For the better part of three decades, Royals fans have only known the feeling of disappointment. There have been few bright spots, few glimmers of hope, and few reasons to, quite frankly, even remain a fan at all. For much of this time, fans have asked repeatedly for only one thing from Royals ownership and management. Give us a team that matters. Something relevant. A team that can play .500 baseball.
That’s all we ask.
While it is hard to argue the many failings of the Dayton Moore tenure here in Kansas City, he has at long last delivered on the first part of the promise he set out to keep 8 long years ago.
The Kansas City Royals are a relevant baseball team.
The PROBLEM is, the fans and especially writers have had a hard time keeping up our side of the bargain.
While we all thought the one thing we wanted most was to just have fun watching baseball, we failed to account for the one thing that might ruin all of that.
Kansas City has one jaded fanbase.
After years and years of frustration and anger, even during the good times the deficiencies of the team and the decisions being made anger fans and critics even more so than the losing did. At least with the losing there was always one central villain, David Glass. Sure, Dayton Moore made some poor choices, but he was subdued into making these moves due to the lack of funds being provided by ownership. Sure coaching was bad, but look who they had to coach! The players became a band of loveable losers, and we all watched anyway, hoping for the day when Glass would sell the team to someone willing to pump in a little money and provide a winner.
Well guess what. David Glass himself pumped in a little money, and the Royals are winning.
I can already hear the groans…..”suuuuuure, but they aren’t REALLY a contender…they SUCK on offense, they cant hit, and YOST!! HORRIBLE!”
You’re wrong. They are winning. So for a moment, block out your inner Randy Quaid–Major League alter ego and think about it. It is quite possibly in spite of all of the things we find fault with on a nightly basis, but they ARE WINNING. They are over .500 and relevant in July, and for the second year in a row look poised to provide fans with meaningful baseball into the fall months.
Yes, Yost makes bad decisions and is intolerable in interviews. Yes Eric Hosmer is unlikeable and has not even attempted to fix his approach offensively. Yes Ibanez is 42 and taking away playing time from a better player in Jarrod Dyson, yes James Shields has disappointed for much of this year. Yes….you get the picture.
These are the complaints of a winning baseball team. Look around the league, visit some other blogs, ALL teams have gripes like this. I promise….we are no longer all that special. Ask Cardinals fans if they would swap head coaches straight up…you might be surprised by the answer.
Point being, No…you’re right…Dayton Moore has not constructed a perfect team. But who has? Sure the Detroit Tigers are fantastic, and on paper are going to be tough…THIS YEAR. But if you look at the big picture, and the contracts they have placed themselves on the hook for, it becomes clear that they have basically sold their soul to the devil to be where they are right now….and its not that much better than where the Royals are. Royals fans griped when Jeremy Guthrie was given $24 million for 3 years. THREE YEARS! Justin Verlander is owed more than that NEXT YEAR (and the year after that, and after that, and after that…) and Guthrie is outpitching him. You think WE have problems….how would you feel owing an aging pitcher $150 million dollars who is sporting a 4.84 ERA this year.
We even sit back and over analyze moves like Jason Vargas being owed $32 million for the next FOUR years. It seems a little silly that these are the criticisms we now have in light of what the going rate for average pitching is. Small market teams will always need to be more frugal than their larger market counterparts, no doubt, but when put in context the Vargas contract isn’t really even a RISK, much less a need for the backlash it caused in many circles. But I digress…
So with all of the anger and criticism being spewed over the airwaves and on the internet, I thought it to be appropriate to say a simple Thank You. Thank you to David Glass for opening up the pocket book a little. We noticed. Thank you to Dayton Moore for seeming to finally understand a little about doing good things as a general manager. There have been far more successes than you have been given credit.
So this is for you Royals fans. Complaining about not being ENOUGH over .500 sure beats the alternative that we all know too well. We should all sit back and enjoy the games a little extra knowing that they actually matter. Enjoy having 3 All-Stars, and complaining that several others didn’t make the cut. Especially enjoy having the American League All-Star Game starting catcher, who is locked up in a team friendly contract that almost makes me feel guilty as a fan.
note: This doesn’t mean tomorrow I wont write an article complaining about the playing time Ibanez is getting over Dyson…but for today, you get a pass Dayton.
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