Kansas City Royals (Baseball) Send a Message

By Shlomo Maital


Most of you readers probably do not follow American major-league baseball. It’s a slow game, complicated, a game can take six hours to complete (the 18-inning game between San Francisco and Washington, longest in post-season history) and there is almost no physical contact (except when players slide into second base or home plate).

   This year, the Kansas City Royals are the team to watch. And as in all aspects of life, there is much to be learned from baseball. For 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that plays in a huge ‘media’ market, spent $235 million on its players!   In contrast, the Royals spent less than half that, about $92 million.  They ranked  only 19th in spending.  Yet, the Dodgers were eliminated and the Royals are going to the World Series, winning decisively in four games (out of seven) against the Baltimore Orioles, in the American League finals.  KC could well be the best team in baseball.

   How did they do it? By, as Steve Jobs loved to say,   “think different”.

   KC Royals hit the fewest home runs of any team in major league baseball this year. That alone should eliminate them. But, they stole more bases than any team and got many many singles. What’s the strategy?   Patience.   Winning games one single run at a time. Winning close games with singles. This was the Royals’ manager’s strategy, and he stuck to it, and built the team based on it.   He had to. If you cannot afford to pay the big bucks that home run hitters get, you have to go for less sexy singles hitters, and speedy base runners, many of them young Latin American players.

   Kansas City has not been in a World Series since 1985, almost 30 years. Well, they’re back!   And I’m happy, because they prove that big-time sports are not solely a matter of money and budgets.   And yes, again, the high-spending Yankees failed to make the playoffs. How great is that!

From KC, we learn — patience, creativity, persistence, resilience, and above all, believing in yourself.  They believes — and are on the way to the World Series.