Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Inspired by the latest rant from Royals Review

Well, ladies and gentleman, here we are. We're stuck in 1997-2006 (excluding 2003). Nobody seems to be too worried about it. Buddy thinks that they just have to ride it out. Dayton is MIA. David Glass is making sure Wally World is keeping sweat shops fully operational and sucking the life out of hometown businesses. The fans that still care (all 12 of us) are ranting, raving and booing. The others have turned their backs on the guy who has been the only bright spot for the franchise in the past few years and they've already turned against the guy who is supposed to be the future. The Nationals aren't in this bad of a situation, folks. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. ... Something has to change. As a franchise, we are worse than laughable at this point.
--royaldaddy, Royals Review blog

You can bemoan the Royals' record. You can bemoan their past 10 years (or more). You can bemoan Buddy Bell. Heck, you can even bemoan the current players, whoever you want. But to say we're stuck in 1997-2006, when Dayton Moore hasn't even had a full year (anniversary's tomorrow) and when he hasn't even had an amateur draft, is to let passion speak before reason. Hey, it's understandable: the Royals just lost a game in which they mustered three hits and pitched poorly and fielded poorly and looked utterly overwhelmed in the latter innings -- I get it, sometimes I want to scream too. But before we completely write off this franchise, let's take a long-view look at things. Moore was hired to enact a long-term plan that will transform the Royals into the model franchise it once was, not provide a quick fix (which he could do, considering the Glass family wanted to spend even more this offseason), and as with most long-term plans, it takes a while to see the results, usually more than a year. If the Royals are still like this in two years, let's talk, but for now, let's just cut back on the blanket aspersions, okay?

If you don't believe Dayton's moving this team the right direction -- I mean really, really don't believe it -- then the following quotes aren't going to do anything for you. For everyone else though, just a take a moment -- a figurative step back -- and absorb the optimism. From a recent Kansas City Star feature:

Owner David Glass: "The difference is having a plan and sticking with it. It's so tempting to make short-term decisions. I think maybe all of us were a little guilty of that in the past. But I think Dayton has brought an objective look at it."

Art Stewart, who's been with the Royals since 1969: "It's the most dramatic improvement in a short time I've seen since I've been here. It reminds me of Mr. Kauffman, when he said, 'What can we do to add an edge?' There's just been so much done in a short time."

Mike Sweeney: "Since Dayton's taken over, it seems like there's been unity. Everyone from the owner down to the rookie on the baseball team, we're all on the same page. I think Dayton has freedom as teh GM, freedom that Allard (Baird) didn't have."

Mark Teahen: "It's just the attitude in general, if you aren't here to win, hit the road. Before, it seemed year-to-year we'd try to get a quick fix. At least now, it seems like there's a real direction instead of making a quick fix. It feels like he's building an organization the way it should be built."

For specifics on "the way it should be built," click on the link and read the rest of the article. Maybe some of those sound bites sound a bit PRish, but I honestly don't remember quotes like that in the Allard Baird era, and that's less a knock on Baird than a expression of faith in Moore.

And then there are some things in royaldaddy's post that just aren't true. To say Dayton's been MIA when he just sat down with the Star? When he's been nothing but upfront -- from his introductory press conference to when he was on the road with the Royals Caravan in the winter -- about what he aims to accomplish, and his strategy to do it? To say there are 12 fans left (I understand hyperbole) when everyone knows that at the first whiff of a consistent winning team, the fans will flock back as if the losing never happened? I take exception to that. Nothing personal -- I'm not launching into Roger Clemens-type tirade here -- but I'm a bit bothered all the same. And I hate to be the bearer of Panglossian faith here, but the Royals are not in as bad of a situation as the Nationals.

Royals Review -- this is the No. 1 Royals blog on the 'Net, by the way -- mocks the title of the Star article, "A man with a plan." But what would you have Dayton do, and on what timetable? Let's lay down our cards. Eighty wins this year? A playoff appearance by 2008? It's human nature to demand immediate results, to scrutinize every detail, especially in losses, and analyze how things could be better -- it's even more human nature to do this when it's your everyday job -- but baseball operates on a different pace. Unless your team has bottomless resources -- and sometimes even when it does -- building a team takes time. That's the reality. You hear about worst-to-first turnarounds, but those are never random nor "magical," as Angels in the Outfield might have you believe.

People who hang on each loss with all their heart and say irrational things aren't bad fans -- on the contrary, I rather admire their passion. And "real fans" don't necessarily have to be uncritical of their team. But I think the jury on Dayton's Royals is definitely still out, so it'd be anything but fair to start haranguing this regime. Look on the bright side: Jim Hendry's not our GM, and we've been to at least a World Series in the post-World War II era. While the Royals are rebuilding, jump on and watch the Brewers or Felix Hernandez or B.J. Upton and read blogs like Church of Baseball or Raise the W Flag, just for a change of pace. There will come a time when national audiences turn their attention to us.


  1. I envy the hope you have for your team. Every year our management finds a way to rekindle our hope, and every year by the All Star break our players have shit on it. I still think the Cubs have a shot at it this year, only because we're in the weakest division ever, but it's hard to keep the faith when you've lost 8 of your last 10 and you just dropped one to the Marlins of all teams, 9-0. I guess it's nice to know the Cubs aren't the only team that has problems with pessimism.

    Thanks for the linkage, by the way.

  2. Well said. You get an Amen from this corner. The Royals may not mirror the Braves all the way to a where-did-that-come-from worst to first season, but the impression I get is that Dayton Moore is on the right road to turning this team around.