By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
It's fitting the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals play their home games so close to each other.
Both the Chiefs and Royals are losing - and are losing for the same reasons.
It's not tough to find what's preventing both franchises from becoming a contender in their respective leagues.
While it's easy for Chiefs fans to blame Matt Cassel and Royals fans to blame baseball economics, both are not among the biggest reasons why the two franchises are stuck in a mud of mediocrity.
Here are the three biggest reasons.
1. Questionable ownerships
Royals owner David Glass is notorious for being cheap, but don't let the Chiefs off the hook, either. The Chiefs had the money available to sign Brandon Carr, yet chose not to. How's that working out? Both of the team's ownerships are worth questioning and failure is a top-bottom situation, no matter what anyone else tries to argue. It's unlikely both owners will sale the team, so we can't really fix that one. The next two reasons on the list are important and can be fixed with good hirings.
2. Bad management and scouting
Both Royals general manager Dayton Moore and Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli were brought in after finding success in previous franchises. On paper, they looked really good. In reality, that's not the case right now. Both Moore and Pioli have made some good decisions, but bad decisions have overshadowed them.
The Chiefs first round picks, along with most of their draft classes under Pioli, have been below average. All of the Chiefs' best players were drafted when Herm Edwards was the head coach and Carl Peterson was the general manager. That's not arguing both Edwards and Peterson are Hall of Fame worthy. It's just emphasizing that "The Patriot Way" is not going in the right direction in Kansas City.
The Royals have a decent group of young players, but not one of them is a pitcher. Pitching is the lifeblood of baseball. If you don't have good pitching, it doesn't matter how good your first baseman is. It doesn't matter if your shortstop might be the best defensive shortstop in baseball. If you don't have pitching, you go nowhere fast. If your biggest hope in an ace is Luke Hochevar becoming a consistent pitcher, you've lost before the games have started.
3. Misplaced faith
Why the Royals hired Ned Yost to be manager and the Chiefs hired Romeo Crennel as head coach were both mind-boggling for me the day the hirings happened and there's no sign I was wrong.
Yost's Milwaukee teams typically collapsed down the stretch, while Crennel failed in Cleveland and was a figurehead of a defensive-coordinator under Bill Belichick in New England. He finished his coaching tenure in Cleveland with a 24-40 record and was 0-8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Both Yost and Crennel did not deserve to be hired as full-time head coaches again.
It's amazing how quickly Crennel was given the full-time head coaching position based on the Chiefs beating Green Bay. Is one game suddenly more important for a job interview than the 64 Crennel coached in Cleveland?
Loyalty can both be a good thing and a bad thing.
In Kansas City, loyalty to some extent has led to losing.
Kansas City fans, go ahead and blame Cassel for the Chiefs lack of success. He hasn't done great, but he's not the only reason the Chiefs are losing right now.
Royals fans can continue to whine about small-market baseball, but the Oakland A's have the second smallest pay-roll in baseball and as of Sunday night, they also had the second best record in the American League.
Dollars are not the biggest factor in winning anymore. Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane has drafted and developed over a dozen good pitchers who have helped Oakland overcome economics since 1999.
If Oakland can do it, why can't Kansas City?
Until the Chiefs and Royals medicate the last two symptoms described above, the losing will continue.
By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com