Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The press conference to introduce James Shields and Wade Davis takes a bizarre turn as we meet a new, unexpected member of the Royals staff.
The press conference was stunning.
Not because James Shields revealed he writes Twilight fan fiction. Nor because we learned Wade Davis spends his offseason knitting sweaters for kittens at animal shelters. (Spoiler alert: Neither of those things happened.) And it wasn't because Dayton Moore and Ned Yost joined two-fifths of their new rotation on the dais.
It was stunning because this press conference was the introduction of another member of the Royals staff.
Yes, that is the pseudonym of our manager. Apparently, when he gets his coffee at Starbucks in the morning, the Royals manager used an alias when ordering his half-calf, no-foam, double shot, mocha whatever.
The manager of the Kansas City Royals was so embarrassed by his team, that he was afraid to be mocked by baristas. Those caffeine jockeys can be tough
This development pleases me a great deal. Next summer, when the Royals bunt in the first inning with nobody out, will that be Frank or Ned who made that call? Who decides when to pinch run for Billy Butler? Is that Frank who put Chris Getz in the leadoff spot?
But the introduction of Frank Yost was just prelude.
Take this comment from the Royals manager:
"We got to the point where we wanted to win baseball games."
Man, I hate to do this, but this statement just reeks of ignorance. Wanted to win? Obviously, this implies they didn't #want before. That's unconscionable. Ask any first grader and they can tell you the difference between "want" and "need." The proper answer would be the Royals have always wanted to win. They are supposed to have #want. But now, with the heat on the GM and the manager, they truly need to win.
Frank combined this statement with another comment about how his eyes (and the eyes of management and ownership) were opened at the All-Star Game last summer when the stadium was packed. This showed them how the fans were excited and hungry for a winner.
This can't be happening.
Are they really so insulated that they don't know this town is so ready to embrace this team? They were unaware fans have been dying for a good team to root for? Did they miss the buzz when Danny Duffy, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas arrived in 2011? The optimism of the offseason last winter? How could they be so obtuse? Maybe if they had something where they interacted with fans in the offseason - maybe they could give it a catchy name, like FanFest - they would know.
This group is so tone deaf... It would be funny if it weren't so sad.
Speaking of being tone deaf, Dayton Moore dropped this nugget on an unsuspecting fan base:
"We believe in Jeff Francoeur a great deal. And what I know about Jeff is he's going to bring a great winning attitude every single day. He's going to bring a competitiveness. He's going to bring an energy and expectation level that is essential for teams to compete over 162 wins... Jeff Francoeur is a winner."
You know that optimism you may be feeling after seeing the Royals overhaul their rotation in preparation for the 2013 season. (Who am I kidding? Just play along.) That feeling leaves the room the minute a starstruck Dayton Moore begins to talk about his personal hero, Jeff Francoeur.
Just in case you weren't aware... On base percentage isn't important. Offensive ability doesn't matter in the grand scheme. What matters is attitude and energy.
Dayton reaffirms this:
"It's a team. It's not the most talented group of players that's going to win the World Series next year, it's going to be the players who play the best as a team and respect each other and care for one another and are sold out for one another for 162 games."
From your general manager's mouth to your eyes (or ears.) Talent isn't the most important thing when assembling a winning or competitive team. It's all about respect and camaraderie.
And in Francoeur's case, it's about nut-taps after walk-off wins.
This is our general manager in all his glory. We wonder why there have been so many failures at the major league level when it comes to evaluation of talent. There he is, talking about building a culture of winning, yet he fails to understand the best way to build that culture is to win. And you can't win with only character on your side.
Moore is a nice guy. A man who is devoted to his family and his faith. He is a positive thinker who will outwork everyone in his quest for success. But his path is flawed. It's evident every time he defends players like Francoeur. No, I don't expect him to throw his right fielder under the bus. But those Royals fans you just noticed are so hungry for winning baseball? Don't insult us with the character platitudes and this empty talk about the culture of winning.
The support of guys like Francoeur and his pitching counterpart, Luke Hochevar, only underscore how far this organization truly is from the "culture of winning."