As the Moose story keeps unfolding, his teammates keep pulling for him
Mike Moustakas could have handled his postgame interviews better, but that's not the point. He's free to talk as much or as little about his on-field performance as he likes, and whether he's clearing the bases with a double or going 0 for 4, his teammates remain behind him 100 percent.
Mike Moustakas celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run double Wednesday. That he didn't want to talk about it afterward was his prerogative.
Charlie Riedel / AP
By Jeffrey Flanagan
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There is little doubt that Mike Moustakas has been THE story surrounding the Royals the past few days.
Speculation centered on the possibility of Moustakas being sent back to Triple-A Omaha earlier this week. The Royals then backed off that move, kept him here and on Wednesday, Moustakas rewarded that faith by slamming a bases-clearing double to beat Colorado, 3-2.
Moustakas' postgame approach obviously was calculated, and we can interpret what he did in a variety of ways. Was he thumbing his nose at the media after all the calls for his demotion this week? Was he sincerely just trying to take the focus away from himself and pass it on to his starting pitcher? Was he simply tired of talking about his offense?
Hard to say. Maybe all of the above, to some degree.
But I do know this: Moustakas isn't obligated to answer questions. Yes, in many ways, the cliche that we in the media are the conduit between players and fans is true. But if a player, or a manager, or a front-office person, doesn't feel like using that conduit at any given time, so be it. It's his prerogative. In today's world, players and executives can get their message out to fans in many other ways, particularly social media.
My guess is that Moustakas will be back chatting about his offense, if we want him to, soon enough.
I also know that Moose has the complete support of those around him with the Royals.
General manager Dayton Moore admitted Thursday that Moustakas perhaps didn't handle his postgame comments perfectly, but Moore also said he understood Moustakas' frustrations at the time and that he has complete faith in him.
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And manager Ned Yost is obviously a huge Moustakas backer. Asked if Moose's big day Wednesday was particularly gratifying after all the demotion talk, Yost said: "No, it's not more gratifying because I got trust and faith in him. ... I believe in him. Dayton believes in him. The players in that locker room believe in him."
The latter part is especially true. Moose is popular in the Royals' clubhouse.
"We believe in him, absolutely," center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "I talked to him before (Wednesday's) game and he said he was feeling good. I knew he was going to have a good game."
Added designated hitter Billy Butler, "He wants to win as much as anyone in this room. We have to support each other. That's what teams do."
If there was any doubt about Moose's teammates' support of him, go back and look at the replay of his three-run double Wednesday, and observe the wild reaction in the Royals' dugout. Even after Moustakas subsequently got thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch, he was greeted with nothing but high-fives when he got back to the dugout.
Moustakas also had another double Wednesday and made a terrific defensive play in the sixth inning to tag out a runner at third. It was the type of all-around game that justifies why Moustakas is in the majors, Yost argued.
"I try to tell people ..." Yost said, smiling.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.