Does anyone else feel like theres a big Royals story just waiting to hit the news? As Joe Sheehan wrote today, something feels a little more intense about this offseason although it may simply be an artifical news cycle generated by the Matsuzaka Madness that will eventually die down. Needless to say, the Royals weren't players in the hunt for the gyroball, surprising exactly no one. The bizarre "the Royals are interested in Greg Zaun" rumors are floating around, but other than that I haven't heard much. This isn't unusual yet somehow it feels like it.
Beyond the loyalty to Buddisimo however, I don't think we should be worried about Dayton Moore standing pat this winter. (By extension however, Bell is publicly loyal, even belligerently so to one of the worst players in baseball, so this does cause real problems.) From every possible angle it makes sense for him to be incredibly active, even down to the most craven depths of cynicism, where we start thinking about the appearance of activity and the eternal need for good pr.
While the Star's supposedly lackluster coverage of the Royals is a frequent topic on the Royals boards & blogs, the fact of the matter is that the Star is irrelevant in the larger sense. I don't mean this as a knock, far from it, however the simple truth is that the Royals fanbase is eroding, and has been for a long time. The Star can't fix that problem. The people that are truly dedicated (people that read this site and others like it) are here to stay, but that is a very small core group, perhaps one of the smallest in the Major Leagues, besting only the expansion generation and maybe a truly beaten down fanbase like the Brewers or Pirates.
Some perspective: The Royals drew 1,372,684 fans last season, an average of 17,158 a game. Thats 42% capacity if you're scoring at home. For as much as we complain about all things Yankees, they drew 4,200,518 last season, and basically played before near sellouts during every one of their road games. At the time the 83-win run in 2003 was viewed as a salvation for the fanbase's interest, but was clear by 2005 that that wasn't the case. People are tired of the Royals at a very deep level. On the whole, its a loveless marriage that has about three good weekends a year: opening day, the yankees series, the cardinals series. The rest of the year is bedtime at 9:30 and looking around trying to not become bored.
I'm not sure the Royals can survive another decade of losing. How many Royals fans do you know? How many young Royals fans do you know? The rising generation basically has no good Royals memories and more entertainment choices anyway. If we wake up in 2010 and the Royals have had another randomly OK season (ala 2003) and three more bad ones the vultures will be circling for relocation. The final relocation of the Expos cum Nationals cooled the fires of extortion and public money hunting for awhile, but those are truly hellish flames, which as we know never extinguish.
This is where Alex Gordon comes in: vaguely from the area, insanely talented, personable, good-looking, locked in for at least a few years. Think about it: he's our version of Lebron James, which yes, also makes him a poor man's Lebron.
This is painfully obvious of course, but Dayton Moore cannot screw this up the franchise can't survive such a failure and neither can he. Sadly, this ownership/media situation here isn't what it is in other markets, where a series of massive failures could get Moore fired relatively soon. That won't happen here. I still know many people who thought Allard deserved more time.
Lets hope GMDM has a short leash with even his guys, like de la Rosa.
Understandably, the perception is that I'm an anti-Moore guy. We've been pretty tough on Gathright around here, which seems like an utterly indefensible move to me. There's a segment of the Royals fanbase, which I'm certainly a part of, that's always gonna question the exile of Justin Huber, which Moore is also ultimately answerable to. But beyond that, honestly I'm just nervous. We know nothing about Moore as a GM. He was well-regarded coming in, just like everyone that gets one of the 30 best jobs in America.
In the meantime, all we can do is stay positive and remember that help, and Montel, is here.