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Royals Rumblings - News for August 14, 2014

Its a special time.

Jamie Squire

Royals Rumblings - News for August 14, 2014

Sam Mellinger drops a startling tidbit in his column on the Josh Willingham trade. Apparently David Glass really did nix any payroll increases at the trade deadline.

When David Glass wouldn’t budge from a franchise record $92 million payroll at the July 31 trade deadline, the Royals were five games out of the second wild card and four games out of first place in the American League Central. There was a feeling among some that if the Royals were going to make a trade, they should sell, not buy.

Think about it like this: two Thursdays ago, the Royals made no moves at the trade deadline. They had advanced conversations for a trade involving Willingham, actually, but needed to clear Butler’s salary to do it. They found no takers.

An obsession with winning like no other.

Lorenzo Cain is having a career year but could he be hitting for more power?

"When he gets ahold of one, it goes a long, long way," manager Ned Yost says. "You look at our batting practices, and Sal (Perez) probably is the guy who hits the ball the hardest and the longest.

"But after that, it's Lorenzo. He can just crush the ball."

Unfortunately, the Royals rarely see that in games. For all his strength and length, Cain has just three homers this season, and just 15 in his career over parts of five seasons.

"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense," one rival scout says. "A guy that strong should be hitting more. But he has an unusual swing path. He kind of chops down at the ball, so the bat doesn't stay on plane in the zone that long.

"But that swing has been effective for him this year in getting line drives and getting the ball in play."

Last year was "Our Time." Now, thanks to the pitching, its "special time."

Nowhere can you feel it more, of course, than at Kauffman Stadium. The other day, a neighbor of Billy Butler’s told him "you could feel the electricity in the place." "That’s just not the way it was in the past," Butler said, "and rightfully so."

Butler didn’t really have to be told this, of course. Players might be in their own worlds when they’re in a game, but that’s not the same as being in a vacuum. "They feel it; they sense it. It’s almost like they crave it," manager Ned Yost said. "It helps them take their game to the next level. Even though you don’t really notice it until the game’s over because you’re so tunnel-vision. But you feel it. It’s a real buzz and an energy that you feel.

"It’s a special time."

The Royals have been rolling since that players-only meeting three weeks ago in Chicago.

How much credit should be given to the closed-door meeting in Chicago? To Butler, plenty. "It brought us closer as a team," he said. "We’ve held each other to a higher standard, and it’s made us more accountable."

Jason Vargas is still trying to find his edge since returning from his appendectomy surgery.

Royals Hall of Fame pitcher Kevin Appier is keeping busy in his post-baseball years by competing in kayak races across the state of Missouri.

Grant Bisbee writes the second Wild Card is the best and the worst thing about this season.

An interesting column by Athletics minor league pitcher Matt Buschman at ESPN (Insider) about how teams should go about trying to prevent pitcher injuries. It rejects pitch counts, but its not the typical "pitchers need to toughen up!" garbage.

MLB investigated Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke due to game-fixing accusations, and found the allegations were the bizarre concoctions of a jealous kid from Locke's hometown.

A Texas teenager lived in a Wal Mart for several days. I don't even like to spend five minutes there.

HBO's "The Leftovers" has been renewed for a second season.

A sports anchor name-drops 22 Robin Williams movies in his broadcast.

RIP Lauren Bacall, a fox and a fantastic actress in her time.

Its been a long time since the Royals rock n' rolled. Your song of the day is "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin.