Dayton Moore's First Opening Day

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Although hired in mid-2006, the Dayton Moore era really began with the 2007 season. It was 70 degrees on April 2nd, 2007 and Gil Meche was brand new and shiny. That was a fun day. The rest of the season? Not so much.

I have a Gil Meche powder blue jersey.  I still wear that jersey to games (yes, get over yourselves, put on a jersey and support your team, stop thinking you're too cool).  Next to the comeback victory to start the 2004 season, this game was my favorite Opening Day experience.

At this point in time, I'm pretty sure that most of us were still hopeful and excited about Dayton Moore as the Royals' general manager.  Sure, $55 million over 5 years for Gil Meche was controversial and rightfully subject to criticism, but it was still a hopeful time...sort of, at least.

The lineup for Moore's first season opener as general manager:

David DeJesus CF - By triple slash standards, 2007 would be David's worst year as Royals and he still posted a decent .260/.351/.372.  Yes, he smiled all season and I don't know why anyone cares.

Mark Grudzielanek 2B - Probably turned the pivot on a double play as well as anyone and hit in all three seasons with the Royals - at least until Ross Gload destroyed him in 2008.

Mark Teahen RF - Remember Mark's monster summer of 2006?  He was not as good in 2007, losing almost all his power, but still posted a .353 on-base percentage that year. Frankly he was Nori Aoki in 2007, although flyballs remained something of a mystery for Teahen.  (I saw him misjudge/lose two fly balls in the sun one Sunday afternoon later that summer - bad enough that DeJesus game over during the inning and tried to give him some advice.)

Mike Sweeney DH - his last season with KC

Alex Gordon 3B - the rookie would get a standing ovation when he came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out to face Curt Schilling.  Gordon would battle, seeing seven pitches, but would end up striking out.

Ryan Shealy 1B - I have a Ryan Shealy jersey, too.  It hangs in my closet haunting me.

Ross Gload LF - The Royals also had Emil Brown and Reggie Sanders on the roster.  Those were good times, my friend, good times indeed.

John Buck C - Would double and homer that day.  He has fashioned himself a fine career.

Tony Pena Jr. SS - Acquired at the very end of Spring Training due to the club's complete and total disgust for Angel Berroa (warranted, by the way).  Pena would hit two triples that day and generally be overrated by the casual fan for the better part of the next year.

Gil Meche pitched into the 8th inning, allowing just one run and striking out six, before Joel Peralta would finish out the 7-1 victory.  As mentioned above, it was an absolutely beautiful day.

Two days later, it was 35 freaking degrees with a howling wind (my wife and I had to buy Royals' stocking hats in order to stave off death.  The helped, so did the 24 ounce cups of Corona) and we had to watch Odalis Perez pitch in a 7-1 loss.   What I did not realize until looking back at the box score, is that we witnessed Joakim Soria's first appearance as a Royal (he got two outs in the 5th inning).  So, that's something.

After Meche and Perez, the rest of the Royals' starting rotation was Zack Greinke, Jorge de la Rosa and Brandon Duckworth.  Joining Joel Peralta in the bullpen was Soria, Todd Wellemeyer, Jimmy Gobble, Ryan Braun, David Riske and Jason Standridge.  Brian Bannister would join the rotation in late April and Octavio Dotel would be the closer starting in late May (and, of course, be traded for Kyle Davies that summer).

Joining Brown and Sanders on the bench was Jason LaRue (who would play third base for a couple of innings later that year) and Esteban German (who could take his glove and stand at any position on the diamond).

So, who on the 2007 team makes the 2014 team (ignoring contracts and time and reality and such)?   Meche does, but not as the number one starter.  Greinke and Soria (probably).  DeJesus?  Grudzielanek over Infante?  Maybe.  Progress, maybe not enough in a timely enough fashion, but certainly a great deal of progress.

By the way, 2007 sure was a long time ago:  only Alex Gordon remains from that Opening Day twenty-five.

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