Friday, December 2, 2011

You're An Idiot, Babe's a a wonder that you still know how to breathe
(From "Idiot Wind," Blood On The Tracks)

I try not to write in anger. But today's news that Fox Sports Kansas City fired Frank White from their TV broadcasts really infuriates me.

For whatever reason, at the same time as the Royals improve on the field, they are doing a terrible job in the public relations department. So far this offseason, they have irritated their fans by cancelling the annual FanFest event and then followed that up by firing possibly the most popular player in Royals history. Sure, it was technically FSKC firing him, but obviously if the Royals wanted him on TV next year, he'd be on TV.

White told 610's Nick Wright that he was fired for being "too negative" about the team. This is a load of horsepucky, and frankly the Royals should be ashamed. First, I have a hard time remembering when White was overly critical of the team. Second, I WANT my color analyst to be negative when it is warranted. You know, I believe the Royals have smart fans. Sure, reading the comments on their Facebook page after a trade sometimes makes me wonder about that, but the fans I know personally and/or interact with on Twitter are not dumb. We know if the team is not playing well, and simply hiring a broadcaster to tell us otherwise is not going to work. It annoys me that the Royals apparently don't think we're smart enough to see through that. Of course, they've had Ryan Lefebvre around for years trying to convince us that Tony Pena Jr. and Yuniesky Betancourt were major league shortstops, so perhaps I should be used to it by now. It doesn't mean I have to like it, though.

Honestly, I don't believe Frank White is a great broadcaster. Obviously, he knows the game. I always wished he would be a little more open to the new stats that are out there, but I'm certainly not surprised that a former player who worked for the Royals wouldn't be very open to sabermetrics. But he was hardly the worst analyst out there.

Beyond that, though, he's Frank White. That name means something in Kansas City. He's from here, he literally helped build Kauffman Stadium, and he was a key part of the glory years. And now the Royals have essentially chased him away. Is there no one at 1 Royal Way who could not see that this move would enrage the vast majority of the fanbase? If I didn't know better, I'd say the Royals were TRYING to antagonize their fans.

The FanFest cancellation was based on the flimsiest of excuses: we can't handle that and the All-Star Game preparations, too. So far, the Royals haven't even bothered giving their side of the story on Frank White. They might not ever do that (which might be their best PR move--anything they say is likely to anger people even more).

Frankly, I expect this kind of PR idiocy from the Chiefs, because they seem to believe they are still the franchise they were in the 1990s, making the playoffs every year and filling Arrowhead. That arrogance can lead to lots of dumb decisions. But the Royals, who have no playoff appearances in 26 long years, and who have even sniffed contention maybe five times in that stretch, should be doing whatever they can to keep their fans happy. And lately, it seems like they have forgotten that.