KANSAS CITY -- When the Royals had early season struggles in recent years, former managers Tony Muser and Tony Pena had to deal with intense scrutiny regarding their job security. This year, the scrutiny surrounds general manager Allard Baird and Baird isn't shying away from that reality. "If we don't win ballgames, I'm not going to be here," Baird said. "That's the way it works." Before the Royals opened a nine-game homestand on Friday, Baird held court on the field at Kauffman Stadium and responded to owner David Glass' assertion that changes will be forthcoming if the Royals don't turn it around soon.
"I'm not going to beat around the bush. That's the reality," Baird said. "You guys all know that or you wouldn't be anxious to talk to me at 3:45. I'm not sounding cavalier. I want to be here when the fruits start to pay off. But I also understand that what the owner said is what the owner said. He has a right to demand that we start to win ballgames. If we don't, there are two possible changes: The direction or myself. I understand that." Baird has long talked about putting the organization above one's self and believes it would be a major mistake for the Royals to change directions after what has been a tough rebuilding phase over the last couple of years. "We cannot change direction and that's whether Allard Baird is the general manager or he is not," Baird said. While the owner wants to see quick improvement, the Royals have to balance having a sense of urgency without creating an environment where the players press. "The bottom line is we need to win some games," Baird said. "But with all that being said, my major concern right now is that the players relax and play up to their ability at the Major League level. To ask players to dial it up is near impossible. "It's a good test of character. When the heat gets turned up like this, either you rise or you fall. I think we have very good character in that clubhouse." Baseball 'N Blues: Royals Charities has announced the sixth annual "Baseball 'N Blues" party presented by the Kansas City Zone Dodge Dealers. The event, co-chaired by Royals president Dan Glass and wife Penny, will take place on Monday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m. CT in the Midwest Airlines Crown Club at Kauffman Stadium. The annual event brings together fans and the Royals team for a signature dinner and entertainment, as well as a live and silent auction featuring sports, travel and luxury items. Table sponsorship opportunities with unique benefits are now available at two levels: Gold Glove Patron for $7,500 and Cy Young Patron for $5,000. Patron levels include benefits such as opportunities to sit with members of the team, autographed items, promotional opportunities and more. A limited number of individual tickets are available for $500 each. This year, the proceeds of the event will benefit the Kansas City YMCA Challenger Division Baseball Park. Royals Charities is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and William Jewell College to build a field designed for children with mental and physical disabilities. The Challenger Field will be custom-designed using a synthetic turf to accommodate wheelchairs and other assistive devices in order to remove the barriers that normally keep special-needs children off the baseball field. For more information, contact Betty Kaegel, director of Royals Charities, at 816-504-4308. Two teams: The Royals and neighboring Kansas City Chiefs will team up for the sixth annual "Two Teams, One Goal" event on Saturday. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., members of the two teams will join more than 200 volunteers to distribute groceries at the corner of 30th and Troost in Kansas City.Under the direction of Operation Blessing, the event aims to distribute food to more than 3,000 people in need in the Kansas City area. Royals players scheduled to appear include: John Buck, Tony Graffanino, Luke Hudson, Mike Sweeney, Mark Teahen, Mike Wood, Jeremy Affeldt and Andrew Sisco. Coming up: The Royals hope right-hander Joe Mays (0-2, 11.68 ERA) can avoid the early inning blues on Saturday when he takes on Cleveland's Paul Byrd (2-1, 7.02 ERA) at 6:10 p.m. CT. Mays surrendered five first-inning runs in his last start at Chicago, but seemed to find a groove thereafter.
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.