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Not Watchin' The Road


As easy as it is to fall into a "the world is against my baseball team" mindset when "my baseball team" is the Kansas City Royals, I’m surprised that I stayed out of the muck this long. With that said, I’ve never, ever believed that ESPN and other national media outlets make a concerted effort to avoid talking about small-market baseball, at least in a vicious sense.

Sure, in a perfect world, all 30 clubs would receive equal airtime, but the reality of the situation is that networks and newspapers do what they can to sell their product. For a myriad of reasons, the Yankees and Red Sox are interesting, while the Royals and Pirates are not. That the Royals aren’t talked about has nothing to do with their small-market status; it’s because they don’t win and don’t have any drama.

However, while it’s one thing for network executives and newspaper editors to make decisions that are in their best interests, it’s quite another for a publication to display pure and unabatedly-lazy journalism. Baseball America recently released their acclaimed Prospect Handbook for the 2006 season and BA’s Will Kimmey wrote the Royals’ organizational review. Within Kimmey’s published essay was this sentence:

    While Baird has played his part, the downward spiral began in 1993 when CEO David Glass bought the club and began running it like a discount store.
Really? If Mr. Kimmey is reading this, he should probably be aware that while Glass essentially ran the club as Chairman following the death of Royals founder Ewing Kauffman in 1993, it was essentially owned by a community trust until Glass finally made the purchase for $96 million. In 2000.

Glass being the man in charge of finding ownership might have been what Kimmey meant by "bought the club," but that doesn’t make the mistake any less horrible than it already is. After all, the people who edited the book are paid to find errors like this, so they failed to do their jobs as well.

To make matters worse, Chris Demaria is ranked as Kansas City’s 25th-best prospect more than a month after he was traded to the Brewers, while other prospects who changed teams this winter – Andy Marte and Yusmeiro Petit come to mind – are listed with their new teams. Jonah Bayliss and Chad Blackwell, the two young pitchers who were traded to Pittsburgh for Mark Redman during the Winter Meetings, are listed on the club’s depth chart. Oh, and Billy Butler was apparently born on his draft date, or June 7, 2004.

I don’t feel wronged as a Royals fan by these easily fixable errors, but I do find myself a little bit discouraged that a publication as prestigious as BA didn’t catch this kind of stuff before they published the book. Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t a sign that they don’t care enough about the Royals to go over their section with a fine-toothed comb. I don’t know, and I don’t care. BA’s better than this and I hope they right the ship.
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