Roy­als prov­ing suc­cess last year was no fluke

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

On a crisp, cool night last Oc­to­ber, John Schuer­holz walked through the gates of Kauffman Sta­dium. Ev­ery seat was full, bunt­ing hung proudly from the rail­ings. There was a buzz. It was all so fa­mil­iar. “That’s what we used to have all the time,’’ he told The As­so­ci­ated Press, re­flect­ing on the Roy­als’ im­prob­a­ble run to the World Se­ries. “To see that back, and the ban­ners over the plaza and all over the town, it was heart­warm­ing. It re­ally was.’’

Kansas City had once again be­come a base­ball town.

And if any­body thought that it was a fluke, a lucky run to a mem­o­rable au­tumn cli­max, the Roy­als have done enough to prove them wrong: Seven play­ers cho­sen to this week’s All- Star Game, a big lead in the AL Cen­tral, some of the best young tal­ent in the game in their club­house.

“I’m happy for the or­ga­ni­za­tion,’’ said Schuer­holz, who was part of the ini­tial front of­fice when the fran­chise be­gan in the late 1960s, then built another dy­nasty with the At­lanta Braves, where he still serves as the team’s pres­i­dent.

“They de­serve what they have,’’ he said, “but it took a lot of work to get there.’’

That work fell on the shoul­ders of Day­ton Moore, one of Schuer­holz’s top lieu­tenants in At­lanta. He turned down other gen­eral man­ager open­ings, but the job in Kansas City res­onated with Moore, who grew up in Wi­chita and rooted for the Roy­als as a kid.

Over most of a decade, he tire­lessly re­built their farm sys­tem. He poured money into scout­ing and player de­vel­op­ment. He es­tab­lished academies in the Caribbean and pushed bound­aries of the sta­tus quo in search of play­ers — re­treads, hot prospects and vir­tual un­knowns.

None of that has changed with their re­cent suc­cess, ei­ther.

The fru­gal fran­chise could not af­ford to keep staff ace James Shields when he hit free agency, so they al­lowed him to sign in San Diego. Moore then signed Edin­son Volquez, Chris Young and Kris Medlen to serve as re­place­ments. None of them made head­lines na­tion­ally — the sign­ings were met with a col­lec­tive, ‘Meh’ — but they have far ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions.

Volquez has been the most de­pend­able starter in the Kansas City ro­ta­tion. Young has been per­haps the best. And Medlen is com­ing off his sec­ond Tommy John surgery but could give Kansas City a big sec­ond- half boost if he is even a frac­tion of the pitcher he once was.

That’s just the start­ing ro­ta­tion, too.

AP PHOTO

Amer­i­can League’s Mike Mous­takas (8), of the Kansas City Roy­als cel­e­brates with team­mate af­ter the MLB All-Star base­ball game, Tues­day, July 14, 2015, in Cincinnati.

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