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Royals Rumblings - News for February 16, 2018

Spring Training is Here!

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
All-Star Aaron Crow
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images’s Jeffrey Flanagan has a pair of good old fashioned Spring Training stories:

First about the CF job

With Lorenzo Cain having signed with the Brewers, the Royals will be looking to fill the spot among Orlando, Billy Burns, Bubba Starling, Tyler Collins, Terrance Gore and even Alex Gordon.

And then middle infield:

Royals manager Ned Yost said Thursday that while Escobar will play every day at shortstop, Mondesi still could win a job at the big league level at second base -- yes, second base, which was manned by Whit Merrifield for most of last season.

Wha- ? That story’s title was about Mondesi but that appears to be burying the lede. Or did I miss the announcement about Escobar being handed the starting SS job? I mean, I know we all joked about it, but...

While we’re at it with seemingly nonsensical thoughts, according to KCStar’s Rustin Dodd, Salvy apparently wants to play less more:

Since 2013, Perez, 27, has caught 5,603 2/3 innings in the regular season. St. Louis’ Yadier Molina is second at 5,540 2/3 . And yet, as Perez arrived here at spring training earlier this month, he voiced a simple goal for the 2018 season: Be more durable. “If I’m healthy, I can play,” Perez said.

Two more stories from Dodd. First, on Wednesday, a Royals scout was kicked out of the secretive free agent camp. I’m sure internet jokes ensued. Personally, I had a picture in my mind of a lovesick Moore getting ushered away while still clutching a heart-shaped box of chocolates, a giant bouquet of flowers, and three balloons that spelled out “H-O-Z”.

Secondly, Mike Moustakas is getting light interest from the Yankees. I’m sure this little nugget by known Scott Boras mouthpiece Jon Heyman is in no way a ploy to help drum up a Moose market.

Speaking of Boras, Fangraph’s Craig Edwards looks at “The Last Time Scott Boras Screwed Up”. A few years ago Boras’s overplayed his hand when draft pick compensation was attached to Stephen Drew and former Royal Kendrys Morales. Both went unsigned well into the season.

Also on Fangraphs, David Laurila interviewed new Royal Trevor Oaks

”I haven’t gotten much of a chance to talk to the Royals coaches and front-office guys yet, but the Dodgers are very involved [in pitching analytics]. As a player, I kind of put that out of my mind, though. I try to just worry about winning the game. I think that attitude should serve me well, because however much the Royals value that, when you get right down to it, what everybody wants is to win.”

CBS’s Mike Axisa’s “list for every MLB team” this week is “The most interesting non-roster invitee

Kansas City Royals: LHP Foster Griffin. The Royals are very early in their rebuild and their farm system is pretty thin at the moment, so Foster Griffin stands out from the collection of journeymen and second tier prospects Kansas City is bringing to camp this year. Griffin was the 28th overall pick in the 2014 draft and he bounced back from down 2015 and 2016 seasons (5.43 ERA in 235 1/3 innings) to have a strong 2017 season, during which he threw 161 1/3 innings with a 3.35 ERA and a 141/54 K/BB at High-A and Double-A. The southpaw doesn’t have high-end stuff -- he’s mostly 88-91 mph with his heater -- but he might be the team’s best hope for cheap homegrown starter in the near future.

It’s a bit weird writing about a current writer (well, except Max- that comes with getting paid the “big” bucks). But one of the best articles ever to appear on Royals Review features Sean Shawn Shawon Chone Shaun beautifully dissecting a single decision in painstaking detail. Today’s Best of Royals Review is: The needful end of Ned Yost.

Do you remember the Daniel Nava game? The “Aaron Crow’s inning is the sixth inning. Kelvin’s is the seventh.” game? The “how was Ned Yost not fired” game? No, not that one. Or that one. Or... you know what: If none of those ring a bell then let me be the first to welcome you to Royals Review! For the rest of us, you can relive this painful yet instructive moment in Royals history. It was one of Ned’s many stove-touchings during September and October 2014.

One note: I think I’m putting this feature on hiatus during the regular season. It and the SotD take up a decent chunk of my time when doing Rumblings. However, during the regular season, there’s a lot more Royals news to track down so time is a consideration. And I also think this feature will get lost in the shuffle. That said, we still have 7 more weeks to go

We already talked out the Florida high school shooting yesterday, from the news to potential solutions including links to the likes of Vox and the Onion. However, there was an MLB angle as Anthony Rizzo went to the high school where the shooting occurred.

I stumbled across this ESPN article about NBA Jam’s 25th anniversary. It linked to this ESPN Magazine article and I learned two new things I never knew about NBA Jam: there was game code that actually made the Bulls worse in clutch time versus the Pistons and that there was a version of the game which included Gary Payton and Michael Jordan. I somehow missed when this news got dropped on the world a few years ago.

The Gamecube controller is (TOTALLY AWESOME and) hugely influential in gaming history. For some reason, Nintendo has tried to walk away from it for three straight generations with the Wii Remote, the Wii U Gamepad, and now the Switch Joy Con. But Microsoft, after ditching the controller that required gorilla-sized hands, copied the Gamecube controller (actually, it was the glorious Wavebird) and hasn’t looked back. Seriously look at it: Xbox controllers through history and Wavebird. The left side had/has an analog stick and offset d-pad, the right side had/has an offset analog stick and four buttons (yes, the Gamecube had a single large and three secondary if you want to split hairs), and there was/is shoulder triggers and a start button in the center. Yes, many of these individual elements came from earlier generations but, geez, the layouts for the two are identical.

I’m pretty sure the Gamecube controller was made first and foremost for a single game. Or maybe it just feels like it. But when one of the best fighting games of all time is ready for a system’s launch window, it’s likely there was some optimization for this game.

For those unfamiliar, the Super Smash Bros series is a set of fighting games where you can battle between different Nintendo mascots and, later, a few third party characters. Peach vs Zelda princess battle? Of course. Donkey Kong vs Bowser villain throw down? Yup. Kirby vs Jigglypuff pink puffy pummel? Whatever floats your boat. In the Wii U iteration, you could use Sonic, Pac-Man, or Mega Man. You can even fulfill that lifelong dream to pulverize the dog from Duck Hunt (be careful: he fights back).

However, unlike, say, Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, there’s not a life bar. But the more damage you take, the farther you fly. You win by knocking an opponent out of the ring and lose by getting knocked out. The characters are well balanced with many viable strategies. And one of the biggest innovations is that the environment is much more interactive than most fighting games.

The original for the N64 feels a bit dated and the Gamecube’s Super Smash Bros Melee is the definitive version to me and many others. There are tournaments of the game still going on to this day, a decade and a half after its release. There’s even concern there won’t be enough working Gamecube controllers to continue much longer into the future. It goes without saying this game is a “must own” for any Gamecube fan.

Below is a video with all the intros in the Smash Bros series. It’s queued up to Melee’s intro and theme.