You may or may not have heard, but the Kansas City Royals won the 2015 World Series! They out-hustled, out-worked, out-scouted, out-played the Mets to win four games to one. I was happy. I sat in complete bliss watching the postgame celebration late Sunday night and into early Monday morning.
It was fun.
But, as my head hit the pillow a little after 1:00 AM on Monday, November 2, 2015, my thoughts shifted to the one question. That one question that always haunts a coach, “How do we get better?”
In the Kansas City Royals case, “How do they keep winning into 2016 and beyond?”
If you’re looking for a happy, blue-Kool Aid-infused blog post about how awesome everything is and how we should keep the train on the track as is, I apologize in advance. You are going to be pissed off at old Coach Hays. This is going to be a rant about how we can leverage this current success into a long-term success by focusing on the stale, overused team sports saying about playing for the “name on the front of the jersey”.
The secret to the Royals future success and with the associated continuance of your fandom needs to be grounded in this. We need to be Royals fans. Not just Gordon fans, not just Hosmer fans, not just Cain fans, and not just Perez fans. We need to cheer like crazy for the guys on the roster, the guys who go out and play the games every day. AND we need to avoid falling in love with the individual over the team.
Small market or mega-market, professional sports teams have to be smart about how, when and where they spend money. The mega-markets can afford mistakes on long-term, high dollar contracts. The small markets cannot. They have to be willing to part ways with current players and/or parlay a current start into two or three future stars.
That is what I believe Dayton Moore’s as a general manager lies. Don’t get bogged down in heavy, long-term contracts at the expense of your future. Be consistently great by being an organization consistently evolving.
- Acquire talent.
- Develop talent.
- Coach up the talent.
- Put the talent in a position to win.
- Deal talent.
But, this is tough. It’s tough as a GM to pull the trigger. Okay, you short memory people, remember how ticked off you were last year when they let Billy Butler walk to the A’s. Remember?
The Royals have built an exceptional system under Dayton Moore. It is something I never could or would have believed the Glass family would have committed the resources to a decade ago. They have great scouting on both the talent and game front. They have great assistant coaches and minor league coaches (I forego inclusion of head coach Ned Yost in this list as his greatest asset to the organization is allowing people around him to do their jobs.). They have tapped into Latin America like few other teams did to mine talent.
In short, I trust this management to compete.
Is that all we can ask as fans?
Compete, compete, compete, and then, on occasion, tremendous things will happen as fortune smiles on your endeavors and the baseball gods sprinkle your team with greatness—like the 2015 World Championship.
Don’t be mad at either the player or the management for the Gordo’s, the Salvi’s, the Zobrists, the Hosmers and the Cuetos walking out the door. Remember, they are leaving a whole bunch of awesome memories and results in their wake.
The name on the front, people.
The “now’s” instead of the “has been’s”. The “producers” instead of the “washed-ups”.
Thank you to everyone in the organization for 2014 and 2015. It’s been an awesome ride as a fan.
Now, let’s go get 2016!