Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star and Sports Illustrated wrote a very long post about the Royals and what went wrong in the decade that wasn’t. Obviously the aughts were a terrible decade for the Royals and no one has said it better than Pos does.
Needless to say, it’s a good read. Some choice quotes:
The amazing part of that 2004 season was not that things went bad — looking back, we probably should have seen a drop-off coming. It was HOW FAST things went bad.
Once it became clear that, no, there was really no secret plan behind [bringing up 24-year-old non-prospect Eduardo Villacis] — the Royals apparently did not have a pitcher for Yankee Stadium and did not want to spend money to bring one up — well, I think that Villacis move was another crossed line. The 100-loss game showed that the Royals were sort of non-commital. The Villacis game showed the Royals had run out of ideas.
And then it got just dreadful. [Royals then-GM] Allard Baird […] was in this terrible spot — he was given little money, little support, there was way too much ownership meddling — and looking back it is clear to me that he did not really know what to do to get out of it. Once things go THAT BAD, every move seems to go sour. If you had to put a book title on the Royals decade, it might be: “Desperation Makes Things Worse.”
[After firing Baird in 2006], the Royals hired Dayton Moore, probably the hottest GM prospect in baseball. And even THAT they screwed up. They hired Dayton Moore BEFORE the 2006 amateur draft, but Moore insisted that he could not start until AFTER the draft because it would not be fair to the Braves. It was a classy decision by Dayton … except that the Royals had the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft. It was one of those critical moments for an organization. The No. 1 overall pick can make or break a team’s future. And the Royals went into that draft with no GM.
They spent that No. 1 pick on Luke Hochevar, a 22-year-old pitcher who had been pitching Independent League ball after agreeing and then refusing to sign with the Dodgers for $3 million. The pick shocked baseball people who had expected the Royals to take a big left-handed pitcher named Andrew Miller. Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum went in the Top 10.
All right, if I keep doing this I’m gonna quote the whole thing, go read the article.