KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As excited as Royals owner David Glass was Sunday night as players poured champagne on his head to celebrate advancing to the American League Championship Series, he also reflected for a moment on the man responsible for Kansas City having a major-league baseball team: the late Ewing Kauffman.
"He’d be really excited and he’d be really proud of the team, the fans and the city," Glass told me. "I know he’s up in heaven looking down and smiling about it all.
"Probably doing a little dance to it as well."
Kauffman, who died in the summer of 1993, knew more than anyone about the oncoming financial hardships that were about to grip small-market teams throughout baseball back then. That is why Kauffman, in his dying days, recruited Glass to steward the Royals and find a way to keep the team in Kansas City.
"Ewing and I were very good friends, as you know," Glass said. "When he was in poor health, he was worried about the future of this franchise. There was a lot of talk about contraction of this team while he was alive. And there was talk of contraction after he passed.
"What he wanted the most was to keep this franchise in Kansas City and he trusted me with that responsibility. But not only did he want to keep it here, he wanted it to be successful. This season and this moment would make him very happy."
Glass, though, said he is not taking credit for any of this season’s success. That belongs to team president Dan Glass and general manager Dayton Moore, he said.
"Really, I had nothing to do with it," he said. "Dan runs the team along with Dayton. I just stand around and have champagne poured on me.
"I’m just happy for the fans. I’m happy for Ned (Yost) and for Dayton. They kept the course. They stayed patient with this team because they knew the talent they had, and they were confident this team would perform.
"And the fans have been incredible in their support. And the players are feeding off that support right now."