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Memorial Day Rumblings

We salute the fallen.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Memorial Day Rumblings

Sam Mellinger writes that things seem different with this Royals team.

For so many years, expecting the Royals to be dogs this time of year was not pessimism. It was realism. Look at those Royals now. Memorial Day is Monday, and the Royals are the best team in baseball. The usual question: What else can go wrong? The current question: Is this real?

"This is such a different feeling," shortstop Alcides Escobar says. "Everything is going perfect, man."

Vahe Gregorian looks at the inconsistency of Yordano Ventura and sees some bright spots in his start Sunday.

Does he have some traction toward returning on a trajectory to stardom, or at least a season representative of being the Royals’ opening-day starter, or is he still stuck in a puzzling sophomore slump?

On the surface, anyway, you might surmise the latter from the 6-1 loss at Kauffman Stadium. After all, Ventura surrendered four runs in seven innings and opened the game in an apparent funk as the first four Cardinals reached base. But there also is an entirely different way to frame his start. Perhaps it’s even a mitigating viewpoint — depending on how you’re naturally inclined to see to it or how open-minded you might be feeling. Now, it might come as no surprise that the main purveyor of that perspective is Royals manager Ned Yost, who is inclined toward infinite optimism when he speaks of his players.

"For me," Yost said, "he made one bad pitch." Preposterous as that might seem, Yost may be about right.

The Royals are staying mum on when Jason Vargas will return.

Jason Vargas survived his simulated game on Friday afternoon, but the Royals have declined to reveal the next step on his return from the disabled list. Manager Ned Yost indicated the club could either assign him another simulated outing, send him on a rehabilitation assignment or activation him next week.

"We’ll decide that in the next couple days," Yost said before Saturday’s game against St. Louis.

The Royals still have a decision to make when Erik Kratz to returns to action.

"Kratzy’s defense is good. Butera’s defense is really good," Yost said. "Kratzy’s offensive capabilities, mostly his power, is very, very good. Butera’s a solid offensive player in terms of situational baseball."

Alex Rios headed to Omaha to begin his rehab assignment.

Esquire magazine talks to Salvador Perez about what its like to have one of the toughest jobs.

What it's like playing the toughest position in the game?

I got a short story about when I started catching. I was always playing third base and shortstop and this scout from KC, who signed me, told me to throw from home plate to second base. I still don't know why he told me that, but after I did that, he says hit, and he came back and said I want to sign you. So they put me at catcher and I was happy to have a job. After that, it was just working, working, working – every day. That's what I do. Working hard every day, trying to work hard and listen to my coach. That's why I'm a little bit good behind home plate.

ESPN tries to quantify "game-calling" as a skill among catchers, with Salvador Perez rating quite well.

Another pitcher is ejected for having a foreign substance.

The A's are bad, their defense is bad, and they should feel bad.

Travel and Leisure magazine names Kansas City as the #1 barbecue city.

Brad Bird's "Tomorrowland" falters at the box office.

RIP mathematician John Nash of "A Beautiful Mind" fame.

The origins of Memorial Day.

Your poem of the day is "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.