KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For those Royals fans romanticizing about George Brett someday coming back to rescue the team as its manager … not going to happen.
Brett told FOXSportsKansasCity.com on Wednesday that he has no intention of returning to the game as a manager or even as a full-time hitting coach, which he did for two months earlier this summer.
“No, I don’t think so,” Brett said by phone. “I can’t see it. I’m 60 years old. Maybe if I had married earlier (he married in 1992) as a player and my kids were already grown up five years after I had quit playing … but not now.”
Brett said there are a lot of reasons it wouldn’t make sense for him to be a manager.
“Let’s be honest: I’m a fan,” he said. “I’ve been a fan for 20 years. I look at the game the way a fan does. I don’t know the other teams and the other players and all their tendencies. I’ve been away from the game a long time.
“I was in the dugout (this summer) for two months and we had some success, but that was mostly Pedro (Grifol, now the hitting coach). And sometimes (manager) Ned (Yost) would turn to me and ask me a question about a situation and I would just say, ‘Huh, yeah, that’s a good point. I don’t know.’
“The game has changed a lot. If I were a manager, I’d have to really have some great people around me — a great pitching coach, a great hitting coach, a great bench coach. There’s so much you have to know. Nowadays, there’s so much information it’s really overwhelming. You get flooded with information and paperwork on every player — hot zones, cold zones and on and on.
“We didn’t have all that when I was playing.”
Then, of course, there’s the travel situation, something that wore on Brett during his two-month stint as hitting coach.
“I tried to submerge myself back into the game after 20 years,” Brett said. “It was hard to do. I just had dinner with my son Dylan (attending Kansas) before he left for school. I’ll be having dinner with Jackson before he goes back to (University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.). Those are the things I’d miss if I was back in the dugout.
“Plus, the travel is just a grind, especially when you’ve been away from that lifestyle for a long time.”
Brett also is conscious of his relationship with his adopted hometown.
“I’ve been here in Kansas City now for 40 years,” he said. “This is my home. How many managers out there live (year-round) in their hometown? People here pretty much know me. Do you want your butcher telling you, ‘Hey, great job on that hit-and-run last night’ or ‘Should you have gotten the pitcher out earlier?’ all the time?”
And Brett has worked to establish a solid rapport with area media members, relationships that could deteriorate if he ever became manager.
“Look at every home game and you see 15 people around Ned before the game,” Brett said. “At some point, you’re going to get asked questions that might set you off a little. At this point in my life, do I really need that?”
So, for now, Brett will continue what he has been doing for the past month — serving as the team’s vice president of baseball operations, and showing up for occasional home games to toss batting practice.
“This works best for me,” he said. “I have no regrets about stepping away. None. And (general manager) Dayton (Moore) asked me when I stepped away if I’d still like to come out to the ballpark and be involved in the pregame stuff and I said, ‘Sure.’
“I like that part. It’s a lot easier than sitting in the dugout each night and going through the stress of winning and losing. It’s sure fun when you’re winning, but the losing is still really tough. Now I can just watch it like everyone else and be a fan.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.