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The Royals Have No Good Argument For A New Stadium

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 01:The sky lights up as the Kansas City Royals take on the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 01, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) ***Local Caption***
Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

If you're going to start the process of strong-arming a populace out of money it doesn't have for a stadium it doesn't want, there is no smoother and yet more manipulative way to do it than to invoke the widow of the team's most popular manager. I mean, imagine how the A's could have managed their stadium campaign if they'd bothered to chase down Connie Mack's great-great-great granddaughter.

But John Sherman, the owner of the Kansas City Royals and the iconic stadium they wish to replace, went there and a lot of other very weird and cloying places in a letter to Royals fans who will be expected to foot the bill for said stadium and all associated lands. He started with Nancy Howser, Dick Howser's widow, and his experience at the 1985 World Series, and pivoted from there to a stream-of-consciousness platitude-off ("restoring the Royals to their rightful place in Major League Baseball" is particularly grandiose) that eventually got to the crux of the matter.

Sherman (no relation to Miami Marlins owner Bruce Sherman, who already has his new and almost unused stadium) is trying to play two Missouri counties, Jackson and Clay, against each other for the right to pay for restoring the Royals to their rightful place—which according to a cursory tour of the standings since 2000 is 30th out of 30 teams. And that isn't the stadium's fault, which at 50 years old is younger only than Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger, Angel, and the Oakland Coliseum but is by no means a rundown heap.

Sherman takes care to invoke the Chiefs, the new terminal at the airport, the expanded streetcar line, the NFL Draft, the World Cup, and the new stadium for the NWSL's Kansas City Current as perfectly sound reasons for a new baseball stadium, none of which the Royals actually have contributed to or have a stake in. Sherman just wants a new stadium because he wants a new stadium, and he just wants someone else to pay for it because he doesn't want to pay for it himself. Not defensible, but at least understandable.

But Nancy Howser doesn't have anything to do with this, and neither do Sherman's memories of 1985 or even 2015, or the Royals' place in the universe, or even the Current. Credit to him for gussying up a letter that hides the nut graf until the end, but the nut is still the nut. John Sherman is preparing the touch, and the only thing separating him from, say, the A's is that he hasn't gone to the threat stage. But it's coming. The Royals have their rightful place to defend, after all, and being the American League's Pittsburgh Pirates comes at a price—a price Shermy is hoping someone else will pay.

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