The consistently down on their luck Kansas City Royals sorry state made the cover of USA TODAY‘s sports section under the headline: “Royals Flushed With Frustration.”
The story begins with former Royals wunderkind Bret Saberhagen who won Game Seven of the 1985 World Series.
“Today he is 50, balding and in disbelief,” USA Today writes.
“It’s crazy, just crazy,” Saberhagen says. “I mean 30 years have blown by just like that. The team used to be in the playoffs almost every year. And now, with the wild cards, you’d expect them to get there periodically. I mean, sometime, right? It just hasn’t worked out lately.
“Lately?” Saberhagen laughs after pausing. “How’s that for an understatement?”
Not being much of a baseball fan, I found one aspect of the story fascinating and don’t know how well it’s recalled here locally.
And that’s that former Cardinals and Royals Hall Of Fame manager Whitey Herzog puts the lion’s share of the blame for the state of the team squarely on the shoulders of owner and former Walmart honcho David Glass.
“The Milwaukee Brewers accepted. The rest is history,” Herzog tells USA Today. “That’s one of the most major mistakes in the history of ownership. It was natural to go to the National League. They would have had a natural rivalry with the Cardinals. The Cubs would be sellouts. People would come from Denver. And they wouldn’t have to worry about their offense.”
So why didn’t Glass take Selig up on the no-brainer offer?
“When I talked to David about it, he said, ‘Everybody wanted to see the Yankees.’ I said, ‘Was there anyone complaining if you went to the NL?’ He said, ‘We got about a hundred letters,'” Herzog continues. “I said, ‘Jesus, you’re running Walmart and you let 100 letters change your mind? What a screw-up.'”
The story concludes with GM Dayton Moore’s brilliant observation that, “You can’t make excuses for young players. You just can’t. You’ve got to go play. And you’ve got to win!”
USA TODAY sportswriter Bob Nightengale’s snarky retort:
“Hopefully before George Brett starts collecting his Social Security checks. He turns 65 in four years.”
Ah, what might have been…