David Glass and the members of the Royals' board of directors are not only the problem but also the arsenic in the soup. This group of baseball buffoons has combined to rip the heart out of one of the greatest baseball franchises of the 1970s and '80s. It is time for these well-meaning but totally incompetent stumbling, bumbling, mumbling executives to be held accountable and asked to step aside. It has gone far beyond just losing games year after year. These people have cost us something that has no price tag. They have cashed in this franchise's hard-earned respect. The class and pride that the Royals once embodied are gone. All that remains are confusion and embarrassment.
After the Royals started 13-23, Allard Baird, the Royals' second-year general manager, fired Brent Strom, the team's pitching coach. Baird told WHB 810's Kevin Kietzman in a recent interview, "There's no way [Strom's] the scapegoat." Sure, and the Royals are going to win 87 games this year and Roberto Hernandez is one of the premier closers in baseball. Fans can put up with about anything except some guy who calls himself an expert talking to them as if they're dumber than the cast of Scary Movie.
Baird tossed Strom off the island as the Royals' sacrificial lamb, in hopes that Strom's corpse would appease Royals fans. Unfortunately for Baird, that's not going to happen as long as we can still smell a turd while he's telling us it's a cannoli. It is beneath the Royals' dignity to run this charade, but it is far from a surprise considering the front office's actions during the past seven years.
Glass became the team's chairman and CEO in September 1993, as was the late Ewing Kauffman's wish. Mr. K should have just wished for a seven-year plague and saved us from Bob Boone and Muser. At least grasshoppers and locusts don't offer you hope before stripping the pride off your hide. Glass' directors thought Boone was such a good hire that they gave him a lucrative contract extension in December 1996 -- six months before they fired him.
The flops on the fifth floor then told us that Tony Muser was the guy they should have hired in the first place. Herk Robinson said he had made a mistake not selecting Muser over Boone originally, but now he finally had his man. What life Boone didn't suck from the loyal Royals fans, Muser has managed to siphon with his comatose personality and hangdog body language. Kietzman calls Muser Eeyore, the sad-sack ass who follows Winnie-the-Pooh around. Eeyore is a can-can girl with big ears compared with Muser.
When George Brett approached then-president Mike Herman in 1995 about purchasing the Royals, he was told to organize an ownership group and then make a presentation -- and then he was pretty much told to go to hell. Herman managed to publicly embarrass the most recognized and loved man in the franchise's history.
On the playing field the Royals have fared no better. Robinson traded David Cone and Brian McRae within days of each other in 1995. Both players grew up in Kansas City and were idols to many locals. During the spring of 1999 the Royals tried to trade Mike Sweeney, the guy who clocked 144 RBIs last season, for a mackerel sandwich and a cold cup of java. They did trade Glendon Rusch, their best pitching prospect in years, who now starts and stars for the Mets. Each June, the Royals continue to draft pitchers who can't pitch. Each July, the Royals are out of the pennant race and talking about next year. It's not just that the Royals are a small-market team -- management continues to waste what income the team generates.
Muser deserves to be a scapegoat -- despite sweeping baseball's worst major league team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, last week -- but the real problem sits five floors above the dugout. It is time for Royals fans to throw stones at this house of Glass that is so easy to see through.