Loyalty a lost art in baseball

You don't see a lot of loyalty in baseball anymore, but Dayton Moore certainly did prove that it's still possible to be loyal in this game. Bill Shanks has more thoughts on Moore's decision to stay with the Braves.

This wasn't just any job. It was the Boston Red Sox. We could understand if someone had turned down the Devil Rays or the Brewers. But this was one of the most important franchises in the game.

And Dayton Moore turned them down.

He was the man Red Sox' President Larry Lucchino wanted to replace Theo Epstein. Moore had wowed Lucchino in an interview at the GM meetings a few weeks ago. But instead of going back for a second interview, where he would have been offered the job, Moore called Lucchino and said, ‘no thanks.'

Ok, so there's one obvious reason. The Braves' current Assistant General Manager hopes to one day be the Braves' General Manager. Moore is in line to replace John Schuerholz, once the 65-year-old retires in a year or two or three. He was the leading candidate before he turned the Red Sox down, and now that he's showed loyalty to the organization that believed in him, he's even more of a favorite to replace the legendary Schuerholz.

But there's more to the story that just that. Dayton Moore is a man that personifies loyalty. This scenario is one thing, and it's no small thing to turn down the Red Sox, but Moore is a man that has already showed his loyalty. He turned down a chance to go to Kansas City a few years ago for a major front office position. While that might not seem like a big deal, consider the fact that Dayton Moore grew up a huge Kansas City Royals' fan. They were his team growing up, and yet when he had a chance to go run their draft, he stayed with the Braves.

That is loyalty.

We, as fans, should appreciate this. Most of us will be loyal to the Atlanta Braves until the day we die. We'll root for whomever is in that Braves' uniform next season, ten seasons from now, and thirty seasons from now. I've watched the Braves since 1978, and I love them as much now as I did when I was eight, and I'll probably love them, regardless of who is in the uniform, when I'm 75 as well. Most of you would probably say the same thing.

But we don't see that loyalty very much from people inside the game. They are not like us; it's their job, not a hobby or an enjoyment. It's how they feed their families. We are talking about baseball here, but over the last twenty-five years we've seen how greed has changed this game. It now controls it. We don't see players like Andruw Jones ignoring his agent and doing his own contract very much. And we certainly don't see an executive like Dayton Moore turn down a chance to run one of the best franchises in the game to remain as an Assistant GM very often.

That's just the kind of guy Moore is. He's very thankful to Roy Clark for hiring him back in the mid-90s and for John Schuerholz believing in his ability. He feels like he's apart of a family with the Braves, and even though he would have been in charge in Boston, being third in charge in Atlanta is not an easy thing to walk away from - especially when you're happy. And Moore is happy.

He's helped develop a superb group of young major league talent, which made history last season with eighteen rookies leading the Braves to another division title. And if you know how much talent is still left on the farm, you know that Moore knows exactly what he's doing.

But it certainly would have been easy for Moore to take advantage of his success as one of Schuerholz's protégés and bolt to Boston. You know the Red Sox' fans have to be wondering who in the world would turn them down, and it's an easy question to ask. It was simply a man that felt more loyalty to the people and organization that believed in him instead of going for the big contract and prestige of getting a major job.

Who knows if John Schuerholz guaranteed Moore anything when the two met before Moore called the Red Sox. It's doubtful Schuerholz could make such a guarantee. But he knew exactly how drastic it would have been to lose Moore. Schuerholz is smart enough to know why the Braves are in the position they are in - full of talent at both the major league and minor league levels. Moore's work the last three years has been extraordinary. He is like a young Schuerholz, and the man himself has to see that.

Moore's loyalty will hopefully be rewarded one day, but don't you think for one second that's why he stayed. Sure, he'd be crazy not to want to replace Schuerholz in a few years. But Moore truthfully believes he is a part of something special in Atlanta, and that's not easy to walk away from, even for the bright lights of Beantown.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.

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