blog. I have, however, signed on to do some writing for (You should probably bookmark it/favorite it/make it your homepage if The Writings don't currently hold that honor.) It's a site intended to bring light to all the great things that Manhattan has to offer. Alas, there have been some issues on the development end; issues covered eloquently in the placeholder text that currently appears at the website. (If you don't understand it, go rent Billy Madison immediately and then watch it twice... I can wait.) As a result, the return of The Scoop has been delayed to a point where my K-State hoops piece will no longer be "timely." Thus, I'm bringing it to The Writings. Enjoy. (Or don't. Who am I to tell you what to do?)


With the publication of this post, K-State’s basketball season has been finished for over 24 hours. The season capped with a nail-biter of a contest fueled by an extraordinary effort from one of the greatest players in the history of the program. Alas, that game is all you’re reading about at every other website with even a loose connection to Manhattan or sports in general. (Well, maybe not, but you get the idea.)  Instead of a quick game recap, we at The Scoop want to take the opportunity to look back on the season as a whole.  (Well, truthfully, we wanted to plan a trip to New Orleans for the Sweet 16, but one has to make lemonade with lemons thrown maliciously his way, right?)

How does one properly summarize the 2010-2011 K-State basketball season? The highs and lows seem so extreme that any sort of roller coaster analogy may not do justice. (Roller coasters are, after all, constricted by the laws of physics.) Handing out postseason awards is overplayed and far too predictable. (If you can’t determine this team’s MVP without our help, basketball might not be your sport. Have you considered jai alai?) The “predicted champ falls on hard times, but then bests its rival on its way to possible redemption” storyline could be one destined for film, but the budget here is low and we lack directors’ chairs. It seems the best way to look back at the season is to simply look back. (Original idea, no?) Here’s an examination of key points in K-State’s season, detailed in effort to accurately illustrate how remarkable/strange/mind-boggling the campaign has been. 

*Please note: “Fan confidence level” ratings were determined through a very scientific process utilizing retrospective surveys, ink blot illustrations and polygraph tests… That, or the author simply tried to remember how encouraged (or frustrated) the majority of the fan base seemed at that particular point in time. As a point of reference, the final season of the Tom Asbury era scored a -6 (of 10) on the scale. 

Date: Early Nov., 2010
Event:  Preseason love
K-State record: 0-0
Fan confidence level: 10 (of 10)
After years of receiving Sports Illustrated college basketball preview magazines featuring random Jayhawks on the cover, Wildcat fans all over Kansas rejoiced to see Jacob Pullen gracing the regional issue. The nod from SI not only eliminated ritualistic mass burnings of the annual issue in Manhattan, but also gave national credence to the expectations surrounding the 2010-2011 team. K-State saw national rankings as high as No. 3 in the preseason and was predicted to be league champ by Big 12 coaches. There was even talk that the K-State frontcourt might be the best in the nation. At no point in the modern era had so much been expected of a K-State basketball team.

Date: Nov. 23, 2010
Event:  Cats fall to Duke; Kyrie Irving proves that he’s really quick
K-State record: 4-1
Fan confidence level: 9 (of 10)
K-State’s first loss of the season came at the hands of Duke, the nation’s No. 1 team and defending National Champion. Losing to the best was nothing to fret about, but the manner in which the Wildcats lost did raise concerns. Pullen finished with just four points, shooting 1-12 from the field. Meanwhile, Duke freshman guard Kyrie Irving torched KSU, finishing with 17 points and six assists, seemingly revealing a glaring hole in the K-State defense. It was clear that the Wildcats were not at the level of Duke, but few teams could claim that they were.

Date: Dec. 21, 2010
Event:  K-State seniors suspended; Cats fall to Runnin’ Rebels; KSU fans contemplate boycotting all department stores in Manhattan
K-State record: 9-3
Fan confidence level: 7 (of 10)
If one wanted to get under a K-State fan’s skin at midseason, one good way was to repeatedly mention “impermissible benefits.” News that Pullen and Curtis Kelly had been suspended began to leak in the hours leading to tip-off of the night’s game at the Sprint Center, and fans that hadn’t heard the news became fully aware when the pair was not seen in KC. The Wildcats had struggled finding leadership to that point, and such an error in judgment by the team’s elder statesmen seemed to provide a glowing illustration of that fact. The Wildcats, playing without Pullen for the first time since Bob Huggins called Manhattan home, had four players finish in double-figures, but lost to UNLV by four points. With both seniors facing multi-game suspensions and Kansas State yet to find an identity as a team, fans were given a couple reasons for worry as conference play approached.

Date: Jan. 29, 2011
Event:  KU decimates KSU; Wally Judge leaves team
K-State record: 14-8, 2-5 (Big 12)
Fan confidence level: 4 (of 10)
Think January is a slow month? Think again. In a span of 23 days, the Wildcats:
-    Lost to Oklahoma State and Colorado with Kelly on the sideline;
-    Drew criticism when Pullen said he would not play in the NIT;
-    Saw Kelly return to the lineup, but had Freddy Asprilla quit the same week;
-    Beat Texas Tech and Baylor at home, but fell to Missouri, Texas A&M and Kansas on the road by a combined 48 points;
-    Suffered their second mid-season departure when Judge, a former McDonald’s All-American, left the squad one day after the loss to KU.
The drama, tribulations, and sudden departures rivaled those reality television shows. Near the end of this stretch, some K-State fans were fully expecting starting lineups to be determined by cooking challenges or sing-offs judged by Randy Jackson. If backup point guard Juevol Myles had announced he was leaving the team at that point to join Canadian alt-rock group Barenaked Ladies, it would not have seemed out of the ordinary.  Frustrations and struggles peaked in the midst of a 24-point loss to Kansas; a game where the Wildcats shot just 19-percent in the first half and Kelly sat benched for the final 20 minutes.

Date: Feb. 14, 2011
Event:  Wildcats celebrate Valentine’s day, stomp KU, and prove college hoops “experts” do not exist
K-State record: 17-9, 5-6 (Big 12)
Fan confidence level: 7 (of 10)
Who predicted that K-State might topple No. 1 Kansas that Big Monday? Answering “no one” almost seems generous. Two days earlier, the Wildcats suffered a soul-fracturing, now-you-have-it-now-you-don’t loss to the Colorado Buffalos and the week prior had been filled with rumors that Kelly’s days as a Wildcat were through after he had allegedly violated a university rule. Many fans entered Bramlage in purple, but expected to leave feeling black-and-blue. Instead, something happened – something many call “quality basketball.” The Wildcats pushed their defense to a level not seen since the 2010 postseason and showed that a midseason change in offensive philosophy by the K-State coaching staff was near brilliant. The Wildcats built a substantial lead early and – in a manner never before practiced against KU at Bramlage – piled on until the Jayhawks tapped out. It’s amazing what a win over the nation’s No. 1 (especially when it’s a rival) can do in relation to confidence.

Date: 3/17/11
Event:  March Madness begins
K-State record: 22-10
Fan confidence level: 8 (of 10)
On the heels of the victory over KU, K-State rattled off five more wins to close the season before falling to Colorado in their first game of the Big 12 Tournament.  After 130+ days, thousands of practice free throws, 497 cold and wordless stares by Frank Martin, ten different starters, two player departures, and one major change to the team’s offensive scheme, the Wildcats entered the NCAA Tournament as one of the scariest match-ups in college basketball. It’s a spot many expected K-State to be in from the start of the season, but the road to it was littered with Bramlage-sized potholes. Now, Kansas State appeared to be near strength and match-up against No. 12-seed Utah State would be the start of the postseason journey.

Date: Today
Event:  Game over; K-State’s season ended with a 70-65 loss to Wisconsin
K-State record: 23-11
Fan confidence level: ?

Forgive the question mark denoting the fan confidence level, but it is a ponder-worthy subject at this point. If life was a comic strip, you would see that question mark above a K-State fan’s head when they’re presented with the question, “How will the Cats do next season?“ With the loss in the NCAA Tournament’s quasi-third round, there’s credence to the argument that the Wildcats failed to live up to the preseason expectations of the media, the Big 12 coaches, and of fans in general. But, in games against some of the nation’s best, the Wildcats showed that they could compete at that level. They showed a remarkable ability to bounce back from suspensions and departures that could have crippled the team. And they showed that their star player could take over a game as well as any player in the nation.

The Wildcats should have all but two players returning next season… Unfortunately, one graduating senior is the basketball program’s all-time leading scorer and the other is a wildly talented post. Neither will be easy to replace, but the Wildcats have been tasked with such a burden before. Two seasons after All-American Michael Beasley and uber-skilled Bill Walker took their brand of bucketization to the NBA, K-State put together its most successful season in 20+ years, led by players who were question marks when they arrived. As a freshman, Pullen was mainly known as the little point guard who Frank Martin yelled at incessantly. No one was predicting that he might one day have his No. 0 in the rafters. Kelly arrived in Manhattan as an underperforming transfer from UConn. He leaves K-State owning the record for blocked shots in a season and possessing one of the most picturesque high-post spin moves that you will ever see. While there are reasons for worry as Pullen and Kelly exit, thoughts of Rodney McGruder’s long-range shooting and Jordan Henriquez-Robert’s continued progression provide ample hope for the future.

What happens in the next chapter of this story? There will be plenty of time to pitch storylines as next season approaches. That said, after the twists 2010-2011 provided, little - beyond Frank Martin quitting to train for a fight against Clubber Lang - may come as a shock to K-State fans.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Breakin'

We’ll start with an apology. This Writing has nothing to do with break-dancing, though the apostrophized title might lead on to assume it does. For those unaware, the popular* break-dancing movie “Breakin’” shares the same construction of the word. Alas, I have never seen the film and I possess as much rhythm as a plastic spork. Please forgive the lack of electric boogaloos in this Writing.

*Term used as loosely as possible. 

Now, on to the subject that this log will cover: spring break. It’s the annual week that I anticipate more than most as little as six years ago. After all, it meant a break from classes, a break from study, and a break from everyday inconveniences like bathing. (Scratch that last one.) Spring break was like a mandatory vacation, and it was great. Today, spring break mainly serves as a reason to be jealous of my friends and family members that teach. Sure, they’re underpaid and they have to deal with hellion kids and clueless parents alike, but they get one week off every spring. Unfair!

While spring break now affects my work-life in the same way that dinner menus in Panama affect my slumber, I will admit that there are some perks that come with the annual holiday. For one, it means that college students skip town like sane folks flee any home airing “Jersey Shore.” I have nothing against college students – after all, I was once one of them – but I must say that life is a little less hectic when they leave in droves. Traffic clears up, finding a parking spot is no longer akin to the late stages of a Chubby Bunny contest, and the number of inebriated shouts of “wooooo!” I hear through my apartment windows in the evening hours reduces significantly. For one week, the town I call home regains the feel of a quiet place in the Midwest.

How does one appreciate such a state? Thus far the wind (which seems to currently gusting at the speed of a military aircraft) has limited the opportunities to take in much of the outdoors. I ventured to the park yesterday to sit on a bench and read*, but the wind continually threatened to confiscate my paperback and swiftly deliver it to someone up north. (Do Nebraskans like Stephen King?)

*Is it possible that I’m actually 68 years old? I’m looking into it.

As a result, my spring break involves sitting in an office, driving home while hoping the wind does not cause my car to take flight, and then crafting prose about spring break. It may not sound like much, but it’s not bad.

… I guess I could always rent Breakin’. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Writing Feverishly

First things first, I better get one thing straight: being sick is horrible. I had the pleasure of waking up at 3 this morning soaked with sweat and generally feeling as if my head was near a low flame. I tried to put the general lousiness behind me and return to my slumber, but such a task was akin to learning Latin during "The Price is Right." After an undetermined period of time (I don't track well when generally confounded by sleep deprivation), I made my way to my thermometer to take my temperature. When three digital digits appeared prior to the decimal, I had confirmation that one of those flu bugs that have been making the rounds had stopped by my place. I also had the sort of headache that makes a person check the sides of his head to ensure that he is not currently in the grasp of a medieval torture device. Back to bed!

From that early morning hour through 9 a.m., I probably slept for an hour-and-a-half. Believe it or not, that schedule does not meet my typical quota. Alas, where there's bad, there's often good. You see, today is the first TRUE day of the NCAA Tournament (sorry, opening round... you're dead to me), meaning that my television will be airing little other than hoops from 11 a.m. onward.

You know what they say: When life hands you lemons, stay on your couch and watch basketball.*

*The Writings: We really have no insight into popular vernacular.

With my day's schedule now cleared, there's plenty of time to keep updates coming on the day as it proceeds. If you only read one running account of a sick day this week, make it this one.

10:24 a.m. - While trying to get through NCAA pregame without falling asleep (note to self: record some studio shows to watch next time you can't sleep), I realize that today is St. Patrick's Day. I have no Irish luck, I'm not wearing green, and I don't see a pint of Guiness in my future... Apparently I'm the Grinch of St. Patty's.

10:34 a.m. - Pregame includes a short interview with Jimmer Fredette, the BYU guard who leads the nation in scoring. I cannot watch a Jimmer interview without expecting some sort of pitch to drink milk or visit the library at the end.

10:42 a.m. - Good news: we're just 18 minutes away from the start of the first game. Better news: we're just ten hours and 15 minutes from the start of K-State's game against Utah State. I have of goal of being able to sit up by that point without my head feeling like someone is jabbing my brain with the pokey end of a compass. It's good to have goals.

10:47 a.m. - Within a span of three minutes, the pregame show aired highlights of KU's loss to Northern Iowa in 2010 and of Kansas falling to Bucknell in 2005. Have I mentioned that I love March?

11:06 a.m. - Charles Barkley calls the Big East the most overrated basketball conference in the country. If you disagree, you're wrong. Just ask Chuck. Sure, Sir Charles may have once thrown a guy through a bar window, but he's undeniably entertaining on television. I don't think there's any correlation there, but I could be wrong.

11:24 a.m. - Four minutes into the first game of the day, West Virginia - coached by former K-Stater Bob Huggins - is shooting slightly less accurately than a blind, vertigo-stricken marksman. Remember, their opponent - Clemson - is the team that just competed in a "first round" game 38 hours ago. Lesson: sports make no sense.

11:43 a.m. - The second game of the day - Butler-Old Dominion - has begun and now my thumb will get a workout. For the first time ever, four networks are broadcasting the NCAA Tournament, meaning all games can be viewed in their entirety. I'd say that my head hurts just thinking about all that basketball, but we've already established that it hurts and I don't condone beating horses in any state of being.

11:53 a.m. - If Mario (of Super Mario Bros. fame) was a real person that wore suits, I am fairly certain that he would look identical to Old Dominion's coach. This update brought to you by the Council for Pointless Observations.

12:47 p.m. - Through fastidious research, I discovered that "rest" is a recommended remedy to things like the flu. Thus, I gave that a go, along with a healthy dose of off-brand Dayquil. (We'll call it Fakequil.) Have I made a miraculous recovery? Not exactly, but I'm no longer daydreaming about video game characters becoming basketball coaches... That's progress, right?

12:58 p.m. - Ever feel like you'd be better off letting a Latvian hobo make your bracket picks than deciding the winners yourself? Welcome to my world, as Louisville - one of my Final Four picks - is losing to Morehead State (a school seemingly named after a common phrase at cannibal dinners) 8-0 early on. 

1:36 p.m. - Game one of the day wraps with West Virginia reigning as the victors. Broadcasters credit the Mountaineers' defense down the stretch. I credit their bright yellow shoes. How the opposing team can concentrate while continually asking "It's possible to make shoes that shade? Does that color even exist naturally in nature?" is beyond my comprehension.

1:50 p.m. - Like buzzer beaters? Butler wins with one, causing me to sit up so quickly that my brain seemingly stayed back on my pillow. Note to self: don't do that again.

2:55 p.m. - I've never had one of my Final Four picks lose in the 64-team round of the NCAA Tournament... Apparently there's a first time for everything. Morehead State just topped Louisville and I now know that there are a ton of people out there who feel a whole lot worse than I do... On that note, I've been sitting upright for 30 minutes now and my head has yet to explode. Progress.

3:11 p.m. - Like buzzer beaters? Wow, this sounds awfully familiar. Whether I'm encountering deja vu, suffering from 'quil-related hallucinations, or simply witnessing a great day of basketball, I'm not entirely sure. If my eyes don't deceive, though, Temple just beat Penn State with a bucket that left just 0.4 seconds on the clock. I'm not one to support overuse of common phrases that slyly refer to mental illness, but "March Madness" is pretty accurate in describing things so far.

Five hours and 1,000 words into this log, it's probably time to let things rest. After all, the Cats will take the court in five-and-a-half hours. That's just enough time to attempt to nap, get frustrated because I can't sleep, and then watch more basketball. Good times.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bracket Busting

As promised via a quick Writing mainly posted to mask the state of torpor that both my mind and my typing fingers * were in yesterday, it’s time for The Writings to break down the NCAA Tournament bracket. Three quick notes before we begin:

1.    This breakdown may have no semblance of order and will be comprised of random thoughts presented in a fashion that may bring the phrase “willy-nilly” to mind.
2.    Bracket thoughts are written for entertainment purposes only. Any attempt to use these ramblings points to aid in bracket pools will be judged swiftly and harshly. (Translation: When it comes to analysis, I am slightly less astute than water-fearing manatees. You will probably lose money and lose it quickly if you take these notes as gospel.)
3.    Note No. 3 is completely unnecessary. If you would like to know why, please refer to Note No. 3.

*As opposed to, you know, the nontyping fingers I possess.


One team whose bracket situation we won’t be discussing is Colorado. If you are a Colorado fan, odds are strong that you were tearing up brackets in a fit of rage after Sunday’s selection show wrapped. The Buffalos beat one No. 4 seed (Texas), beat a No. 5 seed (K-State three times), beat an 11 seed (Missouri), and lost to two other tourney teams (KU and Texas A&M) by 7 points combined. It’s true, their nonconference schedule was slightly more difficult than tying one’s shoe, but I am still unsure how they are not more deserving of a spot in the 68-team field than the Clemson Tigers, who defeated one other tournament team all season long. 

I assume that the Selection Committee just could not bear having a coach named Tad in the field.


In a very daring move, I am predicting that the top two seeds meet to determine the winner of the East region. (The Writings: We’re not short on chalk.) Entering Sunday, I thought that Ohio State and North Carolina could make a pretty dandy (that’s right, dandy) championship game. Now it turns out that they will potentially meet just to reach the Final Four. I predict that the Tar Heels would trump the Buckeyes in the battle of nonsensical mascots.


In the West region, it was difficult to refrain from picking Bucknell to advance, since – fueled by their victory over Kansas in 2005 (and the fact that I was probably the only person outside of Bucknell’s basketball program to predict that result) – I once purchased a school t-shirt from their online university bookstore. Alas, I don’t see them topping Connecticut this season. (Sorry, Bucknell.)

In the region, I think the winner comes down to Duke and UConn. While I really enjoy watching Kemba Walker for the Huskies, I think Coach K* and the Blue Devils** are destined to meet North Carolina (for the fourth time this season) in the Final Four.

*The Writings: We’d rather not type Coach Kryzezdkafkzyzydizsski

**I agree. Naming a school mascot after depressed residents of Hades IS strange.


The popular pick to win the Southwest region is Kansas. Alas, making such a pick would violate the only strict, nonnegotiable, longstanding rule that I have when it comes to bracket predictions: never pick KU to advance beyond the second round. Sure, the rule doomed my bracket when they won the National Championship in 2008, but there have been occasions (Bucknell, Bradley, Northern Iowa) where the rule has proven valuable.

With Kansas out of the picture in round two, this Final Four spot seems pretty wide open. I trust No. 2 seed Notre Dame about as far as Rudy Ruettiger’s reach, so I have No. 3 Purdue and No. 4 Louisville meeting in the Elite Eight.

Who wins?



The answer has something to do with Coach Rick Pitino, but nothing to do with his hair.


Last, but not least (in any way, shape, form or conjurable scenario) we get to K-State’s draw. In the 24 hours since the bracket has been released, there has been much discussion that Utah St. as a 12-seed could upset the No. 5 Wildcats. The Aggies, after all, only lost three games all season long; they’ll be playing closer to home than K-State; and they share a nickname with a squad that KSU already lost to this season. (That counts for something, right?) Naturally, the purple tint of my blood* won’t allow me to consider such a premise.

*I hope that’s not a result of mercury poisoning.

Beyond the Utahians (Utahns? Utihtes?), the bracket presents the opportunity for some interesting rematches for K-State. In the round of 32, KSU could potentially face Wisconsin, who dropped the Michael Beasley-led Wildcats from the tourney three years ago.  The probable foe should K-State reach the Sweet 16 is the 1-seed Pittsburgh, but there’s a slim possibility that the Wildcats could face the Butler Bulldogs. Butler knocked off K-State in the Elite Eight last season and advanced to the tournament’s championship game. Continuing the rematch theme, should K-State win its way to the Elite Eight, they could face 2-seed Florida – who bested K-State earlier this season in one of the ugliest games ever recorded – or 3-seed BYU. Last season, the Wildcats sent the Cougars home from the tournament despite the fact that guard Jimmer Fredette entered the game touted as the top guard in the nation, the best scorer in years, and future president of the yet-to-be-formed Galactic Council of Unified Planets.

As for the region’s winner, I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite. Naturally, the longstanding “When in doubt, pick K-State” rule applies. For no real reason other than the fact that I’ve actually seen this team at its (impressive) best, I have K-State advancing to the Final Four.


So we have a Final Four of North Carolina, Duke, Louisville and K-State. We also have a bracket with no real Cinderella teams, as the furthest I have a double-digit seed advancing is the Sweet 16. Add that factors together, and we end up with a bracket that is sure to have red marks all over in a week.

Where do we go from there? Who wins it all?

Answer: I can’t divulge said information at this time for fear of bad mojo. Forgiveness is requested.


The Wildcats take the court Thursday night in Tucson, but opening round tournament games begin Tuesday night. Get your brackets ready.  (Just don’t copy mine. It’s really a horrible idea.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coming Soon - Bracket Thoughts

Another Selection Sunday has come and gone and another two hours of my life have been devoted to watching names of college basketball programs populate a bracket. Since the event is relatively unknown and lacking much media coverage*, you can expect The Writings' take on the tournament soon. Here's a teaser: Colorado suffered a hosing that should go down in hosing history as one of the hosingest hosings of all.**

*This line stricken from proper publication because it exceeded the Internet's limit of allowable sarcasm.

**Possible exaggeration, though they did get hosed.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Inspiring thoughts

The National Pork Board recently determined that the slogan "Pork: The Other White Meat" was played out, replacing it with the (apparently) much hipper "Pork: Be Inspired." How any board, let alone one whose president may end every meeting by saying "That's all folks!", determines that their long-standing slogan is no longer effective is not something I have any insight to. I do, however, know that the new slogan is effective. After all, after eating a pork chop dinner, I often feel inspired... Inspired to nap.


We're now just days away from Selection Sunday, meaning that picking bracket winners will soon be a topic of much discussion. If you're looking for a strategy to pick the winners of the 68-team field, I have a quick suggestion to pass along...

1. Write the names of all 68 teams on 3x5 cards.
2. On the back of each card, write the name of an alum of that school.
3. Draw a picture of each school's mascot on each card.
4. Compose a haiku poem about each mascot.
5. Read the haiku poems to the clerk at your nearest gas station.
6. Shake off the clerk's taunts and go back home.
7. Dip all the 3x5 cards that you previously wrote on in cake batter.
8. Place all cards in a 10-gallon hat.
9. Place the hat in a trash bag.
10. Hang the bag on a dart board.
11. Throw the dart board, bag, and all cards away.
12. Pick K-State to win it all. 


Upon picking up my mail today, I came to the realization that someone needs to invent a device that automatically trashes junk mail the moment that it is inserted into a mailbox. Unfortunately, I possess neither the cognitive ability nor the mechanical inclination manufacture such a product. Readers, I urge you to contact me if you are capable of inventing such a product. I'll even split the profits with you, 90-10. Hello, lucrative riches.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Stuffing the ballot box

Warning: The following Writing is a long and rambling one about baseball and players that once wore Kansas City Royals uniforms. If your interest in baseball is akin to the interest dachshunds have in philosophy dissertations, this may not be the post for you. That is all.

The Kansas City Royals recently announced that they are opening the voting for their team Hall of Fame to fans around the world. This, dear readers, is not something I can ignore. The inaugural ballot contains the names of 18 former Royals; 18 names synonymous (or anonymous) with the success (or failure) of the club over its 42 years of existence. Here's my take on the voting.

Brian Anderson
Case for induction
: He arrived in Kansas City via trade in 2003 (the only season the Royals have been near playoff contention since the 1994 strike) and won five of his seven starts down the stretch. He pitched two complete games and had fans genuinely excited about his future with the team.
Case against induction
: His future with the team. In 2004, Anderson won six games while posting a 5.64 earned run average (note to those lacking baseball stat knowledge: an earned run average over 5 is generally considered horrendous). In 2005, he started just six games, with a 6.75 ERA.
: No, no, no

Kevin Appier
Case for
: He is one of the best pitchers in team history. His 1993 season (18 wins, 2.56 ERA, 186 strikeouts) was worthy of that season's Cy Young award, but voters were seemingly swayed by the fact that Jack McDowell won more games. Finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1990 and was an all-star in 1995.
Case against
: The Royals traded him in 1999 and essentially got three unsalted sunflower seeds and a dip of pre-chewed tobacco in return... No, this is nothing against Appier, but I have to get potshots in on horrible trades when I have a chance.
: Absolutely

Al Cowens
Case for
: Cowens was an every day outfielder for three Royals teams that made the postseason. In 1977 he hit 23 home runs, knocked in 112 RBI, won a Gold Glove and finished second to Rod Carew in MVP voting.
Case against
: Though he played in KC for his first six seasons, he played for three more teams after his departure. Aside from 1977, he never hit more than 9 home runs or batted over .295 for Kansas City.
: The toughest call on the ballot for me. At his best (1977) he was one of the very best, but he was basically a league-average hitter every other season he played in KC. Beyond that, his career postseason numbers (.228 on-base percentage, .291 slugging percentage& another note to those illiterate in the baseball stat vernacular: trust me, that's bad) were weak. Can ONE transcendent season catapult a player to the hall of fame? I vote no.

Al Fitzmorris
Case for
: Pitched eight seasons for Kansas City, winning 70 games with an ERA under 3.50. Fitzmorris showed versatility, beginning his career as a strong reliever and evolving into a dependable starter.
Case against
: Fitzmorris was steady and dependable, but never among the very best.
: No... Prepare for a lot of these.

Jason Grimsley
Case for: Grimsley put together two pretty strong seasons as a set-up man for the Royals.
Case against
: Grimsley put together one wildly underwhelming season as a set-up man for the Royals. Also, set-up men don't make halls of fame. He was implicated in the great steroid investigation of 2006 and also played burglar in Cleveland's Great Bat Caper of 1994.
: No, but if he really wants in, he might sneak in through some vents

Bo Jackson
Case for
: Bo knows fame. He hit home runs so hard that folks sympathized with the baseballs. He made throws from the outfield that seemed to defy laws of nature. He once ran UP an outfield wall. He's one of the greatest athletes in history, he was subject of one of the most memorable marketing campaigns ever, and he was even featured in a Saturday morning cartoon alongside the greatest basketball player and the greatest hockey player ever.
Case against
: His actual career with KC was cut short due to a devastating football injury. He played football for the Raiders, which is unforgivable in some cases. He struck out a ton and rarely took a walk.
: Yes. Sure, his career numbers aren't stunning, but the Royals have never had a player as nationally renowned as Bo at his peak. Beyond that, at his peak, Bo was a great player. What if he'd never gotten hurt? is one of the great hypothetical questions in baseball.

Mike Macfarlane
Case for: Mac played 11 seasons for the Royals, hitting double-digit home runs in five of them. Served as a baseball magnet (that, or he made really bad first impressions), leading the league in beanballs-received twice. Case against: You're going to notice a developing theme... MacFarlane was good, but never great. To me, a Hall of Fame honors those who, at their peaks, were among the very best in the sport. For MacFarlane, that was not the case.
: No

Darrell May
Case for
: He had a 3.77 ERA and tallied 10 victories in 2003.
Case against
: May led the league in losses (19) and surrendered 38 home runs in 2004, leading the author to pound his head against a variety of inanimate objects. May's career record in Kansas City is 23-37.
Verdict: No sir

Brent Mayne
Case for
: He played nine seasons in Kansas City.
Case against
: He had a .305 on-base percentage and 20 home runs over those nine seasons.
: No

Jose Offerman
Case for
: Offerman could work an at-bat and had good speed. In 1998, he had an on-base percentage of .403, he hit 11 triples, and he stole 45 bases.
Case against
: He may have been allergic to leather. He came to the Royals as a shortstop, but committed 10 errors in just 36 games at the position. After his first season in KC, he never played another game at shortstop... Never. Though his offense was nice, he was never an all-star in his three seasons in Kansas City. Verdict: No, with 10 E's on the end

Darrell Porter
Case for
: Porter was a three-time all-star over four seasons in Kansas City. He also finished in the top ten in MVP voting in 1978 and 1979. With 20 home runs, 112 RBI, and a league-leading 121 walks in 1979, he owns the best single-season ever by a Royals catcher. (Take THAT, Sal Fasano!) Wore glasses during games& Ahh, those were simpler times.
Case against
: Only played four seasons in Kansas City. Played for the Cardinals AGAINST the Royals in the 1985 World Series.
: Yes. At his peak, he was one of the best catchers in baseball and he played a big role on postseason teams in 1977, 1978, and 1980.

Joe Randa
Case for
: Gave the Royals a solid regular at the hot corner from 1999 through 2004. He also played for KC earlier in his career and served as a piece in the deal that brought Jay Bell and Jeff King to Kansas City. Earned the nickname "The Joker " because of a seemingly natural smile that rarely left his face.
Case against
: Never a great player; never an all-star. Randa was a steady third baseman, but he topped out at 16 home runs in an era where knocking 40 was not uncommon.
: No, but I bet he's still smiling.

Kevin Seitzer
Case for
: Seitzer played six seasons in KC, compiling an OPS+ of 115 over that time. In 1987, he was an all star, finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to some nobody named Mark McGwire, and led the American League in hits. He currently serves as the Royals' hitting coach.
Case against
: Seitzer was good, but never great. If the Hall of Fame is simply for those who were good in their time in Kansas City, they're going to have to plan an expansion for the stadium.
: No

Scott Service
Case for
: Service, a reliever for Kansas City from mid-1997 to 1999, struck out 95 batters in just 82.2 innings pitched in his first full season in KC.
Case against
: In his second season as a Royal, Service gave up an average of 10 hits and five walks per 9-innings with an ERA over 6.
: No, though I'm fairly certain he must have a family member in the committee that put the ballot together.

Michael Tucker
Case for
: His at-bat music at Kauffman Stadium was incredibly catchy. His first tenure with the club ended when he was traded for future all-star and Gold Glove winner Jermaine Dye.
Case against
: It's not a great sign when your career highlights involve a beat from a Mystikal track and the fact that a team once traded you for a far superior player.
: No

U.L. Washington
Case for
: Played shortstop for three Kansas City postseason clubs. Stole 40 bases in 1983. Had the name U.L. Washington, which sounds an awful lot like a pseudonym for someone in the witness protection program.
Case against
: Never carried an on-base percentage over .338. Led the league in errors at SS in 1983. At his best, he was a league-average shortstop.
: No

John Wathan
Case for
: John Wayne Wathan (a.k.a, The Duke) provided the Royals with an incredibly versatile utility player during some of their most successful seasons. He played on seven postseason teams from 1976-1985 and logged games at catcher, first base, right field and left field over that stretch. Wathan gave great credence to the phrase runs well for a catcher, once stealing 36 bases in a season. (Six more than any Royal in 2010.)
Case against
: Measured with OPS+ (basically a fancy way of determining a player's value at the plate) Wathan was subpar. His career OPS+ is 83, while the total of an average player is typically considered to be 100. He only played 100+ games in a season three times, and - at his best - he was not an all-star level player.
: No. Sorry, Duke.

Kris Wilson

Case for
: He once wore a Royals uniform during Major League baseball games.
Case against
: He pitched during some of the aforementioned games, compiling a 5.32 ERA over 90 games with the team.
: Nope

There you have it; 18 players on the ballot, and I find three to be worthy candidates. After 1,700+ words on the subject, two things seem clear. 1. I may need to be more lenient. 2. You may have too much time on your hands.