One of my favorite things about Dayton Moore is how he's always right there to tell you how awesome he is.
"Let’s just trust the process. If other people don’t want to trust the process, that’s fine. If other people want to abandon the process, then abandon it. I’m not abandoning the process. I believe in the process.
"You get a good group of people together. You work hard together. You trust in one another. You go through the difficult times. You work hard to make good decisions. You keep guys together and, eventually, it will happen."
Working hard is not a process, it is simply toil. Belief in... I guess yourself and your group is not a process either. Basically, Dayton's described something between a particularly Maoist-bent cult and a generic American family. Neither is likely well-suited to run the Royals.
Everyone works hard in Major League Baseball. The Padres, right now, are working hard. The Indians are burning the midnight oil. The Pirates are burning the candle at both ends. So telling us you're working hard doesn't mean much. It's rather like a basketball coach saying, "we've got tall guys".
But if you are curious, that "process" is, apparently, the following: get older players, get injury-prone players, get expensive players. Then, complain about injuries and payroll limitations. The process also includes fielding the worst defensive team in the American League, having no legitimate position player prospects who are of drinking age, and cornering the market on the most hacktastic players in baseball. The process includes a Ponson-Chen doubleheader.
Wow, Coco Crisp got hurt and Kyle Farnsworth "underperformed". I'm stunned. Nobody saw that coming.
Oh, and the process also means never growing, evolving, or getting better. Why worry about that? There's no need to change or react of adapt or get out ahead of the competition, because nothing is broken. Trust the process.
Trust the process that has done so, so, so much in Kansas City. The process that took one of the worst Royals teams ever and had them briefly ascend to quasi-mediocre-but-still-mostly bad. Because no one has ever done that before. Well, no one, except a score of failed GMs from here to wherever Cam Bonifay is living. Bad teams "rise up" and win 75 games all the time. It's actually unbelievably common. In fact, that's what makes the Royals so amazing: they do the impossible by staying in the 60-win column more than anybody else.
Trust the process.
And since it's a Moore story, you know this is coming:
"I go back to the same thing all of the time," he said. "If our processes were so poor, how were we able to put together a pretty good team in the off-season? We went through the process, and most people around baseball felt we were vastly improved.
Yea, people loved it when you brought in Mike Jacobs. They loved the Kyle Farnsworth deal. They were thrilled to have Jose Guillen for another two years. They loved the depth Bruce Chen offered the pitching staff. They wanted to see more and more and more of Tony Pena Jr. They raved about what Willie Bloomquist was going to mean to this team, this town, this whole damn region.
Here's what people really loved about the 2009 Royals: the chance to make a prediction. That's it. The 2008 Rays made everyone a little embarrassed -- well, except the BP people who predicted their rise -- so in 2009 everyone had to find "this year's Rays". A few chose the Royals. Hey, there are only so many fourth place teams out there to chose from.
Have you ever heard someone who has actually won talk like this? Have you ever heard Bill Parcells or Theo Epstein or that guy in New England say, "well, everyone in the league loved what we did in the off-season, so we feel good about it"?
Why should we trust Dayton Moore's process? Because he was good at a lesser job five yeas ago in Atlanta? Because he heroically guided the team to a fourth place finish, by one game, last season? Because we've gone three days without a top Royal prospect being promoted for no reason? What is there to trust in?
Dutton's piece contains other delights, such as the opening in which Moore defends his regime by arguing that the Royals have suffered from enough change over the years. Funny, I remember Allard Baird being given six years. Herk Robinson's reign lasted even longer. But again, why bother with the facts that matter, when you can obscure things with the facts that don't.
But all this swinging bravado and idiocy wasn't enough for a page and a half story. No, far from it. Here's my favorite part:
Moore points to the club’s 18-11 start, prior to the onset of injuries to several key players, as validation of the organization’s approach.
Yes, 18-11 means everything. Tells us all we need to know. Sure, the team is 19-46 since 18-11, but a general principle of statistics is that the smaller set of data is always more instructive.
Trust the process.
Zack Greinke, a player who Moore did not draft or acquire, is having -- no hyperbole -- one of the best seasons any pitcher has had this decade. The Royals are 10-9 in games he's started. The 2009 Royals were built to contend this year, after Moore spent two years solidly in win-now mode, and the 2009 Royals are horrible.
Who do the Royals have waiting in the wings for 2010 that isn't here now? Essentially, no one.
We aren't playing Stratego here. The game is constantly changing, evolving, moving and shifting. This is happening from the field to the owner's suite. Moore and his team are coming off like a former #1 pick who reached the Majors, had a nice rookie year, and has decided he doesn't have to adjust his approach at the plate ever again.
I try not to make it personal when I write about the Royals, I really do. Here's the problem, in the last two weeks, both Moore and Hillman have revealed that their personalities are clearly part of the problem. Being this arrogant, being so utterly unable to admit a mistake, is a moral failing. Conducting oneself as if the very idea of criticism is somehow laughable, is a moral failing.
Prior to this season, Trey Hillman reflected on his first year managing the Royals and came to the conclusion that the main thing he needed to change was... was... was... no, really... was how much he read the Bible. Really. Such a stupendously bizarre statement, and yet one that barely raised an eyebrow, so bombarded we are with insanity on a daily basis.
What's the old saying about pride and a man's fall?