The best team in 20 years of mostly sorry Royals baseball is playing in the Arizona sunshine now, all hopes and dreams and James Shields and Sal Perez.

Mike Moustakas has cut some fat. Eric Hosmer swears by a new confidence, and Billy Butler swears by an old belief. Danny Duffy is healthy and Yordano Ventura is ready and, who knows, maybe Alex Gordon is going to dominate again. The reputations of lifelong baseball men will be shaped by how this goes.

But before we get to the business of the 2014 Royals, it’s worth a few minutes here to talk about the, um, business of the 2014 Royals.

This team is the product of seven full years of Dayton Moore’s Process and that doesn’t include 13 clueless years before that under an overmatched board of directors and David Glass’ ownership — so the consequences of failure will be shame and anger. A franchise that’s grown used to talking about three years from now has no more time to make good on the blockbuster trade that sent uber-prospect Wil Myers to Tampa Bay.

This will be a Royals season like no other in a generation, at least. An 86-win team that filled two black holes in its lineup not only can win in 2014, it must win to make all of this worthwhile.

Following the Royals means following payroll, spending habits and who’s under club control for how long. This is how baseball operates, particularly in the Royals’ tax bracket.

So before the spring developments start, this is as good a time as any to look closely at how well the franchise’s best hope since the strike is being supported by an owner who generally has the approval rating of the flu among fans.

The answer might surprise you.

The first thing to talk about here is the new national television contracts that kick in this season. You hear a lot about this $25 million figure. That’s the number being thrown around locally and nationally — we’ve used it here — as the per-team increase from last year to this year. But some phone calls around baseball show the number to be misleading.

Most relevantly, there is no $25 million-per-team jump in revenues from 2013 to 2014. That figure (which doesn’t account for a share that MLB takes) comes from the average of the new contract compared to the average of the old contract. But the old deal increased every year, just like the new deal is scheduled to. The highest total of the old contract was last year, and the lowest total of the new contract is this year, so the raw increase from last year to this year is thought to be more like $5 million to $10 million, before MLB takes its share.

At the moment, the Royals’ opening day payroll projects to be about $90 million, excluding benefits and bonuses, up from around $81 million on opening day last year. It is tempting to think that Glass is getting a $25 million infusion while only increasing payroll by about $9 million, which would mean an extra $16 million to buy an island or something, but it’s just not the way it works.

“The $25 million is a made-up number,” says Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor for Forbes Sports. “The $25 million doesn’t mean anything if you’re comparing ’13 to ’14.”