Sports owners are rarely well-liked in their town. Unless you're a big attention-drawing celebrity like Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, or you win lots of championships like Patriots owner Robert Kraft, most likely you sit in your owner's box, awkwardly high-fiving your wealthy guests while drawing the scorn of the fans in the cheap seats for building a team that will once again end the season in disappointment. At the very worst, your image is hung in effigy after you double-cross fans by relocating the franchise.
David Glass has been in the latter category during most of his tenure since purchasing the Kansas City Royals in 2000. His controversial reputation for fiscal efficiency as the CEO of Wal Mart became a stigma with the Royals as he maintained one of the lowest payrolls in the league for numerous years, with rumors of penny-pinching behind the scenes on player development. The team had losing seasons in 12 of his first 13 seasons as owner, losing 100 games or more four times in five seasons. His name become synonymous with losing and being cheap.
This whole David Glass thing has me fuming. I hate ownership in KC with a passion. #PennyPinchingSOBs— awessley (@awessley) November 29, 2012
David Glass likes to say he hates to lose. Surpassed only by his self-awareness. Please sell #Royals 2 owner who actually does hate losing.— Ravi Dasari (@rdasari) June 23, 2012
Every day I am somehow reminded about how bad David Glass sucks.— Dalton Vitt (@DaltonVitt) August 18, 2012
@raford3 @dannyparkins if David Glass won't sell the Royals I hope he dies soon. Hate to say that but I'm tired of watching the #Royals lose— Boys of Summer (@shakes2011) July 6, 2012
Wow, that got dark.
Eventually things began to change. Glass hired Dayton Moore from the Braves with the promise to increase spending on player personnel. Money began flowing to player development in the draft, Latin America, and minor league staffing. The Royals handed out their biggest free agent contract in team history, a $55 million deal to pitcher Gil Meche. The team handed out the biggest amateur bonus in franchise history to Scott Boras client Eric Hosmer. David Glass said he was "obsessed with winning." But the team continued to lose and fans were skeptical.
Then, things began to turn around. The team began winning in the summer of 2013 and ended with a winning season. They went on an amazing run and won a pennant in 2014. In 2015, Royals fans were rewarded with their first championship in 30 years. The Royals won with the highest payroll in franchise history, a payroll higher than for several larger market clubs, including the National League champion Mets.
Recently, Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs polled Major League Baseball fans to get a sense of how they felt about their team's ownership group. Here is how Royals fans now feel about David Glass.
How is the Royals ownership situation?
Very Bad - 5%
Pretty Bad - 10%
Average - 27%
Pretty Good - 38%
Very Good - 21%
Sullivan weighs that as the tenth-best approval rating by any ownership group in baseball, behind the multiple-championship winning ownership group by the San Francisco Giants. Fewer Royals fans think ownership is "pretty bad" or "very bad" than Yankees fans. Surely the winning helped turn the tide against David Glass, although it should be pointed out that the second-worst ownership rating went to the group that the Royals just defeated in the World Series, the New York Mets. Unsurprisingly, only Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria finished worse.
Has your opinion of David Glass changed? Does he deserve much credit for the last three years of success? Or is it Dayton Moore that deserves all the credit? Or were the Royals just lucky? How do you feel about the Royals ownership situation?