View Full Version : LA Times: It's another lost season for Royals

06-13-2006, 01:22 AM
Had a nice little feature in the LA Times yesterday. I guess there was also a story in the New York Times the other day bashing Glass saying they won't return their calls or listen to interview requests yadda yadda... great month in PR for the team for sure.


It's Another Lost Season for Royals
It's only June, but Kansas City is already out of the playoff race as a string of miserable years continues.

By Tim Brown, Times Staff Writer
June 12, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It is early June, another in more than a century of them in baseball's annual dawn-to-dusk crawl.

The game has scattered franchises to six divisions, broadened postseason access, enhanced revenue sharing, and all but fastened a tow line to the Kansas City Royals and heaved.

And today, 10 weeks into a six-month season, they are again finished but for the autopsy.

Just like last season. And the one before.

The Royals have achieved the worst kind of constancy: flawed prospects replacing failed prospects, fading cornerstones replacing finished cornerstones, bad luck splashing up against worse luck.

In the middle of last week, four months from another fill-the-baggies-and-go-home regular-season finale, Reggie Sanders, their right fielder, stretched in the clubhouse before another loss, this one to the Texas Rangers.

The locker room is done in blue, and the fluorescent lighting casts it bluer, and then there is Sanders, who in his last six seasons had been to three World Series and one other league championship series.

A free agent given the choice of one-year contracts in other cities, including with the Dodgers, Sanders opted for two years in Kansas City. He grabbed a glove and figured he'd be part of the upswing, along with infielders Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Grudzielanek and pitchers Scott Elarton and Joe Mays.

On April 8, the Royals were 2-2. Reggie, say hello to the upswing. Four games. They lost their next 11. By May 25, they were last in the league in runs and earned-run average and had endured losing streaks of 11, six and 13 games. They won five games in April, eight in May. In all of baseball, only the two Florida teams draw fewer fans. The general manager, Allard Baird, an organization lifer whom the owner calls a friend, was fired, clumsily.

The Royals lost 100 games in 2002, 104 games in 2004, 106 games last season, and now have their eye on the Holy Grail of hardball misery, the 1962 expansion, can't-anybody-here-play-this-game New York Mets, who were 40-120.

Sanders, an optimistic sort who smiles at all of baseball's little tragedies, even when he's batting fifth for one, drew a weary breath. In the autumn of his career, other than one season with Pittsburgh, Sanders had found satisfaction and success. He was part of the ninth of 14 consecutive division titles in Atlanta, won a World Series in Arizona, and played in World Series in San Francisco and St. Louis.

Now, this.

"I didn't think it would be this hard," he said. "I knew we'd have our battles. I knew we'd have our hurdles. I didn't expect it to be so grueling."

Out there, beyond the clubhouse walls, beyond the lovely fountains at Kauffman Stadium, beyond the city where a team billboard alongside the highway promotes not a player but the 10th birthday of the mascot, there is baseball being played. Division races are sorting out. Players are evolving into superstars. Legions of fans are jamming into ballparks to see the Yankees play the Red Sox, the Dodgers play the Mets, the White Sox play the Tigers.

About 11,000 were announced to have paid for tickets to see the Royals that night, and it appeared about half showed up.

"It's kind of embarrassing," Sanders said. "It is. It's embarrassing."

And it's not limited to the box scores.

As the team fell 22 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central last week, the Royals held a news conference to introduce the new general manager, a dynamic John Schuerholz protégé and Wichita, Kan., native named Dayton Moore.

Moore mostly sat quietly, however, as reporters cross-examined owner David Glass, who assumed control of the franchise upon Ewing Kauffman's death in 1993 and seven years later bought it, with very little having gone right since.

With Baird gone, accusations that Glass was running the organization on the cheap and that his son, Dan, the team president, had been interfering in baseball matters for years bubbled up.

"A lot of this stuff," David Glass said, "is just the media twisting facts to make a point. Or just telling a lie about something. It's really disappointing. Kansas City deserves better than what they're getting in some of the media."

En route to what appears to be his third 100-loss season in four years, Glass declined to separate the twisted facts from the lies, but a day later had his media relations director separate two particularly aggressive radio reporters from their credentials.

It won't stop another 100-loss season, but perhaps fewer people will hear about it. The broad issue is whether baseball is doing enough to subsidize its smaller markets, and then whether the small-market owners are wisely investing that money. The Royals are believed to have received about $65 million last season from revenue sharing and other media money, and this season have a payroll of less than $50 million. Glass, the former Wal-Mart president and chief executive, said his goal is to put a winner on the field and break even in the accountant's office, difficult as the organization recovers from the unproductive trade of Carlos Beltran and a period of poor drafts.

None of which registers much in a clubhouse that can count on an average of one or two wins a week, played before dwindling crowds and with the hottest summer months still ahead.

Moore's focus will be on scouting and development, the blueprint of the Atlanta Braves and the mantra of most underprivileged organizations. So, the men in the big league clubhouse are on their own for now, and may even lose a few veterans by the nonwaiver trading deadline.

"We're trying to get guys to learn how to play, to understand the ups and downs, learn how to deal with adversity," Manager Buddy Bell said. "It's a horrendous process sometimes for the younger players. The older players have an idea it's going to end sometime."

So the young guys lean on the veterans, and the veterans — Sanders, Grudzielanek, Mientkiewicz, Matt Stairs, Tony Graffanino, Mike Sweeney, Emil Brown — hold up best they can.

"Face it, we've been overmatched at times," Stairs said. "But we haven't dropped our heads and felt sorry for ourselves."

They do, however, give a wide berth to reality. Stairs said he had no idea how many games the team had won. At the time, it was 15, with 43 losses.

"In here, we'll be watching a baseball game on TV," he said with a small laugh, "and whenever 'SportsCenter' comes on, we try to turn it off as soon as possible."

Stairs is 38, didn't play his first full big-league season until he was almost 30, and has made a career out of hard-nosed persistence, real-life perspective and a big swing. This baseball team at this time isn't much, but it's what they have, all of them.

"Maybe it's because I'm the average Joe and enjoy playing baseball," he said. "I really enjoy being around the younger guys. If I'm going to go through the struggles of baseball, I want to do it here, with this thing.

"It's tough. It really is. But on the other hand, it's a professional ballgame. I'm honored to be around, playing this game."

They try to find something. Stairs advises the young players — third baseman Mark Teahen, catcher John Buck, center fielder David DeJesus, others — to take one constructive moment from each game; they moved a runner, they worked a count, they found a cutoff man. Bob McClure, the pitching coach, approaches the pitchers the same way.

Then they all go out and play again, just to see what happens.

"I do feel there is something to be learned here," Sanders said. "For so long now, I've been part of that whole winning thing. The joy of that. Coming here, and having the total reverse, there is a lesson I'm going through."

He stopped and smiled.

"Don't know what that lesson is yet," he said. "No, I don't."

06-13-2006, 01:30 AM
You used the Chiefs info tag for a ****ing baseball thread.


06-13-2006, 01:39 AM
It looks like a Royals tag on my computer screen.

06-13-2006, 01:42 AM
Glad to see Glass getting some bad press, for his debacle last week, in the national media too.

06-13-2006, 06:29 AM
Will this spiral never end?


Dying Boy Brought In To Cheer Up Kansas City Royals
September 29, 2005 | Onion Sports

KANSAS CITY—Desperate to give their last-place, 100-loss team something to smile about, the Royals arranged to have a terminally ill little boy pay a visit to their clubhouse Tuesday. Danny Gladstone, 8, a leukemia sufferer who is expected to live just long enough to see the Royals make a run at setting a franchise record for losses, arrived at Kauffman Stadium at 11 a.m., and was immediately swarmed by players excited to see someone else who wouldn't be around in October. "I can't even explain how uplifting it is to see somebody who soon won't have to put up with the pain and misery anymore," Royals first baseman and team captain Mike Sweeney said. "Even though we have to endure the same terrible fate again come April, Danny, unlike the Royals organization, will be in a far better place." Sweeney concluded the meeting by promising the boy he would ground into a double play for him during that night's game.

06-13-2006, 06:32 AM
"Kansas City deserves better than what they're getting in some of the media."We deserve better than what we're getting in our owner you useless piece of shit.

06-13-2006, 06:54 AM
Im really starting to get concerned...as it stands right now, KC is at 16 wins and the All Star Break is still weeks away. Im keeping the faith, though, I think The Drive for 120 is still alive.

I know they can do it...I just know it.

06-13-2006, 07:20 AM
We deserve better than what we're getting in our owner you useless piece of shit.

I was about to quote that line too. The ****ing gall of that guy is amazing.

06-13-2006, 07:24 AM
WTF ? Nobody believes the pennant is within reach ?

Who are you guys ...............

06-13-2006, 07:25 AM
My 50 win estimate is still safe at this point.