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The Dayton Moore Era Begins

And so it begins, complete with just what we predicted last week, numerous, almost mysteriously motivated shots at the straw man version of sabermetrics and Moneyball that apparently haunts the minds of many. Here's the lead to a puff piece on Moore from today's Star:

Maybe it's best to start with the basics. There is no mystical, fairy-tale, smarter-than-thou way to win 14 consecutive division championships -- the longest streak in professional sports.
Early in the day, after the news broke, Bill Shanks, author of the anti-Moneyball diatribe, Scout's Honor was on 810 AM bragging about how Moore doesn't know about stats, doesn't care about them, doesn't know what VORP is, etc. Sounds like the hearty anti-intellectualism of Buddisimo Bell. I wonder who would win a contest between Moore and Bell on who can say the words "fundamentals" and "the right way" the most per 1000 sentences?? Someone get out the transcripts...

The same story that trumpeted the anti-plan plan of the Braves includes this gem from Rob Neyer,

Truly getting to the soul of the Braves' success is, Schuerholz says, "esoteric and multilayered" and would take months to talk about completely. The short of it -- if 288 pages is short -- can be found in Schuerholz's new book, Built to Win.

Then again ...

"I read John Schuerholz's book, and I still didn't have any idea what the `Braves Way' was," says ESPN's Rob Neyer, a longtime Royals fan. "If there's one thing that seems to be true about the Braves, it's that they've been stable. Same general manager. Same manager. Same pitching coach, until this year. I think that's one thing Dayton Moore will try to emulate there after he's been there for a little while."

Let the consistency begin! Just as soon as you fire Buddy Bell and trade half the current players that is.

What the Royals really need is intellectual flexibility and a multi-faceted plan that incorporates every conceivable angle. With every dynasty, the underlings that fail in new jobs are those that merely mimic (these seem to be the most media savvy, and generally liked for some reason) and stubbornly insist on "doing it like we did it in X" etc. Those that succeed take the best of what they learned under X, and adapt to the ever changing game and landscape, as well as the unique constraints of the current place. Remember this: the Royals can't be the Braves, hell, for the last 5 years, the Braves haven't even been able to be the Braves, as their revenues/access to revenues has declined. I know nothing about Moore, no one does, its like one of the central messages of The Red Badge of Courage, you don't know how you'll react until you get there.

Still, there's still two things to worry about, one short-term, one longer-term. First, there's the continuing stupidity of not having Moore around, at least officially, for the Draft.

The Royals announced that vice president of baseball operations Muzzy Jackson would serve as interim GM until Moore takes over after next week's First-Year Player Draft.
You mean to say we just brought this guy in with great (for KC) fanfair and he's not going to be involved in this year's fresh crop of prospects? I thought evaluating talent was like, you know, umm, his greatest strength? Ohh well, I just keep pounding the drum on this, and no one else seems to care, or even notice. In fact, I've seen nothing from the Royal-angle even discussing it. The Braves at least, had to answer the conflict of interest question,
" Scouting director Roy Clark will make the decisions for the Braves.

"Dayton is not going to put himself in a position to impugn the integrity of this organization or his new organization," Schuerholz said. "What role he plays in the draft will be up to all of us. We will measure the appropriateness of it."

Umm kay.

For more on the upcoming draft, here's what BP's Kevin Goldstein has to say:

Kansas City Royals Scouting Director: Deric Ladnier. Ladnier played seven years in the Royals system and then spent nine years in the Atlanta front office (where he worked with new GM Dayton Moore) where he advanced from area scout to farm director. He was hired as the Royals scouting director in 2001 and is overseeing his sixth draft in Kansas City. His first draft was a debacle, as the Royals selected way-to-raw fireballer Colt Griffin in the first round and outfielder Roscoe Crosby, who got paid without having ever played a game, in the second round. Ladnier's made up for it since with some solid drafts at the top over the past three years, though tight budgets often limited his flexibility after the first few rounds. When I think of people to blame for the Royals' miserable state, Ladnier isn't near the top of the list.

What The System Needs: Talent, and plenty of it, because if this team is going to turn around, it's going to be through the system. While the Royals have a nice core of hitting prospects at Double-A Wichita, they have a nice core of pitching prospects, um, nowhere.

What They'll Do On Tuesday: Be the first team to pick, though we are still trying to figure out what Dayton Moore's presence will mean here. In the end, this pick is probably Moore's call, though money will enter the decision making process. That weird Luke Hochevar scenario just keeps making more and more sense, no?

For even more on the draft, check out Joe Sickel's Minor League Ball. For additional thoughts on the Moore hiring, wander over to the Royals Review diaries, and be sure to vote on when we'll hit elusive win #20.

Unlike Joe Posnanski, who played a crucial role in getting this regime change rolling, I don't get warm and fuzzy when Moore talks about his family, and how that was part of his decision. I don't care about his family, and I'm not impressed that he does, either. Big deal. Its much like the stupid fascination with the loyalty of the Mafia... doesn't just about everyone like at least half their family? Lets stop giving people blue stars for not being sociopaths and move on.

Ohh yea, the Royals got blanked 7-0 yesterday, bringing their fantabulous season record to 13-38.

Futility Update: Record Through 51 Games:

2003 Tigers: 13-38
1962 Mets: 14-37
1941 Phillies: 16-35
2006 Royals: 13-38