Slogans. They are a part of modern baseball. Teams spend precious off-season hours working with crack marketing teams to come up with a slogan that will capture the essence of the team in an effort to sell more tickets. I doubt any actual research has been done on whether or not these typically cheesy slogans actually increase a team’s revenue, but that’s not really the issue here. My concern is over the accuracy of this year’s Royals slogan – “It’s Our Time.”

The nature of advertising slogans is to enhance the positive image of products and downplay or ignore the negative. They are designed deceptive and manipulative, but have enough truth that they are not outright lies. The key is to typically make claims which cannot be verified or proven.*

* This brings to mind my absolute favorite slogan of all time. In 1994 the San Diego Padres were coming off of a 101 loss season and were not going to be any better. They trotted out the most accurate and awesome slogan in the history of baseball: “Hey, it’s baseball.”

I’m here to just see if it is “Our Time” or not. First, we need to define the phrase. Sure it could mean that it’s Our Time to be together and make people want to go to the games to spend time with their fathers, mothers, sisters and friends. Time which will be Ours. That’s a cute thought and I’m sure it will be part of the marketing campaign.

However, what it more likely means is that its Our Time to win, since so often the commercials have the players saying “Our Time” and not a dad hanging with his son. The Royals are suggesting that we’ve gone long enough without winning, we are due, finally to have a good season. It is finally Our Time to bring a championship back to Kansas City.

So if there really is some process where a team’s time is up and they’re due to win a championship, is it really the Royals Time? First, lets take a look at the longest current World Series Championship droughts in the MLB.

Seasons  Team  Last championship won 
103 Chicago Cubs 1908
63 Cleveland Indians 1948
51 Texas Rangers (Washington Senators) Never – 1961
50 Houston Astros (Houston Colt .45s) Never – 1962
43 Milwaukee Brewers (Seattle Pilots) Never – 1969
43 San Diego Padres Never – 1969
43 Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos) Never – 1969
35 Seattle Mariners Never – 1977
32 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
28 Baltimore Orioles 1983
27 Detroit Tigers 1984
26 Kansas City Royals  1985
25 New York Mets 1986
23 Los Angeles Dodgers 1988
22 Oakland Athletics 1989
21 Cincinnati Reds 1990
20 Minnesota Twins 1991
19 Colorado Rockies Never – 1993
18 Toronto Blue Jays 1993
16 Atlanta Braves 1995
14 Tampa Bay Rays Never – 1998
10 Arizona Diamondbacks 2001
9 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2002
8 Florida Marlins 2003
6 Chicago White Sox 2005
4 Boston Red Sox 2007
3 Philadelphia Phillies 2008
2 New York Yankees 2009
1 San Francisco Giants 2010
0 St. Louis Cardinals 2011

I would never have guessed that eleven teams have longer current World Championship droughts than the Kansas City Royals. Heck, six teams have exactly zero trophies in their World Series cabinet. Clearly if any team is due, it’s the Chicago Cubs, and then the poor teams which have never tasted the World Series nectar. The Royals are kind of due, I mean 26 years is a long time between championships, but nothing that decrees the gods take time out and ensure that they get theirs.

What about in history. How long is this 26 year current drought in historical context? Below is a table showing each franchise’s longest World Championship drought:

Seasons Team Prev. Title Next Title
103 Chicago Cubs 1908
87 Chicago White Sox 1917 2005
85 Boston Red Sox 1918 2004
77 Philadelphia Phillies 1903* 1980
63 St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles 1903* 1966
63 Cleveland Indians 1948
62 Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 1924 1987
55 New York-San Francisco Giants 1954 2010
52 Brooklyn Dodgers 1903* 1955
51 Washington Senators/Texas Rangers 1961*
50 Houston Colt .45s/Astros 1962*
44 St. Louis Cardinals 1882* 1926
43 San Diego Padres 1969*
43 Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers 1969*
43 Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 1969*
42 Boston-Milwaukee Braves 1914 1957
41 Los Angeles-California-Anaheim Angels 1961* 2002
41 Philadelphia-Kansas City-Oakland Athletics 1930 1972
38 Milwaukee-Atlanta Braves 1957 1995
35 Seattle Mariners 1977*
34 Pittsburgh Pirates 1925 1960
34 Cincinnati Reds 1940 1975
32 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
32 Detroit Tigers 1903* 1935
26 Kansas City Royals 1985
25 New York Mets 1986
22 New York Yankees 1901* 1921
19 Colorado Rockies 1993*
18 Toronto Blue Jays 1993
14 Tampa Bay Rays 1998*
10 Arisona Diamondbacks 2001
8 Miami Marlins 2003

* – Indicates start of franchise, not last WS won.

The Royals have one of the shortest World Championship droughts in all of baseball history. Yes, 26 years is a long time to wait, but tell that to nearly every other franchise and you’ll get little sympathy. A 26+ year break between winning titles isn’t abnormal, for eight teams, that’s not even half way between their next championship. If it comes down to divine providence, then Our Time may be a long time in our future.

The good news is that World Series rings are not doled out to teams which are due or whose Time has come. It’s the reason I really dislike this slogan. It completely glosses over the fact that championship teams are built through hard work, smart decisions, money, patience and some luck. It minimizes all of the smart things that this franchise has done in the past few years. However it also ignores all of the poor ones. It’s suggesting that what decides winners from losers is whose Time it is.

The Royals weren’t a good franchise in a slump. They were a good franchise who became terrible. They made bad decisions, wasted money and sacrificed wins for other goals. They haven’t been in a 26 year drought because before it wasn’t Our Time, but because they did a poor job of running a baseball team. I’m optimistic that the Royals can be competitive this year and in the years to come.

If accuracy and not marketing were the real goal of a slogan, the Royals would probably ditch “Our Time” and go with something like:

“We’re finally doing some things right after being the worst professional sports team in modern history, we might even win more games than we lose, finally!”

There is one other way to look at it. Maybe the slogan is meant for fans of the team who enjoy winning baseball. We’ve endured 26 seasons of futility. We’ve bought tickets and watched games on tv both of which have helped line the pockets of ownership. We’ve paid the dues. We’ve suffered. We’re still here. Finally, we just might have waited them out. We’ve forced them to finally try and be competitive. In that sense maybe it really is Our Time.

 

- Nick Scott
Follow @brokenbatsingle