The Royals’ separation from Frank White feels all too much like a divorce, and we fans are the children, helplessly caught in the middle. There are always two sides to every story. We’ve heard only a little of what certainly must be a bigger, uglier situation. White was too negative. The Royals wanted to get rid of him for a long time. Come on. That’s it?
At the moment, it’s very tempting to want to side with White. Looking back at the way he’s been treated by the franchise over the years, it’s hard not to think that he was used, abused, unappreciated and passed over time and again by the Royals, until finally they decided they had no more need for him.
He was unceremoniously released at the end of his career, allowed to slip away to coach in Boston, passed over for managerial positions at least twice, and forced into retirement from the front office when it conflicted with his broadcast duties.
White has meant so much to KC over these many years, it’s unfathomable that they would just divorce him. He’s among the greatest players in team history, and easily the second most important face of the franchise. Only George Brett means more to KC, and he isn’t nearly as willing to get out and shill for the company as White was.
I’ve interacted a couple of times with Frank White at Royals’ fan events. And while most of the current players are cold, stand-offish and colorless, White embraced every fan with a smile, handshake and kind conversation. His warmth and down-to-earth friendliness will be missed. His lifelong connection with the city is something that will probably never be duplicated.
The Royals may have felt they had acquired some new measure of goodwill from the 2011 infusion of talent and decided to strike while the iron was hot. Like a marriage, they decided to get out while the getting was good.
But while it looks so easy to side with White, who knows what else was going on Nearly every divorce involves two parties with at least some degree of guilt. White’s supposed on-air “negativity” was the sole reason given for his firing. Could it be there was some kind of insubordination or disruption the Royals decide to no longer tolerate?
We’ll probably never know the whole truth. But like the children watching the parents they love divorce, the fans are forced to mourn and wonder why it had to happen.
One of the last links to the great Royals teams of the past is now an “ex.” His name will come up from time to time, but his role in our lives will forever be changed. And like children in a divorce, we’re helpless to do anything about it.