“Nick Swartz needs to be fired. Immediately.” So declared Rainy On The Royals’ Rany Jazayerli (above) of K.C.’s trainer of some 19 years. “If there was an award for worst training staff in the majors, the Royals would be the runaway leaders at this point in the season.” Despite providing rather compelling evidence that makes the Mets’ Ray Ramirez come off like a medical magician compared to Swartz, Jazayerli’s reward for such constructive criticism was an announcement from the Royals that he’d no longer have access to players for his radio show. You’d think if K.C. was really hellbent of stifling negativity about the team they’d ask the local paper to stop running the AL Central standings.

I confess to being surprised that after years of being critical of the Royals when criticism was warranted “ which, as their win-loss record shows, is most of the time “ my last post should have set them off like that. I must have overlooked the rules of decorum that go with evaluating the record of Supreme Court Justice Nick Swartz. Criticize a player, liken the manager™s intelligence with that of a farm animal, call for the GM™s head: these are all acceptable things. But suggest that the trainer might need to be upgraded after 19 years “ well, that™s beyond the pale.

In the short run, maybe no one™s to blame for the fact that Coco Crisp tried to play through an injury that ultimately ended his season. In the long run, when there are stories like Coco Crisp™s year after year after 19 freaking years “ someone needs to be held accountable. It is astonishing to me that not only do the Royals not see that, but that they would take offense at anyone who might dare to suggest that the same rules that apply to players and coaches and managers should also apply to trainers.

Look, if the Royals want me to concede that I™m not completely sure that Swartz is the problem: fine, I™ll happily concede that. Without access to medical records – which I will not and should not have access to – I can’t be completely sure. Just as I wasn™t completely sure that Buddy Bell was a bad hire, or that Tony Pena couldn™t hit, or that spending $1.8 million on Horacio Ramirez was a waste of money.

But I am certain “ as certain as I™ve been of anything related to the Royals since the day they traded Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez “ that THERE IS A PROBLEM. If the Royals don™t think that Swartz is the problem, then by all means, keep him “ but figure out what the problem is.