Slightly less than two months ago, George Brett stepped into his first full-time job since he retired as a player, stepping in as one of the Royals' hitting coaches.
My take at the time?
Seems like a funny way to run an organization. But who knows? Nobody else could get Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas going. Why not give Mr. Royal a shot? And hey, on the off-chance that doesn't work out, maybe George can fill in at first base against right-handed pitchers.
Brett didn't play any first base. But he (or something) did get Hosmer going. Since the 1st of June, Hosmer's essentially been the Royals' only good hitter, batting .312/.353/.538 with 10 homers. By way of comparison, no other Royals has even 10 home runs all season. Moustakas has been better, too. Before June, he might have been the worst hitter in the American League; since then, he's actually been better than average.
So by those crude measures, Brett's been a smashing success. Alas, Brett couldn't fix Chris Getz or Alcides Escobar, while Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon and even Billy Butler seem to have regressed some. Add it all up, and the Royals' hitting is roughly as impotent today as when Brett arrived. Which might be why this:
George Brett will step down as @Royals interim hitting coach and return to previous position as VP of Baseball Operations.— MLB (@MLB) July 25, 2013
Or maybe Brett just figured making road trips with a dead-end club just wasn't worth it any more.
Which seems like a shame, at least when it comes to the future prospects for Hosmer and Moose. Then again, it probably just took some time for everyone to find their natural levels and Brett just happened to be around. Moustakas and Hosmer were probably bound to hit eventually, and Gordon and Butler were probably due for a bit of a drop this season. It's hard enough to judge the impact of coaches, but it's impossible when they leave after eight weeks.
It was fun seeing No. 5 in the dugout again, though. Even for just a little while.