Fred White – Photo from jcpost.com
As you have heard by now, Royals Broadcaster Fred White passed away Wednesday. I join with all Royals fans in wishing condolences to his family.
On yesterday’s Ballgame radio show, I got the chance to talk with both Greg Pryor and 1985 World Series MVP Bret Saberhagen about their stories of Fred and how he treated them not as ballplayers, but as friends. It’s well worth a listen, you should check it out. (Show is embedded below.)
For me, however, I was only a listener. Denny and Fred filled many of my summer evenings as I listened to their calls before going to sleep at night. In the mid-80′s when the team was at their peak, I got my first transistor radio (with the single ear piece) just to listen to the games.
The night of Game 6 of the 85 World Series, it was Fred and Denny’s call I listened to, in Downtown Kansas City as I was getting out of church choir practice. I listened to Fred talk about the “improbable little team doing improbable things to win” on the radio of a taxi cab that had pulled over in the shadow of the Cathedral in Downtown KC.
To me, Fred’s voice is always synonymous with rain delays, however. For some reason, I loved listening to the coverage during rain delays. This was when Fred usually covered scores and highlights from “around the League.” Mostly, I was driving with my Dad from here or there. One particular night, I remember my Dad running into the grocery store when it was pouring rain outside. (This was still when you could leave your kids in the car, probably with the motor running.) I remember the swish-swosh of the windshield wipers and Fred and Denny laughing about how it’s “now raining buckets” out at Royals Stadium. That rhythmic swish-swosh was the first thing I thought of when I heard about Fred White’s passing. And how he would always seem to chuckle just a little bit, as if he had the funnest job in the world.
Fred White, along with Denny Matthews were my childhood. They were my summers. Fred’s voice, his chuckle, and his calming words during a rainstorm will be missed.
Moments before we went on air for our 19th show, we were met with the news that legendary Royals broadcaster Fred White passed away. Fred was a member of the Royals family for over 40 years. We spoke with Royals Hall of Famer, 2 time Cy Young Award Winner and 1985 World Series MVP Bret Sabehagen about Fred, his career in Kansas City and his upcoming appearance on June 20. Bret shared some great stories about 1985, when he was only 21 and his time with co-host Greg Pryor.
We then spoke with Kansas City Star Cartoonist and Royals Blogger Lee Judge about the clubhouse energy with the 2013 Kansas City Royals. He also shared some Fred White stories.
The Ballgame is on every Wednesday from 4-5 PM on ESPN 1510 AM in Kansas City and all shows are podcasted on theballgamekc.com.
This week, we spoke with five-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover and Royals Hall of Famer, Amos Otis. A.O. talked with us about telling lies, corking bats and the rest of his storied career where he was inarguably the greatest Center Fielder in Royals franchise history.
Catch The Ballgame every Wednesday on ESPN 1510 AM from 4-5 PM and interact with the show on Facebook and Twitter at /theballgamekc.
“And in the end / The love you take / Is equal to the love you make.” –The Beatles
This is the last day for the Fake Ned Twitter account.
The account has been converted over to @ChrisKamler, my real name.
There are a number of reasons for this, none of them relevant. But for now, I just want to say “Thank You” to all I’ve had a chance to interact with and meet over the past three years. This goofy little Twitter account started as a Trey Hillman parody account and then converted to FakeNedYost once Hillman was shown the door. From there, “Fake Ned” started to take on a life, and a voice, of his own.
His first splash on the scene was two years ago this week in an Open Letter to Kevin Kietzman right here on RamblingMorons.com – and if you read that today, it’s just as poignant as ever.
From there, Ned began contributing to a podcast called the Royalman Report and met some lifelong friends in Michael Engel, Jeff Herr and, yes, even Royalman himself, Troy Olsen.
Then, came a weekly column in The Platte County Landmark. Then this blog began breaking news. Ned got himself on the radio where I met Jeff Logan and 1985 World Series Champ Greg Pryor. I made a few podcasts myself. And then Ned became the story a few times. The growth has been exponentially larger than I ever anticipated.
And tonight… it ends.
I want to thank all of you so much for your tweets, your retweets and your interactions over the past three years. You have been there. Every day. With your snark, your sass, your spunk and even your spam. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
@ChrisKamler now steps into the shoes vacated by Fake Ned. You’ll continue to get regular updates. You’ll continue to see me around. And you’ll continue to hear me from time to time. The major difference is that I’ll have my name behind what I say, and tweet and write. But Fake Ned ends tonight.
But Fake Ned does have one more parting lyric to leave with you… In the end, the love I take is far greater than the love we made. #InBed
So, last month, I was 3 feet away from Han Solo. We were, of course, under strict orders to not mention “Indiana Jones” or “Star Wars.” So, I had to come up with something else to ask the man who famously returned an “I love you” from Princess Leia with “I know.”
Left with little else, I asked him about his new movie “42” in which he is unrecognizable as Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey. “It’s an important film. It’s an incredible story about a critical step that was taken in confronting the issue of inequality. It was a moment when, ultimately we shined.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t slip any other questions about what it was like to be frozen in Carbonite, or whether the Lost Ark really melted that guy’s face.
So… Han shot first?
It is Ford’s portrayal of Rickey that I will take away from this film. His realistic portrayal with a voice filled with gravel. Rickey’s true intentions to integrate baseball and bring Negroes into the game was less than altruistic, and Ford channeled Rickey in saying that his intentions were “To make money.”
But there were some other outstanding performances in this movie. Chadwick Boseman made a realistic Robinson and his on-screen chemistry with Nicole Beharie, who played Rachel Robinson, was surprising and honest. You could really understand the special love these two had with each other, who often felt it was them against the world.
I particularly liked the performances of two smaller roles in the movie, Alan Tudyk, who steals just about every movie he’s in. He plays the racist manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Ben Chapman. Tudyk has a pivotal scene where he shouts racial epithets at Robinson causing him to nearly break. And John C. McGinley, who you’ll recall from Scrubs and Office Space. He plays famed play-by-play man Red Barber and whose voice you hear throughout the baseball sequences in the film. He did a great job capturing the unique voice of Barber.
In summary, I’ll echo what Jarrod Dyson told me after the movie, it felt a little flat as an entertainment movie. It felt, at times, more like a History Channel movie. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go see it, because you should. The performances alone easily put this movie into the top 3 baseball movies and an important piece of history.
It also helps set a tone for introspection on those of us who watched it. While Robinson’s integration into Baseball helped lead the way for the Civil Rights Amendment, you need look only to your local Facebook pages to see that there is still ignorance and racism in this world and in our community. The next front for human rights may be in the area of sexual preference, and yet this year, we may see a “Gay Jackie Robinson” as there are growing rumors of someone coming out of the closet in the National Football League. No matter the avenue, it’s important to recognize and honor the sacrifice of Jackie Robinson, so that no others will have to suffer the same fate.