David Glass reflects on 20 years as Royals owner

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — David Glass leaned on the Royals dugout rail, talking earnestly with third-base coach Mike Jirschele and clutching a baseball in his hand. It was mid-afternoon, 88 degrees and humid.

“But I’m here because where else would you want to be on a Saturday evening but the ballpark?” Glass said with a smile. “I’m not going to stop enjoying baseball. I went to my first game in 1946 and I’ve been a baseball junkie ever since.”

The current Kansas City franchise owner was in his element. Ahead was the impending sale of the Royals to a group headed by Kansas City businessman John Sherman, but Glass was savoring a day in the dugout and on the field.

With the front-running Houston Astros in town, Glass watched as sidelined catcher Salvador Perez tested his surgically repaired right arm by firing throws to coach Pedro Grifol.

“This is our 20th year with this team and it’s been a lot of fun the whole time,” said Glass, who has barely spoken publicly since word first filtered down that the Royals had been sold. “And making the decision to sell the team is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. But it’s the right thing. There’s a time for everything and it’s the right time.”

The sale is expected to become final, pending approval by league owners, during the offseason. But for now the season is still on, and the 84-year-old Glass is savoring every moment.

“I love the game, I love Kansas City, I love the Royals and I wish them well,” he said. “The new owner, John Sherman, will do a great job with this franchise. I think he’ll have this franchise back in the playoffs and ultimately in the World Series, and I’m looking forward to that.”

The Royals, after enduring many lean years, reached the World Series for the first time under Glass’s care in 2014, losing in seven riveting games to the San Francisco Giants. They bounced back the next year to win another American League pennant and beat the New York Mets in the World Series.

The championship banner joins one from 1985 as the only ones in franchise history.

So does Glass have regrets? He could come up with just one.

“The one thing I think about is we won the World Series in 2015 and when it’s over, there’s so much stress, there’s so many people you need to tend to and things that you need to do,” Glass said. “If I had it to do over again, I’d slow it down some and enjoy it more. But the next one Kansas City’s in, I’ll slow that one down and enjoy it.”

Glass leaned back on the dugout rail once more, and greeted Grifol and other coaches and players. And an hour later, when the Royals were winding up pregame practice, Glass was still in the heat, on a step attached to the batting cage and engaged in conversation with manager Ned Yost.

He still had that baseball in his hand.