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Royals Rumblings - News for October 19, 2018

Lolo themed Friday; C’mon, Brewers

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League Championship - Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals - Game Six
“HE CAN FLY!” - Joe Buck
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Over at BPKC, Darin Watson looks back at “The Royals and the 1968 Expansion Draft”. Lots of fun there, like this nugget:

When the rules changed, the Royals started making noise about drafting Mantle, with manager Joe Gordon saying they would be “foolish” not to take him if they could. Mantle had played in Kansas City when the Yankees’ top farm team was located there, and now the Royals were possibly interested in bringing him back to KC as the face of the franchise. Charlie Metro, then the Royals’ director of player procurement, would later say that owner Ewing Kauffman wanted to pick Mantle with the team’s first pick and offer him a two-year, $200,000 deal. But Mantle, or someone claiming to be Mantle, sent the Royals and Pilots a telegram saying, “If you draft me I will not report and in all probability will retire.” Eventually Kauffman decided not to risk it, despite Metro’s pleading even on the day of the draft, and neither team selected Mantle. It may not have mattered, as Mantle retired during spring training 1969 anyway, but for a while it looked like one of the all-time greats would be an original Royal.

George Brett gets another acting job:

Earlier this year, Brett appeared on the ABC comedy, “Modern Family,” as he talked with Cam (Eric Stonestreet) during a Royals’ spring-training game.

On Monday, Brett was in Atlanta working on a new gig. He was shooting scenes for the IFC show “Brockmire.”

Drew Osborne of Royals Farm Report starts a series of trade targets for the Royals. The first is Connor Jones from the Cardinals.

I know that we are in the midst of a rebuild and that we’ve already amassed a large group of young pitchers in the upper levels. I understand that we aren’t competing yet so these moves are more for three to four years down the road after these guys get some more major league experience. We also have a throng of young guys that got MLB time this year and did a decent job. That being said, I think we need to add some more guys to compete for a spot in the MLB bullpen and starting spots. Don’t misinterpret me. I’m not talking about some random cast of veterans getting spots in front of the rookies or young guys. I’m talking about the young guys.

The Athletic seems to have gone dormant. The last Royals story was from October 9th. Maybe that’s why each referral today nets me a coelacanth tooth or dodo feather.

Fansided has had some activity this week

Here’s something a bit non-standard that I ran across on my search for Royals news this week. Nerd Wallet, which is a pretty good site for credit card reviews, recently reviewed the Commerce Bank Kansas City Royals™ Mastercard®. Beware: lots of bad baseball puns. NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT FOR THIS CARD OR EVEN A SUGGESTION TO GO GET IT!!! I’M LINKING TO THIS PURELY FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!

You know what never takes an offseason? Listicles! lists the Royals “key” free agents. Not a long list this offseason:

Kansas City Royals

Key free agents: SS Alcides Escobar, RHP Jason Hammel (mutual option), RHP Wily Peralta (club option)

After trading Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas this season, the Royals figure to let Escobar walk, as Adalberto Mondesi is now their starting shortstop. The Royals will almost certainly pay a $2 million buyout to get Hammel off the books instead of exercising his $12 million mutual option for 2019, but they could bring back Peralta, their closer, on a cheaper $3 million team option, especially since they’ll likely be looking for bullpen help this offseason.

This time next week, two World Series games will have been played so this is our only chance to use an LCS Game Thread for The Best of Royals Review (TM).

It seems weird to say, but the ALCS was the most “uneventful” round of the playoffs between 2014 and 2015. That doesn’t mean the games were “boring”, just that they didn’t have some of the epic circumstances of The Wild Card Game, another 4 run rally against the Astros, or The World Series. Of the 10 games the Royals played in the LCS rounds, one really stuck out to me: 2015 Game 6.

Links: Game Thread, Overflow 1, Overflow #2, and Overflow #3.

This game didn’t have “everything” like Rany tweeted (arguably, the next game had even more), but it certainly had a lot. Fan interference on a home run (sound familiar?), a Jose Bautista blast, great defense, Ned going to Madson instead of Davis because of incoming rain, a game tying home run to Bautista, Davis in anyway, rain delay, “He can fly!”, and a rusty Cyborg putting a runner at 3rd with 0 outs only to K Navarro, Revere, and ground out Donaldson to clinch the pennant with Bautista on the on deck circle.

Jeff Sullivan looks at the sign stealing shenanigans in the ALCS:

It’s remarkable that we’re even still in this place in 2018. Realistically, I don’t know if this paranoia can ever be addressed by conventional means. I don’t know how you make the Red Sox and Astros trust one another. That is, unless you abandon hand signals altogether. Which brings us to the technological solution to a technological problem. This is nothing original, on my part — countless people have suggested that catchers and pitchers be outfitted like quarterbacks. An electronic pitch signal couldn’t be observed by a center-field camera. I suppose in theory a catcher could be hacked, but the game doesn’t need to have hand signals anymore. If catchers said code words or pressed buttons on their wrists, the paranoia would — well, teams would still be paranoid of one another, but in this one way, it presumably wouldn’t manifest. Pitchers and catchers would be on the same page without anything being potentially given away, and this would come with the side benefit of the game moving along a little faster.

Let’s do an oddball off topic subject today: winning the lottery. The current Mega Millions jackpot is nearing a billion bucks and lottery fever is in the air. In the process of trying to find a story from earlier in the week, I ran across a couple of other fun links to share.

This was the original story I was trying to find. It calculates expected return and, as expected, you’re not going to make a good return buying lottery tickets, especially when taking the lump sum penalty, taxes, and odds of multiple winners into account. But, to me, the more interesting part is that before you take those into account, the return on $1 ticket is actually $1.12. Wait, a positive return on a lottery ticket? Of course, that’s only realized if you win the big prize so it’s only useful if you are the low odds ticket that wins the prize or buy one of every ticket. It’s one of those paradoxes that makes me think about the idea of whether process or results is more important (2014 Wild Card game does that a lot for me, too).

Here’s some fun survey results about what people would do if they won the lottery. It looks like a pretty simplistic survey with only one question and not much room for explanation that then picks the answers apart by demographics. This is what it looks like, kids, if you have an interesting topic but don’t craft a good survey and then try to over-parse the results. The long and short is that the first thing most people would do if they won would be to pay off debts.

This one looks at some academic literature around lottery winning. It turns out that lotteries are basically a regressive tax.

A couple of weeks ago, Hokius mentioned the Adventures of Lolo in passing so why not take a look at the classic puzzler series?

It was created by HAL Labs, most notable for Kirby and Super Smash Bros. I didn’t realize this until seeing it on wiki but the late Satoru Iwata, Nintendo legend and former HAL President, was quoted as saying “HAL was named as such because each letter put us one step ahead of IBM”.

The original Adventures of Lolo wasn’t in the top couple of tiers of popularity in NES games (sales numbers from before the 5th generation are notoriously hard to come by, though I’m pretty certain about the preceding statement), but it was popular enough to spin off a pair of sequels on the platform. While I was not confident in the sales numbers, I’m completely comfortable saying that it was one of the more polished and difficult puzzle games on the platform.

For those unfamiliar, Lolo is a little blue character with limited powers who has to go through 50 different rooms to rescue Princess Lala. From IGN’s review: “You’ll have to push blocks to clear a path. Or build a bridge to cross a waterway. Or activate Lolo’s limited egg-shooting ability to encase an enemy in a circular shell and either eliminate it altogether, or shove it around the level – and those are the real key. The enemies. Because dealing with each different type is usually the basis for each room.” To this day, I still remember the noise those darn Medusas make when you realize too late that you’ve made a fatal mistake.

This was the type of game I’d rent for a weekend back when movie stores like Blockbuster still existed. I’d never beat the whole game but I’d get a good way through it. Apparently you can beat the game in about 40 minutes if you know just how. But, really, some of the puzzles take that long (or longer) just to solve: