It's time to ship Bubba Starling off to the MLB bloggers. But not until we say goodbye to the former hyped Huskers recruit with some reaction from around the Web:
Just around 5 p.m. Monday, the name "Bubba Starling" was the No. 1 search item in the U.S., according to Google Trends, momentarily getting even more searches than "Kim Kardashian wedding."
Earlier in the day, Starling's name was brought up plenty at Nebraska's football practice when the media gathered around offensive coordinator Tim Beck.
"We're supporting whatever he does," Beck said after the team's morning workout. "He is such a great young man and comes from a great family. Whatever he does, we're behind him all the way."
The answer came almost 12 hours later.
It's not the first time Nebraska has lost a highly touted quarterback recruit to a pro baseball team.
Carl Crawford also chose baseball over football back in 1999. Granted, Crawford did it in early June, sapping much of the drama out of that decision.
"This guy is without a doubt one of the best athletes to play the game of baseball in many years," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
Moore was quoting the refrain he heard often from director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg and assistant general manager J.J. Picollo, who spearheaded the pursuit of Starling.
The $7.5 million deal was the largest to be conferred on a Draft pick by the Royals.
Moore said the deal with the 18-year-old Starling wasn't struck until "five or six minutes" before the deadline of 11:01 p.m. CT.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet, but I know tomorrow we're going to wake up with smiles on our faces," Moore said. "We look forward to moving on in Bubba's development through our system."
As you surely know if you are in the KC metro area, Starling may be the best athlete to ever come out of here. He’s a multi-sport star. He averaged 14 yards per carry in football, 28 points a game in basketball and he hit .480 in baseball – including some home runs that were mistaken for UFOs on the Missouri side of the border.
As one who has spent a lot of time looking at and thinking about what the Royals have in the minors, this is extremely exciting news. Naturally, it will likely be a couple years before we get a chance to benefit from his bat in the majors. But, so what? It keeps the pump primed.
Of course, he may also be a bust. That happens. It happens all the time in baseball. But, odds are good he would have gone even higher than #5 in the draft had there not been the potential for him going to Nebraska to play quarterback.
The Royals are not in an enviable spot with Starling. How fast do they bring Bubba along in the farm system? What promises do they make? What promises do they break? How much rope do they give a young talent to groom himself?
K.C. has some nice, young talent on the roster, but there have been just as many mistakes and busts along the trail. If the Royals don't handle Starling just right, he's got a hammer over them. He's got options. Namely, a football career at Nebraska and a love for the program, the school and the fans.
Alex Gordon might be the wrong example. But Gordon was frustrated with his situation at times. What if Starling is rushed up, as Gordon was, and then flails away at major league pitching and is bounced around between Omaha and K.C.? If things don't go exactly right, if he has a bad experience, could Starling chuck it all — with signing bonus already in pocket — and head to Lincoln?
It not only could happen, it's going to be a factor in the back of everyone's mind. Starting now.