Dayton Moore’s new book More Than A Season, written with Matt Fulks, is a quick and mostly enjoyable look at GMDM’s leadership philosophies and his first nine seasons at the helm of the good ship Royals with a focus on the 2014 season. It is worth the read for die-hard Royals fans to get a slightly better understanding of Moore’s guiding baseball and life beliefs, though there won’t be anything too surprising for those who have been closely tracking his time in KC. Too much of the book reads like cliché motivational poster headlines, but Moore’s recent success lends at least a hint of substance behind the buzzwords. I personally bristle at pat aphorisms such as “stay calm in the eye of the storm,” which is one of Moore’s seven points for “organizational harmony,” but, hey, if it works for him and the team is winning, I’m all for it. Moore also repeatedly brings up his Christianity and quotes the Bible to the point of proselytizing, which I could do with less of, but I’m glad if it works for him—so long as non-Christian Royals employees are welcomed and respected under his watch.
Those issues aside, there are enough nuggets of behind the scenes info to redeem the book. I enjoyed learning more about Moore’s life before coming to the Royals, including his collegiate baseball career and climb up the ranks after going to work for the Braves. His telling of his hiring for the Royals job in 2006 and his discovery that things were much worse in KC than he realized before taking the job was illuminating. But some of Moore’s nuggets needed to be fleshed out. He briefly touches on the expansion of the team’s analytics department, and that (rather obviously), “an in-depth statistical analysis” happens before player acquisitions, and that “(analytics is) an area where I have grown professionally.” Would be interesting stuff, but he offers no details about that growth or instances where analytics have helped the team. The fact that he relies on fielding percentage, batting average, and RBI when mentioning stats in the book doesn’t exactly inspire confidence (though that might just be because those are the numbers familiar to the average reader).
Moore dedicates an entire chapter to Alex Gordon which contains some good specifics about how and why Rusty Kuntz proposed and guided Gordon’s position switch from third base to left field. Moore echoes my sentiments by calling Alex “the heartbeat of the team,” which makes me slightly more optimistic that the Royals will do all they can to keep him in KC. Alex contributed a foreward to the book in which he calls Moore a father figure. (I think it is safe to say both sides would prefer for Alex to remain in KC long term, but I still fear another team swooping in with an enormous offer Alex couldn’t refuse and the Royals wouldn’t match.)
Overall, it’s a flawed but enjoyable book, and recommended for those who can’t get enough Royals. Moore’s corporate jargon, proselytizing, and blind spots would have driven me up the wall before 2014, but it goes down a lot easier these days. As long as the fun continues, you just keep doing you, Dayton.