by John Viril—
Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore insisted that he was committed to winning this season during the All-Star break, touching off a firestorm of protest from pundits across the internet. Writer after writer insisted that the Kansas City Royals needed to be sellers and that Dayton Moore was being unrealistic and had learned nothing from the past. I wrote that Dayton Moore was grasping at straws.
We’ve all been playing into Dayton Moore’s hand.
I believe that the blogger set does have it right. Realism tells us this season is a lost cause and the Royals would be better served to build up the roster for future. However, Moore’s profession of belief in his team has to play well in the clubhouse. What might have been internally dismissed as positive media-speak has taken on added significance now that it has been roundly bashed by most pundits.
Manager Ned Yost can now play the oldest ploy in the motivation handbook: it’s us against the world.
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Sure it seems hackneyed to any fan that’s followed sports for 10 years or so. We have see it play out over and over again in every major sport across the globe. However, “us against the world” is used so often for one reason: it works. The entire Patriot Way is built upon it. Bill Belichick and his disciples create an atmosphere of media secrecy, in part, to bind their teams together. He learned it from Bill Parcells. “Us against the world” was immortalized in the most iconic baseball movie of a generation in Major League. Al Davis built his franchise on the theory of winning with players other people don’t want—until, that is, he turned into a zombie in his final decade. Michael Jordan spent his life inventing past slights to fuel his transcendent career.
On the Royals, 2B Chris Getz has already proclaimed that the Royals are “still in it”. The team did their part by winning 1-0 in the first game of a three-game series against division-leading Detroit. If the Royals can manage a sweep of the Tigers, they will add short-term validation to external disrespect. The combination is exactly the fuel needed to ignite a winning streak.
So far, the media has done it’s part. If the players can follow through with two more wins against Detroit, Dayton Moore might yet get to say, “I told you so”.