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Baseball’s Ozymandias, King of Kings: Dayton Moore

Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains...

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Dayton Moore’s kingdom has fallen.

After years of lack of progress toward a second rebuild, owner John Sherman dismissed Moore from his role as President of Baseball Operations.

And so ends Moore’s 16-year tenure leading the Kansas City Royals, first as general manager and then as President of Baseball Operations. Under his leadership, the Royals posted three winning seasons, won the American League Championship in 2014 and won the World Series in 2015.

Hubris, though, led to the team falling behind, struggling in the weakest division in the major leagues. With the results missing, Sherman had no other recourse but to move on from the man who led the most recent small-market club to a world championship.

It had to be done.

Moore dug into his ways when it came to building the club back up from the ashes after 2017. And why wouldn’t he? It had worked out once. With fine-tuning, it would work again, and more quickly this time.

Pay no mention that this rebuild should’ve started sooner than it did, that pending free agents should’ve been traded instead of fetching compensatory picks when they signed elsewhere on the open market, that non-star players stuck around too long, past being worth much of anything to the this (or another) club.

Moore and his team missed on trades for reinforcements, on trades to re-stock the farm system, on high draft picks, on draft strategies, on development strategies, on players to keep in Kansas City, on players to let walk.

In the process, the defiant head of the team inadvertently created a selfish clubhouse environment.

A wealthy franchise can miss only so much of the time. For a team such as Kansas City, the margin for error is even less.

And that’s why the Royals haven’t sniffed a winning record—let alone the playoffs—for years. That’s why the Royals are staring down a possible third 100-plus-loss season in the past five seasons. That’s why the Royals went from a .457 winning percentage last season to yet another sub-.400 one this year.

Ozymandias,” written by Percy Shelley, tells the story of a traveler who encountered nothing in the desert but two stones describing a boastful ruler and his amazing kingdom. But that kingdom is nowhere to be found. It has fallen—it fell because the king (of kings) let pride get the better of him, destroying the very thing he had created.

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Nothing remains of the 2015 World Championship, the foundation on which Moore built his kingdom. The goodwill, the triumph, the feel of victory—all gone, into the sandy void.

Now J.J. Picollo, Moore’s successor, deals with fixing the colossal wreck, with the lone and level sands that now stretch far away, and get farther away by the day.