One of my favorite things about the internet is its propensity to form a small and easily repeatable piece of information that is used, morphed, and adapted in a fully organic way. The word 'meme' is actually a term coined by Richard Dawkins, where he defined it as 'self-replicating cultural information,' derived from the Latin word mimea meaning 'something imitated.'
Really, though, the simplest explanation of memes is that they are, essentially, inside jokes of the internet. Like inside jokes, they arise seemingly at random, are usually very humorous, and gather steam in an illogical fashion.
Put a bunch of nerds together on the internet, discussing something they're passionate about, and subject them to the repeated horror of a stunningly inept organization for decades, and you will get many memes. Here at Royals Review, all of those points are true.
Royals Review has undergone a plethora of changes recently. Two years ago, Will McDonald stepped down as Overlord of the site. Craig Brown, formerly of Royals Authority, took the reigns with some of his team. Last year, the Royals played the first winning season in the existence of the site. This year, Craig Brown stepped down and returned to Royals Authority; Max Rieper picked up the keys. Also this year, for the first time roughly since Mozart wrote a symphony, the Royals are in first place going into September. With the addition of two new writers this week, there have been six new writers since the season began and a large uptick in viewership (you can't hide; I know how many of you visit these articles, so you might as well start posting).
So, without further ado, let's start on the Definitive Guide to Royals Review Memes 2014.
Kevin Ruprecht is a writer for Royals Review. Shaun Newkirk is also a writer for Royals Review. They do not have the same name. Shaun used to be known as KCTiger when he began writing for this site, so his name wasn't displayed, though all of us writers knew because we have secret communication among us, muahaha.
Anyway, in his May 27 piece on the Royals' dream result in the upcoming draft, before changing his screen name to Shaun Newkirk, and shortly after Kevin became a writer, this exchange occurred:
"Already time to look to the future. But seriously, good stuff Kevin. I love reading up on the draft." -- Max Rieper
"Thanks MAX" -- Shaun
"My name isn't Kevin, as showed by my Twitter name in my signature" -- Shaun
"Nice try, Kevin" -- buddyball
And so it became that all writers for Royals Review can and are referred to as Kevin, collectively as Kevins, or any combination of the two.
Plus Hands (and Plus Hands)
If you don't know Yuniesky Betancourt, that's great. Unfortunately, most of us do; Yuni was a horrible ballplayer who had no plate discipline, hit poorly, and displayed astoundingly awful defense at shortstop, all while making seven figures. And the Royals acquired him twice.
The first knowledge of plus hands and plus hands occurred on April 4, 2010 through something called a 'fanshot,' whatever that is. It was a link to a Kansas City Star article that no longer exists online, but the exact quote remains. Sam Mellinger, interviewing the always gripping 'anonymous scout,' asked the scout about Yuni, who said, "I see plus hands, good agility and range, and plus hands."
Plus hands and plus hands was obviously used to describe Yuni, but lately has been used as a sarcastic response to bad scouting or just as a general joke.
The Kansas City Star employs Lee Judge, a political cartoonist, to cover the Kansas City Royals and offer a game-by-game analysis called Judging the Royals from the perspective of the players and coaches on the field. If that sounds like a bad idea, that's because it is. Employing a political cartoonist like Judge to seriously write about sports is akin to having a ballerina do your taxes because both tasks require the use of human limbs.
Judge means well, and sometimes writes solid articles from a unique perspective, but that's lost in a mire of misguided information, arrogance, and an aggressive thickheadedness about statistics. In a post (whose URL I have but is unfortunately lost to the cyber ether), Judge takes the gloves off to take swings at those who approach baseball from a statistically-minded perspective. In a caricature of words that simultaneously makes his writing and cartoons seem unappealing, Judge mocked bloggers as having no friends, living in their mom's basement with asthma and writing whilst eating pop-tarts.
Since then, we have used pop-tarts as an icon for mocking of Judge and as a proud declaratory statement for what we do.
Third Baseman Tree
In mid May of 2013, Mike Moustakas was hitting poorly, sort of like right now. An exasperated Ned Yost snapped at reporters for having the gall to continue to ask about Moustakas' horrible performance. Yost's response was beautiful.
"You know what?" Yost said. "Maybe when we get home, I can go to the third base tree and pick another third baseman. … Obviously, third basemen who can hit and hit with power, they must grow on trees."
YES. THE THIRD BASE TREE. That is a statement that is ripe for the picking for a meme and, yes, that pun was intended. It is a joke because it is ridiculous.
Sometimes you may see references to otters. Many of those references will be about dancing otters. Specifically, this gif:
Every game, Royals Review hosts gamethreads for the purpose of facilitating community via text comments. Of course, most of you already know this, and most of you know that the otters are almost always posted following a win. There are a number of other otter gifs and pictures that are used as well.
Why otters? I have no idea. Most likely it is because it's a great gif that has been standardized for some reason. I've been actively commenting on this site for three years and have been a lurker for another and the otters have always been there. We're weird.
MITCH played for the Royals every year from 2008-2012, accruing 360 games played. He was the very definition of a replacement player; for his entire career he has been worth 0.1 fWAR. Compared to the junk the Royals had in those years, he was a perfectly serviceable fourth outfielder and was usually used as such.
However, MITCH is a cult figure here for two reasons. In 2011, MITCH was on the team the entire year and only had 113 plate appearances. Will McDonald took this in a hilarious direction by penning seven Letters from Summer Camp where Mitch wrote to his parents about his experiences in baseball. The other reason is that MITCH was used a pitcher--twice--and did not allow a run either time. Career ERA: 0. Career awesome? Infinite.
The Royals signed pitcher Gil Meche to a record 5-year, $55 million contract for the 2007-2011 seasons. Meche was great in 2007 and 2008 and continued to be great until Trey Hillman allowed him to throw 132 pitches in a complete game in 2009. That was the tipping point, and Meche's health problems essentially prevented him from pitching after a comeback in 2010. In an unprecedented decision, Meche walked away from the $12 million that he was due in 2011 because he did not think himself worthy of it because he physically couldn't pitch.
That $12 million is unaccounted for. Did the Royals use it to increase payroll in 2012? Did David Glass buy a yacht? Is it in Fort Knox, ready to be used when the Royals need it most? We don't know. It's the Meche Money.
Lo, Danger Ox
Anagrams are fun. If you take all the letters of a word, rearrange them, and get another word or words, then that is an anagram. My research turns up that sometime in 2011, an unknown poster wrote a list of Royals' player anagrams. Among them was Crime Horse for Eric Hosmer, which has fallen into disuse as Hosmer has fallen to being a very bad baseball player. However, Alex Gordon's anagram runs strong: Lo, Danger Ox. Yeah.
In a Small Way
Last season was the Royals' first winning season in a decade, and their best full season since 1989. Dayton Moore was thrilled. He told reporters that, "In a small way, I feel like I've won the World Series." Meanwhile, the longest current playoffless streak in professional sports continued.
Of course, this was IMMEDIATELY torn to shreds and ruthlessly derided by the Royals Review populace. It's a brilliant joke, because, in a small way, it can fit anything you want to.
The Cabrera/Sanchez Trade Debacle
On November 7, 2011, the Kansas City Royals traded outfielder Melky Cabrera to the San Fransisco Giants for Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo. Cabrera had been rumored to be traded for a long time, and he had been very good, so there were many eager eyes on the trade.
Before Will wrote the article that I linked above, commenter AnnoyedGrunt posted a Fanshot with the trade information, thus being the first to break the news on Royals Review. As one might expect, conversations erupted. Will chose to write his own piece, with more information and commentary, to the front page of the site.
Unfortunately for him but fortunately for everyone involved, commenter awolfson asked a legitimate question--why not promote the other thread? Though his question was answered, commenter Somewhere Over Dwane Bowe accused Will of attempting to 'steal the glory.' SODB continued to push, question, and exasperate; things devolved into insanity.
Then, one day later on November 8, a video was uploaded to youtube by gilgour42 (RR username unknown), which can be found here. Using a free animation software called Xtranormal, he created a video where Will McDonald (plus additional comments by Sweep_the_Leg, billybeingbilly, and trusttheprocess), shirtless and sporting sunglasses, talked about the trade while the other guy, in comments culled from awolfson and SODB, accused him of glory-stealing.
Glory stealing, shirtless Will, 0.00000000000001%; everything is game for memes here.
$11 Worth of Taco Bell
One of the oldest and most storied memes here, this is the only meme on this list unrelated to baseball. On April 13, 2009, the Royals won against the Indians 4-2. In the midst of the game thread, longtime commenter billybeingbilly, unprovoked by anybody else, declared his hunger at that moment. He then said, "tonite is definitely a good night to play my over/under game on my taco bell order….the number is $11." Commenters did a double take, wondering how in the world one could realistically order $11 worth of food at Taco Bell and consume it all, considering Taco Bell's cheapness.
It became a running joke and a topic of discussion. This meme had legs, too. On November 13 of 2010, Jeff Zimmerman wrote an in-depth article about just how much $11 of Taco Bell could get you. On April 12, 2011, nearly two years after the initial incident, commenter averagegatsby wrote a beautiful autobiographical post about his attempt at consuming $11 worth of Taco Bell. Even now, the meme continues, and a careful reader can see these references semi-routinely.
You didn't think we just had these, did you? There remain a host of other memes, including (but not limited to) Gload Will Explode, calves, Scott McKinney's business cards, Cleveland Racists, Zack Greinke and Chipotle, Clint Robinson's immense trade value, Aaron Crow and Ke$ha, and more.
In addition, there have been many, many often used gifs, so feel free to show your favorites and discuss your favorite Royals Review jokes to your hearts' content. Now, if you excuse me, I have some pop-tarts to consume.