Baseball is supposed to be fun, but according to Kansas City Royals announcers Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler, Royals players seem to be toeing the line between decorum and carelessness during defensive downtime.
The two announcers noticed a frightening trend in recent games that could help to explain the Royals' American League-worst record of 41-60. Infielders seem to be joking around with baserunners, even following hits that have a detrimental impact on the Royals.
For example, following a late three-run single by Los Angeles Angels DH Kendrys Morales on Monday night, Lefebvre and Hudler noticed Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar and second baseman Yuni Betancourt chatting and joking around with Morales, who had just essentially sealed a win for Los Angeles.
"I don't want to get on my soapbox again, but if I'm a pitcher, I think it would really burn me to see my middle infielders laughing and joking with a guy who just hit a three-run double off me as he stands on second base," Lefebvre said during the game. "I don't get it.
"I mean, what could be so urgent that you'd have to talk to the guy on the other team who just hit a potentially game-winning hit?" he continued. "Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm getting old."
According to the announcers, this incident was not the first or the last time that Royals defenders have been distracted by jesting conversation with the opposition during a game.
Kansas City skipper Ned Yost seems to agree. He held a clubhouse meeting with the squad after the Los Angeles series and now believes the interactions will cease.
"Look, we certainly want our players to play in the spirit of competitiveness," added Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
Perhaps the Royals should focus less on this minor issue and more on climbing the standings so close to playoff time.