Years of losing and futility by the Kansas City Royals prompted Royals fans Joe Accurso and Nick Palmer to create a website called No-More-Glass.com. They raised $5,100 to place a half-page ad in the August 23 Sports section of The Kansas City Star. The ad is an open letter to Royals owner David Glass to sell the team to another owner.
In the letter, signed by Accurso, he thanks Glass for keeping the team in Kansas City. Then Accurso points out the losing seasons, the perpetual “youth movement,” the present monetary value of the Royals and how teams in similar markets have played in the post season since Glass’ tenure. The letter ends with Accurso imploring Glass to immediately sell the team to a local ownership group.
While the letter hasn’t got a response from David Glass, it did get the attention of local Kansas City media outlets and several websites and blogs. The letter also got a response from Kevin Uhlich, Royals senior vice president for business operations. In an article in the Star, Uhlich said, “Nobody wants it more than our chairman (Glass) and (general manager) Dayton Moore. There is no lack of commitment. It’s sad there are those who want to spin it differently.”
In the same article, Accurso said, “I’m not naive enough to think I can write a letter, Glass will read it and say, ‘I should sell the team.’ But I felt like, ‘Can I take some initiative and at least get a conversation started?’”
And it is a worthy conversation, even if David Glass has no desire to sell the team. If Glass did sell the team, would it bring back a winning culture and attitude to the Royals?
In the early years of Glass’ tenure, he ran the Royals like Wal-Mart: stocking the roster with marginal young players at a low cost and trading away star players like Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye and Johnny Damon when they were up for free agency. There were times when the team would overpay for journeyman veterans like Juan Gonzalez and Jose Guillen, wasting money that would be better spent drafting players in the later rounds.
But when Dayton Moore came aboard in 2006, the team invested and spent more money in its Minor League system, the amateur draft, front office positions, and player scouting and development. And last offseason, the Royals signed long-term deals with Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar.
And while the investment produced one of the top minor league systems in baseball, the Major League results are a bust. Since 2006, the Royals have been under .500 every year and will likely finish below .500 this year. And unless the team improves their starting rotation through free agency or a trade this offseason, 2013 might be another sub .500 season.
And what if Glass sold the team like Accurso desires? Selling a baseball team isn’t like selling a 2006 Toyota Camry on Craigslist. Potential buyers have to place a bid and are vetted by Major League Baseball and the owners of the other baseball clubs. Then the winner of the bid has to get a three quarters majority vote from owners to buy the team. This can be a long, arduous process, like the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even if a sale of the Royals went smoothly, it would take a while for the team to be sold to another owner.
And what kind of owner would the Royals get? Many fans want a Mr. K type of owner, who lives in the Kansas City area and are committed to a winning ballclub. But what if the new owner(s) lived outside Kansas City and after a few years they decide to move the team? Are you ready for the Charlotte Royals? It’s unlikely, but possible. Even if Mr. Glass lives in Bentonville, AR and appears distant and aloof, he at least wouldn’t move the team to Charlotte or another city.
I admire Accurso’s and Palmer’s passion for the Royals and their desire for a winning ballclub. And trust me, I’m getting tired of the losing as much as they are. They live in the Kansas City area, where they’re surrounded by frustrated Royals fans. Try living in Southwest Missouri, an area awash in a sea of Cardinal red. When you see Cardinals fans wearing 2011 World Champions and Rally Squirrel shirts, it reminds me the Royals have lost a generation of fans in Southwest Missouri. And it’s not getting any better when the Royals are desitned for another losing season and the Cardinals are in the playoff hunt once again.
I don’t doubt Mr. Glass’ desire of wanting a winning ballclub in Kansas City. But how committed is he? Is he committed enough to move to Kansas City and show up at Kauffman Stadium every day, overseeing the team? Is he willing to spend the money in the offseason for starting pitching or risk trading a prized prospect to get a number one or two starting pitcher? Is he willing to spend the big bucks on Scott Boras clients like Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas when they reach free agency? Yes, Mr. Glass has invested more money in the team the last several years, but playing it safe is not going to make the Royals a winning ballclub.
If the Royals were playing above .500 baseball and in the playoff hunt more years than not, fans could care less if David Glass owned the team and he lived in New York City. But with the perennial losing, countless draft busts (especially on the pitching side) and PR faux pas like the Frank White firing, Mr. Glass has set himself up as part of the blame of the losing culture of the Kansas City Royals. But Glass isn’t going anywhere and unless he takes risks and increases payroll, he’s not going to see a winning Royals team in his lifetime.