A few weeks, on my step-daugther’s birthday, I stopped by Dick’s Sporting Goods in Leawood on the way home from work to pick up a basketball. She wants to learn how to play, so it seemed like the perfect gift.
As I walked to the front of the store, basketball in tow, I did a double-take, about to get in line behind me was none other than Dayton Moore, the general manager of the Kansas City Royals.
I didn’t hesitate, walking up to Moore, introducing myself and telling him that I appreciated the fact that we had winning baseball again in Kansas City. Moore responded with a “thank you” and a firm handshake – he obviously needed to hear a “thank you” because the Royals were in the midst of losing six out of seven games immediately after a 10-game winning streak.
Perhaps the fact that Moore was at a sporting goods store buying spikes for his son, who may have a firmer handshake than his old man, made him seem more human … I haven’t been mad about anything he’s done in the three weeks since.
Meanwhile, the team he’s been trying to build for eight years, has flailed away, virtually throwing away any good will they gained during that winning streak. In fact, as I type this, the Royals are about to go into the All-Star break losing three of four to Detroit, which has put the A.L. Central away with a sobering beat-down in Kansas City.
Yet, I’m still not mad at Moore. Nor am I upset with manager Ned Yost. I was last year. In fact, I thought both of them should be fired. At this point, however, I’m done blaming Moore and Yost. Their fates will be determined by what the Royals do the rest of this season and next year.
So, who do I blame? I blame the Royals players, and I blame myself. We’ll get to the latter in a moment.
At some point, the players have to produce. Nobody saw Billy Butler being the worst designated hitter in the history of baseball this year. Nobody saw Eric Hosmer being Hal Morris-lite. Few people saw Nori Aoki re-enacting a Chevy Chase Saturday Night Live skit every other day. Some saw Mike Moustakous being mediocre, but almost nobody saw him being Rob Deer, minus the walks.
The point is, the players simply are not doing their job. Unfortunately, the Royals don’t have options in the minor leagues right now to replace those underperforming (that IS on Moore). So, we’re stuck with what we have, save a trade that might give Kansas City a boost.
I speak for a lot of fans when I say the following about the upcoming offseason: Let Billy Butler go. Nice guy, but he’s bringing nothing to the team. Do not bring back Nori Aoki. Don’t even think about a dinosaur like Raul Ibanez. Take the money you’re going to have without the contracts of James Shields, Butler and Bruce Chen and get at least one big bat and probably two.
There are literally dozens of free agents who would be upgrades. Then again, it isn’t difficult to upgrade from a DH with three homers.
So, why do I blame myself? Because I’m dumb enough to get mad about this team. Silly enough to tweet to the point that one co-worker’s husband calls me Mr. Negative Twitter. I don’t like that label, but he’s right.
That’s my choice. And, as I did for a while last year, I’m going to stop investing so much into this franchise emotionally until they’ve earned that kind of commitment. Do better, Royals, and I’ll be back.