Reading this will tick off a lot of you. Some of you will stop right here and cuss. Some of you will send angry emails. Some of you will read the rest of this column with a cloudy mind, but its the absolute truth:
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
David Glass is severely misunderstood in Kansas City.
While were at it, heres another truth about the Royals owner:
Most of the misunderstanding is his own damn fault.
This is particularly important right now because this is Glass best and last chance to own a winning team. More than Dayton Moore or Billy Butler or Eric Hosmer, its up to Glass. He has to know this. Has to feel it.
Glass has to come out of All-Star week a packed Kauffman Stadium for the Futures Game, rocking atmosphere for the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game seeing what Kansas City would be like if the Royals become worth the passion.
There is an enormous disconnect between Glass and the fan base. Fans dont give him enough credit for his evolution into what people around baseball call a model small-money owner the last six years, and Glass has never been accountable enough for the disastrous years before.
The coming months are his best chance to change all of that, because fans understandably arent going to give credit unless they see a winner.
Glass can make it happen, but hell not only have to continue his much-improved support of the team hell have to raise his ante.
The words David and Glass have come to evoke so much emotion in this town that the best way to see clearly is to take the mans name out of it and play a hypothetical game.
What if Glass, after six years of well-documented rotten ownership, sold the Royals in 2006? What if the new guy then hired the games hottest general manager prospect and completely changed the way the Royals did business?
The new guy adds a minor-league affiliate plus more than a dozen baseball operations positions, filling most of them with people who have World Series championship experience. The new guy green-lights an enormous increase on resources for amateur talent, breaking major-league records for draft signings and taking the franchise from dead last to the very top in Latin America spending. The new guy pays out the biggest free-agent contracts in the AL Central two offseasons in a row, pushing the clubs payroll close to the middle of the pack in baseball.
And while Glass infamously allowed Carlos Beltran to walk over $1 million on an extension offer, the new guy OKs extensions for every worthy homegrown player Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Zack Greinke, Salvador Perez, Joakim Soria and, if we can count him, Alcides Escobar.
Wouldnt the new guy be getting some love?
Wouldnt people be talking about how far the franchise had come in six years? Wouldnt they point out that the Royals scouting and player development went from an industry joke to the industry standard?
Wouldnt the narrative be that the Royals even while averaging 93 losses the last five seasons are finally in a position to compete, thanks in large part to the new guys commitment?
If your stance is that Glass allowed the franchise to deteriorate after his bargain-price purchase in 2000 and therefore shouldnt be given credit for doing the right thing the last six years, then fine. You made up your mind long ago.
If Glass doesnt take his increased financial commitment to the next level, his reputation as a Kansas City villain will be permanent and in most ways earned.
But its worth considering the other side.
Because if Glass handles this critical upcoming time the right way, were not too far from needing a major rewrite on a popular Kansas City narrative.
Baseballs tradeoff for small-money franchises like the Royals is time. They can load up, but often for shorter windows further apart.
And the Royals cant really load up unless Glass steps up.
The payroll is now in the $55 million to $60 million range. Tentative plans to stay there mean its essentially impossible to buy a free-agent pitcher or even trade prospects the Royals still have plenty for a frontline guy or two.
The Royals, now more than ever before, are worth Glass spending more. He OKd $70 million payrolls in 2009 and 2010 and if hes willing to go there or higher again, then what the Royals are trying to do becomes much more realistic.
This would require Glass effectively budgeting a financial loss. But hes maintained hes more interested in breaking even than generating profit, and while its important to remember the teams low payrolls the last two years (30th in 2011, 27th this year) are more a product of baseballs youngest roster than a cheap owner, it has also made for a profitable franchise.
Forbes estimated Glass made $28.5 million last year, he figures to make money again this season, and is sitting on a gold mine 12 years after buying the team for $96 million, Forbes estimates the franchise is worth $354 million.
So he can absorb some losses, especially with the possibility of increased attendance for a winner covering much of the increased investment.
And if we learned anything from the past week All-Star festivities are hardly ever met with such passion its that Kansas City will show up for a winner. As it turns out, this is still one of the great baseball cities in the country; it just hasnt had the chance to show it.
The free-agent market will be loaded (the Royals should take their best swing at Greinke, but also long looks at Anibal Sanchez and Shaun Marcum) and this winter will open up all kinds of trade possibilities. And new MLB-imposed limits on spending for amateur talent mean the Royals have millions more available.
Glass has never had a chance like this, and cant be sure he ever will again. This is his defining moment.
He will always be remembered by many for the dead-end mess he oversaw before 2006. But he has made significant improvements since then, and if he plays the coming months right can rewrite his legacy in Kansas City.
He can be the man who stepped forward to keep the Royals in town, learned from his failures and eventually owned the citys first playoff baseball team since 1985.
More than anyone else, its up to Glass. Chances like this dont come around often.
To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365, send e-mail to email@example.com or follow twitter.com/mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com