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Weekend Rumblings - News for March 14, 2015

March Madness everywhere.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Weekend Rumblings - News for March 14, 2015

Royals' first baseman Matt Fields may not be a highly-ranked prospect, but his story is an intriguing one.

Fields, 29, hit 28 home runs last season at Class AAA Omaha and has 76 in 1,172 at-bats (a homer per 15.4 at-bats) since the Royals acquired him from the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League in 2012.

At that time, Fields was in his second stint with the Miners.

The first ended prematurely in 2011, when Fields retired from baseball. The year before he’d been released by the Tampa Bay Rays, who drafted him in 2005. Fields signed with the Miners, but gave up on baseball to spend time with his girlfriend.

"For me, it was a very, very tough decision, because I was battling myself," Fields said. "I asked, ‘Am ready to do this?’ I literally had to push my first love and my dream aside. It really hurt at the time."

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Joe Posnanski wrote about the Royals' oddly different spring training for NBC.  It is, as all of his work, a fantastic read full of insight.

The Kansas City Royals have something unusual on their spring training credentials this season: "American League Champions." Those three words force people to face a fact that still seems unreal: The Royals really did win the pennant last year. They really did break an almost 30-year postseason drought. They really did win the hearts of millions of baseball fans with their stellar defense and quirky smallball and killer bullpen. All of it happened. It wasn’t just a weird, pizza-induced collective dream.

Now, it’s the year after, and the Royals proudly run the single most boring spring training camp in Major League Baseball. Call it Camp Uneventful. The team is basically set; the only open battles are for back-of-the-bullpen pitchers. The players clearly understand their mission. "There’s a swagger," Royals manager Ned Yost says. Even the handful of new players — right fielder Alex Rios, designated hitter Kendrys Morales, starting pitcher Edinson Volquez, mainly — feel remarkably familiar. They are all veterans, and they blend into the background like they’re wearing camouflage uniforms.

The Brandon Finnegan Decision of 2015 will be likely decided within a week, Andy McCullough notes.

Finnegan will throw one or two innings for Kansas City on Saturday against the Angels. He will tally three frames in another outing five days later. At that point, Yost said, the club should have better clarity about whether Finnegan’s services are required in the major leagues. Otherwise, the 2014 first-round pick will develop in Class AAA Omaha’s starting rotation.

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Tim Collins' spot in the bullpen will need to be filled following his surgery, and hopefully somebody will step up and make an unexpected contribution.  Still, that contribution will be minimal compared to the top of the 'pen.

Whoever ends up joining the bullpen can definitely follow Davis’ pattern from last year. However, the replacement of Collins will most likely not have as many opportunities to make the impact that Davis had on the team in 2014. With H-D-H firmly intact going into 2015, Collins would have been a 6th inning reliever at best. There were far more opportunities to step up for someone like Davis who was coming in as an 8th inning setup man.

Other articles of interest

Today is Pi Day! Not only is it Pi Day, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime Pi Day.

Marvel's Avengers sequel will be out in less than two months, so the advertisement is ramping up. Here are character posters for Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Why all posters just aren't the Hulk smashing things is beyond me.

The Big 12 Men's Basketball tournament is today, and victories by Kansas over Baylor and Iowa State over Oklahoma have led to a Allen Fieldhouse East vs. Hilton South matchup.

Apple's new Macbook line sure looks great, and other manufacturers who have debuted similar enhancements earlier are snarky about it. Perhaps tech companies should focus on being best rather than being first.

A 2015 launch for Oculus Rift looks unlikely. Apologies to everyone looking to virtually knocking over Madison Bumgarner's ice cream cone at Dairy Queen in the near future.

Weekend classic

Chosen for you by the lovely Mrs. LaMar, here is George Gershwin's famous Rhapsody in Blue conducted and performed by the charismatic Leonard Bernstein.

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