Yeah, that title went over about as well as one of Rex’s jokes on the air, but guess what, I don’t care. Rex can make as many failed jokes or awkward statements or five minute long discussions involving a bug being squashed that he wants and I won’t mind it. Let me clarify a little bit: I won’t mind it as much as the sensationalism, venom, and all-around pessimism I see on my twitter timeline every evening the Royals are playing.
“Jeremy Guthrie is still out there. This is as clueless a managerial performance I have ever seen. #Royals”
“This is absolutely unreal. Ned Yost should be fired right this very minute.”
“Oh. My. God. Guthrie is back out for the 7th. We have a freaking idiot managing this team.”
“These two – Hosmer and Moustakas – are cooked. Any replacement would provide roughly the same value.”
These are just a handful of the hundreds of posts that were tweeted last night about the Royals vs Angels game, and there is no end in sight. Never-mind that it’s mid-May and the Royals are currently above .500; if you only followed twitter, then you would think the Royals have had 36 perfect games thrown against them. Maybe it’s because Royals fans feel like they really have something to lose this season that is making them spew negativity everywhere, or the fact that most of us don’t know what it’s like to see a winner, but regardless, Royals fans far and wide are putting their seemingly endless disdain for anything that resembles a loss, a run given up, or a hit not recorded in 140 characters or less and at a feverish pace.
The thing I hate the most about all of the pessimism is that it’s so dang contagious.
It’s easy to criticize Ned Yost, or Jeff Francoeur, Chris Getz or Mike Moustakas. It’s easy to write off players as busts. It’s easy to tweet out your every emotion on twitter about the lack of power we have at second, or how dumb it is that Dyson isn’t playing every day. When you see Royals twitterverse doing a collective face-palm every time a runner is thrown out trying to steal or every time we ground out on the first pitch, it’s easy to join in on it. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. But what did it accomplish? Did it make me/you feel better? No.
That’s where Rex Hudler comes in. Does he strike me as an intelligent guy? Nope. Is he the best broadcaster I've ever watched? Not even close. Did I wish that Billy Butler’s 500th RBI had been commemorated with something a little more elegant than “a Billy Bomb with Barbecue sauce!”? Sure. But in all of Hudler’s faults, there is a simple truth: he is nothing if not optimistic.
Genuine optimism: that is what Hudler brings to my television screen during Royals games. I don’t believe it’s fake, and I don’t believe he knows any other way to broadcast. When a guy strikes out, Hud says it was just a really good pitch. When our pitcher gives up a solo shot, Hud makes sure to point out that no one was on base. Hud is exhaustingly positive, but it is the only thing that makes twitter bearable for those three hours. His optimism helps fight the wrist-slitting, we-suck, mentality I can’t help but pull up on my computer screen during games.
Royals fans have more right than most to complain. I understand that. I’m a part of that. But if I had to choose between listening to Hud or reading Royals fan tweets during the games, I would choose Hud. Rex is an oasis of positivism and amusing ignorance in a desert of nonconstructive disapproval and saber metric dry heaving. While venting frustration is a fan’s prerogative, it’s also Hud’s
job responsibility pleasure to put the Royals players and
coaches in the best light possible. And while it might be annoying every now
and then, it’s also comic relief and an excuse to tweet about something other
than the Royals’ deficiencies.
Do I believe Rex is an idiot? Absolutely. But I also think that of 85% of the Royals twitterverse. Hud makes the mistakes seem less important, the at-bats less disastrous; and why shouldn't he: we have a winning record!!! And, perhaps most importantly, where would Royals nation be at without Rexisms? So next time you start to think about criticizing Hud, think about this instead:
Can you sneak a piece of cheese by a hungry rat?