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Make the Royals Great Again

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Inside a campaign with plus hands, and plus hands.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Kansas City Royals John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

There is an uneasy feeling simmering in the small towns and big cities, along the Missouri River and the Kansas-Nebraska plains. It’s a feeling of greatness lost, of a once-powerful identity now threatened with decline by outside forces beyond the control of all those save the elites who hold the cards. The once-powerful Royals, who stood astride the world and defeated all challengers, now lie supine before the looming shadow of a changing league. From the darkness of fan despair, one man has stepped forward to challenge the team’s ossified leadership, promising to Make the Royals Great Again.

Ronald Crump has never worked in baseball before, though he cites a long history in sports entertainment as a well for the new ideas that will restore Kansas City to its rightful glory, arguing that "I alone can fix it". In a campaign without precedent, he hopes to build a groundswell of support that will force the Royals to replace current General Manager Dayton Moore and usher in a new era of Royals-first management.

Crump’s approach to baseball administration would take on a decidedly regional theme, focusing on drafting and developing local players over seeking talent through the national and international markets. "Look," he says, "when other teams send over their people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems." He advocates preferential development and playing time for players from Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, saying "We’re going to rebuild the Royals with our own players. We have all the best players." Any subsequent trade negotiations would be preceded by a declaration that all other teams are roster manipulators, who undercut the Royals’ ability to draft the best players by flooding the standings with losses. Crump trade deals would put the Royals first, ensuring the team acquired the best players at a minimum cost.

Crump has also pointedly criticized MLB for a conspiracy to undercut the Royals’ competitiveness through introducing "juiced" balls that have created a sharp increase in opposition home runs. Though his campaign hasn’t introduced solid evidence of this claim, Crump appeared to advocate illegal research into MLB internal communications on the subject, stating that "St. Louis, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find those emails." Challenged about this request, he replied "What do I know about it? All I know is what’s on the internet." If MLB won’t respond, Crump advocates building an outfield wall to contain home runs. As his website states, "MLB has been taking advantage of the Royals by using home runs to export offense into Kauffman Stadium. The effects on fans have been disastrous, and pitchers have been particularly harmed. We’ll build a wall and make MLB pay for it."

Crump’s critics claim that most of his plans for restoring the Royals are unrealistic, against league rules, or not detailed enough to assess. In response, Crump speechwriter and spokesperson Leigh Drudge said "It's just not as simple as saying, 'This is what's going to happen in Year One and Year Two.' That's nonsense. If you make good decisions, three-year plans turn into two-year plans and five-year plans turn into three-year plans. If you make bad decisions, 10-year plans turn into bad plans." When media sources questioned the suspicious similarity of Drudge’s words to a speech given by current Royals manager Dayton Moore in 2012, Crump defended his spokesperson, saying "Leigh’s a man who knows the value of his own words. He’s close to the dirt."

With the Royals’ season clearly mired in recession, fans are growing restless with the disparity between performance and expectations. The frustration has led many to look for new leadership and new ideas, advocating new trade deals that would benefit the Royals even if highly unlikely to be agreed-upon by other teams. Other fans have criticized the team for appearing "tired". Asked about the influence of popular opinion on his campaign, Crump enthused, "We won with the poorly educated fans. I love the poorly educated fans!" Asked to name his favorite Royals player, Crump cited Danny Duffy, explaining that the pitcher exemplified Crump’s long-standing support for right bear arms. When a reporter pointed out that Duffy is, in fact, left-handed, he brushed the distinction aside, saying "The left-handers, they love me."

Danny Duffy in a bear suit
Danny Duffy bears his arms
Fox Sports KC

As the season enters its final stages, two starkly contrasting visions for the Royals’ future hold center stage, led by two candidates with controversial records. Dayton Moore promises more of the same, a known approach to management that has generated a World Series title, but also a series of failed and costly trade deals, rising prices, and a future of looming futility. Ronald Crump promises to rebuild Royals baseball as a go-it-alone entertainment venue, an approach that horrifies traditionalists and progressives alike but enthralls a segment of the fan base who are struggling to adapt to modern baseball. Yet Crump claims his baseball knowledge is second to none, and cites a clear advantage: "I have plus hands, and plus hands. I guarantee it. They’re huge."