The best they’ve ever had tries to help out

Sports Commentary

No. 5 is back in the dugout for the Kansas City Royals. It’s enough to warm the heart of Royals fans, nostalgic for the days when Kansas City was a consistent winner.

On Thursday, the Royals brought George Brett back into uniform as an interim hitting coach to try to help an attack that has proven to be anemic at best and downright downtrodden at worst.

When Brett arrived, the Royals were 13th in the American League in scoring. Yuck. And in a stretch when the team went 4-19, they scored two or fewer runs in 11 of those games. Yuck squared.

So one of the greatest hitters of all-time is back to try to help an organization he loves attempt to at least get back to respectability.

Brett said through the years, he has been offered jobs as a manager or a coach, but turned them down.

That should tell you two things. One, Brett is fed up with what has been going on with the team. Two, he is so frustrated, the Hall of Famer felt like he needed to do something about it.

The Royals are on what seems like Year 20 of a five-year plan to rebuild the once winning franchise. Optimism has grown in the last season or two as what was billed as a talented group of young hitters climbed their way through the system to the big club.

Last year, they showed some promise, enough general manager Dayton Moore felt confident enough to trade Wil Myers, touted as the best prospect in the minor leagues, for starting pitching. And that pitching, namely James Shields, has been good enough to win games.

But ...

Believing the team’s young hitters had the potential to turn into power hitters, manager Ned Yost got rid of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer after last season. Seitzer’s idea to hitting was to use the dimensions of Kauffman Stadium to hit doubles and triples and not attempt to blast the ball out of the ballpark.

Well, that hasn’t worked because there isn’t as much pop as there are pop-ups.

Going into the weekend, the Royals had hit 29 home runs this season. That 29 was 29th in the major leagues, one spot ahead of the Marlins’ total of 27 and they don’t have the designated hitter.

If you think Brett is back only to help Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas hit 2-2 curve balls, think again. Brett has served in the Royals front office as the vice president of baseball operations since his retirement in 1993 and has had a front-row seat watching some of the worst baseball played in the majors in the last 20 years.

Brett’s going to be with the team day-in and day-out for approximately the next month. He’s going to get an up-close look at the players, a chance to see who wants to win, who wants to improve, who’s willing to put in the work. That goes for assessing Yost as well.

It would be wrong to assume Brett’s mere presence will be the tonic to fix all the problems. The Royals aren’t 17-10 good like they started the season, just like they aren’t 4-19 bad.

But it sure won’t hurt.

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