“Losing is a disease……as contagious as bubonic plague…attacking one…but affecting all.”
That famous quote is from the classic baseball movie “The Natural” as a psychologist talks to the New York Knights while they are going through a losing streak. I think of it anytime the Royals play awful baseball, which has been a lot over the last eighteen seasons. We were told by Royals management this off-season that this year was going to be different. No more losing teams, no more little league plays, no more disappointments. This was the year that the Royals were going to be a winner. Even if by that they just meant “a .500 team” that was good enough for most of us. I personally saw some holes with this team, but also knew if a few things went their way we could be looking at 81 to 83 victories this season. With the way this team got off to a hot start, it looked like maybe even more could happen. Hell, I went to the K for one great game and by the end of the weekend I started to believe a little bit more. But by that Monday, things started to change. The wheels have come off that infamous bus that Rex Hudler always talks about and at this point the Royals are looking for any moral victory they can get.
As if the losing wasn’t bad enough(and trust me, it’s plenty bad), we then get told by Neddaniel Yost, Royals manager esquire, that we Royals fans are “impatient”. Trust me, Yost said more. He also said we fans wanted “instant gratification”. So the guy who told us all off-season that the Royals were “trying to win” this year and that players wouldn’t have the same leash they had in the past if they slump is telling us NOW to be more patient? The manager who has never managed a winning ballclub in Kansas City? The guy who hasn’t been around for the last eighteen seasons, where the Royals have had only ONE year of above .500 play, told US we are impatient??? Let’s just say that didn’t sit well with most Royals fans.
I was all prepared to go on a long rant about Yost and the stupidity of his comments. It is well known my hatred for him and how for the last 13 months I have felt like the Royals should find someone else to be their manager. I was going to give a 2000 word summary of why this Royals team is worse off with him in their dugout. But then Craig Brown did a much better job than I ever would have. Brown explained in the best way possible what a foolish comment Yost made. In some ways, our anger has nothing to do with the team losing. It has way more to do with how Royals management views their die hard fan-base.
You see, it’s not just Yost that acts like Royals fans are selfish children that want everything instantly(#instantgratification). Royals GM Dayton Moore has more or less said the same thing. Funny thing is he seems way more impatient than we are. Moore is the one who traded the Royals top prospect, Wil Myers, so he could acquire the top of the rotation arm he coveted, James Shields, from Tampa Bay. He gave away six years of Myers for two years of Shields and the hope that the Royals could snag a playoff spot. At the least, it was a desperation move to save his job. If that isn’t impatience, I don’t know what is. We are in year seven of the Moore era, and not one winning season has been seen in Kansas City. We have been told to be patient, let the process play out. Problem is, his process is failing. Pitchers have scuffled in the minors, never moving past AAA(Montgomery, Dwyer). His hitters have reached the bigs, but have struggled(Hosmer,Moustakas). Trades have failed, managers have fallen to the wayside, and to be honest, the only thing the organization can hold onto like a plush toy in the hands of an infant child is last year’s All-Star game. At some point you have to admit your shortcomings. Instead, the finger gets pointed to us, the paying customer.
I’ve been a Kansas City Royals fan since 1984. Many of us die-hard’s have been around for a long, long time. We actually do remember when the team won on a regular basis and remember the tradition of the franchise. The fact that in 2013 we are still around and still cheering this team is somewhat of a miracle. It’s definitely dedication. We are the loyal of the loyal, the ones who might talk trash about the team, but would also be the first to stand up for them if an outsider talked bad about them. To say you have such passionate fans after the last eighteen seasons is not only shocking, but unheard of. We could have jumped ship. We could have found another team and started rooting for them. We could be real jerks and start cheering for the Cardinals. But we don’t. We still go to the ballpark, we still buy the merchandise. We root for Mike Moustakas even though he is in a massive slump. We still think Eric Hosmer can really be something, even if the possibility fades away a little bit every day. The Royals, after all that losing, still have a rabid fan-base. Do you think the Yankees would have that if they started losing? I don’t think so. So our reward for our loyalty is to have Royals management come out in public and tell us we are impatient and want “instant gratification”? Sorry, Dayton and Ned. You couldn’t be farther from the truth.
You see, if we wanted “instant gratification” we would be gone. We wouldn’t care anymore. We would no longer be Kansas City Royals fans. We wouldn’t make our venture to the K to take in another game. We wouldn’t sift through the gift shop, looking for a new Moustakas or Perez shirt that we could wear proudly. If we were as impatient as Dayton and Ned say we are, and have told us we are more than once over the last seven years, then this conversation would be moot. Because we wouldn’t exist. Ned can talk about about trees and Dayton could sputter something about a “process” but it would be the equivalent of when Rex is talking and you’ve muted your TV: no one can hear you. If we want to be brutally honest, we fans are going to still be here long after this two man carny show is gone. Sooner or later, Neddy and Dayton will get their walking papers, but us die-hards will still be here. Hell, we might have to sit through another rebuilding phase, but our allegiance will still be to this team. It goes beyond just cheering and crying for us; this is our team, for life. We bleed Royal blue. We are the ones you should be thankful for, despite seven years of being told to be patient while witnessing more losing. So instead of getting pissy about us clamoring for Moose to start hitting, realize you two are the ones who told us to expect more. The two of you are the ones who told us it was time to believe. You can’t just tell us to FINALLY raise expectations and then get mad when we bitch about those expectations not being met. It doesn’t work that way. You want to prove us wrong? Win. Period. Winning will not only make us happy, but make you look like you are actually competent at your job, which is very questionable with Ned and Dayton. Winning is the cure for losing; and we all know losing is a disease…