As a lifelong Kanas City Royals fan (yes, such a thing really does exist), I'm already a big Dayton Moore fan. Mostly because he's a John Schuerholz guy, and Schuerholz was not only the guy who made the Atlanta Braves into what the Braves were from 1991-2005, but Schuerholz was also the guy responsible for putting together the last great Royals teams. Everything Moore has done so far indicates that he's going to put the future Royals together in a similar way that Schuerholz did with the Braves (starting with the Joey Gathright trade, which so echoed one of Scherholz's first moves with Atlanta in getting the speedy Otis Nixon from the Montreal Expos). Former Royals GM Allard Baird used to always preach about his "plan", but he never really got around to really explaining what that plan was. Moore has his plan, and isn't afraid to let us know what it actually is. For the first time since the Royals had an outfield that featured Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye, I can actually be excited again as a Royals fan. Notice I wrote that last sentence without mentioning the panic attack I almost had while re-reading it.
Which leads us to the Royals current skipper, David Gus "Buddy" Bell. My memories of Bell before he came to Kansas City was seeing him as George Brett's backup 3rd baseman in the All-Star game, about how angry I'd get when Buddy would replace Brett in the middle of the game because as a kid, I wanted George to play the whole game. That and he had a horrible managerial record, having one winning season, going 82-80 with the 2000 Colorado Rockies. He certainly wouldn't have been my choice to take over as Royals manager last year (I had faint cries of bringing back Hal McRae, who not only WON as a Royals skipper, but was a ton of fun to have around, and his infamous 1993 tirade deserves a permanent spot on youtube).
So when Moore was named the new GM earlier this year, I figured it was only a matter of time before he brought in "his" new skipper. It obviously hasn't happened, and I still don't know what to make of Buddy Bell. He finally tried to get our attention last Saturday night against Oakland, when David DeJesus was called out for interfering with the catcher on weird bunt attempt. Buddy tried and tried to go Earl Weaver on the umpire. I'm sure Lou Piniella saw the clip and thought, "That's all you got Buddy?" At least we finally got to see some sort of fire from Buddy Bell, but the whole effort almost seemed forced, as if Buddy didn't really have it in him to go all out during the situation.
It was then that I realized that Buddy doesn't have Hal McRae's fire, doesn't have even Tony Pena's spunk. And frankly, even with Dayton Moore's solid foundation of a plan, I think he needs a manager who at least has that capability. You'd think after managing so many losing teams, there might be a major boiling point that could really set Buddy off. I'm not suggesting he needs to go Lloyd McClendon and pick up a base and take it back with him to the dugout, but I do think the last piece to Dayton Moore's plan is the right manager to turn this team into a winner. There's no doubt in my mind that Buddy Bell is a good baseball guy, but frankly he's never been a good baseball manager, nevermind the talent he's had to work with. Now, he's got an All-Star in the making at 3rd base in Mark Teahan (which makes the Beltran trade a bit easier to stomach), and a couple of really superb guys coming up soon in Alex Gordon and Billy Butler.
Oh, and the last two manager's who posted a winning record in Kansas City? Hal McRae and Tony Pena.
BTW, I'm certainly not expecting the passionate responses that come with suggesting something wrong with Nebraska Football here, if any at all. Just somebody try and get a meeting at least between Hal McRae and Dayton Moore.