One Fan Is Out… How Many More To Follow? (Guest Post)
Wow. The Royals. What a disaster. It’s unclear if even today’s news of them hiring Hall of Famer George Brett as the new hitting coach can help things.
One thing is certain, Brad Brickell has had it. He’s seen enough promises. He’s seen enough slogans. He’s seen enough misery. He’s out.
These are his words. You’re welcome to throw him a follow at twitter.com/bradbrick
Many of us aren’t far behind you, Brad.
Leaving the Royals
My name is Brad and I’m a recovering Royals fan. In the back of my mind I’ve known for some time that it would come to this, but I patiently stuck with the Royals through thin and thinner. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), May 2013 was enough to push me over the edge and into action.
I came to be a Royals fan just as I was coming back to baseball in the early 2000s. It made sense geographically, and I was falling in love with the game again. 2003 happened, and I got caught up in the excitement of long time Royals fans in the area who made a season of slightly above .500 baseball feel like a magic carpet ride. My crew and I probably made the 2 hour drive in from Manhattan to the K a dozen or more times that season.
Yet even in 2003, the summer of success (3rd place but whatever), it was becoming apparent that the Royals had a hard time doing smart things. My greatest error was in believing that dumb things would be recognized and corrected. Obviously I still had a lot to learn about baseball.
In 2004 I was pumped for baseball, and experienced my first real Royaling. The Gonzalez and Santiago signings were quickly shown to be mistakes. Tony Pena believed he had Roy Halladay as his ironman ace, when in fact he had Brian Anderson. And then there was Mendy Lopez who hit an improbable homerun on opening day, and somehow found his way into the lineup for the rest of eternity after that. Add in Angel Berroa – leadoff hitter and Curtis Leskanic – closer for good measure. In the year of going for it the Royals traded their best player at the deadline for prospects, and it was obviously the right thing to do.
But baseball people learn from mistakes, right? I guess I was still naïve. But I was hopefully naïve upon the hiring of new general manager Dayton Moore. A new GM implies a new way of doing things, and in some respects that was true. Ownership and management had agreed on a start from scratch, slow and steady turnaround. Focus on the low minors, drafting, signing, and hoarding prospects. They said this is the only way it’s going to work in Kansas City, and it sounded reasonable. Smart even. I guess I just took it for granted that all of that deliberate planning would also come with at least a dash of baseball IQ mixed in.
And now here we are, 7 years later. Ownership’s greatest failure has not been willingness to spend on any aspect. They have spent in the draft, they have spent internationally, they have spent on the farm system, and they have spent at the big league level (Meche, Guillen, Greinke, Butler, Gordon, Santana, Shields, Francoeur). But ownership not blameless either. They have enabled Dayton Moore to make bad decision after bad decision with no accountability.
Moore is responsible for Yuni. Moore is responsible for Mike Jacobs. Moore is responsible for Christian Colon and Roman Colon. Moore is responsible for Arguellas, Crow, Hosmer and Moustakas. Moore is responsible for Francoeur, Hochevar, and Kyle Davies, and maybe Tommy John himself. Moore is responsible for Trey Hillman, Ned Yost, and Gil Meche’s arm. He’s not responsible for every prospect flame out, but he is responsible for the much higher than average percentage of prospect flameouts. Moore is responsible for overseeing an organization that believes in giving away free outs to advance a runner, that walking is for mailmen, and that if they try hard enough they can lead the league in not hitting HRs.
After 11 years I’ve had enough of waiting for stubborn people to learn from mistakes they’re not interested in learning from. I’m searching for a new team to follow. I don’t want to raise my kids as Royals fans, and have to explain to them that Daddy’s team does everything that Daddy thinks is stupid. I want to bond with my kids over baseball and make good memories. I would love to stay with the Royals and expect that will happen. But I am learning from my mistakes. And unlike the Royals I am taking action. I have a short list of teams to try out. I’m hopeful I can learn to love one of them like I’ve loved the Royals. More than that, I’m hopeful that it won’t be long before I can return to the Royals. But that depends on ownership. Will they correct their greatest failure? Will they take action? Will they learn from their mistakes? Will they fire Dayton Moore? I hope so.
Because I’m done with the Royals until they do.