It’s common place this time of year in Kansas City. The Royals find themselves once again in last place and they look bad, I mean really bad. At one point about a month or so ago, they were a couple of games under .500 and really in the division race. Now they couldn’t beat the T-Bones (KC’s independent baseball team) if needed. The bottom fell apart, as it always does, and you are seeing an all too familiar script. It’s time to take off the kiddie gloves and realize this is a very badly run organization.
It has been for 20 years and everyone just seems to be in denial. The “we got young players coming up so maybe next year will be different” is no longer an acceptable excuse. Yes, they have good young players, but they always had good young players put on the uniform and either do nothing or leave for somewhere else. And it’s not a financial matter, never was. That’s just a horrible excuse for losing and not competing. I was there in May 1999, the night they staged a walk-out against the big market New York Yankees, which achieved nothing other than reflect blame from where it needed to go, towards ownership and management.
The Royals have been a mess after the passing of Ewing Kauffman, the owner who valued winning over profits. For reasons unknown, owners and management since then felt they could be a profitable without putting anything back into the organization and putting out a winning product. I kid you not, they were amazed when it didn’t work and crowds got smaller and smaller because the teams were bad. They didn’t understand why nobody was buying into the mess being created. There has been more effort towards the organization recently with the upgrading of the stadium and somewhat opening of the pocketbook, but the comedy of errors continues.
Going back to the “young players” analogy, this is an organization that’s been playing off the youth movement for two decades, so I’ve seen this show before. What makes it worse is the fact that teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates, who also struggled for a while, now find themselves in a pennant race and making all the right moves. It’s similar to when the Royals were whining about the unfair small market treatment while the Minnesota Twins were making playoff appearances. The excuses are now running thin.
In a way, it’s sad to see the Royals become what they have over the years. This was once a model organization that was successful throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. They were always in the playoff hunt, winning the 1985 World Series over interstate rival St. Louis. But now, this team and organization is such a non-factor in major league baseball it’s almost laughable. At times you wonder when MLB is going to call up and give the “we gave it a shot but it’s just not working out” break-up line. This has become such a disaster and embarrassment due to money and mismanagement, who knows if it will ever end simply. Maybe it’s time more people speak up about it because I would like to see winning baseball in KC back again in my lifetime.
George Brett isn’t walking through that door, neither is Bret Saberhagen or Bo Jackson. Until someone does, that losing culture that has become a staple of Royals baseball isn’t going away.
Written By C. James