The Benefits Of No Fear Baseball
In the end, this “player’s first” style produced a Kansas City Royals team able to exploit any little mistake an opponent makes. This ability, in turn, has attracted players to the KC Royals organization. Consider the case of minor league free-agent first baseman Cody Decker, who chose to sign with the Kansas City Royals despite being blocked at the major-league level by 1B Eric Hosmer and DH Kendrys Morales, and having to joust with independent league find Balbino Fuenmayor at AAA Omaha.
Decker told Minda Haas Kuhlman at Royals Review about his decision to join the KC Royals organization:
"“They have fun. They realize this is a kids’ game, and it should be fun.”"
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Players who are afraid to lose, who feel they need to live up to a big contract, or avoid a harangue from the executive suite if they lose, aren’t going to have fun. They’ll also hesitate in the crunch if their manager, general manager, or owner blasts them for a mistake. Coaches might need to kick a player in the ass if they’re not working hard enough—or for behavior that undermines the team—but on-field mistakes a player makes because he is trying to win isn’t a reason for anger. Or even criticism. Instead, it means they need
Many teams say they teach, and play, this way. The Kansas City Royals actually do it.
Old timers can remember New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner ripping his players in the press for on field mistakes and firing managers like people change cell phone providers today. What he ended up doing was handcuffing his high priced free agent talent. It’s no accident that the late-90’s New York Yankees dynasty was built when Commissioner Fay Vincent banned Steinbrenner from day-to-day operations of the team after he paid gambler Howard Spira to dig up “dirt” on Yankee star Dave Winfield.
Win-or-else demands don’t allow prospects to develop. And they certainly don’t play Kansas City Royals baseball.
KC Royals fans, we’re smack in the middle of a Golden Era. Watch it. Celebrate it. Have fun with it. Because it’s rare. We more than any other fanbase in America should recognize it for how precious it is. Someday, you’ll be telling your grandchildren about it.
Hopefully, the Kansas City Royals will still be good enough to make them want to listen.