Royals reflect as rebuilding continues

Posted July 21, 2009

Royals reflect as rebuilding continues

When the final game of the 2009 Armena Royals season had concluded, it was seen as a gut-wrenching blown lead that left most on the team hanging their heads – a miserable but yet fitting way to cap a horrible 1-5 dive to the finish.

But after a week of reflection, and with the playoffs now getting into full swing, the Royals can lift their chins up and begin to prepare for next year.

The Royals won’t be looking back at 2009, just like they didn’t look back at 2008. Still, there is a lot that can be improved upon. A .289 average at the plate for example. A team ERA of close to 6 without Joel Boettger. And too many errors and mistakes in key positions. This includes the coaching staff.

“It didn’t really hit me until after the Bardo game how young we really are,” said Royal Jason Buzzell. “Clark and I are also quite new to running a team. There were a couple decisions and moves we’d like to have back, but that’s part of the rebuilding process I guess.”

The aforementioned offensive issues were expected at the get-go, but magnified when you begin to dig a little deeper. The bottom third of the lineup batted just .166 on the season. 

“Toward the end of the year, you saw more contact with the ball,” Buzzell said, adding a few players were shaking off the rust of not playing for one or more years. “I’m hopeful a year of strength and wisdom can translate into bigger numbers for our team. We’re going to need more offence next year. Even more so since a couple of us had career years in average and on base percentage that won’t happen next year.”

In response the team has already acquired PBL veteran and former Armena Royal/Axemen Wes Wilson for 2010. They would like to ink Brett Harke to full-time deal, but his agent said he is more interested in playing in the NCABL with part-time duties in Armena, much like this season.

Weak offensive numbers and new acquisitions aside, Banack said the veteran trio of himself, Boettger and Buzzell could have propelled them into the postseason, but couldn’t rise to the occasion in the final game of the season.

“Us old goats couldn’t get the job done…at Bardo,” Banack said. “(The kids) deserved to be in the playoffs and I fully expect (them) to be driving the bus next year.”

Banack also said he may let go the reigns of an Armena ship he has captained to a two-season record of 6-24 – the worst record of any Armena manager ever. 

This shows he may realize his goal of keeping the Royals afloat and building a bridge to greener pastures may now be complete. A new leader could have to help them take the next step – to playoffs and beyond.

“I have no idea where I’ll be next year,” Banack said, making some wonder if he could not only retire from coaching, but playing as well. “We might have to get someone new to step up.”

Posted on July 21, 2009 by Jason Buzzell

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