Grading the Royals’ Division-Winning Celebration

We live in the age of multiple playoff levels and one of the results of this is we get many different playoff winners, and each playoff winner has to have a playoff winner celebration. Celebrations used to be more sedate than they are now, but things have changed since Don Larsen struck out Bill Mitchell and jogged solemnly off the mound after having thrown the first and to date only perfect game in the World Series. No big deal, really, when you think about it. Today, though, players never miss a chance to jump up and down and yell and celebrate and be happy. This being FanGraphs though, we can’t simply observe this behavior. We have to analyze it. Because we hate baseball.

Last Thursday in a match up between a team we thought might go to the post-season and a team named the Royals, the Royals beat the Mariners 10-4 to clinch their first AL Central division title ever. Seriously. The last time the Royals won a division title they were in a different division. The final out came when Kyle Seager grounded out weakly to first baseman Eric Hosmer. Here was the scene before contact.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 9.24.15 AM

Oops, sorry. Wrong kind of contact. Let’s try that again.

Royals last pitch

There we go.

Seager did his thing and the Royals announcers, to their credit, didn’t scream like they’d discovered water on Mars or something. The players came running from the dugout and jumped around, the coaching staff gave each other strong pats on the back, the front office took a few moments off from pretending they don’t have human emotions and hugged each other, and a dude carried a large W around. Overall it was a good effort, but was it a championship-level effort? Let’s see!

*****
Appropriate Excitement Level

The Royals didn’t win the World Series. They might win the World Series! But they haven’t yet won the World Series. Thus they can’t celebrate like they won the World Series. It’s not the time for tearing clothes off or dancing semi-naked around the field, or both. You have to celebrate in a way that says “Hooray for this accomplishment but we know we haven’t earned the right to totally embarrass ourselves yet.”

Points (out of 10): 9

*****
Jumping

This is a vital part of all baseball celebrations, whether a World Series is involved, or just a lowly walk-off win. You have to jump. The players need something to do while standing in a huddle congratulating each other and if they’re not jumping, well, it’s just going to be super awkward. The Royals jumped. Sort of.

Johnny Cueto did lots of jumping.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.29.11 AM

And it was good.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.29.57 AM

But it didn’t seem anyone wanted to jump with him. Alex Gordon wanted to hit people with his glove. Eric Hosmer wanted to scream. So eventually Cueto just ran around in circles by himself.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.33.09 AM

That’s carrying out the mission.

And this guy wanted to be alone with his giant letter “W.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.31.51 AM

At night he curls up in his bed, hugs his W closely and says, “Wwwwwwwwwwwww…” until all the bad monsters go away.

Points: 3

*****

Cliches

“This team battled the entire year. We never gave up, never stopped, kept playing hard, and you know, you can’t say enough about everyone on this team, we came out every single day ready to play.” — Mike Moustakas

Gee, Mike, don’t hog all the good ones for yourself! That’s six cliches in two sentences totaling 35 words. That’s a cliche-to-word average of .174. As far as MVP-level cliched sentences go, that’s in the conversation. (If he’d dropped the “ready to play part” he’d have been at .192.)

“It’s a great feeling, you know, leaving spring training this is the goal, to win a division, to get back into the post-season, and we got a lot of work left, this is step one, but we’re going to enjoy this one.” — Eric Hosmer

Hosmer has some work to do for sure. That’s only three cliches in 42 words, and that’s giving him credit for words like “post-season” and “it’s.” At best he’s got a .071 CWA. He’s lucky Jonathan Papelbon isn’t on his team or he’d get a stern talking to.

Points: 6

*****

Kissing Up to the Fans

“Our fans, you guys have been fantastic [ed: pun!] all year long, right there with us every pitch, we can’t do it without you, thank you, thank you so much.” — Ned Yost

Well, actually Ned Yost, yes you could do it without them.

Beyond that, I was prepared to knock Yost for the “all year long” part, but as it turns out, Royals fans have pretty much been there all year long. The Royals are tenth in baseball in average attendance, pretty strong for a city the size of Kansas City. The Royals even saw fit to go into the crowd and thank the fans individually.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.55.03 AM

So Yost is right.  You deserve this. Nice job, Royals fans.

Points: 10

*****
Getting Wet

You can’t properly celebrate a baseball moment dry. When my wife had twin boys the first thing I did is dump a can of light beer on her head. It seemed so appropriate at the time! When the kids come downstairs at Christmas time, I hide behind the stairs with a huge bucket of ice water. That’s because I know how to celebrate stuff. And so do the Royals as witnessed here

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.54.43 AM

and here

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.42.58 AM

and here

outside wet

and here

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.42.43 AM

and here

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.55.03 AM

They got wet on the field and in the clubhouse. They got wet communally and individually. They got the fans wet. They got wet with water and with beer and champagne. Darn it, the Royals did this by the book and it was beautiful.

Points: 10

*****

Selfie

Selfie?

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.53.38 AM

Yes!

Points: 10

*****
Silly Outfits

No celebration is complete without some bizarre non-sensical-from-the-outside outfit. Maybe for some obscure reason someone has dressed up as a goat, or a mummy, or a cut of cheese. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but them, and actually, it doesn’t really have to make sense to them either because who else will know different? So, Royals, silly outfit much?

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.42.28 AM

Yes!

Points: 10

*****
Conclusion

Out of 70 possible points the Royals pulled down 58, or 83%. This is a good, workman-like effort, if not exactly the stuff of champions — or not yet, at least. Fortunately the Royals will get at least more more shot at this before their year ends. Here’s hoping they make it count. (<-that’s a cliche! Hint, hint, Royals!)

We hoped you liked reading Grading the Royals’ Division-Winning Celebration by Matthew Kory!

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Adam Demamp

Danny Duffy is looking straight grizzly!