With the recent news of Frank White being let go by the Royals and Fox Sports, I was trying to think about who might make a fitting replacement. Ryan Lefevbre’s last two broadcast partners have been Royal favorites. While the job of play-by-pay analyst is typically for the trained professional, the color commentator is best suited as a former player. This is an important hire, because there are a lot of people in Kansas City who are unhappy about Frank’s departure.
The Royals have made a couple of good offseason moves this year. This one won’t affect the win-loss record, but will be an important decision for the fans who watch the games. Here are my candidates:
1) Mike Sweeney
If the Royals want to stay with the “fan favorite” theme, Mike would be the perfect replacement. One of the reasons given for Frank’s release was that he was too negative about the Royals during the games. Nobody has been more positive about the Kansas City Royals than Sweeney. Because of his attitude and overall optimism, he would help pump new life into the broadcasts. He’s been on during a couple of games during the last two years and really does a great job of interacting with Ryan. I’m sure he’s got a ton of stories, and I’d like to hear them. Sweeney lived through some terrible Royals teams, which would contrast from Frank’s playoff level of expectations.
2) Joe Randa
I know he’s kind of a wild-card, but I really miss seeing the Joker’s face and it would be nice to see it on TV every night. We all know he has the smile that could be perfect for ratings. The Joker would be welcomed back to Kansas City with open arms. While he doesn’t have any broadcast experience, he could be coached in the way that Frank was and could potentially turn into a good color man.
3) Billy Butler
What??? Who says that a DH couldn’t do color commentary during a game? His responsibilities during the game are limited to four at bats and possibly running the bases 36% of the time. Imagine the commentary that a player could give while he is playing the game! The team would just need a quick way to shuttle him up to the booth after an at-bat. Who wouldn’t want a nightly helping of Country Breakfast? Butler might be forced to open up a little personality over the course of the season, giving us all a little insight to his thoughts on the game.
Hey, why not??? If we’re throwing out candidates for the job, then I’d like my name to be out there. My resume includes doing color commentary and play-by-play for High School, College, and MINK League games over the past seven years. Did I play for the Royals? Not even close. Will I be waiting for this call? Absolutely not. But seriously Royals, if you want to shock the world, you’ll give me a call.
5) Mark Gubicza
OK, in reality I want this list to be ONE person long, and that one person would be Mark Gubicza. He was drafted by the Royals in 1981 and spent all but one of his 14 Major League seasons with the team. He won a World Series ring in 1985, and was an All-Star in 1988 & 1989. He was elected to the Royals Hall of Fame in 2006. What’s better? The guy is now a professional broadcaster. He is currently the TV color commentator for the LA Angels of Anahiem on (wait for it) Fox Sports West. He’s worked for them for the past nine years, doing commentary for the past four. He also hosts the pre and postgame shows. He’s a class act, a pro, and a Royal. I like to think that there is at least some sliver of a chance of this happening. Though, it’s tough to think that Gubicza would want to leave Southern California for Kansas City just after two of the biggest signings in the club’s history.
What about the other guys on the broadcast right now? Joel is great as he is. I want him to continue carrying a great pre and postgame show, and continuing to have some nice drop-ins during the game. In the end, I just hope to God that it’s not Jeff Montgomery. He popped in on a few broadcasts last year and I found myself wanting to turn down the volume. I think that they Royals can do better, so it will be interesting to see who they end up choosing.
In Frank’s defense, he did have to sit through some of the worst baseball in recent memory. It would be hard for anyone to remain positive throughout all of that.