During last night's Indians/Royals telecast on the Royals Television Network, Fred White (Former KC radio announcer, now working with the team's alumni relations department) sat in with telecasters Bob Davis and Paul Splittorff during yet another stultifying loss, the Royals' 12th straight defeat.
White was there to promote this weekend's 1985 World Series championship team reunion. As the Royals went down feebly, the three announcers diverted attention from the game going on, waxing nostalgic about the '85 club, occasionally showing video clips of some of the players who were attending the reunion.
And Fred White did something I've never heard before--he blamed the fans for not buying enough tickets to the reunion series against Detroit. "I know fans are down on the current club," he said about the long-suffering supporters of the Royals, who have enjoyed one winning season in the last decade, "but it's got nothing to do with the '85 club."
While one could expect a club employee, who has probably spent a lot of time arranging this weekend, to be disappointed, it's hard to blame Royals fans for not wanting to pay premium prices for a team with the worst record in baseball, whether Jorge Orta and Buddy Biancalana will be at the park or not.
And that leads to the even more ridiculous assertion from White (who was there in '85, and should know better) that the "key" to the team was...get this...Buddy Biancalana.
Buddy Biancalana, a shortstop who hit .188 in 138 at-bats. Not George Brett, who hit .335 with 30 homers and 103 walks. Not Frank White, a Gold Glove second baseman who added 22 homers. Not 21-year-old righty Bret Saberhagen, who went 20-6, or any of the other young starting pitchers (Mark Gubicza, Danny Jackson) or veterans (Bud Black, Charlie Liebrandt). Not Willie Wilson or Steve Balboni or Dan Quisenberry, the league's best reliever.
This may not seem like a major point, but it's an insult to those guys, and to anyone actually old enough to remember the 1985 Royals, to call Buddy Biancalana the "key" to anything. He couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, and the fact that he was a little bit better defensively that year than Onix Concepcion doesn't make him the "key" to anything.
Sure, Biancalana was a funny character when he went on David Letterman after the World Series after going 5-for-18. But "memorable" doesn't necessarily mean "important," and Fred White should know that. Maybe that's why nobody cares about the Royals--they can't even get their own history right, much less put together a competitive team.