Teams hire their legends as their coaches (e.g., Roy to the Avs) with mixed feelings. On one hand: Who better to bring success to a franchise than someone who had it there before? On the other: How did the hiring process go so poorly that a team wound up with a sentimental, nostalgic choice as the front-runner? It appears sweet yet desperate.
But there are some teams that need not worry about appearing desperate, such as, say, the Kansas City Royals. The Royals—1-12 in their last 13, with a .244/.304/.313 team batting line in that span, out-homered by the Cubs' pitchers since May 15—need help. Everyone knows.
Which K.C. legend could the Royals possibly call on? Kevin Seitzer's probably not in the mood. Mike Sweeney has a TV gig. Angel Berroa's playing in the Mexican League. Could they—no—they couldn't possibly—he wouldn't—why—why now—really?:
Hall of Famer George Brett was appointed the club's interim hitting coach Thursday and will join the team in time for their game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Brett takes over for Jack Maloof and Andre David, who have been reassigned to the minor league organization.
This will be Brett's first in-season coaching role, though he's been the franchise's vice president of baseball operations since retiring as a player following the 1993 season. He's also worked as a volunteer coach at spring training for years. ...
The 60-year-old Brett has turned down numerous opportunities to be a coach, and told The Associated Press during spring training that he's had several chances to manage a team. But he's been content to serve as a volunteer coach during spring training all these years because he said that he didn't need the daily grind that comes with a 162-game schedule.
The Royals appeared to toss in their chips before the start of the season, trading top prospect Wil Myers (who has five homers in the past week, for another organization's triple-A team) for veteran starter James Shields (who has, we should point out, been great so far). Now they're breaking the use-only-in-case-of-emergency glass on their unblemished legend, who hadn't been pressed into any kind of meaningful duty since retirement. And so this season has, against all odds, come to mean something. If the Royals can chase down the Tigers, Joe Posnanski will get, like, three books out of it. And if they're stuck in fifth in three months? Brett'll say his hemorrhoids have flared up again, and Kauffman Stadium will slide deservedly into the Missouri. No pressure, gang.