Jun 13, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) slides safely into third base as Chicago White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie (12) makes the tag during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals: The Tipping Point

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“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” 
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

 

It’s a very distinct possibility that our Kansas City Royals have reached ‘The Tipping Point. By nearly every measurable stat, the Royals are the hottest team in baseball, winning (as of Monday afternoon) 7 straight games, 8 of their last 10 and 12 of their last 16.

They’ve finally started hitting with the power and consistency they should expect from the lineup – not some streaky over-achievement – but closer to the potential of key players like Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler. The Indians and White Sox have just been put in their place and the Tigers look surprisingly beatable. Now could be the moment where Kansas City cements themselves in mediocrity or takes the big step forward they need before this current window closes.

Jun 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (center) is greeted after leaving the game against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Last year they faced a very similar situation. They had begun to collapse internally, they had lost their grip on the top of the division after an atrocious May and couldn’t hit their way out a wet paper bag. Suddenly Dayton Moore turns on the George Brett-Signal and does the seemingly impossible. Brett becomes interim hitting coach and the team appears to turn things around.

Though they fluctuated over the next few months, the Royals stayed in contention right to the end. The tipping point last season gave fans reason to believe KC had put together a team that could win.

“If you want to bring a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior…you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The Royals have now replaced Pedro Grifol as hitting coach and Dale Sveum seems to have the Boys in Blue batting like a real-live baseball team. The coaching staff kept faith in guys like Moose and Danny Duffy, stayed the course, and now they stand at what could shape up to be this year’s tipping point.

If they continue to play this way, make a good showing against the Tigers and hold onto either the Wildcard or even division lead, everything that Dayton Moore has done over the last few years will have paid off. If not, then the likelihood of the Royals recovering this season or salvaging the James Shields Win-Now-Window is nill.

That having been said, baseball is still played one game at a time. More important than looking ahead is beating Detroit in the upcoming series. Yes, doing well there may be that tipping point for the season, but trends don’t tip one way or another until the first step is taken. Let’s hope the Royals take it tonight.

 “That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.”
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
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Tags: Billy Butler Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals