OTC: Royals’ Baby George Sheds Title / Brett Quits In Mid-Season / Says, “I’m 60 Years Old.”

“Brett spent 48 games in the role and, while the club went 26-22 in that span, offensive production actually declined. … Individual results were mixed. First baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas showed notable improvement, but left fielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvy Perez dipped significantly. Even so, the Royals uniformly praised his impact.”
Bob Dutton, after George Brett announced he would be stepping down from his interim role as the Royals’ hitting coach and moving back to a VP role outside the dugout, Kansas City Star
GH: The Royals misguided experiment (or desperate attempt to save Dayton Moore’s and Ned Yost’s for a few more months) ended strangely and abruptly just 48 games after it excited the Royals fan base. George Brett quit – in mid-season no less. I didn’t think I would ever write those words. Read on.

“I made that adjustment for almost two months, and it was getting tougher and tougher. … I don’t want to say it’s too much travel. I don’t want to say it’s too much of a grind. It’s just a different lifestyle from what I’m used to. .. Now I’m 60. I was trying to do that life again and it was just very difficult for me.”
George Brett, in his Thursday press conference
GH: Brett was 60 when he took the interim job – so why did he use that repeatedly as an excuse? This seemed like a crazy idea to me when it was proposed and it looks even worse with Brett walking out on his team as they struggle to stay relevant through the two toughest months of the season. I don’t see how you read this as anything but selfish on Brett’s behalf. Don’t take the gig if you can’t do four freaking months.

“What’s a couple more months? You signed up for this. Come on, help ‘em out! I don’t know. It’s just a little bit odd. They’re almost at the end of (the season). Two more months is not anything! Just finish it out and then you can bow out gracefully with no questions asked. … If you’re going to be there then be there.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM

“I think Father Time has now told a 60-year-old George Brett you can’t do something. I think that’s why you saw the emotion out of Number 5 yesterday.”
Josh Vernier, 610 AM
GH: Take it from a guy who is almost the same age as Brett, he was well aware of his physical limits long before he put his Royals’ uniform back on. This was no new realization to Brett. He simply wanted to go back to playing golf and not having a schedule. Who wouldn’t? But you don’t quit in the middle of a task, George. You just don’t.

“It’s like he took a vacation from his life to have a job. Everyone else takes a vacation from their jobs, George Brett took a job from his vacation. … It just seems like he wants to go back to the life of being George Brett.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: The Royals pulled into Chicago Friday about 2:00 AM to check into their hotel rooms. George is reportedly on his way to Idaho for a family vacation this weekend.

“I think everybody all along knew this was going to be a trial run.”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM
GH: I don’t know of many people who expected Brett to quit with two months of the season remaining – especially the players.

“It just stinks. It really does. It was awesome having George around here every day. … George has been like a father to most of us here and we thank him for the month that he put it.”
Eric Hosmer, when asked his reaction to Brett’s decision to quit as the team’s batting coach, 610 AM

“George is a straight-up person. He’s going to be 100% real with you.”
Alex Gordon, 610 AM

“George is a straight-up person. If something doesn’t look good, he’ll tell you it doesn’t look good.”
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Star
GH: George might not have been quite as “straight up” with the players as they thought. Read on.

“Sometimes guys weren’t (swinging the bat well) and we tricked ‘em. We’d tell them in BP, ‘Your swing looks great.’ And it was terrible. Just so they believed they could get a hit. … Because if you believe in yourself, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. If you have no confidence in yourself, you have no chance.”
George Brett, in his Thursday press conference

“I was not a good mechanical hitting coach, I’ll be the first to admit that.”
George Brett, in his Thursday press conference
GH: I think this too was a big reason George quit – he wasn’t very good at his job. The art of coaching is very different from the art of playing. Brett said he had no idea how to incorporate video into his coaching. What? How hard is it to master watching video? I think George liked playing but hated the work that is coaching. Playing ball was never work to George. Coaching is all about work, long hours and travel.

“Brett’s decision will be read a thousand different ways by a thousand different people with a thousand different agendas. Maybe he lost faith in the team. Beefed with manager Ned Yost. Felt like he wasn’t helping. Whatever. The truth is Brett just didn’t have it in him anymore. The energy. The drive. The tingle in the nerves that every player and every coach talk about needing to tackle the big-league life.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I think Sam’s a bit dramatic in his depiction here. There are only a couple of ways to read Brett’s decision. He either got tired of the job or he thought he was so incompetent he was not helping the team. Or maybe both.

“I just thought his reasons for getting out of it was a little slim.”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM

“No one in the Royals organization can take an anti-George Brett leaving stance because he’s George Brett. I wonder if they tried to talk him out of it.”
Danny Parkins, 810 AM
GH: Joel Goldberg, who is as faithful a company man as the Royals could ever ask for, told 810’s Border Patrol Friday morning that he believed Brett’s impact on the team in his two months was “huge.” Goldberg went on to say that he didn’t think Brett’s real impact would be able to be determined until a much later date. Unfortunately SSJ and Nate allowed Joel to get away with this BS.

“The importance of a hitting coach is vastly overrated if George Brett can just leave in the middle of the season. … Obviously George Brett is an icon. If you say anything negative about George Brett, people get all up in arms about it. … That ‘can’t teach’ line, I think that’s disrespectful to teachers.”

Danny Parkins, on Brett saying those who can do and those who can’t teach, 610 AM
GH: Brett is entertaining in his press conferences because he often does not have a filter. He pretty much demeaned all hitting coaches when he stated his life-long goal wasn’t to be a batting coach. He then went on to say he was lucky he was one who could “do” because it paid better. Funny? Yes, but you have to wonder how loudly Pedro and Ned were laughing inside.

“Fellas, what a beautiful thing to have (Brett) there for the two months we had him. … If that’s more a selfish decision then why not? George is an icon.”
Rex Hudler, in an interview with The Drive on 610 AM
GH: Is George Brett so iconic in Kansas City that he is above critique? It’s still a team game and it sure looks to me like George let him team down when they needed him most for their stretch run.

“(Brett’s) involvement is going to grow deeper in the future and it’s going to be enhanced, and he’s going to be involved in everything we do in baseball operations from the bottom up.”
Dayton Moore, on Brett assuming the role of a Royals VP, MLB.com
GH: Are the Royals opening up a VP office in Idaho?

“The guy said he played 500 rounds of golf with Fred Couples! Me and you Danny haven’t played 500 rounds of golf our whole lives! The guy’s played 500 rounds of golf with one of the top 25 golfers in the history of the game!”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM
GH: George has a good life. All the more reason he should have never taken the job if he couldn’t stick it out for four months.

“If you haven’t heard (George Brett’s press conference) you need to go listen to the podcast on our website. It is amazing! George Brett sounded like he is the manager! … How in the world is Ned Yost going to take what I just heard today?”
Kevin Kietzman, in early June, just after Brett accepted the role as interim batting coach, 810 AM
GH: KK all but predicted Brett’s persona would be so magnetic the Royals would fire Yost and name Brett the manager before the summer was over. KK continues on his “ridiculous professional role.”

“I just don’t think there is any long-term deal here as far as (Brett) being the hitting coach or being involved in the front office. It’s just my theory of knowing the guy and knowing that type of person.”
Brian McRae, in early June, 810 AM
GH: McRae was far more accurate with how he perceived the George Brett experiment unraveling.  

“Brett taking 81 games at home in the TV Booth wouldn’t completely suck.”
Chris Kamler, @ChrisKamler, Twitter
GH: I don’t think you can get Brett to do anything for 81 games but having him in the TV booth would be very, very entertaining. Brett has a tendency to say things that make people uncomfortable – and make great copy for my OTC.  

“It needs to be the best baseball this team has played in a decade if they’re going to compete (for the playoffs).”
Josh Vernier, after the Royals won three of four games from the Orioles, 610 AM
GH: Are the Royals still playing meaningful baseball at seven games back and 48-51 on July 26th? Barely. But I am still watching, hoping and dreaming. As I know are many of you.

and Twitter / @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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41 Responses to OTC: Royals’ Baby George Sheds Title / Brett Quits In Mid-Season / Says, “I’m 60 Years Old.”

  1. mike t. says:

    brett = crybaby. “waahhaaa… this is too hard. i don’t wanna do this any more.”

  2. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    I’m sorry, but didn’t George say from the start that he told Dayton he’d try it for a month and then meet with him to see if he wanted to keep doing it? This didn’t suprise me at all, it was my impression that this was the plan from the git-go.

    • ^^^^^ What that Guy said. I find it difficult to be as angry about this as many here seem to be. But regardless, can’t this be viewed as somewhat of a positive? I would very much question that Brett had an overall positive impact on the Royals’ offense.

  3. b12 says:

    @GWSWOT Correct. George went out of his way anytime he was asked, to say it was a work in progress…and he and Dayton would re-evaluate every 30 days.

    George is a pretty selfish guy…has a sense of entitlement, so it doesn’t surprise me that he punted.

    Most people (those that aren’t Hall of Famers and don’t collect a nice check for being who they are) would think…I’ve done it two months. I can do it another two months. There are plenty of 60 year old managers and coaches doing the deal every day. Hell, Jack McKeon was doing the grind at 80 a few years ago when the Marlins won the WS.

    Parkins nailed it with the “took a job from his vacation”.

    In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if he stays to the end of the year or not. I suspect Pedro was doing the heavy lifting, and George was the cheerleader.

  4. Mark in Columbia, Missouri says:

    is there a common thread to the George Brett and Frank White narratives with the Royals? Neither wants to work. Both like getting paid. Both loved by fans. But only one embraced by management and ownership.

    Second thought: I doubt Brett is overly interested in playing hitting-psychologist to a team that won’t be trying to win this second half — does his departure now tell us he knows the intentions of Moore in regards to value-carrying tradable players?

    • cu_member says:

      Brett loved by the local media. They have always covered for him. That’s the difference.

    • kcredsox says:

      Frank White has worked ever since retiring as a player. He has coached and been a broadcaster almost the whole time. George goes to spring training, then you would never hear from him except on some radio shows. Frank may have wanted too much for what he was doing, but the man always has busted his hump for the Royals.

  5. harwood benjamin says:

    The appointment was a desperate, public relations-driven move that Brett acceded to as a loyal Royal. It appears to have worked to a modest extent in shaking up the down-in-the-mouth losing attitude that pervaded the team prior to the appointment. But when it was announced, Brett said he was committing to ONE month, so anybody complaining now that he’s not staying is willfully ignoring Brett’s clearly stated intention of being an interim coach. Wanting George Brett to be the savior is an understandable wish for Royals Nation, but you have to engage in a lot of magical thinking to believe that it would come true. The value of a hitting coach is unclear in any case, but if Brett had the temperament or skill to be an effective hitting instructor, he wouldn’t have waiting for 20 years to do it.

  6. Jimbo says:

    Here’s my take: The Royals clearly needed to fire the two hitting coaches they had to start this season, especially after they said the team “would lead the league in fewest HRs”. But bringing in just Pedro Grifol wouldn’t work, because the players didn’t know him and might not trust him right away. So they also bring in the face of the franchise to ease the transition to Grifol. And now that is done, and Brett can go back to being Brett.

  7. Merle Tagladucci says:

    Pretty rich for you to bash George for doing exactly what you and a lot of other people predicted he’d do. I mean for F’s sake, he told everybody from DAY ONE this whole thing was going to be on an interim basis and he didn’t know if he could hack it. But now it’s Bash Brett time?

    This is you on May 31st:

    GH: Brett is the interim hitting coach and he said he and Moore will evaluate his desire to remain after 30 days and again after six weeks. That’s not a guy who is dying to make a commitment to the Royals’ cause.

    and…

    GH: I think it is far more likely that Brett executes his escape clause in four or six weeks and heads back to the golf course.

    Does seem like you were prepared for him to leave mid-season, doesn’t it? Because this was you again on June 5th:

    GH: Brett sounded like he was scared, clueless and completely unsure what to do in his new role as the hitting coach. He sounded more to me like a guy who was questioning his decision to take on this task and very glad he’s got a 30-day-out clause.

    Clearly you had a good grasp on things from the start, because this was you again on June 12th:

    GH: I don’t think people understand George Brett. He is not the Pine Tar Guy. That was an anomaly. Brett is now 60. I doubt very much that his fire burns anywhere near as brightly as many believe.

    And June 17th!

    GH: Brett is not going to manage in Kansas City, Toronto or Shawnee Mission East. If anything, this exposure to coaching as the hitting instructor will hasten his return to the golf course rather than take over Ned’s seat.

    Bash George if you have nothing better to come up with but for a guy who saw the inevitable coming a mile away, you sure do sound like somebody with short term memory loss.

    • david says:

      +1
      Greg needs a villain to bash each day. Today #5, tomorrow back to Dayton Moore if he doesn’t trade Santana for AA prospects.

      • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

        Greg’s wearing a clownsuit today on this one.

      • Fred Flintstone says:

        Right out of Kevin K’s book of “how to get an audience”
        Rule 1= Find someone to hate on.
        Rule 2= Find others to hate with you.
        Rule 3= Find someone new to hate on next week.
        Rule 4= Find more people to hate with you.
        Repeat, repeat, repeat.

        No one reads you unless you are controversial.

    • Markus Aurelius says:

      Psssst. Burrrrn! +1

    • Greg Hall says:

      Merle, I guess I don’t understand the connection. Yes, George pretty much did what I thought he would do — but why does that make it any less a lousy decision on his part?

      • Merle Tagladucci says:

        I guess it’s like knowing a snake will bite you if you stick your hand in its cage and then having the nerve to be angry at the snake after it does. Write on.

  8. JP says:

    First of all, we did get 2 months of George Brett back on the Royals. He only guaranteed 30 days. Second, he did his job, which was instilling “confidence” in the young hitters. Look the guy is 60 years old, going on the road to the South Side of Chicago and Minneapolis and Queens is not exactly appealing, especially when it is the grind of a baseball season. Unless your last name is Leyland, Torre, Lasorda or Herzog, not much to be gained. George did his job, he smoothed over the transition of Pedro as hitting coach, the team is sitting in a better position. Let’s move on.

  9. Listening to Joel Goldberg is much like hearing Herm Edwards or just about any politician speak on the radio or TV. For me, it’s an automatic CLICK. Life’s too short.

  10. MrOlathe says:

    As far as George, and as stated above, the Royals got more than he originally committed to. Moose and Hosmer were the two that needed him the most and they are the two that got the most. I remember George talking about Alex G when he was in his first year or two and he couldn’t hit a lick. George tried and tried to help but basically said that Alex refused to take his advice and was going to figure it out on his own. So George said well good luck. Those two might have been clashing again (?)

    Or maybe it was Ned who went to Daytonb and said the guys don’t listen to me anymore. They only listen to George. I could see that. It was only a few years ago that Tony Muser (I think) went to ownership and got Jamie Quirk fired on some petty deal. Jamie would have been a great replacement (and I think Tony saw him as a threat).

    Anyway, is it surprising at all that a Royals departure situation has benn handled extremely clumsily????

  11. MightyMo says:

    So a team that has sucked for 90% of the last 20 years, still sucks.

    Please disperse. Nothing to see here.

  12. Notorius J.I.M. says:

    Q: “Is George Brett so iconic in Kansas City that he is above critique?”

    A: “Yes.”

    Brett could punch a nun while wearing a necklace made out of kitten teeth and he’d still be gold. Short of being hauled to the Hague for crimes against humanity, I think he’s pretty much beyond reproach.

  13. Jon says:

    Yeah, I just really don’t see the big deal with this. It seems to me the front office begged him to come on as hitting coach and he probably reluctantly accepted, being up front with his intentions. I suppose you can define it as a selfish move, but he has a right to make that decision if his heart isn’t in it. And the players shouldn’t need him to be around all season to cheerlead… they’re professional ballplayers. This just doesn’t seem like something that deserves as much criticism as its getting. Those who are taken aback and lashing out at George probably set the bar just a little too high in the first place, or just chose to forget how George accepted this position in the beginning.

  14. Rick McGinniss says:

    Totally agree. The deal was “interim” clearly without question from the very beginning. Now, you’re going to bash a guy for operating according to the terms he agreed to?

    Wow.

  15. The Word says:

    Off topic. But is it true that Smartman is dead?

  16. chuck says:

    So long smarty.

  17. Phaedrus says:

    Link to Hearn’s column about Smartman.
    http://www.kcconfidential.com/2013/07/25/hearne-death-of-a-salesman-the-smartman-checks-out/

    Tough day…hearing about Smartman and they found the body of the missing runner in Liberty.

  18. Lou Brown says:

    Brett was probably begged by Moore to work exclusively with Hosmer and Moustakas – the future of the Royals. He admittedly didn’t do film study and the more tedious parts of coaching. Part of his job was also to try and instill a winning attitude in the clubhouse of a perennial loser. The grind of travel, long days, etc. isn’t a problem in your 20′s and 30′s when you’re playing baseball, but is a bitch at 60 when you’re coaching – especially when you’re used to doing what you want when you want to. He has put in his time with this franchise. If I was a HOFer and an icon in KC, I would do the same thing – and so would you.

    • Splitlog Quindaro says:

      I don’t get the Brett bashing. He stayed longer than he said he would. George, and Tom Watson are untouchable and they earned that status not just by reaching the absolute top champion level, but also by choosing to be lifelong Kansas Citians. Neither of them are perfect. But it is pretty cool that we live in a town where every once in a rare while… You are standing in the grocery store and see a guy that won five British opens or the 15th best hitter in the history of baseball. Lay off on Brett. He is true KC.

    • Barles james says:

      I actually heard lou brown’s gravelly drawl while reading this. Well done!

  19. Herb says:

    Things like this always happen to the nice guys.

  20. Herb says:

    Happens

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