Frank White Interview on What’s Right With Nick Wright 12/2/11 – AUDIO & TRANSCRIPT
On December 2, Frank White appeared on What’s Right with Nick Wright on 610 Sports Radio to discuss his firing by Fox Sports Kansas City. Here is the statement released by Fox Sports KC and the Royals. What Frank White revealed, was way more:
Here is the full audio of the Interview. I will continue the transcription this evening as time allows:
Nick Wright: Frank White, Royals Hall of Famer, a member of the Mount Rushmore of Kansas City Sports, joins us on the Time Warner Digital Cable Hotline. Frank, how are you doing, my friend?
Frank White: Good afternoon, Nick. How are you?
NW: I’m doing well. So, you know, explain to me what happened yesterday, what you found out and what you were told.
FW: Uh, I had a meeting with Jack Donovan the head guy in Fox Sports in St. Louis. I met him on the Plaza. And he just informed me that, um, that the Royals felt that my, um, my chair in the booth was too negative toward the Royals and they wanted to make a change.
NW: And did they give you any specific examples, did they, was it that simple? Did they, was there anything more than that?
FW: Uh, it was that simple. I asked for circumstances. What games. What comments. Who the comment was made to. Um. I asked if, uh, the Royals had brought negative comments to them of something I had said, and I got nothing. And I basically just got up and left at that point.
NW: Did it come as a shock to you?
FW: No, it didn’t Nick. You know, after earlier in the year, when we had that deal in January. When the Royals wanted to cut my salary 2/3rds and I ended up resigning from the ballclub, you know. There were a lot of upper-management people upset at me because of some of the things that were said on the talk shows. And things like that. And I informed all my friends and my wife and everybody else that this was going to be revisited. And this is where we are right now.
NW: How disappointed were you?
FW: Well Nick, I’ll tell you, I was having fun with Ryan in the booth. I was enjoying broadcasting. And I really thought I did a great job for the Royals in the booth. But. You know, for some reason, I can’t, um, put my finger on it. I can’t say where it started. Who it started with. But it seems like somewhere things got sideways. And I think back, maybe it was after I interviewed for the manager’s job when Trey Hillman got the job. There was a lot of distrust between the manager and his staff. And then there was the hiring of Ned Yost and the same thing.
I don’t know if me being interviewed for that job it put me in a different light? Uh, with the club or with the manager. So this year, I just basically tried to stay out of their way. I talked to Dayton maybe three times all season. Dan Glass, I just bumped into casually in the parking lot. That was the only conversation we had all year. Ned Yost, we didn’t have much of a relationship in terms of talkin’ baseball, because I didn’t think I was getting what I needed from him, so I just didn’t really go that direction very much. So, maybe that’s it. I don’t know.
There’s a lot of things that, um, come into play that you don’t know about. And I don’t think the Royals are being specific. My main thing, Nick is, “it’s their team.” And they have a right to go any direction they want to go. My only concern is, “go the right way.” Dont’ go with the fans thinking that Frank White is a negative person or Frank White is a malcontent or Frank White created the situation that he’s in.
I didn’t create this situation. If you go back and look at my record, I’ve done everything they’ve ever asked me to do and then some.
NW: Frank White with us on the Time Warner Digital Cable Phone Hotline. Frank, I know it was never your plan. As the press release indicates, and I think that it’s accurate, you were kinda pressed into service because of the health situation of your good friend, Paul Splittorff. But it seemed to me, and I know you personally, that you grew to enjoy the broadcasting side of things. Is that something that you will try to pursue, you know, now? Maybe with another club? In another avenue? What’s next for you?
FW: Nick, I really don’t know. Ah, you know, it’s such a small fraternity, and there’s not that many jobs out there. And I’ve always said to myself, if I can’t work for the hometown team, and if the hometown team won’t hire you then what’s the incentive for another team to hire you? But I think that when you come as far as I’ve come in this organization, and to be in a position where your credibility is always being questioned, your loyalties are always being questioned. Your dedication to the team, you dedication to the city, to the fans, and just to the overall direction that the Royals are trying to go. When that’s being questioned, on top of you working so hard to promote the team and the direction that the team is going, and you work so hard to support the manager, what he’s doing — that’s the part that bothers me. Because those are the things that I do. And those are the things that, from the Royals perspective, have just gone unappreciated.
NW: When you were doing the broadcasts, what did you feel your duty was to the listener? I mean, I know you’ve kind of talke about being a coach in the booth. Trying to teach the game. What did you feel like your job was as a broadcaster?
FW: I mean, I think just to have fun and to interact with Ryan in the booth. And I think to be energetic and to replay the replays and to try to find something about the replay that the average fan and average watcher didn’t see. So that’s why I paid a lot of attention to the fundamentals – to the feet, the hands, the glove. So, I was really just trying to take the game from my perspective from the coaching booth and just try to education the people in their living rooms. That, you know, if you put your hand here, or you move your feet here, or whatever it might be, that the outcome may be different.
And I’ve got a lot of people telling me that, when they watch the broadcast, felt like they learned something. And that really makes me feel good.
NW: And that’s… Um. We’re talking to Royals Hall of Famer, Frank White, who is not going to be with the television broadcast next year. Frank, I’m curious the type of feedback that you did get from the fans – positively, or negatively. I know people are much more likely to tell just a broadcaster like myself or, hell, even like Ryan Lefebvre, “I don’t like you.” You’re a local legend, so I guess that people are more bashful if they didn’t like what you were doing, but what type of reaction have you gotten from the fans?
FW: Well, I haven’t talked to any. I went hunting this morning. I just haven’t seen a lot of people today. I’m going to be leaving for Arizona tomorrow, to visit the grandkids for a week. But I just think that, my friends, they’ve all called. People that I’ve worked with. And everyone is pretty much shocked by the whole deal. I’m not shocked by this deal. I’m not shocked by how the Royals are reacting to the situation because it’s typical of the way they’ve done business.
NW: Frank, I’m curious, is this the last — for a lot of us that look at you as a Royals legend – and part of… I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make you feel old – I’m not quite old enough for you to be a part of my childhood… but alot of listeners are. Is this, for lack of a better term, divorce final? Between you and the Royals? Is this the last that we’re going to see of you, with the Royals in an official capacity?
FW: I think so, Nick. I think that you reach a point where you try so hard, and you always put your best foot forward and you always carry yourself in a professional manner, with a lot of integrity. You try so hard to get the people that you work for to see that you are an asset to this organization. And it just doesn’t, it doesn’t compute to those guys. So, I think that based on this… based on the fact that no one from the office picked up the phone to call me and tell me what was going on. No one from the front office during the season came to me and said, “look, why did you say this?” or “why did you say that?” They just smile in your face and then give you the appearance that you’re doing a great job and then in the end they say, “well, we gotta let you go because you’ve been too negative.” You know, and I think from me trying so hard to stay out of people’s way, trying so hard to do my job, then, yeah, it hurts. And when you go back… I’ve only asked the Royals to do one thing for me, in all the time that I’ve been with them. I’ve only asked them to do one thing for me. And that was back in January when I asked him, I said, “look, I really think my job is community relations and public relations. I have no clue where this TV thing is going to go. I have no clue how many games I’m going to get.” Because Paul was still in the picture. And, I said “all I want you guys to do for me is let me stay, in my role, at my salary in public relations for the next 5 years, and I’ll retire, and everything will be great. That’s what I want to do here.” And they said, “no.”
So… everything’s just been kind of a spiral from then. Because when I did the 28 games, everything was fine. But when Paul got sick and I did 135 games, then all of a sudden things weren’t fine anymore. I was making too much money – even though they weren’t paying it – I was making too much money. And that’s why they wanted to cut my salary 2/3rds.
NW: So… Going from here, I know that you mentioned that it’s tough when the hometown team won’t give you a shot, but I know you love baseball. I know you love managing. I mean, is this something where, I can’t imagine, you’ve been in a place many times where Frank White is sending out resumes. But, I mean, are you going to try to get into coaching again or managing again, in some form?
FW: I don’t know, Nick. I don’t know. This is something that Teresa and I have to sit down and talk about. I’m 61 I can retire at 62. I’m not sure what I want to do now. It may even include selling everything here and moving to Arizona. We have a place there. And I, you know, I just don’t have any confidence anymore in baseball. I mean, I just think that if your own team can’t see your value. If your own team can’t utilize you in a way that you’ve always been utilized – which is in the Public, which is speaking positively about the ballclub. My biggest thing here is I just don’t want the fans to think, “Frank White is the most negative guy in the world. That’s why the Royals let him go.” That’s not the case. That’s not even close to being the case.
Like I say, you guys can go any direction you want to go, but go the right way. Don’t stain my career. Don’t stain what I’ve accomplished, and what I’ve built up, just for the sake for you to feel good about what you’re doing. That’s my whole deal.
I mean, I really enjoy Baseball. I really enjoy those guys on the ballclub. They’re great guys. I’ve managed some of them. And they’re fun to be around. I’m going to miss that. But at the same time, I’m not going to miss going to the ballpark, having guys look at you with one eye. Guys who don’t wanna come up and talk to you. But then they do, they say, “hi, how you doin’ today?” And then go behind your back and talk about other stuff. I don’t like that.
I don’t like people that lie.
NW: And then finally, and I’ll let you go on this one, Frank. I really appreciate the honesty, I really appreciate you taking the time. You coached a lot of these guys, I always say “coached” I guess “managed” is the proper word.
FW: Well, coached and managed a lot.
NW: Yeah, okay, coached and managed. You, obviously, have been part of this organization, from the time you helped build the stadium, however many years ago. Whether you’re in Arizona, or in Kansas City, it does appear, that right now the Royals are on the cusp of potentially finally turning that corner. Will you be able to watch the games? Will you be able to enjoy it? Will you be able to root for the team?
FW: Oh, I will. Because I like the players. I got to know a lot of them. And I managed some of them. And I thought that was the most enjoyable thing about being in the booth because you had a chance to see some of your guys that you managed really turn the corner like Alex Gordon. It was just so much fun watching him play last year. And seeing Billy Butler continue to play the way that he’s playing. And Luke Hochevar, I managed him and watching him slowly get better. So that’s what makes it fun to talk about because you have such a personal relationship with the guys.
I was in New York a couple weekends ago with Alex when he was receiving his Gold Glove and he was excited about the season. Excited about winning his first Gold Glove. These guys are great guys. And I will be watching with great interest. Because, you have a lot of guys, Nick, that can come in here from other organizations, from other cities, and they can talk about winning or what it takes to win. But, until you’ve been on the field. And until you’ve won on the field, then, they don’t know what it’s like. And I think one of the biggest disappointments for me is that they didn’t recognize my passion. They didn’t recognize how much I love this organization. How much I’d love to see this city see another winner. Those are the things that really bothered me about the upper management of the Royals. It’s because they don’t understand just how I felt about this ballclub.
And I think the don’t understand it because they don’t talk to me. They never asked me questions. And, until you talk to a person, every other team seems to be able to work this thing out. But the Royals can’t work it out. I think they’re losing a great asset. Someone who can help them in a lot of different ways, because I’ve managed and I’ve coached at this level. I’ve managed in the minor leagues and I’ve been in the front office. And I think that players recognize that. I think they enjoy talking to me. And getting information and gathering information from them for the baseball season. Because that’s what I’ve tried to do. I tried to do as much of “well, I talked to this guy before the game and this is what he had to say about this…” I tried to bring more of a personal relationship into the booth just from talking to the players and talking to the coaches. And that’s what I enjoy doing.
I didn’t enjoy throwing around a lot of statistics and stuff like that but I did enjoy talking about what guys are working on and what they’re trying to get accomplished and stuff like that.
NW: Frank White. Royals Hall of Famer
(ed note: There was about 2 minutes more, but that’s where my recording cut out for some reason. Nick thanked Frank for joining him and then thanked Frank for his years of service with the club.)
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