When I was growing up, in a town where summer baseball meant everything, it wasn’t unusual to for a kid to pick a player or players and try to mimic their every move. I was a HUGE Royals fan back in those days. Who wouldn’t be….it was the mid 1980’s and we actually had a good team. Or should I say we had a decent team surrounded by good pitching. It was an everyday occurence to run around acting like I was stealing second like the speedy Willie Wilson. I’m sure the neighbors enjoyed watching me slide into third to immediately hop up and take imaginary swings at the face of Graig Nettles, like George Brett used to do. Luckily back then, nobody called social services as they witnessed me running around the yard with a toothpick in my mouth like U.L. Washington. What I remember the most was throwing a raquetball against the concrete foundation of our house, diving from left to right and taking short hops for hours on end. Really, was there anything better than the defense of Royals second baseman Frank White? Those were some great times!
Alright, now to the point of this story. After taking the night off from the Internet, I woke up this morning to a tweet from a friend. He was tweeting that I should blog about the firing of Frank White. My first reaction was, “What the hell!” I hadn’t heard. 610 sports, one of my Kansas City news sources failed to send me a text alert on this move. I wonder why? The answer to that falls under the contract of 610 Sports and the Kansas City Royals. Of course 610 Sports isn’t going to report this, they are the “Home of the Royals”; however, Frank White was a weekly contributor to the show. What had left me speechless soon turned to anger and here I am putting it on “electronic” paper.
Who is Frank White? Frank White helped build this organization from the ground up and I mean that literally because he actually worked on the crew that built the stadium. He was home grown. He grew up near the stadium and even attended Longview Community College. Frank White was a living made-for-TV movie as a hard working, hometown boy that fulfilled his dreams of playing for his hometown team. He didn’t just play…..he played great! With 18 seasons under his belt, Frank White was selected to five All-Star games, accumulated 8 Golden Gloves, one American League Championship Series MVP, and one World Series championship. That one championship means the world to this town and Frank White was a key contributor. White also worked as a hitting coach shaping the swings of Billy Butler and Alex Gordon and worked in the broadcast booth for the past few years. If you walk beyond the centerfield wall you will find a statue of Royal’s Hall of Famer Frank White that is a symbol of gracefulness, hard work, and dedication to an organization and a city.
So how do you repay a guy that has given so much to the organization and city? I’m almost certain that firing him probably doesn’t cut it. Frank White has given nearly 40 years to an organization that has given the city one championship in that same 40 years. Why would you fire a guy who has done nothing wrong? Are you afraid of the backlash and cries from fans for White to take Ned Yost’s job at the end of an unsuccessful 2012 campaign, because the organization continues to fail to provide pitching? While this organization has turned their backs on Frank White, I start wondering why the city hasn’t turned their back on the organization, because the work they have done in the past 30 years doesn’t come close to the work Frank White has done for them. I don’t personally know Frank White but I do know that person I grew up idolizing on the baseball field will take this in stride and be the bigger man. I’m sure he is upset. I’m sure he is disappointed and I wouldn’t blame him for never taking another step in Kauffman Stadium again. One thing I’m also sure of is as my son grows up mimicking major league players, I will be quick to pull up Youtube videos of Frank White and tell stories of the second baseman that made me enjoy the game of baseball and explain to him that although hard work and dedication is often overlooked (as did the Royals organization), it can make a strong impact on your life and the lives of others.