Royals Owner Sherman Saying A Lot But Revealing Very Little
Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman released a letter to fans this morning. It's a long letter, but honestly, when you boil it all down it says very little.
The main thrust of the letter talks about how the Royals ownership group will commit more than $1 billion in private investment to help create transformational growth here and across the region. Additionally, Sherman talks about creating a world-class ballpark that keeps pace with our peers nationwide and brings Kansas Citians a dynamic and energized ballpark experience.
Sherman also talks about how the construction project will generate over 20,000 jobs, 1.4 billion dollars in labor income, and 2.8 billion in total economic output from construction and labor in the three-plus years it takes to build the new ballpark.
When it comes to the team, Sherman says, "We're intensely committed to restoring the Royals to their rightful place in Major League Baseball, and we will do what's necessary to see that through. We're just getting started here."
Finally, Sherman also says we'll all get a look at the Royals new ballpark district vision in the next 30 days, along with the broad benefits of the two sites, one in Jackson County and one in Clay County, that the team is considering. He also says the team will release detailed renderings of the team's vision.
Ok, maybe he did say some interesting things in his letter. I think it's great Royals ownership is committing a billion dollars to create transformational growth, and how building a new ballpark will generate jobs and labor income. But at some point, my eyes glaze over when Sherman starts talking to us like he's talking to politicians and business leadership.
Tell Royals fans what they want to know.
Why do we need a new ballpark? Kauffman Stadium is a great ballpark, that from the naked eye actually looks like it's in pretty good shape. Tell the fans, in some detail, why this 50-year-old ballpark should be bulldozed in favor of a new stadium. In fact, do me one better, tell me why the Royals should move out of the Truman Sports Complex if the team does need a new stadium. Why not build the new one at the complex?
It's obvious to me Royals fans are split on whether we need a new ballpark, and where that new ballpark will be. Give me details on how moving the Royals to a new location in Jackson or Clay Counties will help attendance. How many fans will show up at the new place, that didn't go to the K. How many fans who make the trek to the K now will just skip it if the team moves?
Finally, fix the damn team. In fact, why hasn't there been more done to fix the team? Sherman talks about doing what's necessary to restore the Royals to their rightful place in Major League Baseball.
I'd assume that means consistently fielding a winner, like Mr. and Mrs. Kauffman did with the Royals teams of the 1970s and 1980s. I'd assume that means being competitive enough to have the team featured regularly on national games for Fox and ESPN. It means developing or finding a superstar the caliber of George Brett and finding a baseball mind like John Schuerholtz to run the baseball operation.
Putting this team back into the national spotlight, which in my mind is what Sherman is alluding to when he talks about restoring the Royals to their rightful place in Major League Baseball, is going to be a tall order with how baseball is run in the 21st Century.
One more thing, if the Royals field a winner, you won't need to rely on a new ballpark to create a "dynamic and energized ballpark experience." The fans will show up and provide it.
The Royals have been talking about a new ballpark since Sherman bought the team, and Sherman has been talking about building a winner ever since. Yet, the Royals still stink, and I don't think Sherman has convinced anyone who doesn't like the idea of a new stadium, otherwise. Not to mention, I'm not sure he's convinced voters to give him any more tax money to help build infrastructure for a new home.
Talk is cheap, Mr. Sherman. Many supporters and fans of your team are frustrated. Very frustrated. Fix the team. Help us understand, not from an economic benefit standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint, why we should say goodbye to Kauffman Stadium. Why we should embrace and be excited about the Royals leaving their home for 50 years for something new.
Until that happens expect the frustration many fans feel toward this franchise to continue.