OTC: Is Billy Butler Back & Better? Why Is KK Anti-Bubba? Sportings 16-Year-Old Phenom

“Billy Butler looks good.”
Josh Vernier, when asked by Bob Fescoe which Royals player looks good early in camp, 610 AM
GH: Butler was the target of much Twitter angst last season as his offensive numbers fell and his double-play ground outs grew. He was the focus of numerous trade rumors during the off-season – none of which proved to have legs…much like Billy himself. 2014 is a very, very important year for Butler and the Royals. They need each other to do well.

“Everybody has a year here and there in their career where it doesn’t quite stack up to what they’ve done the rest of the time.”
Billy Butler, when asked by Clinkscale about his down season last year, 810 AM

“I think Billy Butler will have a better year. There are a lot of skeptics who say that he won’t.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Listen to Kietzman this season when he discusses Butler and the next time he has a disparaging word to say about the Royals DH will be his first time in a long time that he was publicly critical of Butler. KK used to ride Butler pretty hard in his early years with the club. But now that the two are as Kietzman refers to them as, “friends,” KK uncharacteristically goes out of his way to prop up Butler and say sweet things about BBQ Billy.  

“When I went down to (the Royals) spring training last year they told us, ‘We only have one rule. There is only one rule – don’t talk to Bubba Starling. He’s off limits.’ Is that still the case?”
Kevin Kietzman, in a conversation with Clinkscale who is covering the Royals in Surprise, AZ this week, 810 AM
GH: As soft as Kietzman is on the veteran Billy Butler, he is equally as harsh and critical of the Royals one-time first-round draft pick out of Gardner-Edgerton High. KK spent 15 minutes ripping Bubba on Monday afternoon and expecting him to “keep all of his money and head to Nebraska to play football,” after yet another disappointing season in A-ball. I would like to know what the origin of KK’s ire is for this hometown kid. We all know Kietz is no fan of the Huskers but it can’t be just that, can it? Kietz seems to be obsessed with Starling failing.

“Manager Ned Yost described (Mike) Sweeney as a positive influence, and valuable to ‘pitch in where he needs to pitch in.’ For 20 minutes on Monday, Sweeney huddled with Billy Butler. Sweeney sees Alex Gordon and James Shields as this team’s leaders. He believes Butler can join their number. As they sat on chairs by Butler’s locker, Sweeney explained how baseball players fit into two categories. ‘They’re either a fountain or a drain,’ Sweeney said. ‘They’re either sucking the life out or pouring life in. I was just challenging Billy: ‘You’re one of the best hitters on the planet. Be a fountain.’”
Andy McCullough, writer, Kansas City Star
GH: Sweeney is one of the nicest professional athletes which I have ever come in contact. Just an exceptionally upbeat guy. But is he the guy to get the most out of this Royals bunch? Tony Muser was not a fan of Sweeney and his, “Chewing cookies, drinking milk, and praying isn’t going to get it done,” comment during Sweeney’s time with the Royals underlined what he thought of Mike’s leadership. It will be interesting to see how this experiment plays out this season.

“I don’t think the Royals can afford a 77-loss slippage this season (and retain their fans’ enthusiasm for the future).”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: You would think not but Royals fans are resilient as the fastball.

“We’ve got a very formidable lineup, one through nine. It should to be fun. The whole team’s better.”
Billy Butler, 810 AM

“(Mike Moustakas) has full sleeves (of tattoos) on both arms. From his shoulder to his finger.”
Danny Clinkscale, on the ink Moose added to his look for the 2014 season, 810 AM
GH: If Moose knocks in 100 runs and can hit over .280 he can tattoo “Milk & Cookies” on his ass and Royals fans will moo for him.

“I think the guy should make more money than the guy he’s suspending. He really should make more than the guys he’s in charge of.”
Soren Petro, on the NFL pay structure that has the commissioner and even some coaches making less than the players, 810 AM
GH: Is it all that unusual in the business world to have a supervisor or manager who makes less than the employees he/she is assigned to manage? I understand that professional sports is not the real world but I have managed personnel who make more money than I without any problems – at least on my end.

“My problem with all the money in the NFL is that it has priced the average fan out of the game.”
Adam Teicher, Chiefs beat writer for ESPN.com, 810 AM
GH: When Len Dawson was telling Soren Petro tales of how he and his Chiefs teammates all worked a second job even during the season back in the 1960s it was fascinating radio. What has happened to the NFL since then is wonderful and sad all at the same time. It is not just the NFL that is pricing itself out of the reach of the common family but MLB, NBA, NHL and many big-time college sports have also become too pricey for many. Many of us now rarely go to a game unless we are given complimentary tickets from work, a vendor or maybe a friend. At least that’s pretty much how I roll.

“I don’t twitter. Two Creighton tickets waiting for you Sunday at 4 pm vs. Seton Hall or Sat. March 8 vs Providence 8 pm. Last two home games.”
Jim, responding to my plea in Monday’s OTC column for Creighton tix to watch Doug McDermott live before he’s gone, Reader Email
GH: So I am going up to Omaha for Doug McDermott’s final home game at Creighton. God bless you, Internet!

“This is the kind of (Kansas) team that I think would like to outscore you. I don’t think they’re all that interested in defending you.”
Chris Piper, Rock Chalk Talk on 610 AM

“That’s not Bill Self basketball. That’s something that you’ve got to keep pressing and pressing on this team – that you can’t always win games at the offensive end. Last year’s team knew that to win they had to stop somebody. I don’t think this team has figured that out yet.”
Chris Piper, Rock Chalk Talk on 610 AM
GH: Piper went on to say that he believes this KU team is one of Self’s most athletic and capable of playing great defense when and if they make that decision to exert themselves on the defensive end of the court.

“I’m a junior (at O’Hara High School). 11th grade. In other parts of the world there are other 16-year-olds doing this so I’m not the only one.”
Erik Palmer-Brown, who was signed by Sporting Kansas City in August at the age of 16, 810 AM
GH: Nate Bukaty interviewed Palmer-Brown Tuesday morning and mentioned that Sporting has already turned down an offer of $1 million from Juventus, an Italian soccer club. Erik is currently in Orlando at Sportings’ spring training but continuing his high school classes through O’Hara online. I don’t know about you but as the father of a 16-year-old myself, I am pretty damn impressed with Erik.

“Most people in soccer believe this kid is destined to do great things for Sporting Kansas City or somewhere in the soccer world.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Erik has a new fan in me and I’ll bet just about anyone else who heard his interview Tuesday morning with Nate.

and Twitter @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.

23 Responses to OTC: Is Billy Butler Back & Better? Why Is KK Anti-Bubba? Sportings 16-Year-Old Phenom

  1. JP says:

    The reason KK is harsh on Bubba. One word: Nebraska!!! As for the Royals hitters, they better improve because I don’t see the starting pitching as good as last year at least in the short term.

    KU can play better defense. It’s something they haven’t done this season. They showed in the 2d half of TCU that they can turn up full court pressure when needed. This is something I hope Self employs more going down the road.

    • mike t. says:

      jp… I think they’re gonna have to if they want to keep going in march, esp if other teams do defend well and gets our offense is off-kilter. seen that often enough this season…

  2. matt-66 says:

    I didn’t hear what Petro said about the NFL commish – but Goodell made $44 Mil – 2012– 4x more than any player… ( and for a “non-profit”)


    • heeterjoe says:

      I think that there is a common misunderstanding of what a “non profit” designation means. It means that the organization isn’t owned by anyone, and that the surplus revenues (yes, profits) have restrictions as to how they are used. It DOES NOT mean that the organization cannot (or doesn’t have a goal to) make a profit. Not defending Goodell’s salary, just clarifying a business term.

  3. Gavin says:

    “…I have managed personnel who make more money than I without any problems – at least on my end.”

    Just curious, Greg, but did THEY know that? I’ve never known what any of my managers has made, but I’ve always assumed they made more than me. I just always assumed that it was an anomaly when an “underling” made more than his supervisor. If it’s happened to you, I’m not calling you a liar, but I have to say that I think your experience is probably not typical.

    • Phaedrus says:

      Depends what kind of business you’re in. Warren Buffett makes $100k a year. Safe to say that a lot of his managers earn more than that. A good waiter will make more than the hourly restaurant manager.

      A white-collar employee at GM makes less than a lot of the assembly line workers (or at least that used to be the case…not so sure anymore). The white-collar worker wasn’t a direct supervisor of the assembly line, but he’d be higher up on the corporate ladder.

    • Greg Hall says:

      As Phaedrus mentioned, it depends on the business. Many sales-driven industries have managers who make less than their better sales people. I wouldn’t consider all employees who report to a manager as “underlings.” They are often the reason a company thrives and can be highly compensated for their talents. These people might not know what their manager’s salary is but most would not want to trade positions.

      • kylerohde says:

        I was going to say that too – probably very common with sales organizations.

      • Phaedrus says:

        Wall Street is another industry with this characteristic. Successful traders make far more than the people supervising them. The good managers recognize that a good trader / salesman / etc. makes the manager look good….so the pay shouldn’t be an issue.

    • Gavin says:

      Fair enough. I’ve never been in sales, so that world is pretty much foreign to me. I can certainly understand how a good salesman can outstrip his direct report in the income department.

  4. Jim says:

    Thought I was the only one that had his fill of KK’s constant Billy BUTTler tongue bath. I’m a Royals fan, but I don’t give a crap about BBQ Billy. That kind of $$$$ for slow, fat DH only that produces at his rate? Big whoop.

    • Hot Carl says:

      Butler is, no doubt, a great hitter. Think how good he could be if he wasn’t such a fat ass. I’d love to see him drop 20-25 pounds and get ripped.

    • Paul says:

      Butler will turn 28 just after the season starts. He’s coming into some prime years. Sure he’s slow and shouldn’t get anywhere near a fielder’s glove, but I can’t imagine how the Royals could replace his upside at the plate. At his best he’ll hit .310 with 95 RBI. What team wouldn’t want that?

      And I did notice at Fanfest that the man looked slimmer. I hope that translates to offense.

      • kylerohde says:

        Hopefully, you’re right. However, I’ve read a few different things saying age 27 is statistically a player’s peak in baseball, and for a guy with Butler’s build, that might be even more true. See Fielder, Prince; Fielder, Cecil and Vaughn, Mo for reference!

  5. b12 says:

    In sales, it’s not uncommon for the top producers to earn more then their direct managers.

    Until management realizes it…and changes the pay plan.

  6. brett says:

    greg- as a providence college ’03 alum, i hope you witness the worst performance of doug mcdermott’s career on 3/8- go friars! i’d be at the centurylink center too but i’ll be doing my best bode miller impression in beaver creek that weekend

    • Greg Hall says:

      One of my first real jobs was with a company out of the Boston area in 1981. At my company orientation I met another new hire who was a recent graduate of Providence and a former basketball player who played with Ernie D. I cannot remember his name, a tall thin black dude with a great ‘fro, but he was a great guy who I talked hoops with the entire week.

      He told me about playing UMass when Julius Erving was not yet The Doctor. I asked him if him and the Friars were aware at the time how good Dr. J was. “No, we didn’t know much about him before we went out to warm up before the game. But then somebody in our layup line said, ‘Are you seeing this guy down there on their team dunking the ball?’ It was Dr. J. We all started sneaking peeks down at the other end of the floor to watch this cat’s windmill dunks. It didn’t take much for us to remember him after that.”

  7. ssiknaf says:

    Already sick of “aw shucks” Sweeney. His golly gee act was old a long time ago.

  8. MrIlathe says:

    KK is still mad that the Royals wasted their 1st pick on Bubba instead of a Quarterback. When will they learn???

  9. MightyMo says:

    Screw .280. For once, I want one of our guys to make it to the big leagues and rake. Used to happen with Damon, Sweeney, Beltran.

  10. Hot Carl says:

    “I think the guy should make more money than the guy he’s suspending. He really should make more than the guys he’s in charge of.”
    Soren Petro, on the NFL pay structure that has the commissioner and even some coaches making less than the players, 810 AM

    Pretty sure Goodell made around $45million last year. I doubt he’s making less than the dudes he’s suspending.

  11. Zed says:

    “I’m a junior (at O’Hara High School). 11th grade. In other parts of the world there are other 16-year-olds doing this so I’m not the only one.”
    Erik Palmer-Brown, who was signed by Sporting Kansas City in August at the age of 16, 810 AM

    That is kind of sad. let the kid enjoy high school and his friends. At least in basketball you get one year to experience college life.
    Soccer is the worst sport with kids and their parents. , they start these year around competitive soccer club teams with kids in the third grade. Parents spending a fortune trying to make their kids soccer stars.

    • RockChalk says:

      Third grade. Sadly, that’s late! My son has friends that do the year round baseball and soccer already and have been doing it for a while (he’s in 4th). No thanks. I want him to experience as many sports and other activities as he can right now. It’s unlikely he’s got the genes to be a college athlete (he can thank me for that) but even if he does, he’ll have plenty of time to hone those skills later on.

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