When is it time to watch the standings? Royals say not now, too soon

Even as a recent spurt gets them inching back toward .500 (they're there now), the Royals say it's way too early to be tracking their record every day and comparing it to the rest of the AL Central. That's what they say, anyway.

Lorenzo Cain (right) says he checks the standings 'once in a while,' but Billy Butler admits to peeking more regularly.

Fred Thornhill / Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Prior to Tuesday night's game, the Royals stood tied for third place in the American League Central, 3 1/2 games behind the leader, Detroit.

Good luck finding anyone in the Royals' clubhouse who knew that. Or at least admitted to knowing that.

Right now, Royals players insist it is way too early to get caught up in the standings.

"I probably look at it starting the second half," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "Now, I just check it out every so often. You get closer to August, then it's about every day. I remember last year, after the All-Star break, we checked them out all the time. Until last year, we didn't have much reason to."

Said center fielder Lorenzo Cain: "I check them out once in a while now. It doesn't really matter right now. I mean, last year, we would win a game in August and September and the first thing you'd do is check out how everyone else is doing. It's too early for that right now."

Some players, such as designated hitter Billy Butler, do admit they peek at the standings probably more than others.

"I look at them," Butler said. "But you don't worry about them early on. It's like Detroit, early on, they were playing lights out. You know that's not going on forever. Or you hope. So you don't get too worried.

"I would say then around August you really start to pay attention."

Players are more apt to keep mental track of how close they are to .500.

Well, some of them are.

Asked how many games the Royals are under .500, Cain paused for a moment and then asked innocently, "Four?"

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Hosmer's response: "One or two?"

Getting closer.

Butler? "One. That's easy."


But manager Ned Yost also said he's not a slave to studying the standings -- yet.



"Not now. Yeah, I look now, but not every day," he said. "I bet I hadn't looked at the standings in two weeks (until today). Back then we were about five games out, which was good. Today we were like 3 1/2 out.

"Am I going to do something different now because we're 3 1/2 out? No. You're kind of aware where you're at, but it doesn't really affect anything you do. The division is so close, all bunched together."

And Yost isn't too concerned that not all his players know how close they are to .500.

"They don't need to know right now," Yost said.

The situation is a little different for general manager Dayton Moore, who isn't ashamed to admit he does look at the standings now and he does know exactly how close his team is to .500.

"I pay attention, sure," Moore said. "You have to. It's not as intense as it is after the All-Star break. Then you're really paying attention to what the standings are and what everyone else is doing.

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"The main thing now is how close you are to .500 and are you moving toward it, over it, whatever. It affects the decisions you make."

And Moore isn't so sure his manager and his players aren't aware of where they are positioned in the standings.

"I think they know," Moore said, smiling. "They want people to believe they don't right now, but they know."

After beating the Indians last night, the Royals are back at .500, three games out of first. Yeah, they probably know.

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at

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