March 14, 2018 •.CBSSports.com http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions LOCALRoyals view Dozier as future first baseman
Right-hander Almonte enjoying impressive spring camp
March 13, 2018 By Jeffrey Flanagan/MLB.com
https://www.mlb.com/royals/news/kcs-hunter-dozier-will-play-first-at-triple-a/c-268622582 When camp opened, Hunter Dozier appeared to have at least a fair chance at becoming the Opening Day first baseman.
Of course, that all changed when the Royals signed veteran Lucas Duda. And on Monday, Dozier, ranked as the club's No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, which means he'll spend the rest of camp playing in Minor League games.
But the Royals still see Dozier as a potential future first baseman.
"I saw him get better at first base," manager Ned Yost said. "It's important that he get down to the Minor League side and get more playing time and experience.
"He'll play mostly first base [at Omaha]. I would say primarily first base, right field and third base, in that order."
Also optioned to Omaha was right-hander Kyle Zimmer, who has battled several injuries and surgeries over his Minor League career.
"He has to get over this hump," Yost said. "He feels pretty confident. He threw really, really good in live sessions. Didn't feel as great in the game [situation]."
Almonte making a move
Yost and his coaching staff have been very impressed with right-hander Miguel Almonte, the club's No. 12 prospect, this spring. Almonte has thrown seven scoreless innings over four outings with six strikeouts and zero walks.
"I like the fact he battled back from last year when he never got on track, and he has had a great spring," Yost said. "He's pitching with a lot of confidence. He's looking like the guy we always thought he could be."
Duffy gives up seven
Left-hander Danny Duffy made his third start this spring in the Royals' 9-8 loss to the A's on Tuesday. Duffy gave up seven hits and seven runs over 3 2/3 innings. He allowed three home runs, two of them to shortstop Jorge Mateo.
"I think he swung at every pitch but one," Duffy said. "If it's the regular season, you probably back him off a little. But you don't want to see anyone get hurt down here."
Non-roster invite Ryan Goins and Ramon Torres continue to battle for the utility infielder role. Goins went 2-for-3 on Tuesday, raising his spring average to .429. Torres went 1-for-2 and is hitting .400. Right-hander Kevin McCarthy continues to make a case for the setup role. He pitched a scoreless inning and lowered his ERA to 3.68.
Outfielder Paulo Orlando remains out for a few more days because of a grade one hamstring strain that occurred while lunging for a line drive on Saturday.
Infielder Adalberto Mondesi continues on his no-throw program for another day or two because of shoulder impingement. Mondesi was the DH on Tuesday for the second straight day and homered.
Listen live on Gameday Audio as right-hander Ian Kennedy makes his third spring start at 3:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday when the Royals take on the Cubs at Surprise Stadium. Left-hander Brian Flynn and right-hander Brad Keller also are expected to pitch. Flynn is out of options and Keller is a Rule 5 Draft acquisition.
Royals unveil annual organizational awards
Moose recognized for earning AL Comeback Player honor
March 13, 2018 By Jeffrey Flanagan/MLB.com
https://www.mlb.com/royals/news/moustakas-recognized-at-kc-organization-awards/c-268605178 Just before the Royals unveiled their annual organizational awards here on Tuesday morning, the club wanted to informally recognize a veteran player whom few thought would even be in attendance.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, who signed a one-year deal with the Royals last weekend, was honored for two special achievements in 2017 -- the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award, and for breaking the franchise record for home runs with 38.
Moustakas stood and smiled as he received a nice ovation.
Then it was on to the organizational awards. Royals general manager Dayton Moore said of those, "This is a special celebration that brings the past and the present together. I think good families and good organizations recognize success and honor that."
Here's a look at the winners:
• Shortstop Angelo Castellano was the recipient of the Carlos Fortuna Award, which recognizes a player who is dedicated to improving his English. Castellano, 23, played in 116 games at Class A Lexington in 2017 and batted .245 with 14 doubles and 43 RBIs.
• Left-hander Foster Griffin received the Paul Splittorff Award as the top Minor League pitcher. Griffin, 22, who is ranked as the club's No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, went 15-7 with a 3.35 ERA between Class A Advanced Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
• Outfielder Elier Hernandez took home the Mike Sweeney Award, which recognizes the player who best represents the organization on and off the field. Between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas, Hernandez, 23, hit .317.
• Infielder Nicky Lopez, who made the all-prospect team in the Arizona Fall League, received the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year Award. Lopez, 23, who is the club's No. 6 prospect, made just eight errors in 129 games last season at shortstop between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas.
• Outfielder Rudy Martin received the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year Award. Martin, 22, was 26-for-30 in stolen base attempts at Lexington.
• First baseman Frank Schwindel received the George Brett Hitter of the Year Award. Schwindel, 25, had 43 doubles, 23 home runs and 97 RBIs between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.
• Current Royals hitting coach Terry Bradshaw took home the Dick Howser Award for the most outstanding player development person. Bradshaw had been the club's roving hitting instructor.
• Jeff Diskin, the team's cultural development coordinator, received the Matt Minker Award for most outstanding Minor League affiliates employee. Minker was the former managing partner of the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
• Matt Price, area scouting supervisor, received the Art Stewart Award for most outstanding scout.
Late rally not enough to take Danny Duffy off hook in Royals' 10th loss of the spring
March 13, 2018 By Maria Torres/KC Star
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article204990919.html The Royals rallied late but lost 9-8 to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday at Surprise Stadium, falling to 8-10-1 in Cactus League play.
Starting pitcher Danny Duffy was not able to use his slider effectively in a 3 2/3-inning outing. A's leadoff hitter Jorge Mateo took advantage of some fastballs over the plate to hit two of the three home runs Duffy allowed.
"I think if I could go back and redo anything today it would have been just getting fastballs, four-seams, glove-side down in the zone as opposed to leaving them out over," Duffy said. "They went and got a couple of them."
The A's scored seven times off Duffy, then added a run each off relievers Brandon Maurer and Kelvin Herrera, the only two pitchers in camp who are guaranteed to join the Royals bullpen.
The Royals mounted a four-run comeback in the fourth inning and sent nine hitters to the plate in doing so. Cheslor Cuthbert, who led off the inning, was sent to first base after taking a pitch on his right wrist. But he remained in the game until the Royals subbed out starters in the sixth inning.
Cuthbert eventually scored on non-roster invitee Ryan Goins' double to right field. Adalberto Mondesi and Drew Butera also drove in a run each off A's starter Kendall Graveman. Ramon Torres greeted reliever Chris Hatcher with an RBI single to left field. But Hatcher retired the next three batters and stranded two Royals to get out the jam.
Mondesi capped a three-run rally in the ninth when he turned on a 1-2 pitch for a two-out, two-run homer to right field.
The Royals went 6 for 17 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
The Royals host the Chicago Cubs at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Surprise Stadium.
Mellinger Minutes: Royals
March 13, 2018 By Sam Mellinger/KC Star
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/sam-mellinger/article204873244.html Chris Hessenflow: What are the Royals doing? I thought the last few years made it clear that teams should either try to win or try to rebuild, but not both at the same time. Seems like the Royals still can’t commit to either strategy.
I have a fundamental disagreement with the people who run the Royals. I believe they absolutely need to commit to winning or rebuilding, that trying to do both means being able to do neither, and I'll always wonder whether the Royals could've made up the five games difference between them and the second wild card last year by keeping Wade Davis and signing Josh Reddick.
That said, I will say two things in the front office's defense.
First, and this should be obvious, but they are smarter than me. They have more brainpower, more information, and live this in a way I just don't. Doesn't mean they're right, but it does mean it's worth remembering, and considering.
Second, I don't know anyone in the front office who doesn't believe they are rebuilding, and this is the critical point.
They believe they can do both at the same time or, perhaps more accurately, they believe maintaining a certain level of competitiveness at the big league level is critical for rebuilding.
I'll probably write more about this at some point, but basically the Royals believe their edge has to come from developing talent better than others. All teams have scouts, all teams have analytics, so if all teams are able to acquire roughly the same level of talent through the draft and internationally than the difference will be made by who is able to get that talent closest to the ceiling.
Part of that, they believe, is maintaining an everyday urgency and focus in the big leagues. Sort of a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats philosophy, where staying competitive is the best way to get the best efforts and production out of veterans like Danny Duffy and also more unproven talents like Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Soler.
It's an interesting debate to have, but again, the most important part is that the front office doesn't believe it's no longer rebuilding.
They went 80-82 last year with Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain having very good years. I don't believe anyone with the front office, or even coaching staff, thinks they have more than a puncher's chance at the postseason and that would be true with or without Moose.
Andy Slaughter: With moose, Jay, and duda signings does the Royals success (or lack of) now hinge on the pitching?
Yeah, I think that's probably true.
But, well, the holes elsewhere should not be undersold. The Royals were 13th out of 15 American League teams in runs last year and will be without two of their three most productive hitters from last year.
The Duda signing is good value, but he's not a replacement for Hosmer. Jay is a fine big leaguer, but that signing (I assume) only happened because they knew the Jorge Bonifacio suspension was coming. Moose is a very good player, but are you expecting him to match 38 homers?
Anyway, the pitching. Yes. Depending on how much you knock Duffy for missing eight or so starts, the Royals will be replacing their most productive or second-most productive starting pitcher with Nate Karns, who has gone 149 2/3 innings combined the last two seasons.
But the biggest weakness on the roster is the bullpen. Kelvin Herrera is back, and even if you agree with me that he'll be much better in 2018 than 2017, they're still without Scott Alexander, Mike Minor, Peter Moylan, Ryan Buchter, and more. And the bullpen was rather mediocre last year.
That's a lot to make up.
This is probably a 70-or-so win team. Baseball is funky, and there's a scenario out there in which this group is good enough to compete into the late summer, but yeah. The pitching needs to be better, for sure.
Eric Fuentes-Ruiz: Even in free agency, seemed like our boys in blue didn’t get much interest. Hos was a bigger deal than any of other ones but market was flat? Moose came back with tail between his legs (love to have him back)? Collusion? No one seemed overpaid. Head scratcher. Thoughts?
I don't agree with the notion that it was about the Royals, specifically. Hosmer signed a terrific contract — three years and $105 million guaranteed, with a three-year, $39 million parachute if he doesn't opt out. Lorenzo Cain got $80 million over five years, which certainly seems fair if you balance his talent with age and position.
Alcides Escobar didn't get much interest and, let's be honest, that was deserved. He's a fine enough shortstop, but he's also 31 and one of the least productive hitters in baseball.
Mike Moustakas got a raw deal, and I assume we're all adults here so we can keep perspective while talking about a man whose new contract guarantees him $6.5 million to play baseball.
But in a typical year, according to people who live in this world, he would've been worth a contract of four or five years and $60 million or more. When the Royals made the qualifying offer of $17.4 million, they did it with the full expectation that he would turn them down, and provide a higher comp pick by signing a contract worth $50 million or more.
The problems are varied, and complicated.
The market was screwy for nearly everyone. That has to do with the players getting worked over in the current CBA, which means more teams than ever are incentivized not to spend, and additionally are valuing players differently.
This was especially true for Moose, because homers are being devalued, there weren't a lot of spenders in need of third basemen, and those who did took different routes.
The Angels opted for positional versatility and athleticism with Zack Cozart. The Giants traded for Evan Longoria, at least in part to protect their draft picks. The Yankees would've made the most sense, but they wanted to stay under the luxury tax.
Look, fans aren't going to feel sorry for Moustakas. He's an adult, paid handsomely to play baseball, and we should all be so good at our jobs that the system screws us and we still have a chance to make $8.7 million if we hit our performance bonuses.
But his agent Scott Boras — who, yes, absolutely, 100 percent misread the market like pretty much everyone else — was dead right when he said the system failed Moose.
Owners are going to make tens of millions of dollars more in profits this year because the system of paying players their market worth has broken down.
After this season, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper and others are going to sign massive contracts and people are going to clap back at the idea of salaries being diminished, but the current CBA is awful for players and it's going to cause one heck of a fight when it's time to negotiate the next one.
Renee Wiebe-Hultgren: If you could change one thing about the KC sports scene, what would it be?
Just one? I could say an NBA or NHL team, or the Chiefs being better with access or playoff leads, or the elimination of the civic inferiority complex that seeps into sports and means too many fans spend too much time worried about what national media outlets are saying, but I suppose I should stay at least a little realistic:
A downtown ballpark for the Royals.
I love Kauffman Stadium. It's where I saw my first major league game, and have had some of my favorite professional moments. It's beautiful and comfortable and familiar and terrific but it's also isolated from everything but Taco Bell.
Some of the world's best sports architecture firms are based in Kansas City, so there is a 100 percent chance that a new ballpark here would be amazing. Downtown has improved so much just in the last 10 years or so, and putting a ballpark there would only put that on overdrive.
I have at least a faint hope of this happening when the current lease is up, actually. Keep Arrowhead where it is. Makes sense for football, and if the ballpark came down you'd have even more parking.
But baseball would be more fun downtown. Kansas City would be better with baseball downtown.
March 13, 2018 By Peter Hancock/Lawrence Journal-World
Just as the NCAA men's basketball tournament is getting underway, Kansas lawmakers on Tuesday took up the issue of legalizing sports betting in the state.
A House committee heard testimony Tuesday on House Bill 2752, the Kansas Sports Wagering Act, which would authorize the Kansas Lottery to conduct sports betting at each of the four state-owned casinos, as well as through online platforms that would enable people to make bets through their smartphones.
"It is tournament time, and I was amazed to read that several billion dollars are being bet on March Madness illegally in the United States," Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, said at the start of the hearing.
Currently, all but four states are prohibited under federal law from allowing sports gambling. The four states that are allowed to host it — Delawre, Montana, Nevada and Oregon — all had sports betting in place before the 1992 law was enacted.
But that federal law is currently being challenged at the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in December in a case involving New Jersey's attempt to legalize sports betting.
If the Kansas bill were to become law, it would not take effect unless the Supreme Court rules that all states are allowed to operate sports betting, a decision that is expected later this year.
During Tuesday's hearing, officials from the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball said they took no position on whether Kansas should legalize sports betting. But if it does, they said there needs to be strict provisions to protect the integrity of their games.
"Major League Baseball has had a long history with sports betting," Bryan Seeley, MLB's senior vice president and deputy general counsel, told the committee. "We’ve had scandals. We’ve had Pete Rose. We’ve had the Black Sox scandal. It’s an issue that’s been at the forefront of our minds for a very long time."
Pete Rose is baseball's all-time leading hitter who played for the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, but who was permanently banned from baseball in 1989 amid reports that he had bet on baseball games.
"Black Sox" is a reference to a 1919 scandal when players for the Chicago White Sox took payments from gambling bookies in exchange for deliberately throwing that year's World Series to the Reds.
Both Seeley and an NBA representative said their leagues have particular concerns about what types of bets would be allowed.
They said the leagues do not object to betting on the outcome of games, but they do object to certain specialized kinds of bets, such as whether the first pitch of a game is a ball or strike, or which player will draw the first foul, because those events are easily manipulated by players, umpires or referees.
The bill includes several provisions aimed at preventing tampering with games, including a prohibition on any players, coaches, umpires or referees from placing bets.
It also would levy a 1 percent "integrity fee" on all sports wagering. Money from those fees would be paid to each sport's governing body to help it defray the increased cost of investigating and enforcing its own league rules on gambling.
An official from the Kansas City Royals submitted written testimony saying those provisions satisfied the team's concerns about legalizing sports betting in Kansas.
But officials from each of the state's four casinos argued against imposing the 1 percent integrity fee, saying there is only a slim profit margin on sports wagering and that such a fee would cut deeply into that margin.
Whitney Damron, a lobbyist who represents the company hired to operate the Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan., also said he would rather see sports betting confined to the "bricks-and-mortar" casinos that are owned by the Kansas Lottery and to parimutuel race tracks if any should reopen, with no option for online wagering with smartphone apps.
"We don't see this as a big moneymaker for either the state of Kansas, the casinos or the parimutuel tracks," Damron said. "It's another amenity that we have customers who would like to participate in. And certainly right now, as the NCAA tournament begins, people are very fascinated by that."
State budget officials said they could not estimate how much additional revenue the state might receive through legalized sports wagering.
The committee took no action on the bill Tuesday but could begin debating it and considering amendments at any time.
MINORS Kansas City Options Six To Omaha
Dozier, Stout, Zimmer & Machado among those optioned
March 13, 2018 By Andrew Green/Omaha Storm Chasers
https://www.milb.com/storm-chasers/news/kansas-city-options-six-to-omaha/c-268582942 The Omaha Storm Chasers' 2018 Opening Day roster has begun to take shape after the Kansas City Royals announced several roster moves late Monday evening. In total, six players, including pitchers Scott Barlow , Heath Fillmyer , Andres Machado , Eric Stout and Kyle Zimmer , along with infielder Hunter Dozier , were optioned to Omaha's roster. Seven other players, some of whom could wear a Storm Chasers uniform this season, were also reassigned to minor league camp.
Barlow, 25, in three Cactus League outings with Kansas City compiled no record and 3.18 ERA (2 ER/5.2 IP), adding six punchouts with no walks. Prior to signing with the Royals as a Major League free agent on December 7, 2017, Barlow pitched for six seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He split the 2017 campaign between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, combining for a 7-6 mark and 3.29 ERA (51 ER/139.2 IP) with 160 strikeouts. The right-hander was selected by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Golden Valley High School in California.
Fillmyer, 23, made four relief appearances with the Royals during 2018 Spring Training, posting a 7.71 ERA (4 ER/4.2 IP) with one save, along with four strikeouts. He was acquired by Kansas City in a January 29, 2018 trade from the Oakland Athletics along with right-hander Jesse Hahn in exchange for INF/OF Brandon Moss , LHP Ryan Buchter and cash considerations. Fillmyer pitched the entire 2017 season with Double-A Midland, accumulating an 11-5 record and 3.49 ERA (58 ER/149.2 IP) in 29 starts, adding 115 strikeouts. He was selected by Oakland in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft outof Mercer Community College in New Jersey.
Machado, 24, tallied a 1-1 clip and 6.75 ERA (4 ER/5.1 IP) with six strikeouts compared to two walks in four Cactus League relief outings. The right-hander shot through the Royals minor league system in 2017 with stops in High-A Wilmington, Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Omaha prior to making his Major League debut on September 2 against the Minnesota Twins. He combined for an 8-9 record and 4.54 ERA (56 ER/111.0 IP) with 111 strikeouts in 29 appearances (16 starts) in the minor leagues last year, including a 2-2 clip and 3.63 ERA (14 ER/34.2 IP) in seven Omaha starts. He was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela on November 17, 2010.
Stout, 24, recorded an 0-1 mark and 12.60 ERA (7 ER/5.0 IP) with five punchouts in four Spring Training outings with Kansas City. He enjoyed an outstanding 2017 campaign in Omaha, posting a 5-2 record and 2.99 ERA (23 ER/69.1 IP) with 56 strikeouts, adding five saves. The southpaw also ranked third among Pacific Coast League relievers with a .227 (58-225) batting average against. He was selected by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Butler University in Indiana.
Zimmer, 26, pitched once for Kansas City in Cactus League action, yielding an earned run in two-thirds of an inning on one hit while walking two. All but one of his 21 appearances in 2017 were with Omaha, combining for no record and 5.40 ERA (22 ER/36.2 IP) with 40 strikeouts compared to 16 walks, adding three saves in as many attempts. The right-hander was selected by the Royals in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of San Francisco.
Dozier, 26, over 11 Cactus League contests compiled a .235 average (4-17) along with one run, one double and one RBI. He missed most of the 2017 season due to injuries, appearing in just 33 games between High-A Wilmington, Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Omaha. The 2016 Omaha Player of the Year accrued a .226 average (19-84) with 11 runs, six doubles, one triple, four homers and 12 RBI in 24 tilts with the Storm Chasers last year. He was selected by the Royals in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Stephen F. Austin University in Texas.
Among the seven players reassigned to minor league camp were pitchers Scott Blewett and 2017 Royals Paul Splittorff Minor League Pitcher of the Year Foster Griffin , as well as infielders Jack Lopez and Nicky Lopez , and outfielders Donnie Dewees and Terrance Gore . Gore and Jack Lopez both played with Omaha during the 2017 campaign, while the others, could perhaps play in Omaha at some point during the upcoming season.
Royals Option Samir Duenez to Northwest Arkansas
Kansas City moved a total of 15 players to Minor League Camp as part of a flurry of Spring Training moves
March 13, 2018 Northwest Arkansas Naturals
https://www.milb.com/naturals/news/royals-option-duenez-to-nwa/c-268584132 The Kansas City Royals announced on March 12 that they've assigned several players to minor league camp including a number of former Naturals as a total of 15 players were part of the Spring Training moves.
Headlining the moves from a Naturals perspective was infielder Samir Duenez , a 2016-2017 Natural, as he was optioned to Northwest Arkansas (AA). In addition, former Naturals LHP Eric Stout , RHP Kyle Zimmer , and INF Hunter Dozier have all been optioned to Omaha (AAA) while LHP Foster Griffin , RHP Andres Machado , INF Jack Lopez , INF Nicky Lopez , OF Donnie Dewees , and OF Terrance Gore have all been assigned to minor league camp.
Following the flurry of moves, the Royals have 51 players in Major League camp and 17 are non-roster invitees.
The 2018 season of Naturals baseball at Arvest Ballpark will begin when Northwest Arkansas hosts the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A Affiliate of the World Champion Houston Astros, on Thursday, April 5 at 6:25 p.m.
Follow the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Twitter @NWANaturals all throughout the year by using the hashtags #NaturalPastime and #CrowntoCrown for all of our up-to-date information on the 2018 schedule, tickets, group outings, promotions, roster, and Spring Training information as we prepare for the upcoming 2018 season.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information, including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
NATIONAL For Royals GM Dayton Moore, anti-porn message worth the scorn, scientific scrutiny
March 13, 2018 By Bob Nightengale/USA Today Sports
https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/columnist/bob-nightengale/2018/03/13/royals-gm-dayton-moore-anti-porn-message-fight-new-drug/419952002/ If you want to bring a copy of Hustler Magazine to the Kansas City Royals clubhouse, Dayton Moore can’t stop you.
If you casually drop F-bombs in your everyday conversation, keep on talking. If you hit the nightclubs until 2 every morning, and are still able to perform acts of baseball greatness, God bless you.
Moore, the Kansas City Royals' 51-year-old general manager, won't judge his employees on their hobbies but will let his spirituality guide his everyday life, despite working in an industry notorious for bawdy and, by some standards, immoral behavior.
And he's even willing to put himself at odds with those who believe a workplace should be free of moralizing.
Moore exposed the Royals organization to criticism last week when they became the first major sports franchise to conduct an anti-pornography seminar, led by the non-profit organization, “Fight the New Drug."
Moore mandated that Royals minor-league players attend, but could only suggest major league players take part.
He stressed to his players that he not only believes that pornography is the root of evil, but that it can also become a detriment to a player’s career and destroy his personal life.
“It’s not something truthfully I’ve ever been comfortable discussing for a lot of reasons,’’ Moore tells USA TODAY Sports. “But when you sit down with young men and they open up and talk about their struggles, often times you can trace it back to pornography. It’s been a major issue in their lives. They are being exposed to that at such a young age, and become obsessed with that.
“(Fight The New Drug) has done thousands of hours of research, and there’s scientific evidence what pornography does to the brain, and re-wiring the brain. It’s no different than drugs or alcohol. You start drinking too early, or smoking marijuana, your brain starts craving it.
“So, to me, educating our players about the harmful effects of pornography is similar to the important of honoring women, respecting women and looking at them as human beings and not sexual objects. Most of these young men are going to be husbands and fathers. It’s our job to educate them.’’
Fight The New Drug's claims on its web site include the notion that "repeated consumption of porn causes the brain to literally rewire itself," and that "porn happens to be fantastic at forming new, long-lasting pathways in the brain." It cites myriad academic research into the subject while urging readers to "get the facts."
However, voluminous research counters the notion that pornography is somehow a public health, rather than a First Amendment issue. Notably and most recently, a group of eight neuroscientists debunked many of Fight the New Drug's claims in a 2016 Salt Lake Tribune editorial.
"Based on our expertise in neuroscience and clinical psychology," the group wrote, "we find that FTND is systematically misrepresenting science."
Moore's outreach to the group wasn't intended to be publicized, until Fight the New Drug posted photos of Royals’ players and the workshop on Instagram.
It was immediately met with scorn, for reasons both scientific and societal. And it waded in dangerous waters about integrating church and state for a franchise that received $225 million in public funding for stadium renovations last decade.
Elle Stanger, an adult entertainer, lobbyist and sex writer, said messages such as the one pushed by Fight The New Drug improperly likens consensual adult sex work to violent sex trafficking.
“If the KC Royals want to teach their players anything about pornography,’’ Stanger wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports, “it should be that all people should engage in work under their own volition and after being fully informed of any potential work hazards or risks. I don't know of any sports team management that has lived experience or insight regarding pornography or sex education.
"I very much doubt that an anti-porn message will do anything except reiterate tired old stereotypes. …As someone with over a decade as a sex worker, the majority of anti-porn sentiment is based on sex-negative fear mongering.
“If the adult players are distracted by non-baseball materials, I would say that these pros need to focus a little more on their method of income, and leave porn, TV, texting, or other methods of entertainment, for off-work time.’’
Pornography - in magazine or movie form - was once as much a staple in baseball clubhouses as chewing tobacco. Visiting clubhouses were infamous for their stacks of lad mags, even showing movies on TV screens, with players sitting back and laughing.
It’s now a different era, and for the Royals, a new culture that’s not only being accepted, but embraced.
“The porn thing is a big deal,’’ says Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who has been with the organization since 2005, “and with the outlet to social media and everything, people don’t realize how much it affects people. I think the best way to do it is talk about it, and get it out there.
“Dayton is our leader, and a lot of us in here feel the same way as he does, trying to do the right thing.’’
Says new Royals first baseman Lucas Duda: “Everybody has their different views, but I think if you respect that boundary, everything is fine. For me, pornography is the last thing I’m probably going to watch before I go play baseball. I’ve got enough stuff to handle. I think his message sets a good tone in here.’’
Among a half-dozen Royals surveyed, none expressed resentment to the anti-porn workshop, nor the electronic signs in their clubhouse informing players they will have a private viewing of Paul, Apostle of Christ, at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
“We didn’t have guys protesting or walking out, or anything like that,’’ Moore said. “We’re not pushing them one way or the other. We’re just presenting them information. Ultimately, players have to make their own choices.
“I’m not into politics. I’m not into what positions people hold. We’re about developing people, and this information has to be presented to our young men, who ultimately are going to be husbands and fathers. We feel like it’s important to educate them.’’
And if they refuse to listen, Moore insists, no harm, no foul.
“I’m not judging anyone,’’ Moore said. “I don’t hang out until 2 in the morning in the hotel and say, “Oh, where is he coming from? What’s going on here?’ Shame on me if I look at one of our players or one of our staff members in a judgmental way. This is not what it’s all about.’’
Moore, who was raised in the Methodist Church but now practices a non-denominational Christian faith, doesn’t care about the criticism. He’ll never apologize for his strong religious beliefs. His faith, he says, provides him the foundation to persevere.
And he pledges to impact the Royals clubhouse.
“When you’re committed and relentless about trying to lead and do the right thing,’’ Moore says, “and you’re presented with information that you think is important for your players to know, and you don’t do it, it’ll haunt you.
“I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t share this.’’
March 14, 2018 •.CBSSports.com http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions