Hm... this is going to be a problem. Last week, we had a ton of content because of the Rule V draft. This week, not so much. BPKC is no more (pour one out for them). The Athletic is on their winter hibernation. Even the usually reliable Royals Farm Report hasn’t had content in a couple of days.
Fortunately, we get a national story as Jonah Keri is doing a check-in of every team and Kansas City is up:
For those who need a refresher, the Royals succeeded in large part because they zigged while the rest of the sport zagged. As hitters resigned themselves to record-setting strikeout levels in pursuit of home runs, K.C. ranked just 24th in the majors in long balls the year the team won the World Series. While other managers eschewed stolen-base attempts for fear of erasing baserunners in front of power hitters, the Royals finished second in the American League in steals. And while strikeouts became acceptable for everyone else, the Royals struck out less often than other club -- by far.
I have a feeling we might talk about this in the coming days. There are 11 players up for the Royals HOF:
P Jeremy Affeldt (2002-2006)
C John Buck (2004-2009)
P Bruce Chen (2009-2014)
OF Al Cowens (1974-79)
OF Johnny Damon (1995-2000)
OF David DeJesus (2004-2009)
P Al Fitzmorris (1969-75)
OF/DH Raul Ibanez (2001-03, 2014)
OF Bo Jackson (1986-1990)
3B Kevin Seitzer (1986-1991)
P Yordano Ventura (2013-2016)
KC Kingdom’s Leigh Oleszczak writes about the “crowded outfield in 2019”:
Hamilton is one of the many outfielders, but the options don’t stop there. They also have Alex Gordon, Jorge Bonifacio, Jorge Soler, Brian Goodwin, and Brett Phillips. There’s also some minor league names to keep an eye on this year too, but with all of that major league depth, those guys might have to wait a few more years before even getting a crack in the big leagues.
Royals great Joakim Soria is on the move again, this time to Oakland.
In many respects, in fact, the 2018 season was one of the best, if not the best of Soria’s impressive big league career. He averaged personal bests in swinging-strike rate (14.4 percent) and opponents’ chase rate (34.3 percent), and his 2.44 FIP and 2.88 SIERA were among the best marks of his 12-year MLB career as well. Perhaps most impressively, the 83.6 mph average exit velocity that Soria allowed to opponents registered as the lowest of any pitcher in baseball (min. 150 batted ball events), per Statcast.
Also in the “former Royal news” category, Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs posits “There Have Been Two Trevor Cahills”:
Over the past two years, I’ve written about Cahill on multiple occasions. I wrote about him as a Padre, I wrote about him as a new Royal, and I wrote about him as an Athletic. Most recently he was an important part of Oakland’s patchwork starting rotation, that, against all odds, helped push the A’s ever so briefly into the playoffs.
I don’t know if this information has been posted here yet, but Fox Sports has a story listing the games for the Royals Christmas Marathon.
I’ll admit, sometimes we get lazy at The Best of Royals Review (TM). What does that mean? We just look at Will’s posting history, read a handful of the articles, and, inevitably, we end up on a classic. This week’s Best of RR: Watch Your Bako.
This one was “famous” enough that it was mentioned on Fangraphs (ok, by Matt Klaassen, another RR alum, but that’s not the point). I’m just going to
steal cite Matt’s words here:
Arguably, all of the classic McDonald traits are there: above all the sharp end directed at the nostalgic and ignorant cliches so often found in much “mainstream” baseball writing. In this case, Will uses a backup catcher as an occasion to poke fun at the anger at players leaving through free agency:
He goes on to quote Will’s work:
Thousands of fans envisioned a bright summer day sometime during the 2010s when they would stand up and cheer as Bako blasted his 15th, or even 20th career home run, in a Royal uniform. They wanted to witness his 5th career stolen base, his 150th career RBI, his 10th career triple, in a Royal uniform. Yes, its silly, but big round numerical landmarks are important to us. Especially when its one of our own, a true Royal like Bako.
The one liner movie reviews seem to get discussion going. How about we make this seasonal with tiers of Christmas specials?
- Tier I: How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas - both sentimental favorites, both still beloved Emmy winners. The Grinch is more popular though both occupy the top spot in American Christmas lore.
- Tier II: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman - the former was the first major Christmas special in 1964 and gave rise to the others. The latter is the last of the super popular quartet from the 60s.
- Tier III: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Twas the Night Before Christmas - This is where the list starts to fall apart a little. Each of these is from Rankin/Bass in the 1970s and gets a yearly showing but is not nearly in the same category as the R/B classics from Tier II.
- Tier IV: Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas - Two titans of entertainment try their hand at the Christmas special game, a few years after the R/B specials above. In fact, I might even be tempted to swap this and the above tier. The former is Disney doing one of the best interpretations of the Dickens classic while the latter is Jim Henson’s take on The Gift of the Magi.
- Tier V: The Cricket on the Hearth, The Little Drummer Boy - The other couple of Rankin/Bass cartoons from the 60s that get lost in the shuffle. I have to say I haven’t seen either in years. Maybe I should watch them in the next week.
- Tier VI: Sequels and/or crossovers of any of the above. Rudolph in dinosaur times? Rudolph and Frosty in the summer? Charlie Brown’s 4th Christmas outing? Probably best to avoid these.
During this time of reruns, let’s go back and revisit Advance Wars. This time, it’s Sami’s theme.