When he took the job as Kansas City Royals hitting coach May 30, Hall of Famer George Brett said it would be on an interim basis only. He even said it might be just a month before he returned to the front office as vice president of baseball operations.
Brett lasted about two months. The Royals announced on Thursday that Brett was headed back upstairs, and that Pedro Grifol would take over. Grifol, the Royals third hitting coach this season, will be introduced at a press conference this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. Brett said earlier this week to the Kansas City Star that he was meeting soon with Royals GM Dayton Moore to talk about the future. Apparently, that future isn't on the field and in the batting cages:
Asked if he had a time frame in mind, he responded: “Not really.”
Brett became the club’s interim hitting coach prior to the May 30 game in St. Louis. At the time, he said he planned to reevaluate his status after one month and keep in regular contact with general manager Dayton Moore.
It's too bad, because George Brett as a hitting coach sounds like a great idea.
It's just not what Brett wants to do full time. He'll still probably help in spring training, and if Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas want to give him a call, Brett would talk. But he wouldn't be doing the Royals much good performing tasks for which he thinks he's not cut out.
Did the Royals get better under Brett? They're about the same overall. Regardless of the answer, two months is not long enough to say that they got better, or worse, because of Brett. Hosmer definitely is hitting better, and Moustakas, well, he couldn't have been much worse than he was in April and May. The Royals have needed more from both this season (and much more from Moustakas), and that's only two guys from the lineup. The Royals just haven't been good enough to contend, again. If George Brett were the best hitting coach of all time and he loved the job and never wanted to leave it, it still wouldn't put them in the World Series necessarily. They still need better players.
So, 30 years plus a day since Brett's most famous moment in a Royals uniform came in the "pine tar game," he's getting out of uniform again. He knows, more than anybody else, that it's about time.