writes the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton. And while I wouldn’t want to diminish the seriousness of whatever the Royals pitcher has been going thru, here’s my thoroughly unprofessional advice ; immediate counseling and observation for Allen Baird. Hiring Buddy Bell was clearly a blatant cry for help.

K.C. dropped to 2-7 after last night’s loss to the Devil Rays and former Mets prospect Scott Kazmir (2 earned runs over 6 innings). The only thing more amazing than Bell putting Doug Mientkiewicz 3rd in his batting order a few days ago was the the decision to have the slick fielding-crap-at-everything-else 1B leading off on Friday.

We’re told that Tampa Bay P Rudy Ludo was wearing the pink backpack (above) as part of a rookie hazing ritual, but clearly it turned out to be the sort of conversation piece that allows him to give his phone number to young girls.