We are all hopelessly devoted to our hometown teams. No matter what happens on or off the field, we pathetic souls will always find ways to defend the actions of the players, coaches and front office personnel of the teams closest to us. Even if they haven’t made the playoffs in 26 years, even if they haven’t been to the Super Bowl in more than 40 years, and even if the only way they seem to be able to win a game is by a Hail Mary, we still profess our undying love and devotion to a team that breaks our hearts time and time again.
Well, ladies and gentleman, today is the day that I can unfortunately say none of those things. Late last week, it was confirmed that the Royals and FoxSports KC would not be renewing Frank White as Ryan Lefebvre’s color man for Royals broadcasts. This would be fine if he had off field transgressions of some bad sort, or if he had cursed on the air, but he has not done these things. Nope, FSKC’s reasoning behind this was that White, and I kid you not, was “too negative” in his broadcasts.
You’re kidding right? Too negative? Have you ever watched a Royals broadcast? He is the furthest thing from negative. Unless of course the definition of negative has changed to mean, “one of the smartest, most insightful, and all-around baseball intelligent men in broadcasting.” Most commentators, and I won’t name names *cough cough, Chris Collinsworth,* just sit back and say, “That was a bad play,” after an incompletion or something of the like. White never did that. Instead, he would educate anyone who may be watching. If a second baseman botched the turn on a double play, White would explain in detail the proper way to receive the ball, set your feet, and release the throw; and he would explain how to do it all in one fluid motion. I’ve been playing baseball all my life and I still learn something new every time I watch a Royals game on TV.
I’ve tried watching other teams’ local broadcasts and I find myself unable to do so. Have you ever watched a Chicago White Sox broadcast on WGN? They are the two worst commentators in the game. If it’s a crucial situation, they will literally say, “Come on, (insert player at bat), we need a hit here.” That kind of unashamed bias is embarrassing to all commentators of all sports. And they don’t just say the player’s name, no. They say his nickname. Listening to two homer announcers like these clowns really makes one appreciate the objectivity and common sense displayed by someone like White. But White Sox commentators Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone are a disgrace to the profession.
This isn’t just a bad decision, it’s an atrocious decision. Frank White has bled Royal blue practically his entire life. He played second base for them for 18 years, won five Gold Gloves, and helped them win a World Series crown in 1985. He was on the construction team that built the Truman Sports Complex for God’s sake. He grew up not five miles from it. And this is how the organization treats him? As the Royals appear to have built a legitimate contender through solid free agent signings and good draft choices, this could not have come at a worse possible time from a PR standpoint.
Frank White has said he will never work for the Royals again, and I don’t blame him. Hopefully he finds a coaching job somewhere, because that’s what he deserves. A man with such a wealth of knowledge about the game shouldn’t be relegated to commentating anyway. You know, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened with the team had they hired White instead of Trey Hillman as the manager back in 2008. One can only imagine.