Royals forecast bright season for 2007

Royals forecast bright season for '07

KANSAS CITY -- Royals owner David Glass was just back from a meeting with his fellow owners in Phoenix. They gave him a hard time about all the wheeling and dealing the Royals have been doing this offseason.

For Glass, the playful chiding was sweet music.

"The more they complain, the better I like it," he told about 600 fans on Friday at the 15th annual Baseball Forecast Luncheon.

Glass, club president Dan Glass and general manager Dayton Moore must be doing something right to touch nerves in other cities.

"I think Dayton Moore and the Royals are determined to win and just put these 100-loss seasons behind us," pitcher Luke Hudson said before the luncheon.

"I've talked to several guys on the team, and everybody is excited. We finished the season strong and I think that shows a lot of character."

Optimism oozed throughout the room at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. Never mind that the Royals lost 100 games for the third straight year.

"It seems like just yesterday we finished the season against the Tigers and swept them," Hudson said.

The 40-man roster has been refurbished with 14 players brought in since Moore's arrival last June -- from Gil Meche to Joey Gathright to Ross Gload.

"Honestly, I think we're going to compete. I really do," Hudson said.

Since 10 of those fresh faces are pitchers, it's obvious that the biggest leak in the Royal navy has been patched.

Catcher John Buck's take on that?

"Relief," he said.

There were other matters to be discussed, of course. Shortstop, for example.

"I'm going to expect Angel Berroa to come back and have a great season for us," Moore said. "I expect him to be the Angel of 2003."

Naturally, the fans wondered if third baseman Alex Gordon was ready to bring his glitzy prospectus to the Major League table.

"Alex Gordon has the potential to be a special player," Moore said. "If he forces our hand, great."

As in any lighthearted lunch, there was some fun. Hudson took some ribbing about being tagged for 11 runs in the first inning on Aug. 13 at Cleveland. No pitcher had done that since 1897.

"We named a pitch after him," Buck quipped. "The Record-Breaker."

It was revealed, too, that the Krispy Kreme doughnut giveaway -- a free dozen to each ticketholder when the Royals get 12 hits in a game -- was being dropped this year.

"The good news," Dan Glass said, "is we'll all lose a lot of weight this season."

Manager Buddy Bell, recovering from throat surgery, did not make the trip to Kansas City for the luncheon.

But Moore said that Bell had told him how much he appreciated all the support from Kansas City fans.

"Buddy's doing great," Moore said. "He can't wait for Spring Training."

Neither, it seems, could the 600 fans in Kansas City on Friday.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.