Winning. In baseball it is important. Very important. Some people incorrectly think of me being a "play the game the right way" kind of General Manager who is unconcerned with winning. That is unfair. Winning is important to me. Rest assured Royals fans, I am making changes to improve the winning of the Royals for 2013. In this FanPost I will outline the reasons for a lack of winning. However, first I need to define what winning is.
At its most basic level, winning can be defined as being the kind of person who other people enjoy being around, and being the kind of person that makes other people better. If somebody likes to be around you and you make that person better, then you can be said to have "won" that person. Yes, that will show through scoring more runs in a baseball game than the other team, but winning is more than that. Winning is building the kind of baseball team where the guys love each other, where they pull for each other, and where they are glad to be around each other. If I can build a team where each of the guys are better people at the end of the year, then I have built a winner.
Take for example the Oakland As of the early 1970s. Sure, they "won" some World Series. But were they winners? They had a very dysfunctional clubhouse. They did not make each other better people. They were not the kind of people you would want marrying your sister or daughter.
Identifying the problem is the first part of fixing the problem. Here now are the primary causes of a lack of winning for a team. These are the areas I will be focusing on to bring winning back to the Royals. Based on these changes I am excited for the upcoming year.
Reasons for a Lack of Winning:
1. Not Trying Hard Enough: How can you win if you don't try? Winners try, and they keep trying no matter the odds. A team that steals 2nd base down 8 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning? That is a winning team. They have not given up trying no matter the odds.
2. Too Much Talent: Don't get me wrong. Talent can be good. But like all good things, it can be abused. If too much talent causes a player to be a headcase or be too selfish, then how can it be said that player is a winner? Remember, winning is about making other people better and winning the other person to yourself. Can a talented headcase be said to do that? If talent leads to a sense of entitlement and a disdain of others, then that person is not a winner.
3. Not Enough Jeff Francoeur: Now, I don't mean Jeff specifically, but players like Jeff. He lights up any clubhouse he is a part of. Players love seeing him walk through that door. He's the kind of guy that you just love being around, the kind of guy who you are privileged just to know. Trust me Royals fans, Jeff will be a part of any winning team we have.
4. Lack of Chemistry: Sometimes cliches are cliches because they are true. In this case, clubhouse chemistry leads to winning. Our clubhouse is full of great guys who are pulling for each other. How can we help but win with guys like we have?
5: Too Much Focus on the Final Score: Sometimes games just go the other way. Winners put that behind them and remain good people. If you put too much emphasis on the final score, it can put you in a bad mood and make you difficult to be around. It can also color your opinions of people. For example, some people think a certain pitcher on our staff is a bad pitcher because he "loses" a lot of games. That is incorrect thinking. That is too much focus on the final score. If said pitcher tries hard, makes others better, and is a joy to be around, then that pitcher is a winner in my book, no matter what the final score happens to say.
To summarize, winning is important. I am taking steps to make sure 2013 is a banner year for Royals winning. It is all about winning. Winning. Winning. Winning for the Royals.
(P.S. - in an unrelated note, I thought I would give you an encouraging update on Kyle Davies. He is expressing an interest in coming back to the Royals. What a great guy. I would love to work something out and have him back as a part of our team.)