The Royals’ parting of ways with Frank White* was ugly. Nearly two months later, we still do not know exactly what happened, and we may never know (although I would totally ghost-write a Frank White tell-all if he’s looking for someone).
*and Kevin Shank! We must not forget Kevin Shank.
What we do know is that as of right now, the Royals’ TV booth is down to just Ryan LeFebvre. Who will join him?
It seems like a silly question, or one that doesn’t much matter. But the announcer makes all the difference. Think of it: For kids in their 20s (like me), memories of growing up a Royals fan are actually pleasant ones despite the losing. Anything narrated by Denny Matthews is going to become a pleasant memory, even a childhood full of embarrassingly bad teams.
Of course, TV is a different animal, but the voice and character of the TV booth still plays a huge role. And this will be one of the most important seasons since the team’s glory days, because the players on the roster today are the same players who are supposed to start another realm of glory days. So in 20 years, when my (hypothetical) kids are watching Eric Hosmer highlights from 2012, whose voice will be setting up the big hits?
Last week, I asked two questions on Twitter: 1) Who should take Frank White’s now-vacated spot in the booth? And 2) Who will? Other people’s responses are in bold; my thoughts are not.
1) Any NON ex-player with 10+ years of baseball broadcasting xp. 2) Battery of Monty and Mike Sweeney.
Ahhh yes, but where will we get this mystical non-jock with tons of experience? No, seriously, I don’t know what the market is like for those. Omaha’s Mark Nasser fits the bill, and would be awesome. That would also give KC an extremely young TV booth, as both LeFebvre and Nass are in their very early 40s.
1) anybody but Monty….2)probably monty
Monty. Can’t see anyone else.
Monty seems to be the safe, “default” choice for the club, as he’s been integrated into the broadcast routine already. Hiring him would not make much of a splash – either positively or negatively – which might make him an attractive hire for the Royals.
Should: Mark Gubicza. Will: Mike Sweeney or Mark Gubicza.
I am a huge Mike Sweeney fan. If you’ve been around these parts before, you know this. But I actually would not want him broadcasting every day. If his broadcasts are anything like his public speaking style, it would get to be too much. And I like him very much as a speaker – he can speak forcefully without yelling, knows when to keep things soft, and has an easy candor that makes him relatable. But for some reason I don’t see that translating as well across an entire season’s worth of broadcasts. On the other hand, I would not be upset if he was hired, though I suspect some of the haters would be. But haters, as they say, gonna hate.
1 frank white. 2 not frank white
Fair enough. But that’s not going to happen. Ryan LeFebvre spoke briefly about the Frank White situation at the Royals Caravan stop last week. A few things were clear: He will miss broadcasting with White; he does not know who his partner will be; a reconciliation between White and the club will not happen quickly. LeFebvre did say that he believes time heals all wounds, but given the nasty nature of White’s split from the Royals, there is not enough time to heal those wounds before the season’s first broadcast.
1) M.MacFarlane 2) M.Sweeney
This was the only mention I got of MacFarlane, but I expected to hear it more. A catcher would be a good addition, because catchers have to know everything.
Should – Rick Sutcliffe; Will – Jeff Montgomery
Do you think the Royals could woo Sutcliffe away from ESPN?
1.) George Brett. 2.) Some snoozer.
Now THOSE would be can’t-miss broadcasts. Brett would probably be an awful broadcaster, but no one would dare miss a moment, just in case he tells any more true, double-tapered stories. Also, he hates the media and can’t not curse.
My mom, who isn’t on Twitter but with whom I chat about the Royals anyway, would love for John Buck to retire from playing and step into the booth. I tend to agree. He has done well in guest broadcast appearances, and by all accounts seems like a good guy who would be easy to work with.
If it were up to me, I’d hire Brian Bannister. He’s very well-spoken, and I feel like he’d be able to introduce different statistical ideas into the broadcast gently, with explanations that make sense, and without trashing traditionalists in the process. This…will probably not happen.
Who’d we miss?