Desperately looking for answers in yet another season that has seen them fall far out of contention, the Kansas City Royals announced today that they have decided to fire the team's pitching mound.
With the firing, the pitcher's mound is the first to one to be fired in the 2010 Major League Baseball Season. It is also the first pitcher's mound to ever be fired in the history of baseball.
“I love the pitcher's mound, I do. It's part of our team and has been for a long time,” said Royals General Manager Dayton Moore. “Obviously, it was a very difficult decision, but at the end of the day we’ve got to do what's best for our team.”
Added Moore: "We just don't want any of our guys pitching off that thing anymore."
Though Zack Grienke had an ERA of 2.16 pitching from the mound last year, most Royals pitchers have struggled to find any success on it, mounting a collective 5.16 ERA on the season. Royals manager Ned Yost explained that the pitchers were making all the right motions and throwing the ball as hard at they could. He insisted there is no way a group of major league pitchers could be that bad without something else coming into play.
"We had to pinpoint the problem. How is that our team constantly struggles to get hits but also can't keep the opponent's runners off the bases?" said Yost. "I was hired to make this team better. And the possible negative effect of the mound is something that immediately stood out."
The players in the locker room did not seem too affected by the news of the mound's fate.
"It's a pile of dirt. I guess I never really thought about it as a thing before," first baseman Billy Butler told reporters. "I'll miss running up one side of it and down the other when running off the field. That was always fun."
The Royals' pitcher's mound, which debuted at Kauffman Stadium in 1973, has an all-time record of 1561-1820. A giant tortoise shell will assume the role of pitcher's mound until the front office makes any further decisions.
Said Royals pitching coach Bob McClure of the mound's firing: "Whew! I barely escaped this time."