Right or Wrong? 1/17/17

By Brian McKim
Hello, my name is Brian McKim. Many of you know me, but for those who don’t, here’s a little background. I was born and raised in Falls City and graduated from Sacred Heart. My wife and I live in Falls City with our son Alexander who is a fifth grader at South School.
From a very young age I was enthralled by sports. Whether it be listening to a Husker game on a Saturday afternoon (not many games were televised then) or sitting on my 80 year old neighbors porch at the ripe age of eight listening to Royals ball games on those warm summer nights. When the game was over I raced up the dark sidewalk to my parents house just knowing someone was chasing me, there never was.  
I’ve been extremely fortunate in my forty years to attend many of my favorite events. I still remember the excitement of attending my first Husker game with my dad. The Sea of Red to an eight year old kid is almost to much to describe. I vividly remember just being in shock and awe of all the red. Now all these years later I have been lucky enough to be a season ticket holder for the past seven years and enjoy seeing that same look of wonderment in my son’s eyes. Hundreds of Husker games later I still get that same feeling.
As far as baseball goes, it’s my first love. I’ve been to far too many Royals games to count, but you still can’t beat the feeling of hearing the crack of the bat and the smell of hot dogs. I was lucky enough to attend game two of the 2014 World Series thus fulfilling a lifelong dream. I was also able to attend the Wild Card game against the A’s in 2014. WOW!  Best game of all time, at least in my opinion. That’s what this column will be about, my opinion. I may not know everything there is to know about the Royals or the Nebraska Cornhuskers but you better believe I’ll have an opinion about it. I don’t always agree with decisions that the coaching staff make and I often feel like I could make better choices. That’s probably not the case, but as fans we all tend to feel this way sometimes. So as the year progresses I will add commentary to games, trades, rumors, recruits, coaching changes and fans expectations. You may not always agree with what I have to say but bear in mind this is just one mans opinion, whether it is right or wrong.
Let’s begin with Nebraska football. Coach Mike Riley put together a decent second season, but when did a decent year become okay? The Huskers finished the season with a 9-4 record, not bad for some schools, but this is Nebraska. We haven’t been relevant in the National Media’s eyes for years. We last won a conference championship in 1999. Yes that’s right 1999! After watching the bowl games this year, the talent gap has never been more obvious. Clemson or Alabama’s second team would beat us with ease. The recruiting needs to get better and it needs to start immediately. Recently at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Nebraska was in the running for four recruits. We landed exactly zero of those athletes while all of America was watching. Even Tennessee whom the Huskers played in the Music City Bowl had far better talent on the field. For crying out loud our back up quarterback wasn’t even an all-state selection in high school. Have we really fallen that far? Not to take anything away from Ryker Fyfe, he showed great perseverance over the years, but he wouldn’t even make a team at Michigan or Clemson or Alabama. Not only do we need better starters but we have to have kids ready to step in and play when injuries occur. Now as I sit and write this column I received and email stating that the Huskers just landed its biggest recruit in the 2017 class. According to his Twitter account, wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey, a former Ohio State, has chosen Nebraska. Lindsey ranks as the number 38 overall prospect according to 247Sports. Lindsey is a solid four star recruit and will probably see action early at the receiver position.  He will join Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Jaevon McQuitty at the receiver slot. The Huskers could still add one more receiver as Jamire Calvin, who committed to Oregon State in the All American Bowl, is said to be wavering and still considers Nebraska a good fit.
Also in the news for the Huskers is the firing of Mark Banker, a long time friend and assistant coach to Riley. The rumors I’ve heard is Banker wasn’t really holding up his end of the deal when it came to landing recruits and really even though the defense made strides in the right direction this season they still game up 62 points to Ohio State (they were beaten 31-0 by Clemson), 40 points to an average Iowa team and 38 points to Tennessee. So even though I was surprised by his firing I do feel that is was needed. What really shocked me is how fast he was replaced. According to Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star the Huskers have hired Bob Diaco, former Connecticut head coach and former defensive coordinator as Notre Dame. Diaco will bring a new 3-4 defense to Nebraska.  According to broadcaster Kevin Kugler, Diaco had just on defense from 2009-2013 that finished the year ranked outside of the top 44 in scoring defense. In comparison the Huskers, in the last five years have only cracked the top fifty in scoring defense once. Lets hope he can turn the defense around and bring the great tradition of the Black Shirts back to prominence.

Now moving on to baseball. We have entered the time when college football is done, the NFL is still going but who cares, and spring training is still a ways off but trades, free agency and rumors keep the off season interesting. First off I would like to discuss the Wade Davis trade to the Cubs. Davis would have been a free agent at the end of this season and it is unlikely the Royals would have been able to resign him. In return for Davis the Royals received RF Jorge Soler. In only 211 career games Soler has 27 home runs and 98 RBI. At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 215 pounds Soler has the physical attributes to be a power hitter from the right side of the plate. In the outfield he’s is considered average but Coach Rusty Kunz see’s potential in him. According to Kunz his speed is more on par with Alex Gordon than Jarrod Dyson. Also he is under team control for four more years. That brings me to the next trade I would like to talk about. On January 6, the Royals sent outfielder Jarrod Dyson to Seattle in exchange for RHP Nathan Karns. Now I know Dyson was beloved in KC, I was a huge fan,  but once again I understand the trade and I have to agree with it. The Royals figure Karns will compete for a spot in the rotation but if not according to general manager Dayton Moore, “Karns has a power arm that is hard to come by.  It’s an arm that could translate to the bullpen as well.” Another big point of this deal is that Dyson is free agent after this season, but Karns will remain under the Royals control for four more years. Other rumors floating around have been that the Royals will listen to possible trade deals for Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. My take on this is simple. If Dayton Moore really believes that the Royals will be unable to resign either player at the end of the season then by all means I feel we should listen to teams. If the Royals are able to get good, young, ready to play prospects in return then maybe our young all stars should be dealt.  Scott Boras, the agent for both players has been known to get top dollar for his athletes and the Royals likely cannot outbid the Yankees or Dodgers to keep their talent. So in my humble opinion if we will be unable to resign these players, we should at least deal them now and get something back in return. Much can happen between now and opening day which is April 3. Stay tuned and I will do my best to keep the rumor mill going.  Until then  Go Big Red and Lets Go Royals!!