Royals fire broadcaster, Hall of Famer, company man Frank White, who says he’s finished with the team

Yesterday morning, Frank White was a Hall of Famer, a Kansas City boy who grew up to be one of the greatest Royals of all time, a loyal soldier who toiled as a AA manager hoping to make it to the bigs, and settled on being a broadcaster. Yesterday afternoon, Frank White was unemployed and intent on severing his long-time relationship with the Royals.

Kansas City Star sports scribe Sam Mellinger talked to White, who says he and the Royals are kaput.

“I’m done with the Royals,” he says. “In all aspects. I’m tired. I’ve worked so hard to build my reputation and prove to them that I was loyal.”

Loyalty, it appears, comes at a cost.

White joined the broadcast booth instead, eventually taking on a heavier workload after primary TV analyst Paul Splittorff became sick. All the while, White tiptoed around Hillman, intentionally never asking a question in news conferences and taking notice that nobody asked him to work with the infielders or about his opinions on players.

Those feelings of disrespect grew, turning into a well-known secret until busting into the public last offseason. White’s increased broadcasting schedule meant he could do fewer personal appearances for the Royals, and when the team asked him to take a representative cut from that part of his salary, he voiced his frustration.

He eventually worked things out enough to serve as the primary TV analyst last season, but the raw feelings never went away on either side.

White only felt more disrespected by an organization he cared about his entire life, and the Royals grew more tired of what some viewed as a sense of entitlement and paranoia unbecoming of a man of such accomplishment.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore is being blamed in many circles for White’s ouster from the broadcast booth, which multiple sources adamantly dispute and classify as a collaborative decision.

The Royals have stayed mum so far, allowing this turn into a bit of a PR nightmare. But teams aren’t known for being outwardly transparent, hence the proliferation of “upper body injuries” suffered by hockey players. The Chicago Cubs haven’t much about the decision to give Ryne Sandberg the cold shoulder. So it’s not entirely unexpected that the Royals would keep their cards close. Still, I imagine we’ll hear from Dayton Moore sometime in the near future.
It’s too bad White’s relationship with the Royals went south. The glory years of the early 80s, when White played, are still celebrated at Kauffman Stadium, as the team gears up for what some are saying could be a playoff run in 2012.
UPDATE: White further criticized the Royals in a radio interview with Nick Wright.

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