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Save the Royals!
by Richard Van Zandt,
May 25, 2006

 Time to break the Glass 

That’s it, I can’t take any more


It’s just my opinion but…



That’s it, I can’t it take any more!  It’s bad for the game and something must be done.  Exactly how it is to be accomplished is up to wiser men than me but one thing has become abundantly clear.  David Glass must be made to sell the Kansas City Royals.  IMMEDIATELY! 


It’s been three weeks since the Royals Owner and CEO angrily vowed to make “significant changes” and three weeks later, the former Wal-Mart mogul has done nothing.  In that time, the Royals are just 3-15 and are currently riding a 13-game losing streak after blowing a 6 run first inning lead on Thursday.  Their overall record has dropped to 10-35, an abysmal .222 winning percentage that puts them on pace to lose a whopping 126 games.  They lost 12 in a row to start the season on the road, one off the major league record, and have lost 20 of 22 away from home overall.  The only roster transactions of note over the last three weeks: the release of Joe Mays (at 0-4 with a 10.27 ERA, an obvious no-brainer), claiming Chris Booker off waivers from Philly (and placing him on the DL three days later), recalling SS Andres Blanco from the minors, optioning 1B Justin Huber out and sending Kerry Robinson outright to Omaha.  Worse still, Allard Baird is still the General Manager!!


“What's happened is just unacceptable. We're going to change some things to make it better,” Glass said back on May 5.  I ask you Mr. Glass, are Joe Mays or Chris Booker “significant changes”? 


Baird, with a dumb look on his face 
Glass became the Owner of the Royals in April of 2000 when the board of directors accepted his bid of $96 million for the team despite having a bid $24 million larger on the table.  Baird took over as GM in July of that year.  KC finished off the 2000 season with a record of 77-85 after spending the 90’s in the 64-84 win range (725-825, .468).  Since then, the Royals have gone 324-486 (.400), averaging just 64 wins a year with three 100+ loss seasons and another with 97.  If not for their miracle ’03 team (83-79) piloted by Tony Pena, this ship would be even more of a complete and utter wreck.   Not since 1989 have the fans of Kansas City seen a 90 win season (92 that year). 


As a fan of the game, it pains me to see a once proud franchise struggle so horribly.  Growing up in the 80’s I watched as guys like Frank White, Hal McRae, Willie Wilson, U.L. Washington, Mark Gubicza, Bret Saberhagen, Dan Quisenberry, Willie Mays Aikens, John Wathan, Dennis Leonard and of course, the great George Brett grace the beautiful fields of Kauffman Stadium (known back then as Royals Stadium, the name changed in 1993 to honor the man responsible for baseball in Missouri). 


The Royals in 1975 were owned by Ewing Kauffman, who bought the expansion team in 1968 and owned them until his death in ’93.  They then began a run of 15 seasons in which they won 90 or more games 9 times, including 102 in ’77.  They won 7 division championships, 2 AL pennants, and in 1985, they won the World Series.  During that run Kansas City finished as low as third in the 7 team AL West only twice.


The ever patient fans in KC deserve better than this.  The game deserves better than this.  With Vince Naimoli now out of baseball after (thankfully) having sold the Devil Rays this past off-season, Glass is now undisputedly the worst owner in the game.  And with the L.A. Clippers’ recent success in the NBA, Glass may have even edged out Donald Sterling as the worst owner in pro sports.  Firing Baird, hands down the worst GM in pro sports, would be a step in the right direction, but let’s face it, in business it all starts at the top.  And in Kansas City, the buck stops directly on Glass’ desk.  For the Royals to get this ship righted, they must be sold.  New blood must be infused, preferably with a less tight fisted coalition that would include Brett. 


Elarton: Not the answer 

Though Kansas City during Glass’ tenure has consistently been near the bottom of the league in payroll, spending money for the sake of spending money isn’t necessarily the answer.  Money must be spent wisely.  Reggie Sanders, Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Grudzielanek, good as they may (or may not) be as individual players, could hardly have been seen as the answers to KC’s problems.  Scott Elarton and Joe Mays most certainly were not.  There was, alas, no reasonable expectation this spring that the Royals would not lose 100 games for the fourth time in five years.


At the same time, Kauffman was not afraid to spend when it was needed to make the team better.  He once signed Dan Quisenberry to a lifetime contract and made sure that George Brett never wore anything other than Royal blue.  Under Glass’ stewardship, the team has seen such rising stars as Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye abandon ship because the small market Royals supposedly could not afford to keep them.  Undoubtedly free agency has changed the game dramatically since Kauffman’s days, but nonetheless, where is the hope for the future when you know the future will be wearing pinstripes in a few years?


Of course some credit must be given for trying recently.  Baird was given $25 million extra to spend on payroll this off-season and on March 10, the Royals signed David DeJesus to a five year deal, though the 26-year-old CF has spent most of this season on the DL with a strained hamstring.  Again, it’s not how much you spend, but how well you spend it.


There have been rumors that Glass’ first choice to replace Baird spurned him and that Glass has since been assailed for promising changes before he was ready to make them.  Leave it to the Royals to bungle “significant changes.” 


“I'm not willing for us to sit and wait to see if it gets better,” Glass told The Associated Press back on May 5. “We've got to figure out what we've got to do to make it better. And that's what I'm working on.”


That’s just great, you work on figuring it out while three weeks later the rest of baseball sits and waits.  Well I’ve got your answer Mr. Glass.  SELL THE TEAM!  Do baseball, its fans and the entire City of Kansas City a favor and just get out now! 


But that’s just my opinion.

Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Richard lives in San Francisco and can be reached at

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