Royals have mixed feelings about scoreboard watching
Some Royals say they do it, some say they don't, but all agree they must take care of their own business
By JEFFREY FLANAGAN FS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Now that the
Royals are knee-deep in a playoff chase -- a relatively new phenomenon in these here parts -- ever wonder how closely the players themselves follow the standings and the scoreboard?
Well, it depends on which Royal you're talking to.
Mike Moustakas stands firmly in the camp that as a player, you never scoreboard watch.
"I don't do it and I never have," Moustakas says, bluntly.
"Don't need a reason," he says. "I just don't do it."
All righty then. But does he know how many games the Royals are out of first place in the Central or behind in the wild-card chase?
"I know that if we continue to play well on our end, it will take care of itself," Moustakas says. "That's all I need to know."
Greg Holland pretty much agrees. From his perch in the left-field bullpen, it's kind of tough to see the scoreboard anyway.
"I don't peek, no, not really at all," Holland says. "I know we haven't picked up many games since the All-Star break. But there's not much we can do on our end but keep playing well and winning."
Even as the season progresses, Holland maintains that he won't get caught up in what the teams above the Royals are doing.
"I'm not going to personally ever do that," he says. "If we win out and Detroit wins out, then Detroit goes to the playoffs. Not much we can do about that."
Yet other Royals see no harm in knowing how the Tigers or Rangers or Indians are faring.
"I don't think you stare at the scoreboard each night," designated hitter Billy Butler says. "But you pay attention to where you are in the standings. You notice what the other teams are doing.
"I think we all know we haven't made up much ground on Detroit. But we all know we've gained a ton in the wild-card race. That's something."
Eric Hosmer is another Royal aware of the Royals' position in the race.
"We definitely see what's going on with Detroit," Hosmer says. "But we try to control what we can do here. I know we face them and Cleveland a bunch of times, so that will give us our opportunity.
"When we face Detroit and Cleveland, we have to make the best of it."
During a game, though, Hosmer keeps his eyes away from the scoreboard.
"This league is hard enough -- you can't peek at the scoreboard during the game," he says, smiling. "But afterward, you definitely see who is winning. But you can't get too far ahead of yourself and worry about other locker rooms -- you worry about your own."
And as for the wild-card standings, Hosmer did pretty well in a pop quiz Tuesday: How many games are the Royals behind the Rangers?
"Three or four?" he said with a big grin. "Is it three? Four? Gotta be right around there."
And yes, at the time, the Royals were four back. They are five now.
Veteran Miguel Tejada, who has been through a few playoff races in his career, is a bit more pragmatic and less bravado about following the fate of teams ahead of the Royals.
"We know the teams we have to beat, so you pay attention to their scores," Tejada says. "It's all about you winning first because if you don't do that, the other teams don't matter.
"But you watch what Detroit and Cleveland are doing or Texas or Baltimore. Whatever teams are above us. There's just two months left. It's time to play every game seriously like the playoffs, so you want to know what teams you have to (jump) over."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflangankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.