Once again the Kansas City Royals are starting the season by solidifying themselves on the Mt Rushmore of baseball futility. They have yet to win a home game! They let Prince Fielder, and Jose Bautista steal bases. They found a way to lose a game that’s never been done before, or if it has no one can remember, by hitting two consecutive batters to force home a winning run. It’s frustrating to the point of being mystifying how one organization can come with so many ways to be terrible.
It’s not like we haven’t seen this before. In January I wrote a post called Winter Worries. Unfortunately it appears a lot of my worries are coming true. The past two weeks have reminded me of 2004 more than the Kauffman Era. Key players are on the Disabled List. Veteran players have regressed. Rookies have regressed, in the case of Greg Holland, spectacularly. The league has adjusted to the younger players and they appear to have trouble adjusting back. I don’t know if Ned Yost is going to jump in the shower with his uniform on, or flee the team in the middle of the night. Since that whacky stuff has already happened, probably not. But it would not shock me if the Royals find some other way to make their fan utter “WTF” and national media text “LOL” to all their friends. You see, this organization has more of a track record for creating scenes fit for a Yackety Sax Youtube video than winning baseball games.
I’ve been told thirteen games is not a large sample size. Let me tell you about a sample size: Since April 18, 2000, the date David Glass assumed sole ownership of the Royals, the Royals are 813-1144. That is the worst record in the Major Leagues during that time. (They are 2 games back of the Pirates in case you were wondering.) Is that a big enough sample size? Royals fans have been told by non-stake holders that the Royals have one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball. We’ve been told that this 2012 version is better on paper. I guess I should believe that, but fans don’t print up t-shirts, and you don’t get to hang banners in your stadium for being good on paper and winning awards from publications. You get those things by winning baseball games.
The organization tells us it takes 8 to 10 years to build from within and go from terrible to winner. Really? Tell that to Andrew Freidman General Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. He was promoted to General Manager after the 2005 season. At the end of 2008 the Rays were American League Champions. I hope Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers doesn’t hear that it takes 8 to 10 years to turn a team around. Daniels was also promoted to General Manager at the end of the 2005 season. It took him four seasons but the Texas Rangers won the AL Pennant in 2010 and 2011 and look to make another run, not just for the playoffs, but for the World Series title. Both of these General Managers took over their organizations six months before Dayton Moore took over the Royals. Want another example unfolding in front of our eyes? Look at the Washington Nationals. In March of 2009 Mike Rizzo was promoted to General Manager of the Nationals. Granted, the Nationals haven’t won anything yet, but they look a lot more promising than the Royals right now. Tell me again how long it should take to rebuild an entire organization?
DO NOT tell me I need to be patient! And that I’m some how not a good fan because I’m losing patience with “The Process”. I’ve been patient. The fact that I even care enough to let this baseball team make me mad says enough about my patience. It’s not like I’m being unreasonable. I was not expecting to see a World Series or even a division contender from the Royals this season. What I am expecting is for the Royals to not be fundamentally terrible in the field and on the base paths. I’m expecting them to not walk the bases loaded. I’m expecting them not do things that are so off the wall and terrible that the Royals land on baseball blogs for the wrong reasons, and become punch lines for late night television. All I’m asking is that the Royals be mediocre as opposed to historically terrible.
Is it too much to ask of the Royals to not open their home schedule with a half inning so bad that casual fans tune out for the rest of the year? Is it too much to ask the Royals to not spiral into a losing streak that has diehard fans questioning why they root for this team in the first place? Is it too much to ask that the Royals be more relevant than Major League Soccer in their own town? Is it too much to ask that the front office find some other marketing drivel to defend their terrible on field performance? It shouldn’t be. Other teams in worse markets than Kansas City have used a process to turn their organizations around. Asking Royals fans to trust Dayton Moore’s “Process” is becoming too much to ask.