Brett explains incident with autograph seeker
Royals' VP of baseball operations responds after video appears on news
KANSAS CITY -- The life of a celebrity, even baseball Hall of Famer George Brett, is not always easy.
Brett found that out on Wednesday at Kansas City International Airport during an expletive-tinged incident that was filmed by a relentless autograph seeker and ended up on KCTV5, a local television station, on Thursday morning.
"I apologize for using foul language in a public place to a guy that's been stalking me for a long time," Brett said.
Brett, who forged his Hall of Fame career in 21 seasons with the Royals, was arriving in Kansas City, where he lives, from California when the autograph seeker, identified by KCTV5 as Brandon Farrens, accosted him as he walked through the terminal, at the baggage claim area and again at his car.
"I've seen the guy on numerous occasions before and I've signed for him many times," Brett said. "After a while, I got tired of signing for the same guy and told him, 'No more, I'm done with you.'
"At the airport, he came up to me walking through the terminal. He asked me, 'Would you sign this for me?' I said, 'No. I'm done. I told you before, I'm done.' After he repeatedly came up, my temper was getting a little off and finally I did sign. And I told him, 'No more, I'm done. I never want to see you again. That's it.'"
After signing the autograph, Brett said Farrens pulled out his cellphone and began making a jumpy tape that was posted later on YouTube. The two men exchanged expletives at the car, but there was no physical contact.
"Bad choice of words," Brett said. "After declining his requests five or six times walking through the terminal, waiting for my bags, I'd had enough. I didn't know how else to get him off my back. He got his autograph, he was unharmed."
Brett, mystified as to how the autograph seeker knew his travel plans, noted that he'd given his signature to a girl after getting off the flight and that he happily signed for baggage personnel after a flight last week.
According to a story on the KCTV5 website, Farrens said he'd asked for Brett's autograph about 35 times and gotten it about 15 times. He also admitted he has sold Brett's autograph.
"How many autographs do you need from the same person?" Brett said.
Brett remains perhaps Kansas City's most visible personality, active in many charitable events through the years and serving as ambassador for the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. He is the Royals' vice president of baseball operations and was the team's interim hitting coach for two months this year.
"Hopefully, I've learned a very valuable lesson," Brett said. "You can wake up in the morning and be in a good mood or you can wake in the morning and be in a bad mood. This has made me want to wake up in the morning and be in a good mood every day."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.