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Royals Rumblings - News for September 30, 2015

Royals Review seems like a site that could use a choking.

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Royals Rumblings - News for September 30, 2015

"Retired" blogger Rany Jazayerli heaps praise on Ned Yost for the job he's done this year.

But Yost has had an excellent season as a manager, and like Moore, I think the evidence points towards Yost having changed and improved on the job rather than having been an excellent manager all along....

Yost has always been well-regarded for his ability to command a clubhouse, and insomuch as we can judge such things from the outside, it looks like he’s done a fantastic performance in that regard this year. The Royals have plowed through a number of distractions this season, not the least of which being that they brawled with four different teams before May was out and were being labeled The Bad Boys of Baseball. The players had each other’s back then and kept winning. They stuck with Yordano Ventura through his struggles and immaturity, and Ventura responded with the best performances of his career in August. Yost and the front office stuck with Mike Moustakas despite his struggles for the last 2+ years, and he responded with a new and vastly improved hitting approach this season. And so on....

And precisely because Yost will defend his players to the hilt, and because he will stick with a struggling veteran past the point of prudence, when he does have to drop the axe on a struggling veteran, he has done so without fear of a mutiny. Think of the players who have lost their job over the last six weeks: Omar Infante, Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy, and most complicated of all, Greg Holland (before he finally consented to an MRI that showed his elbow was fried) – none of them have complained publicly about their demotion. That might not sound like anything special, but players are always the last to know when their time is up. That none of them popped off speaks well to the way Yost handled their situations.

Danny Knobler at Bleacher Report writes that the Royals' division title marks a changing of the guard.

The Royals set a franchise attendance record this season. Baseball is alive again in Kansas City, just as it is in Pittsburgh and in Toronto and in Queens. No one would have said that three years ago.

Greg Holland will have Tommy John surgery on Friday and CBS Sports' Mike Axisa thinks the Royals can retain him.

Holland is scheduled to become a free agent after next season. My guess is the Royals non-tender him this winter then re-sign him to a two-year contract with a low base salary for 2016 while he rehabs, then a more significant salary in 2017. Say $1 million in 2016 and $7 million in 2017. Something along those lines.

A contract like that allows the Royals to keep Holland beyond next season and allows Holland to rehab with the only organization he's known. He'd still then be able to hit the open market after 2017, a year removed from surgery and after he shows he's healthy. It makes sense for both sides, really. Holland probably won't find a better deal this winter considering he'll miss 2016.

Jon Lemire at USA Today writes that designated pinch-runners like Terrance Gore will have an impact in the post-season.

Kuntz monitors how long opposing pitchers take to the plate and the pop time of catchers to throw to second. The average, he said, was about 1.4 seconds for the pitcher and 2.0 seconds for the catcher. Kuntz said Gore typically takes a 15-foot lead and races the remaining 75 feet in 2.9 or 3.0 seconds — well faster than the necessary 3.4-second threshold, which is why his career professional basestealing rate is 91.8%. (The major league average is 70.4% this season.)

In a Sept. 9 steal off the Minnesota Twins, Gore had a lead distance of only 12 1/2 feet, according to’s Statcast, but had a first step of 0.321 seconds and a top speed of 21.8 mph so that he was starting his slide before catcher Kurt Suzuki had released the ball, despite reliever Trevor May’s well-above-average 1.15-second release. Gore, Kuntz said, has "ungodly speed" and nonpareil recognition skills.

Matthew Kory at Fangraphs grades the Royals' celebration in clinching the Central Division.

Lee Judge took the side of Jonathan Papelbon in the recent altercation in the Nationals dugout.

I don’t know Bryce Harper from Adam, but he certainly seems like a young man who needs an attitude adjustment. Unfortunately he was choked by the wrong guy in the wrong place. In baseball culture, pitchers — especially relievers — do not get to criticize position players for lack of hustle. Guys like Jonathan Papelbon play every once in a while, guys like Bryce Harper play all the time. So if you spend a fair amount of time sitting in the shade eating popsicles, you don’t get to criticize position players for failing to run out a fly ball.

The second problem was location: if you want to choke Bryce Harper — and I suspect if you played with him, you might — ask him to come up the tunnel and then choke him. You don’t do it in the dugout for everyone in the world to see; you keep that stuff private.

That is actually the cleaned-up version, after initial outcry over this.

Kansas City Star editor Derek Donovan blamed Twitter.

Twitter is the most negative corner of the Internet, in my opinion. Its short bursts of 140 characters tend to be long on outrage, and media sources are constant targets....

My own opinion is that a blog may be a place for frank ruminations on these sorts of topics, and I find some of the Twitter hand-wringing disingenuously genteel. You hear stuff far less considered than this every day on sports talk radio and — for crying out loud — from well-known voices on Twitter itself.

But sure, I also understand the critics, who might disagree with or not want to hear a pundit’s thoughts on those "unwritten rules." Surely not all MLB players agree they are so.

Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon are candidates for Gold Gloves according to the Fielding Bible.

The "30 for 30" short on Sung Woo Lee and last year's Royals will air tomorrow night on ESPN2 at 10:30.

The Athletics hire Justine Siegal to be a guest instructor in camp, the first female coach of any kind in baseball.

The Cardinals seem to overcome every obstacle. Well, except awful rap tribute videos. Egads.

Kate Upton says Justin Verlander got "blackout drunk" after a bad start.

Baseball may return to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Derrick Rose is injured AGAIN.

Larry Brown and SMU basketball are in big trouble.

MacArthur Genius Grants were handed out this week. Lee Judge did not receive one.

Is productivity software making us less productive?

The lonely brilliance of MacGyver.

How did Radiohead's Kid A album kick off the streaming revolution?

Your song of the day is Radiohead with "Everything in its Right Place."