A Lament for What Could Have Been in Kansas City
American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier looks at what could have been an incredible season for the Kansas City T-Bones.
What a Year It Could Have Been for T-Bones
The 2020 American Association season was supposed to be a great year for the Kansas City T-Bones. After a troublesome 2019 season that saw the team evicted from their stadium, the team was sold to Mark Brandmeyer and great things were expected.
The team made some changes to their look, changing the colors slightly. They made some modifications to T-Bones Ballpark and added promotions that were sure to be a hit with fans. Most importantly, the new ownership group kept two-time American Association Manager of the Year Joe Calfapietra, that smartest move of all.
Things were looking great in Kansas City, but the Covid-19 virus led the American Association to cut team participation in half, leaving the T-Bones on the sidelines waiting for 2021.
They Were Destined to Be Great
That has been a tough blow for the team and for Kansas as a whole. The minor league season being called before it got underway means that the new Wichita Wind Surge will wait a year before they take to the diamond in their new ballpark. The Kansas City Royals look like they will not be playing either, meaning that there will be no professional baseball in or around the state.
That is a real shame, because these Kansas City T-Bones were going to be really good. Most managers will tell you that every team looks good on paper, but there was little doubt that the T-Bones were destined for great things.
How can we tell?
One need look no further than that American Association dispersal draft, which was held last Tuesday. This draft allowed the six remaining teams to select players off the rosters of the teams who will not be playing this season. There were 42 players chosen in all, 17 of which came from the Kansas City T-Bones. That is an incredible 40.5%.
Just to give you a little reference, the Sioux City Explorers had the second highest number of players selected at nine and the Cleburne Railroaders were third at eight. In other words, the teams with the second and third largest number of players selected combined to equal how many were chosen from the T-Bones.
That makes it clear that this Kansas City team may have been one of the best Joe Calfapietra ever assembled and that is saying a lot. Two seasons ago, he had more than a dozen players who were signed by affiliate clubs and still won a championship. This team could have been even better.
Now We Lament
Sadly, we will not know how good this team would have been. The grill will be out at T-Bones Ballpark this year while the team watches its players take the field for other clubs. That will be hard to watch, but there is no doubt that Calfapietra can be quite proud. While not managing one single inning this season, he may have already had the biggest impact on the 2020 season.
By Robert Pannier