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Thinking About the Royals & Chiefs And Trusting the Process

A few days ago a reader named Drew emailed me suggesting that a post discussing the Royals & Chiefs would be pretty interesting. Here's part of what he wrote:

I think it would be great to have someone write an article comparing the directions of the two KC franchises. If you look at the Chiefs putting the right guys in place and looking for guys who fit their system and compare it to the Royals getting the "right" guys in place, who aren't looking for guys who fit the system that was supposed to be... maybe predict which franchise will be back to the "glory days" faster?

The ex-Patriots to KC thing has definitely reached a more mainstream level as a joke than the former Braves thing has (because only hardcore seamheads follow transactions involving minor league guys) but in both cases you can see a basic reality behind it.

Now, I'm going to have to lean on you guys on this one, because I know as much about the Chiefs as I do about, say, the Orioles. Mainly, I'm interested to see what people post in the comments.

To help get things going, I asked Joel from Arrowhead Pride to weigh in:

How do you feel about the rebuilding effort taking place with the Chiefs overall?

Joel: Overall, I feel content with it. There are definitely a lot of moving parts here - quarterback, offensive line, etc - but I believe in the vision of our front office.

The thing that makes me feel the best is that they're bringing in the right guys at the top. They hired Scott Pioli, the biggest fish out there (and probably in the last few years as well).  Pioli stayed in the family and brought in another Parcells guy in Todd Haley. They went out and hired arguably the two best coordinators available.

You can't get all the talent in the world at the same time (salary cap) but you can go out and hire the best front office/coaching staff people and that's what they've done.

I think the current regime gets the big picture aspect of it all and understands the importance of hiring the right people to run the show. I think the Patriots showed over the last few years that it's not necessarily the most talented team, but the team that is prepared the best and fits the best.

Is there anything the Royals could learn from what the Chiefs are doing, or vice-versa?

Joel: Yes, hire Scott Pioli as your GM and add Matt Cassel to the rotation and I imagine you're a contender in no time.

The Chiefs are still in the early stages of this thing so it's unclear if their rebuilding plan is going to work. But, operating under the assumption that it will, I'd say it's important that you get someone in charge that has come from a successful organization and understands how important it is to hire the right people for the right positions.

(On a side note, I am a little confused as to why the Royals aren't becoming more successful. I thought Dayton Moore was from Atlanta? I'm of very limited baseball knowledge but I do know Atlanta is, or was, a good organization that had found some formula to build a consistent winner. How did he not pick up on the things that were happening in Atlanta?)

Talent is definitely important but I think it's just as (if not more) important to spend your money on the people who will be making those personnel decisions.

Here's where I'm at:

  • I was a little surprised that basically everyone who responded to me on Twitter about the topic, as well as Drew & Joel, essentially were happy with what the Chiefs were doing. Then again, they are early in the process (that was actually unintended, but yes, "the process") and three years ago, it seemed like most Royals fans were pro-Moore.
  • I think Moore got a huge grace period with the fans because the perception was that he was taking over a AAA organization essentially. From the outside, I don't view the Chiefs nearly the same. I see them as a generally above average organization that has not been able to get over the hump. The Royals don't even know where the hump is.
  • Cassel= Meche. Discuss.
  • I've heard that the Royals admire the way the Chiefs limit their media exposure and keep things icy/under control and that the new regime wants to move in that direction. How nice of the Royals to pick up on the lamest thing about their Sports Complex neighbors and emulating it.
  • The thing that would worry me if I was a diehard Chiefs fan is the same thing that worries me about Moore. First, even if we assume that Pioli/Moore was part of what made New England/Atlanta win, how can we assume that the same method will work again. The dynamic is always changing, strategy changes, financial aspects change, the league adjusts, etc. There has to be a reason why the 1962 Packers approach to team building, offense, & defense isn't still dominant. (Or even still dominant in 1970.) Secondly, how much do we actually know that Piolo/Moore were actually part of the success? And by what percentage? You just can't be sure.
  • Lastly, how much of any great run of success repeatable? That's why they are great in the first place. "Well, here's what we need to do in K.C. Sign the best pitcher in basebal and a future Hall of Famerl as a Free Agent when he's 27. Trade for a future Hall of Famer for a rent-a-pitcher. We get those two parts, then all we need to do is draft another future Hall of Famer. You gotta win with pitching, so this is how we'll do it!" I mean, it's ludicrous. In KC/2010 circumstances, two out of those three options are utterly impossible, unless I missed out on Dayton being part of the CC Derby. Look at the way trades have gone the last decade: teams just aren't trading their top guys for Doyle Alexander anymore. You can have three nickels, but you aren't getting a quarter. Then again, after network TV collapses, maybe we go back to only have 10-15 channels, and Raycom somehow emerges as a national network, and in 20 years the Royals are a big budget team. It could happen!

I guess I come out of the Royals experience pretty jaded, but football's so different that you really shouldn't care about that if you care about the Chiefs. Personally, I'd rather hire a guy who established himself as excellent in a mediocre or poor environment than a guy who ran up a great reputation in a great one.

So what do you guys think?