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OWNER OR PAUPER OF YEAR?

By Murray Chass

October 19, 2014

After the Kansas City Royals completed their stunning sweep of the Baltimore Orioles for the American League pennant, Jackie Autry, the league’s honorary president, presented the title trophy to the Royals’ owner, David Glass.

As I watched this improbable scene, I thought of how undeserving Glass was of any kind of trophy. But then I talked with Glass on the telephone and when I hung up I had two good reasons for giving him credit for the Royals’ presence in the World Series.

If Dayton Moore is the major league executive of the year, which he should be for building the Royals into a World Series participant, Glass should be owner of the year for hiring Moore in the first place and then letting him do his job for more than eight years without telling him what to do, a temptation many owners can’t resist.

“He said it would take seven to nine years,” the 79-year-old owner said. “We stayed the course and didn’t deviate from it.”

It took the Royals 29 years to get back to the World Series – back to the post-season – and Glass was the chief reason it took so long. For the first 7 of those years, he was the Royals’ board chairman following the death of Ewing Kaufmann, the team’s founding owner, and for the last 14 years he has been the team’s owner.

Glass was suspected of manipulating the sale of the team in his favor. He got the Royals for $96 million despite an offer of $120 million from a New York lawyer, Miles Prentice, who owned minor league teams and was making offers for any major league team that was on the market. Major League Baseball was concerned that he didn’t have enough assets to sustain sizeable losses and awarded the Royals to Glass.

“After we first bought the team we didn’t have a good feel for what we should do,” Glass said in our conversation. “It’s one thing to do whatever it takes to execute a plan, but you need the plan. We didn’t have a plan until Dayton came.”

Herk Robinson, one of the nicest guys who has ever worked in a baseball front office, was the Royals’ general manager when Glass took over. When Glass bought the team in 2000, he named Allard Baird general manager but fired him in May 2006.

What to do then?

“I called the baseball lifers I knew,” Glass said, “and Dayton was the only one they mentioned.”

At the time, Moore was Atlanta’s assistant general manager, slated to succeed John Schuerholz as the Braves’ general manager. The Royals, however, plucked Moore off the g.m.-in-waiting vine first.

Under Glass, the Royals have not been big spenders. In fact, Glass was accused early on of …

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TWO G.M.’S, TWO WRONG OUTCOMES

By Murray Chass

October 16, 2014

This is a tale of two general managers:

(Which would be more likely to be fired; which would be more likely to stay with a new contract?)

General Manager Team A
* Has operated payrolls totaling $433 million the past two seasons
* Has failed to make the playoffs the past two years

General Manager Team B
* Has operated payrolls totaling $451 million the past two seasons
* Has won division championship the past two years

If you haven’t guessed, Team A is …

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DEADLINE-DAY ADDITIONS DWINDLE

By Murray Chass

October 12, 2014

And then there were two. Pitchers John Lackey of St. Louis and Andrew Miller of Baltimore are the last ones standing of all of the players traded to playoff contenders on July 31, the last day players could be traded without having gone through waivers. They are the only ones remaining in the playoffs.

There is one other player who was traded that day who is still in the playoffs, but what a circuitous route Kelly Johnson took to get there.

Johnson, a journeyman utility infielder-outfielder, signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent last December. He played for them for the first four months of the season before they traded him to Boston for Stephen Drew July 31.

A month later, after he played 10 games for the Red Sox, they traded Johnson to …

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