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Royals Rumblings - News for September 15, 2017

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I never liked the number 22 anyway

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians
We’re all feeling that way, Moose
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Rustin Dodd penned a nice, long profile on Downton Abbey extra Royals 2B Whit Merrifield:

“What is Whit Merrifield?” Moore asked a room of scouts and talent evaluators.

He was versatile. That was certain. He was athletic. He was a utility player who did not play shortstop. One rival scout from the National League liked his ability to hit. The scout did not know what position Merrifield could play. The view reflected a consensus in the game.

Mike Moustakas has been battling a knee injury for the past few weeks

"It's one of those things that if I could get three or four or five days, it'd be great," Moustakas said. "But I can't afford to do it right now. We're still in this. We're in the mix. It's not just me who is hurting out there. It's just more noticeable with me because it's a knee injury.

"[Eric Hosmer] isn't a 100 percent. Sal [Salvador Perez] is not 100 percent. LoLo [Lorenzo Cain] is not 100 percent. If you are 100 percent right now, we need to do some talking. We've played a lot baseball."

Danny Duffy should be ready to go for a start on Sunday

"I felt great," Duffy said. "Everything went fine. We'll see how it feels [Friday], but I should be good to go. I can't wait. Believe me. I need to get back out there and help the boys."

KOK's Alex Duvall declares "Kansas City Royals Season Has Reached Do Not Resuscitate Level"

In the event that the Kansas City Royals don’t go into Cleveland this weekend and miraculously win a series against a team who has won 21 games in a row, I am here to officially sign a do not resuscitate on the Kansas City Royals.

Yesterday, he suggested the team should use a six-man rotation next year. I believe that means Duffy, Kennedy, Hammel, Junis, Skoglund, and Gaviglio. But what about Kyle Zimmer?

Looking forward to 2018 already? CBS had an article about the “most interesting schedule quirks for every MLB team in 2018”. For instance, the Giants will be opening on the road for the 9th(!!) straight year. Kansas City’s is one of the less interesting ones:

The Royals will play just 11 home games in the month of June, but they'll be at home 16 times during the month of August.

Prefer to look back to the 2015 World Series run? Remember the panic of September 2015? ESPN has the annual story about the perils of clinching too early. Never mind that the lesson should probably be “regular season success is no guarantee for postseason success, particularly when it’s a very random game with small series determining the champion and some factors that really help in the postseason do not show nearly as much in the regular season”. But that’s a pretty wordy headline.

Only two of the 27 clubs survived October to win the World Series. Ned Yost and the 2015 Royals rebounded from their poor regular-season finish to go the distance, and the Cubs enjoyed three more raucous clubhouse parties after their mid-September clinching celebration.

In former Royal non-prospect, Jose Martinez, the Cardinals may have unearthed another gem. Because, of course they did.

Previously, the only mentions of Martinez on the site came courtesy of Carson Cistulli, who included Martinez in a Fringe Five write-up in April of 2016, and picked him as “Cistulli’s Guy” on the Royals prospect list a few months before that.

MLBTR put out an update on Rule V draft picks from last year. Royals mentioned twice.

Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.

We had some “fun” news from Wednesday games that didn’t hit yesterday’s Rumblings, though there was some talk about them in the comments.

A game at Fenway was delayed on Wednesday after the Red Sox removed an anti-racism banner that said “Racism is as American as baseball” and that fans that brought it.

And, no, the Tigers almost certainly didn’t throw at an umpire right after they had their manager and catcher ejected for arguing balls and strikes. But that didn’t keep conspiracy theorists the Indians broadcast crew (wtf?) from suggesting it.

Jeff Sullivan reminds us that not all productive major league players were high level prospects. In fact:

This year, we’re at 30%. That is, 30% of the players worth at least 3 WAR never showed up on a top-100 list.

I had an old-school song I wanted to do today but I need to go back and research some more. Instead, we’ll turn to a soundtrack I’ve been listening to over the past couple of weeks. I don’t make this claim lightly, but I think this may be the “most famous song by most famous video game composer ever”.* I’m curious if anyone can think of a more famous composer (Koji Kondo?) and song that would fit as I’ve been trying for a couple of weeks and come up blank.

*NOTE: This is not to say the most famous video game song (that would be something like the Mario theme from a few weeks ago).

Like last week’s entry, Final Fantasy 7 is a game I’m really conflicted about. Many people have it as their best game of all time. However, I think that makes it akin to an incomplete Oscar winner with an uninteresting and/or poorly paced plot that lets the acting shine (hey, lots of those win awards). Or some older high literature whose reputation is beyond reproach but is just a slog.

We talked a few weeks ago about how Final Fantasy IV “ushered in the cinematic RPG age six years before Final Fantasy VII amped this idea up to 11”. FF7 created the neo-Playstation RPG model that was dominant for at least a decade and is still the foundation of many jRPGs today. Players went from having to imagine they were playing a movie with 16-bit sprites on flat backgrounds to actually being in one with 3-dimensional polygonal renderings. Yes, FF7’s models look crude by today’s standards, but, at the time, they were a huge leap forward. Remember, this is a game that came out just a couple of years after the likes of Toy Story and Reboot.

It’s also historically significant, maybe the single most important game in shifting the balance of power from Nintendo to Sony. A lot of ink, physical and digital has been spilled about the console wars (examples here or here, for instance) and about the development of Final Fantasy VII (another example). And besides being revolutionary, many aspects of the game like the Materia system hold up today.

But what I’ve never been able to get past is that the characters and plot were the worst of the 90s, full of angst and moping, devoid of human emotions or motivations. Cloud is a boring, mopey protagonist set against Sephiroth, anime Boba Fett (aka an underdeveloped empty shell). To me, the epic scope and plot are wasted on unsympathetic and uninteresting characters. I had already watched a friend beat the game so I literally stopped my game at The Northern Cave (I think that’s what it was called). Frankly, I didn't care if the world lived or died. It's the exact opposite emotion evoked the SNES Square Big Three.

There are a number of excellent musical selections on Nobuo Uematsu’s 4-disc soundtrack. They range from the wonderfully rocking boss theme Fight On to one of my favorites, the quirky Forest Temple. The Introduction and Bombing Run (below) throws you straight into the game. The video is worth a watch to remember that FMV intro all these years later.

But the most famous song is Uematsu’s tour de force, One Wing Angel. It is the boss music for Sephiroth at the end of the game. I’m just going to let the Final Fantasy wiki take it from here:

Nobuo Uematsu apparently got his inspiration for "One-Winged Angel" through Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho theme. Nobuo himself states it so in the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children special feature, "The Distance: Making of Featurette" on Disc Two of the Two-Disc Special Edition. Nobuo Uematsu has also said he had wanted to fuse "musical styles of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and rock musician Jimi Hendrix" with the song.[2] Specifically, "One-Winged Angel" appears to be based on Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" in terms of form and orchestration, using the "augur chord", one of the most famous motifs Stravinsky came up with. Uematsu has also said he wanted to create something that would sound like '60s or '70s rock music performed by a full orchestra, and for the piece to have the same destructive impact as rock music.[1]

And, for a bonus, here’s a video with the introduction I mentioned and the bombing mission music.