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Royals Rumblings - News for February 23, 2018

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Steal a base, steal $11 worth of Taco Bell

World Series - New York Mets v Kansas City Royals - Game One
Steal a base, Steal a taco!
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

KC Star’s Rustin Dodd looks at the Royals foray into sports science.

One of those areas is sports science, the application of scientific literature to practice and training methods. The Royals sought to explore the discipline last season, hiring Austin Driggers, a minor-league strength coach with a background in sports science, to be the club’s first ever sports science coordinator.

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Like most clubs, the Royals remain naturally hesitant to reveal too much about their methods for incorporating analytics or data into their organizational philosophy. An altered schedule is easy to spot. Other areas of focus are more hidden. When asked about his club’s sports science wing, Moore responded: “We’re trying to figure out how to put a man on Mars quicker than everyone else.”

Also, the Star was all over the did-he-or-didn’t-he about Hosmer texting Ned Yost and Danny Duffy trolling Nate Karns.

Royals Farm Report’s Alex Duvall (hey, that name is familiar) compares their Top 30 list to MLB Pipeline’s.

Yesterday, OMD linked to old friend (and current BPKC’er) Clark Fosler’s take on the 2018 Royals position players. Today I’m linking to Clark’s take on the 2018 Royals pitchers.

And BPKC’s Darin Watson begins his “50 Greatest Moments in Royals History” countdown with Opening Day 2004 (and 9 other moments).

KOK’s Tyler Dierking does a “Where are they now” with the 2015 World Champion (never gets old) Royals 40-man roster.

Max said that if I didn’t write something about Hosmer, he’d beat me with a sack of Tony Pena Jr. bobbleheads. KC Kingdom and Leigh Oleszczak polled fans on Twitter and found they were opposed to the Royals giving Eric Hosmer the same contract he received from San Diego


In the Best of Royals Review, we answer one of the most important questions in the history of civilization: What will $11 Get You at Taco Bell?

It wasn’t intentional, but we’re in the middle of the sabermetric trio for RR: Shaun last week, Jeff this week, and, someone long time readers should be able to guess for next week. This feels like a bit of a cheat as it’s not a standard Jeff Zimmerman article, but it’s probably his most popular.

If you’re looking for something more representative of his work, you’re better off looking at this or this (keeping mind this was back when the data wasn’t as readily available as it is now). His “All Sabermetrics Questions Answered” (sample) threads were also popular.


Fangraph’s Travis Sawchik looked at pitch location and HR rates over the past couple of seasons:

It appears that, as the 2017 season progressed, batters become a little less adept at homering on the low pitch but were better able to crush pitches in the upper-third of the zone — even as pitchers targeted that area more often. The home-run surge was quite possibly the product of batters not only adjusting but doing so at record speed.

This seems like a case of “why the world hates lawyers”. Fangraph’s Sheryl Ring writes about how teams have actually assumed more risk by extending protective netting to protect fans. Bottom of the ocean may be a good start indeed.

So the baseball rule creates a classic moral hazard by rewarding teams for not protecting their fans.

I didn’t realize there was a for-profit Division I school, but Phoenix’s Grand Canyon University has grand ambitions.

BREAKING NEWS (added right before posting time): Yahoo claims to have access to thousands of pages of documents in the FBI NCAA probe and has started naming names and schools. Yahoo has a knack for reporting NCAA news (like the Miami and Reggie Bush stories) so it’s probably best to assume it’s legit:

There’s potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players at Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Alabama and a host of other schools. The documents link some of the sport’s biggest current stars – Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Duke’s Wendell Carter – to specific potential extra benefits for either the athletes or their family members. The amounts tied to all of the players in the case range from basic meals to tens of thousands of dollars.

I don’t know much about fine art but I was somewhere that had a Marc Chagall painting and I said to myself “I think I’ve heard of that name before”. I stumbled across this biography in the Smithsonian Magazine. The article is not timely - he died more than 3 decades ago and the article is 15 years old. But I found it interesting, nonetheless, and figured I’d share.

While we’re on the topic of “random old articles I just recently read”, I was at a professional event for my wife about a month ago and a couple there used up their small talk on something called a “bullet journal”. Typically, I’m loathe to give BuzzFeed credit for anything except bringing about the slow downfall of the internet by popularizing the “advertising bonanza slideshow” version of the web, but this looks like a pretty good primer on said journal. I guess if you need help organizing your life and thoughts and prefer paper, this is a decent system. I just use Word documents, spreadsheets, indices, and lots of them.


Super Smash Bros Melee, last week’s sotd, is probably my favorite for the Gamecube (and, sadly, it didn’t generate a single comment /insert dramatic pause and picture of a sad kitten/). However, I’ve always been of the opinion that “favorite” and “best” are two different lists when measuring. I realize I have some inherent biases so some things appeal to me more than the masses and some things I like may not necessarily be excellence, so much as mental comfort food. With all due respect to the aforementioned SSBM and Resident Evil 4, today’s game is the best game on the Gamecube: Metroid Prime.

To say the development process was messy is an understatement. Austin-based Retro Studios was a small second party studio, made up mostly of former Iguana Entertainment (NBA Jam, Turok) employees. They were developing 4 games at once and barely had the staff to make one. They fumbled around and accidentally revealed which franchise they were developing for.

But the cardinal sin was when rumors started floating around that the game would be a first person shooter. Up until this point, the series consisted of 3 games: one of the most well known NES games (Metroid), one of the best Gameboy games (Metroid II: Return of Samus), and one of the best and most beloved games of all time on the SNES (Super Metroid). And all were 2D platformers.

I remember being part of that angry mob at the time. FPSs were all the rage and everyone was still making pale imitations of Quake or Half Life. I’m not sure who at Nintendo or Retro coined the phrase but no one was buying the “first person adventure” euphemism.

Only they were serious about it:

He continued, “But Miyamoto’s first directive was ‘if we don’t make the transition between the ball and first-person seamless, then we can’t do this game.’”

“It took us a few months to get that correct,” added Pacini. “And that was pretty scary, as it was one of the first milestones we had to reach, and thanks to our engineers ,we managed to create something that when Miyamoto saw it he said, ‘okay’ on the project. That was huge.”

When it came out, it was a triumph. It was gorgeous with many in the gaming community referring to it as a work of art, both in form and design. It delivered on the promise of being a first person adventure game with exploration through many unique landscapes with gameplay that felt right at home in the Metroid series. The story was slowly dripped to the player using a scanning visor that would become the prototype for a generation of games to come. The boss battles were grand, with a cinematic feel. In short, I was happy to be wrong.

Most of Metroid Prime’s soundtrack (and, really, all of the franchise) strikes me as mood music. It “sounds uniquely Metroid”, futuristic and organic (in the literal sense), but there aren’t a lot of songs that stand out. I went with the main theme from the Phendrana Drifts as there’s a bit more going on many tracks. This video is nicely put together with the whole soundtrack and a visual from each section so it’s good for exploring the sights and sounds of the game.