The Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski on the grim prospects for the 2005 Kansas City Royals.

This is new. The Royals have had low moments lately. They lost 100 games twice. They had years without an owner. They had years without a bullpen. They once brought a professional softball pitcher to camp.

Last year, they had a game where the winning run scored after the throw home struck Royals first baseman Ken Harvey, leading one player to note that it had to be the first time a team ever lost a game for hitting the cutoff man.

Still, this is new.

The Royals are a more or less unanimous choice to be the worst team in baseball.

No, it was never like that before. Always, there was another team, a Detroit Tigers, a Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a Milwaukee Brewers, an Arizona Diamondbacks. The Royals may have been bad, sure, but they were never that bad.

They were never that team.

Now, suddenly, you look around ¦ and the Royals are that team.

How bad is it? I have so far found 27 different baseball predictions on the Internet. All 27 picked the Royals to finish last in the American League Central. I checked with 11 different oddsmakers ” all 11 make the Royals the longest shot to win the World Series. I picked up seven different magazines ” all seven had the Royals finishing last.

How bad is it? I asked the great readers of the best baseball Web site ”“ ” to offer up their column ideas for the 2005 Royals. Here are just a few of the nominations:

œGeorge Brett: A better hitter (now) than anyone on the 2005 Royals.

œRoyals vs. T-Bones: Royals superior at almost every position.

œYou should discuss the betting line on the annual Royals father-son game. The kids are favored.

œThe Royals plan: Why not new uniforms?

œI would join in, but I don’t know anything about the Royals.”

œThe 2005 Royals: Where are they now?

œYou could say, Royals general manager Allard Baird says, œthat it isn’t exactly trendy to say good things about the Royals right now.

Here are a few more column suggestions from those nutty guys at Baseball Primer.

œThe Kansas City Royals: Could they be a better football defense than the Chiefs?

œThe Kansas City Royals: At least our best players go somewhere other than the Yankees.

œJimmy Gobble ” a fun name to yell!

œIs Tony Peña currently the best catcher in a Royals uniform?

œThe Kansas City Royals passed all their drug tests ” and it shows.