Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Whose Head is Gonna Roll?

I'd rather run a marathon backwards and blindfolded than think about the Royals right now, much less write anything meaningful about them, but the question must be asked in the midst of an unprecedented 18-game losing streak - should Buddy Bell be fired, even after just a half season on the job? I've never placed much stock in the value of the manager, mind you; the talent and determination of the players is going to see a team through in the long run. But Buddy Bell is providing the ultimate test of that theory with this unbelievably awful performance.

If a manager has no other role, it is to get his players ready to play every day, to juggle the lineup to give the team a spark, make an impassioned (or calm) speech to rally the troops in the face of a crisis of confidence. Buddy is inspiring nothing but more losing; the team is stepping on the field every day believing it is going to lose. Under his watch, this team of young players has learned more about losing in 3 weeks than they'd probably experienced in their entire careers to this point. Buddy Bell, in short, is impotent; he has no power to stop this ridiculousness.

Buddy Bell is not going to be fired, if for no other reason than it would set a precedent that the Royals organization would never have the stomach to establish. But in a 3-week flash, Buddy has lost every bit of credibility he earned in his first two months with the club. He's entering next season as a lame duck who will not be given any slack by the Royal fan base, whatever is left of it. I, for one, a' tired of coddling imcompetence in the hope that it will improve over time if left to its own devices. At my own company, we hired a CEO and fired him 6 months later; rational, calculating organizations recognize their mistakes, part ways and move on. Why should a baseball team operate any differently?

A clean sweep of the Royal front office in the offseason, which is looking like a foregone conclusion no matter how you feel about Allard Baird, should also involve ending the brief Buddy Bell experiment. The Royals need to brush aside all of their associations with losing, and unfortunately Buddy Bell has already been branded with this unfortunate stain. Maybe I'm unfairly making Buddy the scapegoat, but in the aftermath of this historically rotten season, the Royals need more than one, and no one should be immune.



At 11:23 PM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

How this team was so close to .500 under Bell for 50 games is simply astounding and I guess this long losing streak was overdue. The Royals need to clean house after this season, starting with Mr. Baird. We don't have enough talent on the major league team or in the farm system to make this team into a contender anytime soon. He's had 5 years to get that talent.

At 1:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Royals have a chance to make history! They'd almost have to lose out to match the '62 Mets, but with a 5-38 finish, they can match the 2003 Tigers for the worst record in AL history! Keep up the bad work, Royals...make this a record-setting year in K.C. yet!!!

At 9:47 AM, Blogger DL said...

OU, that is the single most astounding thing about this losing streak - the Royals were actually playing WELL over a stretch of 50 GAMES before the wheels fell off, caught on fire and melted. How a team goes from perfectly mediocre to the worst collection of ragtag ballers in recent memory is beyond my comprehension.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

Let me throw my two cents in and join the fire Allard Baird bandwagon. I think the Royals need to hire a competent experienced GM with a plan that he actually sticks to. Preferably someone from a small market team that has had success in the past with a Royals style budget. Surely there are men in the Twins, A's, etc... organizations that are ready to take the reigns of a franchise.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buddy Bell is not the problem; he's a victim of the problem. The problem is the utter lack of talent on this team which results from having stingy ownership and an ineffective front office. I agree with others that Baird must go. We need a GM who understands how to select and develop talent and also understands the importance of re-signing established veterans whose salaries will not break the bank (e.g. Dye, Randa, Ibanez, etc.). Successful teams like the A's, Indians, and Twins have kept a few quality veterans on their teams during their youth movements. All we have is Sweeney.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

To give Buddy Bell a pass through this is just stupid. He controls the team day-to-day, while the GM does not. So, Buddy Bell's been at the helm of this ship for each loss. It is upon his head, plain and simple.

Targeting Baird seems good as well, and I don't think he should escape unblamed, BUT...

Saying he's had five years to get talent is silly -- what, was he supposed to field the entire 2005 Royals from his 2001 draft or something?

Baird's acquired talent (especially on the pitching side), but I'm looking at the minor league system as having failed to develop them -- Baird isn't a coach. Also, the injuries to the young pitching is inexcusable -- again, Baird isn't a trainer.

With these three glaring areas of failure between the manager of the team, the coaching in the minor league system, and the training staff of the organization -- how can you put all of it at Baird's doorstep? It's asinine to keep letting the other parts of the organization fail again and again with an overhaul.

Remember, the Royals had the exact same track record of getting talented pitchers and either not developing them or exposing them to injury before Baird even got there....the pattern is identical.

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Fester said...

I've said this on the Royals board before, but if Allard Baird doesn't recognize that he needs to resign, that itself is a clear indication of his incompetency.

At 3:47 PM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

Daniel, Bell doesn't deserve a free pass. But, considering that the previous managers under Baird have all had horrible records (and probably weren't good managers), I tend to think the talnet on the team is the problem, not the manager. While Baird isn't a coach, he plays a major role in hiring the coaches in the organization who develop our starting pitching. He's also done a very poor job in free agency. I'll address this further in a post later.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Young Phenom said...

What happened around the time the losing streak started? For starters:
+We traded Graf
+Wood went from a reliable reliever to starting once every 5 games.
That doesn't seem like very much, but maybe it was enough to lose a dependable guy like Graf and instead have McEwing play.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger DL said...

I just think Buddy Bell had his "credibility moment" with this losing streak, which has washed away any good feelings I had about him in his first two months. It might be irrational for the Royals to fire him now or even at the end of the season, but I think this tired, stodgy, losing organization needs to act rashly. What good does it do this team to take light steps?

Everyone must go. Royal cleansing. I have no idea how Allard Baird can escape accountability as the man in charge. That's not to say that Baird hasn't done some things right. But good people get fired all the time for the good of the enterprise.

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bring back John Schuerholz!

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Royals hired Bell because he was comfortable with the organization's "plan" and "direction", that being to lose now so we can hope to win more later. In other words, they hired him to lose. Given his career before the Royals, he should be expected to know how to do this.

There's nothing about this organization to make a fan think that there is a strong interest at the top in winning. So even with a losing streak of 25+ and a terrible performance for the rest of the season, the chances that a major housecleaning will occur seem vanishingly small to me. I think the absolute best we can hope for is that Allard is relieved of his duties this winter.


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