If you have seen a dark cloud over the Truman Sports Complex lately it may be related to what could potentially be the darkest time in Kansas City professional sports history. Kansas City has seen dark days before, after the city has previously lost a major league baseball team once before, along with losing NHL and NBA franchises that left for greener pastures.
However, we currently may be at the bottom with both current major franchises, the Chiefs and Royals seeing unprecedented lows. Many of us who are Royals fans have grown accustom to twenty years worth of rebuilding, but at least the Chiefs often brought hope for sports fans in the fall. Needless to say, the current Chiefs vision may be even bleaker than that of the Royals.
It starts at the top in both franchises. David Glass officially became the owner of the Kansas City Royals on April 18, 2000. In that time, the Royals are 874-1218 (41.8% winning percentage). In that time we have seen five managers, and three general managers. The current GM, Dayton Moore, came over from the Atlanta Braves. Since Moore became the GM in June of 2006, the Royals record is 467-610 (43.8%).
No doubt the minor league system has improved, but entering his seventh full season with the Royals, the progress in the win column at the major league level has hardly seen an uptick. It's understandable that it feasibly could take four or five years to overturn a major league roster, but the Royals finished 2012 just three games improved from 2007. That is hardly showing progress.
Across the way, the Chiefs are in a similar predicament. Scott Pioli was brought in from a well established organization in the New England Patriots, and like Moore he was going to bring the winning attitude from his organization to his new found role. Pioli and Moore were thought to be great hires at the time. How was Kansas City so fortunate. Well the the production has hardly shown to hold true on the field.
Hired in January of 2009, Pioli's Chiefs have have gone 22-32 over the time (40.7%). Though Kansas City did make the playoffs in 2010, it is a long way from what many fans became used to. Not only are the Chiefs losing, but they are losing big. 2008 may have been the low point in franchise history as the Chiefs went 2-14, and had a point differential of -149, the worst in franchise history.
The next two spots on the list? 2009 and 2011, both under the Pioli regime. And at -79 through just six games so far this year, the Chiefs are well on their way to setting another record for club record for worst point differential in the long history of the Chiefs.
As for drafting, Chiefs third rounder in 2011, Justin Houston appears to be the only player who has really shown sustained potential of becoming a true impact player in the NFL. Some (Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki) have struggled with injuries, with others (Tyson Jackson) appear to be Top 10 busts.
Chiefs owner and CEO Clark Hunt took over the club in December of 2006, following the death of his father Lamar Hunt. During Clark Hunt's time as the leader of the Chiefs, the overall record is 28-58 (32.6%).
To put that in perspective, since 2007 the Chiefs currently have the same number of losses as they had in the entire decade of the 1990's.
It definitely isn't a good situation going on at the Truman Sports Complex, and there isn't a quick fix with the situation each organization finds themselves in. Thankfully, the rosters do have young talent that is eventually capable of winning, the question is can the man running the operations of each franchise build a winner? Maybe more importantly, the question may remain with the ownership of each franchise, as neither has seen any sustained success.
The similarities of the state of each franchise is eerily similar, as Kansas Citians are left longing for a consistent winner. The fans are becoming restless, and the media is no longer sitting back and just feeling glad to have professional sports teams.
We are on a slippery slope folks, something is going have to change for each franchise to turn around their current state. The Chiefs need a franchise quarterback, and the Royals desperately need starting pitching depth. The Royals have Luke Hochevar, while the Chiefs counter with Matt Cassel. Both have the leaders of each organization behind them, while the fans are currently breaking the last straw.
I can sit at home and root for each team, while occasionally attending the games in person as well. The Royals have already lost a generation of baseball fans growing up and cheering for a winner, let's hope the Chiefs don't follow the lead and do the same.
With cable television, the internet, and the endless amount of social media, it's becoming just as easy to cheer for the New York Yankees or the New England Patriots in Kansas City as it is for the hometown Royals and Chiefs. To win back the fans and grab hold of your city again, the teams must prove it on the field. Let's hope the anger towards each franchise doesn't turn into apathy, because you may never get those fans back.