Kansas City, Mo. — In a tense news conference following Baltimore's 13-0 victory over the reeling Kansas City Royals, Tony Muser was the first to raise an embarrassing subject.
"Everybody in here knows what's going on," the losingest manager in team history said with a weary tone in his voice.
Yes, everyone does.
Seemingly every day, fans, talk-show hosts and newspaper columnists call for Muser to be fired. His record in almost five full seasons is a miserable 316-430. His 1999 team lost a team-record 97 games. His 2001 team matched that.
And now after a humiliating loss that gave the Orioles a three-game sweep, the Royals are 7-15, exactly where they were at this point last year en route to their second 97-loss debacle in three seasons.
Their home record of 4-10 is the worst in the major leagues. They've played eight series and been swept in four.
In what could be interpreted as a bad sign for the 52-year-old Californian, owner David Glass sent word during the game that he did not wish to comment on his manager's status. Glass has always been a vocal supporter of his manager.
Muser remains stubbornly loath to discuss his status, even though everyone else in town seems immersed in the subject.
"I don't want it to get to the players to the point where they're confused," he said. "Those guys have to go out there and play. I don't want it to become a distraction."