Sale rumors continue to surface despite denials
It should have come as no surprise when rumors surfaced last week that Royals owner David Glass was in negotiations to sell the club.
Ridiculous rumors like that have surfaced almost every year since Glass bought the team in April of 2000.
The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton dutifully called Glass last week to get his reaction to the rumors, and predictably Glass shot the rumors down.
"Nonsense," Glass said. "I've never spoken to anyone about selling the club. I have no idea where that comes from. Who knows? But I have not been contacted by anyone.
"Everybody in baseball knows that I'm committed, and my family is committed; that we're going to own the Royals, and that the Royals are going to be in Kansas City and that we're going to make the team a contender again.
"We've not thought of anything else."
Glass also added that he had no interest in selling even a minority share of the club.
"If anybody tells you that they understand we're trying to sell the club," he said, "you ask them, 'to whom?' I've not talked to anyone, nor has any of my family talked to anyone. I don't understand where this stuff comes from."
Rumors about Glass selling the team never seem to go away.
Back when I was still at The Star, it almost became an annual ritual for me to make my call to Glass and have him knock down the latest sale rumor.
In 2004, Glass told me, "I have no idea where that stuff starts, but no, we have absolutely no intention of selling the team. We are committed to owning the Royals and keeping them in Kansas City."
In 2006, Glass told me, "I haven't talked to anyone regarding selling the team. And I have no intention of doing so."
A year after that he told me, "We have not had discussions with anyone about the sale of the team. Any such rumor is ridiculous."
In 2010, it was Dutton's turn to call Glass about another sale rumor. Glass said then, "I have never ever talked to anyone about selling the club. Period. I have never had a discussion with anyone about it, and I have no interest in doing so.
"The only guys who hear rumors are you guys in the media. I'm surprised to hear that (we're looking to sell the club). We've never considered it. We've never talked to anybody. And we have no interest in talking to anybody about it. Period."
The rumors, though, are surely to persist, at least until the Royals again become a consistent winner as they were under late owner Ewing Kauffman.
And that is why the rumors do persist. Royals fans to this day view Kauffman as the savior who never cared about losing money and consistently overspent to create a winning team for Kansas City.
Of course, that notion is far from reality. As former general manager Herk Robinson has said repeatedly over the years, Kauffman actually hated losing money, and the Royals desperately tried to break even financially every year.
The truth is, the Royals won back in the '70s and '80s because they outsmarted the competition. They drafted better than most teams, and developed those players better. They were not reckless spenders.
It wasn't until Kauffman's final few years, when he knew he was dying, that the team began spending wildly beyond its operating costs. Kaufman overspent then in an effort to get one last shot at the playoffs (it didn't work).
But the perception is that Kauffman spent wildly all the time and that Glass, who faces a vastly harsher baseball economic landscape than Kauffman did, is incredibly cheap.
That perception of Glass not spending enough fuels the fans' anger, and it fuels the rumors that Glass either might sell the team to turn a huge profit, or should sell the team and let some other big spender take over. (Good luck finding that big spender in Kansas City.)
At one point several years ago, someone even launched a now-defunct website called Selltheroyals.com, a plea for the Glass family to find a new buyer.
And that's mostly why these rumors never seem to go away. Frustrated fans and bloggers are always looking for someone to blame, and naturally, they point at the owner.
A wishful-thinking rumor about Glass selling the team is started, the rumor gains some traction and a little bit of internet momentum, and suddenly some editor is asking a reporter to call Glass.
Glass shoots down the rumor, and we wait another year or two to start the cycle again.