David Glass tends to shy away from the spotlight. He held true to this behavior even as his Royals stormed into the World Series this season for the first time since 1985.
Glass has owned the club since 2000, but he likes to paint himself as a high-placed observer. He defers most questions about baseball decisions to his son, team president Dan Glass, and general manager Dayton Moore. Still, he was willing to chat about the season just past and the season ahead with a few reporters at the quarterly owners meetings taking place here at The InterContinental Hotel on the Plaza.
Here is a partial transcript of Glass’ remarks. The questions have been edited for clarity.
▪ What are your thoughts on Billy Butler’s departure?
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“We’ll miss Billy. I really like him. He’s a good young man. did a great job for us. But I think it’s probably the right thing for both of us. I think a fresh start will do Billy a lot of good. And I think that Dayton and Ned want to go a little different route. I think it’s the best of all worlds.
“Although we will miss him. I’ve had a lot of fun with him over the years. He’s a good kid.”
▪ Did you ever try his BBQ sauce?
“I never did. I stayed away from that.”
▪ Do you expect the payroll to rise this coming season, given the extra revenue from the playoffs and the expected attendance increase?
“I don’t know what Dayton wants to do at this point. He and Dan are working on a lot of different possibilities. One of the things that I’ve learned over the years, it has nothing to do with the amount of money you spend. It’s what you spend it on. And so I think that’s what drives it for us: What’s available? What can we do? And what should we do?”
▪ But with so many players due raises in arbitration, the payroll is probably going to increase.
“The way it works, it’ll cost a lot more just to keep the team intact. But you want to always improve it, if you can.”
▪ How do you think you can do that?
“I don’t know. That’s why we have Dayton.”
▪ Do you feel like the playoff run delayed the offseason planning? Do you feel like the organization is still formulating its best course of action for this winter?
“Well, I know that Dayton and all of his people have been working very aggressively. They started during the World Series and haven’t stopped. They’ve evaluated all kinds of opportunities. But sometimes, the best deals that are made are made in spring training, for example. It’s a long time until spring training. And you’ve got a long time to put the right combination of people together…
“There are a lot of examples. I think if someone has a specific need and they know a specific player fills that need, they’ll jump out and do it. But otherwise, there are lots of deals that will be done that no one’s even thought of yet. When teams get to spring training and they start thinking about what they need, and then what they don’t need, there’s still an opportunity. Not that we need to wait until then.
“I trust Dayton’s judgment and his people. I think they’re as obsessed with winning as I am.”
▪ Has the World Series run sunk in yet?
“No. I was telling Joe Torre a while ago that I wish I could have enjoyed it more while we were going through it. I’m still disappointed about game seven. I’m a very poor loser. But I have to give the Giants credit. They played well. And winning three World Series in the last five years in remarkable. So I take my hat off to that organization and their players.
“But at the same time, I wanted us to win it all. But there is so much going on, and there are so many things that you have to do, and so much stress that goes with it — for someone like myself, going through it, you don’t really appreciate it or enjoy it as much as you do retrospectively.
“The reason I want to do it again real quick is so I can relax and enjoy the thing.”
▪ Do you get the sense that free agents are more interested in coming to Kansas City now?
“The way that the team plays, and our success in October, I think that makes people want to come here. If I were a pitcher, I’d want to come to Kansas City and pitch. Because of the defense and the ballpark. So I think that’s probably true.
“I think one of the things that did change, and would be inevitable in our situation, is these young players — until they actually achieve it — never know for sure that they can do it. Once you do it, once you get there to the World Series, nothing else is acceptable after that. Now you know how it feels. Now you know you can accomplish it.
“So I would think that they go into spring training a different team than they were in spring training last year.”
▪ Even with the same cast?
“I’m really proud of our guys. They really played lights-out in October. But remember, they’re all young. I don’t know when I was their age if I knew how to get home and back, for the most part. They’re growing and maturing and getting better all the time. So I think if we can do it the right way, we’ve got a chance to be competitive for a long time.”
▪ How much does the taste last year make you want to get back there?
“The thing that I probably enjoyed the most was the fans. I got a chance to compare the fans in Anaheim and Baltimore and San Francisco with ours. I would stack our fans up against anybody’s anywhere. And I saw this city energized in a way that I haven’t seen it in my memory. And for the fans to be able to come out and have that much fun, and enjoy it that much, it really meant a lot. Because they’ve hung in there with us during bad times.”
▪ Do you feel this offseason the team needs to make significant additions, or do you feel like the core has enough talent to get back to the World Series?
“Bear in mind that I’m not going to make any baseball decisions. Dayton ought to be answering this question, rather than me. But philosophically, it’s important to keep your core group together. These players play together as a team. To them, it’s more important that we win than their individual statistics. And that’s not always true with baseball players, or any professional athlete.
“And I think keeping that core group together, with that philosophy, is really important. And then I think you supplement with whatever you need. Dayton and his folks know very well where we stand to be able to improve. And I’m sure they’re working on it.”
▪ We’ve seen some huge contracts given out already this winter. Are you surprised by that?
“Would you call $325 million ‘huge?’”
▪ I would. I don’t know if I could come up with another word.
“I am really surprised. And it’s not just (Giancarlo) Stanton. He’s a great young man, and a great player. But I am. I don’t know how teams are going to be able to do it, and do it within their economics. But we’ll see. They obviously know what they’re doing.”
▪ It won’t cost that much to extend Alex Gordon.
“Well, I think it will. And you know, Alex is a great example of somebody that is on a team that has a responsibility in the community as well. He’s just this All-American kid that fathers like their daughters to marry and things like that. He does great things in the community. And he really believes in all the things he does.
“He’s a Cornhusker. You can’t get that out of him. Besides that, he’s a great kid.”
▪ Do you expect the team to embark on discussions with Gordon about another contract extension this winter?
“I don’t know. But I can’t imagine any of our core group not being here. We’ll be faced with that, inevitably, when free agency comes, and players make decisions for different reasons. But for now, I can’t imagine our players anywhere else. And I think that they all like being here. We have a lot of alumni and players that live in the Kansas City area. And they like it. They appreciate this area.
“And Major League Baseball. You talk to all these owners. They have a great time when they come to Kansas City … Everybody is really complimentary about this area. And the other owners are sincerely complimentary about this team.
“I get around the country with my other responsibilities, and people all over talk about the Royals. And the reason I think that the Royals captured the imagination of baseball fans around the country is, for the most part, they couldn’t tell you the name of one single player on our team. And yet when they watched them play in the World Series, and they saw them play the way baseball purists believe baseball should be played, it just kind of caught their imagination.
“So we developed a pretty decent following. Of course, now people around the country, they know who some of the players are. And they’ll follow us next year.”