Glass is Half Empty: The Decline of the Kansas City Royals

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The Kansas City Royals look cheap.  Maybe it’s the colors.  Blue.  White.  Yellow.  It is very reminiscent of something.

Comparing the streaking Kansas City Royals to Wal-Mart may seem unfair to some but, in fairness to the fans, the people of Kansas City deserve a better product and spending more money may be the only way to make that happen.  Most diehard Royals fans will tell you that it’s no coincidence that the team’s fall from prominence happened at almost the exact same time as the death of their longtime owner Ewing Kaufmann in 1993.  The man loved his Royals.  He spent the money, brought in the right players, and delivered the championship that made them successful.  Royalty, if you will.  However, after his departure the team was tossed around only to end up in the hands of David Glass, former President and CEO of Wal-Mart.

Glass proceeded to operate the team like one of his big box stores, slashing prices, hiring a more affordable but less knowledgeable workforce.  Watching some of his draft picks play gives one the same sense of confidence as asking the 18-year old hardware “specialist” for advice on building a new deck.

Mike Moustakas is probably being auctioned off for cash and baseballs right now.

The parallels don’t stop there.  Watching Billy Butler run the bases is like watching one of those People Who Shop at Wal-Mart videos.   During the break between innings, the Royals fill time with games for the fans to keep their attention.  One game involves timing a child run the bases.  And what does the lucky kid get for exercising?  A gift card to a frozen custard stand and the new Grisham novel.  Both items are available at Wal-Mart and neither would help the kid improve his speed.  “Cop a squat on the couch, Johnny, and let’s watch the next 161 games wrapped safely inside your Camo Snuggie!”

Following Kaufmann’s death, and thanks to the guidance of Glass, the Royals went from having one of the highest payrolls in baseball to one of the lowest.  Always low prices! Sound familiar?  The Royals traded or cut a couple guys named David Cone, Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran.  During the strike shortened season of ’94 Glass supported the use of replacement players.  And after all this, after 18 years without a winner, how does Major League Baseball punish the ownership? By rewarding the city and the team with the 2012 All-Star Game.  Maybe that’ll learn ya!

The connection to Wal-Mart makes this Kansas City team decidedly un-Royal.  It’s starting to feel like an inappropriate mascot.  Not unlike the Jazz in Utah.  At least there is a history with that franchise, which originated in New Orleans, but even when the Royals were winning there wasn’t really anything Royal about Kansas City.  The Royal itself is actually brought to life in the same way that the Sacramento Kings come to life with their King taking shape in the form of a Lion.  Maybe the Royals, and the Kings while we’re at it, should test the mascot market and see if they can’t find something that better suits their current tax bracket.

Certainly there were more than a few of us who, as children, thought, after a glimpse of that logo, that we were watching The Kansas City Royal Crown Colas.  Coincidentally, Wal-Mart may be the only place where you can get an RC Cola these days.

Speaking of which, maybe they could pay tribute to their Wal-Mart connections and be known as The Kansas City Lower Prices!   Think of the money they’d save simply by keeping the same uniform colors.

No good?

Okay, what about something more “Hollywood” like The Kansas City Royale with Cheeses or the Kansas City Royal Tennebaums?  I know what you’re thinking, great movies but sadly too indie for the crowds in KC.

They could try to pull a fast one and trick the fans into believing that they are seeing more of another beloved hometown franchise and simply name their team The Kansas City Baseball Chiefs.  After all, isn’t that how we got the Giants in San Francisco?   Still no good?

Fortunately for the Kansas City faithful, they live in a market where baseball isn’t going anywhere, but it doesn’t change the fact that if the pursuit of lower prices and losing streaks continues we could be seeing new uniforms for The Oklahoma City Royals.

Or better yet, The Kansas City Royals of Anaheim.

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