<
>

The case for Dayton Moore as 'Person of the Year' for 2015

Dayton Moore helped the Royals celebrate their first World Series title since 1985. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

While the Kansas City Royals' players and coaches were cutting loose in the clubhouse in celebration after the final game of the World Series, general manager Dayton Moore opted for a few moments of introspection. He grabbed a seat in the visiting dugout at Citi Field, took a deep breath and reflected on the rebirth of a proud tradition and the franchise's first title in 30 years.

During a lull in the conversation, a reporter observed that Moore was probably happiest for the scouts and other support personnel who helped the team achieve its goal.

"I'm happy for our clubhouse guys," Moore said. "For them to get that [postseason] share money, that's huge. Those guys work so hard, and that's life-changing stuff. That's why you do this. That's what makes it special."

If this isn't the definition of a man who grasps the big picture, I don't know what is.

Bryce Harper, Joe Maddon and Jake Arrieta were all worthy candidates for ESPN.com's MLB "Person of the Year" for 2015, but no one better embodied the spirit of winning than Moore, the architect of Kansas City's championship club and a man who stayed true to his vision while the Royals were averaging 93 losses a year from 2009 to 2012.

From the outset, it was Moore who stressed defense, athleticism and a roster blend that would work at Kauffman Stadium. He hired Ned Yost and stuck with him when it would have been easy to succumb to the public bloodlust and change managers. Moore maintained his faith in Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas during their growing pains; brought Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Wade Davis to Kansas City in trades; and signed Edinson Volquez and Kendrys Morales to modest free-agent deals amid yawns and/or scorn from fans and the media.

Beyond the personnel moves, Moore set a tone for the Kansas City organization and drove the agenda in an inclusive, Pat Gillick kind of way. He delegated authority, emphasized scouting and player development at the ground floor, and relied on the teachings of former Atlanta mentors John Schuerholz and Paul Snyder as his compass.

"Dayton is a great leader," Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo said. "He never wavered on what our beliefs are and what we're going to be built on. He's very consistent. There are no mixed messages. We knew we were going to have to grind it out. It took a long time."

As MLB's winter hiring carousel has shown, more teams are gravitating to young, Ivy League-educated executives who understand the metrics and the importance of exploiting market inefficiencies. Moore, a proud George Mason University Patriot, embraces quantitative analysis more fervently than his reputation suggests. But he also is adept at making the people around him feel as if they have a voice and that they matter. And he's selfless enough to share the credit, because winning ensures that everyone gets a seat at the championship parade.

Moore didn't finish first in ESPN.com's MLB "Person of the Year" voting, nor did he beat out Toronto's Alex Anthopoulos for MLB Executive of the Year. But he gave Royals fans a reason to cheer and changed the lives of lots of people at various rungs in the organizational hierarchy. That's a tradeoff he'll take every time.