Royals, Nation

The Kansas City Royals are a lousy baseball team, but also something worse.
Share |

I once read a joke in Reader's Digest that went like so: A young lady visits a sainted grandmother in (what was then called) the old folks' home. They sit down to supper, and the grandmother takes one look at the plate and sighs "Hebrews 13:8." Curious, the young lady excuses herself and sneaks off to gran's room to hit up her King James. She checks the reference and finds "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever."

This joke is built into the study of history—Marx famously claimed "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce." Father-of-the-discipline figure Thucydides came as close to joking as he ever did when he quipped—this is probably the only recorded instance of Thucydides quipping—in introducing his dismal study of the greatest war to that point in all of human endeavor: "an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it." You get the message. You get that it's a bummer.

Such a dim view of things may seem a bad fit for sports, which, as Fredorrarci reminds us, are "essentially an optimistic endeavour". But baseball is an uneasy, if seemingly stable, reconciliation of raw capitalist fervor and excess, what may be the strongest unionized labor force in the country, and a socialist nobody-goes-hungry arrangement under which poor teams get to share crumbs of revenue from and with good/rich teams, which in baseball as elsewhere are mainly a coastal elite. Moving from the economic to the military competitive, each city-state team is expected to battle the others; they do this 162 times a year. The repetition alone demands a historical view, even if the resource-competition/actual-competition analogy doesn't quite work. We are getting, now, to the Kansas City Royals.


The facts are these, and they are undisputed: late on the night of the ninth of December, two mediocre baseball teams engaged in the offseason's first major queasy chattel-exchange. The Kansas City Royals, coming off a (72-90) season marked by futility everywhere except the bullpen, acquired one of the several starting pitchers they obviously needed, and an additional arm for the bullpen:

RHP James Shields
RHP Wade Davis

Both acquisitions are obviously helpful; both players are obviously good-not-great. To attain such men, the Royals gave up (deep breath here):

RF Wil Myers
LHP Mike Montgomery
RHP Jake Odorizzi
3B Patrick Leonard

Wil Myers is the reigning Minor League Player of the Year. There is every indication that he will be not just a good player, but an excellent one, and quite possibly an All-Star. The other three players are all considered solid prospects. Losing four likely professionals, including one can't-miss guy, in exchange for two not-inexpensive years of a good-not-great starter and a good-not-great reliever—whom the team may use as a starter despite his not-good-or-great results in that role in the past—caught instant criticism. The Royals' justification came quickly, too, most strikingly in a piece for USA Today that offers bleak, sock-puppeted proof that history is not always written by the winner:

"People can second-guess it all they want," [GM Dayton] Moore says, "but we believe we are doing the right thing here."

When you're running a franchise that has produced one winning season since 1994, and at least 90 losses in 10 of the last 12 seasons, you owe it to your players, fan base and community to try and win now.

Doubters be damned.

This is not a new claim. It is a claim that Royals' General Manager Dayton Moore—just!—will!—not!—stop!—making!—that it is time to start trying to win. Going into the seventh full season of his reign, Moore is ready to consign the first six years to the gnawing criticism of the mice: it's time to move on. It's time to try.

There is currently a shibboleth among baseball smarks that one is always to judge process, not outcomes—most of the smarks who still care about the Royals (and it's a steadily dwindling number) have been righteous and fervent in their condemnation of the thinking they hold to underly this trade. To wit:

More to the point, it doesn't look like it will work. One starter doesn't fix a poor rotation. This rotation looks, as Royals Review had it, like "a number two, three number fours and a five. It's a rotation that will eat innings, and occasionally, eat too much and throw them up all over themselves. This is not the rotation of a contending team. It is a rotation of a team that hovers around .500." To shore up that rotation, Moore dealt the player who was perhaps most likely to help an offense was third-worst in the AL last year. But.

But process can be opaque, and it remains incumbent upon empiricists to yield at least some pride of place to base and prosaic outcomes; the teams do after all continue to play the games. The end result is at least part of what I'm a fan for, and while I'll accept style and personality and varieties of Doing It The Right Way in lieu of championships from the players, I require sterner stuff from the front office. "You play to win the game," is what I, and I suspect a goodly number of other fans, hope to hear. Or, in certain cases, "Winning is going to have to have to be a dream deferred for a time: we first need to..." you know, and so on, whatever.

For lucky fans, the first order of organizational business will involve a long view of institutional health—something like Dayton Moore's near-parodic commitment to "The Process." For unlucky fans, the Winning Times will be postponed until the team-owning oligarchs finish extorting exciting new stadia from the polity—stadia inevitably designed with an eye toward perfecting just those features most compelling to the oligarchs and their asinine peer group. "Sky" boxes, say: protected enclosures up where the gods live, in the sky; all televised sporting events will prominently display long and longing images of these luxurious bunkers and the glad-handing skull-faced buffoons within.

As fans, regardless of our relative luck levels, we are supposed to accept initiatives like these. Whether we're handed "We must get our house in order" or "We can't compete as presently equipped", our job is to remain loyal—faithful might be better—while the Deciders change their goals from conquest to (metaphorical) infrastructural retrenchment to literal construction of marvels displaying the glory and magnificence appertaining to and concomitant with their steering of might. Columns and inscriptions even bad teams can build, when they can't manage memorials graven on hearts and minds. That stuff only costs money, and they all have that. Even the Royals have that.


Thus the script for these Royals this past couple decades. The franchise was once—really!—a proud one. Then, in 1993, Kansas City legend Ewing Kaufmann died. A guy named David Glass stepped in as Chairman of the Board and interim CEO: a born successor, his previous life had been as the first CEO of Wal-Mart not named Sam Walton. He instantly instituted a Wal-Mart-style rollback, taking the team's payroll from $41 million to $19. (Since 1995, the team has had exactly one winning record.) In 2000, Glass bought the team outright, securing the winning bid with $96 million against another dude with $120 million on offer. It's good to have friends on the Board. It was especially good, in Glass' case, to have all three of his children on the Board.

In 2006, he fired GM Allard Baird and replaced him with Dayton Moore; a couple local media gadfly types got mouthy at the press conference, and Glass pulled their credentials. Right around that time, the city staked the team to some stadium improvements, which finished in 2009. Thus did David Glass a stately pleasure dome decree; thus did Kansas Citians foot the bill.

As yet, the investment in the physical plant has yet to pay any on-field dividends. Again: one winning season since 1995; none since 2002.

So that's the owner. What of this oft-mentioned Dayton Moore, the man who engineered the trade that Joe Posnanski so "despised"? Well: "Dayton Moore will always have a big-time job in baseball." A purer exponent of the Peter Principle you will never find:

"He's brilliant at building a farm system."
"We should put him in charge of everything."
"Is he good at everything?"
"Only if everything is like building a farm system."
"Is everything like building a farm system."
"We should put him in charge of everything."

Dayton Moore is a man who we can get to know from a Posnanski column roughly as evenhanded and non-breathless as Paula Broadwell's best-known literary efforts, fulsomely full of "one of my favorite people in the world"-s and "deeply passionate"-s. Moore is a baseball lifer who has learned at least three completely false and intertwined lessons.

  • Nuance is bad: "in no uncertain terms, ... when [his boss] asked a question, he wanted and expected and needed a direct answer. Yes. No. That's it. He didn't have time for equivocations,"
  • Being positive and enthusiastic is decisively important: "he has an unabashed enthusiasm for life. I tell my kids all the time: Be enthusiastic. That's one of the secrets of success. People are drawn to enthusiasm. People want to be around a bubbling energy."
  • People wearing ties helps win baseball games: "For the Royals to win, he believed, they had to become winners in every aspect. Everyone needed to wear a tie."

These three lessons are super ways to impress observers and ingratiate at job interviews. They are also, unfortunately, terrible ways to analyze and prepare for an inherently unknowable future. Sure, it's only the AL Central, not Iraq or Afghanistan or anything, but still: the Detroit Tigers are not going to greet the Royals as liberators.

And so this "very quick learner" has acquired Yuniesky Betancourt twice and signed Jeff Francoeur the same number of times. He continues to employ the latter. Both of the players have ranged from gawdawful to world-historically bad. Being positive about what his current players bring to the table has led to an upcoming season with gaps so big at second base and in right field that "gap" seems inadequate. "Gulf" perhaps. "Crater." "Cavern from which good baseball players are unlikely to emerge." Pick one of those.

Moore's strict "up or down" with respect to future performances has presumably helped build the Royals' much-praised Best Farm System Ever, but a farm system isn't something that brings fans much in the way of joy, or a team anything in the way of success, until those players start showing up in the majors. We've had six years of ties—and losses. He'll always have a big-time job in baseball; he has a career winning percentage in the neighborhood of .435.

And this is because those who can grant these sinecures are men—and they are, overwhelmingly, men—like David Glass: rich and getting richer despite no discernible interest in the product's health, quality, or viability. It's an old number, but Glass was once said by Forbes to be profiting $20 million a year from the Royals. For years, of course, Glass has been among the league's biggest skinflints, an advocate for scabs during the last strike, an advocate of a salary cap, and a massive beneficiary of the league's policy of taxing profitable big-market teams and kicking down dough to second-rate franchises. What need has a man like David Glass of competence in his staff? He needs only enough chairs to seat appealing interviewees like Dayton Moore, and a few left over for his children.

The incompetent, employed by the indifferent, move pieces around according to unconvincing reasons or inscrutable whims. The bad stay bad. The Royals could still lose 90 games next year with their improved starting pitching and unimproved offense; the people overseeing it will keep overseeing it; an untrustable process unfurls toward a distant horizon. What's permanent is permanent.

Share |


Marvelous and fascinating article. Incredible things you've generally imparted to us. Much obliged. Simply keep making this kind out of post. Affordable link building services | FB traffic

I am overwhelmed by your post with such a nice topic. Usually I visit your blogs and get updated through the information you include but today’s blog would be the most appreciable. mattresses

A simple bookmarking tool that makes it easy to save, organize and share your favorite web pages. Access your bookmarks from any computer, phone or tablet. Listango works on all modern web browsers…
affirmative insurance dallas texas

Our affordable SEO Packages help your business website grow and rank higher naturally on Google with budget in mind. We focus on bringing you new clients to increase your sales revenue by using the most powerful form of business marketing available today. cheap SEO packages

Thanks for sharing nice information with us. i like your post and all you share with us is uptodate and quite informative. i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you. as you have done a wonderful job. aquaponics system

That may perform short-term, nevertheless it’s not just a useful long-term solution regarding males who would like to become with this particular 1 distinctive lady these folks can’t quit thinking about. IoT awards

The products will be delivered to their home according to the address,This information provided by you is very constructive for correct planning tubemate free

Comprar Seguidores Linkedin al menor precio a partir de 7,99€.Aumentar vos rango en Linkedin con la ayuda de nuestros Seguidores. comprar seguidores linkedin

Amazing and extremely energizing site. Affection to watch. Continue Rocking. inbox blueprint

Much obliged to you for some other enlightening site. Where else might I be able to understand that kind of data written in such a perfect means? EDM beats

your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post. fish tank for sale

Buy now Linkedin Followers at the Lowest Price starting from $8.99. Increase sustainable your Linkedin range with the help of our Linkedin Followers. buy linkedin followers

This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up! cccam

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will locate that extremely useful…
mxf converter mac-

Twitter Follower kaufen zu einem unschlagbar günstigen Preis ab 99 Cent. Steigern Sie nachhaltig ihre Reichweite bei Twitter mit unseren High Quality Follower. twitter follower kaufen

Acheter des favoris de qualitè sur twitter à partir de 99 cents.Augmenter votre portèe sur Twitter avec nos favoris pas chers et de qualitè. acheter des favoris twitter

Buy Twitter Favorites at an unbeatable Price starting from 99 cents only.With our high quality favorites you can increase your tweets range immediately. buy twitter favorites

As a matter of fact these informative and great blogs have amazed me. Paid Surveys

Buy backlinks I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post Dofollow Blog Comments

Awesome things you've generally imparted to us. Simply continue written work this sort of posts.The time which was squandered in going for educational cost now it can be utilized for studies.Thanks Perks Of Owning An Electric Fireplace

I as of late discovered numerous helpful data in your site particularly this online journal page. Among the loads of remarks on your articles. Much obliged for sharing. Perks Of Owning An Electric Fireplace

Should support till at long last this astounding review you could have made could be definitely make utilization of included. arti mimpi dapat ular

Echte Followers kaufen und Likes kaufen - Warum Fake Follower kaufen ? Wenn es bei uns Echte Aktive Follower zu einem konkurrenzlosen Bestpreis gibt follower kaufen

I see the greatest contents on your blog and I extremely love reading them.

My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more! jareks hobby club review

I truly welcome the sort of themes you post here. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing us an extraordinary data that is really useful. Great day! great site

it was a magnificent opportunity to visit this sort of site and I am cheerful to know. much thanks to you such a great amount for allowing us to have this open door.. casino

Acheter des Followers réel et Acheter des Likes - Pourquoi acheter des Followers? Si avec notre service tu peux gagner des Followers réel et actifs pour un prix incomparable! acheter des followers

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance. letmewatchthis watch free movies online- autoprotectionoptions

I am truly inspired that there is such a great amount of data about this subject have been revealed and you've put forth a valiant effort, with so much class. On the off chance that needed to know more about green smoke surveys, than by all methods come in and check our stuff voyance amour

I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. no credit check internet service provider

I think this is an instructive post and it is extremely helpful and learned. thus, I might want to thank you for the endeavors you have made in composing this article best home and auto insurance

I acknowledge all that you have added as far as anyone is concerned base.Admiring the time and exertion you put into your online journal and point by point data you offer.Thanks. chat room for website

This was a truly awesome challenge and ideally I can go to the following one. It was alot of fun and I truly had a ball.. how to make money from home

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.
This Article

I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone else!
click to read more

I discovered your site ideal for me. It consists of wonderful and useful posts. I've read many of them and also got so much from them. In my experience, you do the truly amazing. GamerBolt Truly i'm impressed out of this publish

Your blog provided us with valuable to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging..
visit this site

The repetition alone demands a historical view, even if the resource-competition/actual-competition analogy doesn't quite work. We are getting, now, to the Kansas City Royals.minecraft gratis spelen |
code generator psn

We provide service at your place of residence or business if you are unable to travel to our location (for more details please go to paralegal services) We have reduced fees depending on client’s family net income, We charge our clients per job and do not ask for advanced money and usually give clients approximately cost of litigation and time of payments before starting the job. Paralegal services

Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging. signal booster

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! Tricia

Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and new initiatives in the same niche. Blog gave us useful information to work. You have done an amazing job!
voyance gratuite

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
中国 vpn

I Really Liked The Font You've Chose To Use In This Article. Could I Please Get The Name Of That Font? I Wanted To Use It In My Project Now. Thanks Very Much!

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often.

A simple bookmarking tool that makes it easy to save, organize and share your favorite web pages. Access your bookmarks from any computer, phone or tablet. Listango works on all modern web browsers…
spanish school immersion in guatemala

I think this is a standout amongst the most critical data for me. What's more, i'm happy perusing your article. Be that as it may, ought to comment on some broad things, The site style is flawless, the articles is truly awesome : D. Great job, here's to you buy custom essays online

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog! Drinks And Coolers

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!!
read this post here