Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Royal Way

If you haven’t had a chance to watch some of the interviews on the Royals website with former players such as Willie Wilson, Jeff Montgomery, and Brian McRae, I’d highly encourage you to do so. They’ve been in camp this year, trying to encourage the current generation of players to hold their heads up because this organization was once top notch, and it can be again. Wilson was overheard by one reporter telling outfielders that they need to “keep the excellence going.”

I love to see this happening. Just two seasons ago, the Royals held their 20-year anniversary celebration of their 1985 World Championship. Players on the 2005 roster reportedly had little interest in watching the festivities or even in conversing at length with former players who came back for the celebration. Apparently, what happened in the past was of no consequence to them. Of course, that shouldn’t be the case, but it has been for far too long.

In one of the videos, Wilson pointed to guys like Amos Otis who taught him about the rich Royal tradition. And he said that Frank White learned it from Cookie Rojas. And now, Wilson finally has the chance to try to pass it along himself because Dayton Moore is involving former Royals in camp this year. Apparently he thinks that tradition can be a great motivator. As Moore has been introducing former Royals to the current players, he’s been reading their stats aloud. And it seems like some of the players are finally starting to “get it.”

If you watch the video featuring Wilson, you’ll see pride, in a good way, seeping through his eyes as the reporter asks him how current players are responding as they hear stories and statistics from about the glory days. Maybe the players see what I saw in his eyes. Wilson said that they are asking what it felt like to play for a winning team, and they want to know how fans received them in Kansas City. So, finally, we have a connection between the past and the present. George Brett has always been someone the guys could turn to if they really wanted to know about the club’s history, but given their attitude during the 20-year anniversary celebration, you have to wonder if any of them ever took advantage of it.

Since coming to Kansas City, Dayton Moore has reportedly been using the phrase “The Royal Way” and I like it. I’m old enough to remember seeing the Royals play in the late 1970’s and all the way through their glory years. This organization has been horribly mismanaged from the top down ever since Ewing Kauffman died in 1993, and the on-field results followed suit. It’s too early to know whether Moore will right the ship after it has been allowed to drift off course for 13 years. And even though the Royals may be a year or two away from competing, Moore appears to be on the verge of slowing the ship down enough to begin making the turn back towards baseball relevance.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics