Do you remember Frank White?
Builder of Royals Stadium. Gold Glove second baseman. Clean up hitter on a World Championship team. Has a statue. Former broadcaster...
Of course you remember Frank White. Except maybe he's not so sure you will. Because it seems as though he's intent on staying front and center.
White is back in the news this week with the publication of his autobiography: One Man's Dream: My Town, My Team, My Time. (The editor must have missed the title. That's a mouthful.)
(Disclaimer: I haven't read the book. It's on backorder at Amazon and isn't available on Kindle. Nor did I attend his appearance at the Kansas City Public Library on Tuesday. If anyone attended, please leave a report in the comments.)
Here we go again. Is this Round 12?
I suppose this book is his therapy. That's fine. Except he's been talking to anyone and everyone for the last year. He's not even on the broadcasts but it feels like he's had more air time than Uncle Hud. You would think he would have obtained "closure" or whatever the hell he's looking for at this point. You would be wrong. From the book:
“Somebody wanted to flex their muscles,” White writes, “and when they did, I was let go. I think that when something really matters to you, when you love something, and they take it away, it’s tough to come back from... The Royals broke my heart. They made me feel like I never mattered.”
Ouch. White comes off more as an abused child than spurned ballplayer. This feels a bit melodramatic. Like there's a guy with a top hat and a handlebar mustache lurking around the corner, just waiting to flex his muscles over poor Frank. I need a handkerchief, because it's getting dusty in here.
The thing is, I'm in White's corner in this whole unsavory kerfuffle. The guy has been a good soldier for the organization ever since he retired. He paid some dues in an effort to become a big league manager, yet it sounds like he was never seriously considered the last couple of times the position came open. Yeah, that would make anyone bitter. Then, he stepped in for Paul Splittorff when the broadcaster fell ill. I'm sure White wasn't planning on surrendering his summer, yet the Royals (and Fox) needed him and he did what he could to fill the hole. Then, he was fired when "someone wanted to flex their muscles."
Yeah, I can see where that would hurt. I don't blame White for being angry.
But this constant whining... The victimization... He's not doing himself any favors.
“(Glass) said I had done irrevocable damage to the organization, and he didn’t think it could be repaired…I told him, ‘I think you guys have done irrevocable damage to me.’”
Priceless. It sounds like he's angling for some sort of personal injury lawsuit, doesn't it? Does Lionel Hutz handle hurt feeling cases?
Hey, I'm all for someone taking shots at Dan Glass. The guy practically invites it upon himself. He seems clueless about business, clueless about personal relationships and especially clueless about baseball. Easy target. When Frank was fired last year and came out swinging, it was good to hear. He was basically confirming what a lot of fans thought: Dan Glass isn't worthy of working for our team. It was Our Hero versus the goofball from out of town. And we all know whose side we're on in that situation. And when Frank went on his radio tour and told his story, I was behind him. I figured he would say a few choice words, burn a bridge and move on. Except that didn't exactly happen. He dropped a load of napalm, but for some reason he's hanging around, still dropping bombs. Only there's nothing really left to bomb.
Now... Let's just say his story has lost it's impact.
Actually, it's done more than lost it's impact. White is now coming across as petty and bitter. Ironic, considering that's the two qualities he's attempting to pin upon Dan Glass. With each repeated verbal and public swing, White is missing his target. And when he misses, he only hurts himself.
The "poor me" schick is diminishing his legacy. Had White come out after the firing from Fox, made a statement and went about his business, he would have made a far greater impact than staying around constantly complaining. In a situation like this, it's impossible not to lose respect for the guy. Which is sad.
“I think a team like the Royals needs to embrace its past, but I was a part of that past and you saw what happened with me. I’ll never be a part of that organization again. You’ll never see me in that stadium again.”
He has made this threat again and again and again. At this point, even if he keeps his word, it feels hollow. What exactly am I supposed to do the fifth time I hear this? When someone says they're never going to darken that doorstep again, and they don't exactly go away, how can we take them seriously? What does he want the Royals to do? Drop to their knees and beg forgiveness? If he thinks that's going to happen, he's sadly detached from reality. Yes, the Royals look bad. But this is just another mark against their long list of public relations failures. If this was the only thing the Royals did wrong in 2012, that would be a story. Instead, the Royals overall ineptitude means this gets lost in the static. Just another PR mistake.
At this point, it doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong... We're way past the blame game here.
Now, I just feel sorry for Frank White. But not for the reasons he wants me to.