I wasn't pitch-fork ready when I heard that Frank White was not returning to Royals broadcasts in 2012. However, Jeff Passan has made the discussion a little more interesting:
I'm told the Royals fired Frank White because team thought he was too critical. To fire him is bad. To fire him for that is unconscionable.
For what it's worth, the KC Star's story on the matter suggested nothing along these lines. But obviously, that doesn't tell us much. There's very unlikely to be anything on the record about this, other than the usual bromides. Moreover, there's the murky FSKC-Royals decision tree, and again, on record, we'll get very little. The only source of additional news here, will have to come from White himself, who will certainly have people ready to listen.
The Royals are in a tough spot here. The team/FSKC has every right to go in another direction, and in the past White has been fairly prickly about being denied or removed from similar Royal-for-life-I'm-a-Famous-guy roles. A number of fans are upset about Frank being fired and a few days the Royals are going to take some heat for it. For me, I'm much more concerned about why he was fired.
I agree with Passan -- who is a nationally respected baseball writer with KC ties -- that firing Frank for being critical of the team is a bad thing. The odd, and scary thing, is that I would have never considered him critical in the first place. I can begrudgingly understand and even warrant that a team would not want a truly critical voice on team broadcasts (although this could also mean more entertaining TV and maybe more money, etc). But if Frank White was too critical what could they possibly want? Can any of us name three negative things the man said? Coupled with the short-sighted decision to dump Fanfest in favor of focusing on out-of-town corporate junketers this summer, we're looking at a rough winter from Royals leadership.
Are the bad old days of a paranoid ownership returning?