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Royals Rumblings - News for February 9, 2018

Pitchers and Catchers report next week! Days until baseball: 4!

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2017 World Baseball Classic Pool F: Game 6 -  United States v. Dominican Republic

Still slow going on the Royals front this week

If I told you that MLB had a series of videos called “No Offseason”, which Royal would you expect to be in it? You’d be right.

Rustin Dodd at the Kansas City Star examines Mike Moustakas’s market in painstaking detail, going through every team. It’s not a pretty picture for him.

Most teams would benefit from having Mike Moustakas in their lineup. That’s clear. But with so many rebuilding teams hesitant to spend, the market has folded. Is there a team out there interested in giving Moustakas the kind of contract he expected when the offseason began? That’s less clear.

And the Star’s Sam Mellinger looks at how we got to this brewing CBA war:

Baseball’s internal and escalating war is between millionaires and billionaires, between men rich enough to charter their own jets and men who own jets. The fight is over relative crumbs in an industry worth billions of dollars from a game so many of us love and played as kids. That money is a direct product of that love. There are no sympathetic characters here.

KOK’s Tyler Dierking compares Moose to Todd Frazier and his new contract.

Royals Farm Report’s Drake Downing interviewed Royals prospect Charlie Neuweiler:

CN: “These past three years of high school have been memorable and very special to me. Starting with being chosen to play varsity as a sophomore and eventually having that lead up to committing to a D-1 school (LIU-Brooklyn), and ultimately having a dream come true of being drafted. The feeling of being drafted is still mind-blowing to this day, but I’m extremely blessed and grateful for this opportunity.”

This article by Baseball America’s JJ Cooper is not specifically about the Royals, but could apply to their situation going forward. He proposes a “tank tax” to punish teams who fall below a certain win threshold for multiple seasons in a row.

The 70-win threshold is a suggestion. Maybe it’s too lax (75 wins would create a much stronger incentive for competitiveness, but would also be a much more difficult bar to clear). Maybe it’s a little too strict. The same is true about the 10-spot penalty. All of this is negotiable. But whatever the exact details, the core idea remains the same. By creating incentives for winning, more teams will try--to the benefits of fans and baseball as a whole. More teams will also spend in the offseason to genuinely try to improve, which helps veteran players potentially. And it will add another reason to care when a fourth-place team faces a fifth-place team in an otherwise sleepy September series.

I think it’s time to finish up the transition posts on Best of Royals Review. We’ve already had the first post for the site, Will’s farewell, and Craig Brown’s first post as editor-in-chief. Finally, it’s time for Max’s introductory EIC post: Introducing the new Royals Review Managing Editor.

Hello, my name is Max Rieper and I am the new managing editor for Royals Review. You may be asking yourself “why did the suits at SB Nation tab an outsider to run this site?” Well the shocking plot twist for this season finale is that I have been a Royals Review regular THE ENTIRE TIME. For several years I have posted under the name “RoyalsRetro”, but now that I am managing editor I will be using my real name. I will also no longer be writing Kansas City Star articles under my pseudonym “Lee Judge” anymore.

Of course, I’m not just writing this because “I, For One, Welcome {My} New Insect Overlords”. But these inflection points are all important moments in Royals Review history, times where the emphasis on tone of the site changed.

Reception was overwhelmingly positive:

I give it 6 months before this whole thing implodes. -averagegatsby

For the record, the team was .500 (23-23), Wil Myers was coming off of an ROY campaign for the Padres, and Mike Moustakas had just been sent back to Omaha after starting the season with a .152/.223/.320 triple slash. However, since Max took over, the team is 42 games over .500, has won 2 pennants, and hosted a non-Plaza parade. So, in some small way, it’s as if Max won the Royals the World Series.

I’m a huge sucker for the Olympics so our “other sports” section today is going to be filled with Olympic-themed stories. It’s not that I’m terribly jingoistic, but I really enjoy a spectacle - especially with sports that we rarely celebrate.

If you plan on hijacking the break room tv to immerse yourself in curling every day at lunch watching the Olympics, here is the television viewing guide.

Unfortunately, there’s not nearly as much daytime coverage on NBC as in year’s past. Most of that has been offloaded to NBC Sports (which, annoyingly, some workplaces do not get in their breakroom). CNBC, USA, and others also host coverage. God forbid someone preempt soaps, The Chew (I guess that’s ABC but that’s what’s usually on in our break room), or other riveting daytime fare. And there’s over 1800(!) hours of streamed footage online.

Watching it in VR sounds pretty cool, though. Anyone tried it? Anyone done much with VR at all? For all my video gaming, I really haven’t.

Warning: Shameless SBNation cross promotion. James Dator rated... you guessed it (no, you didn’t), the Winter Olympic mascots. I think the ratings are pretty good, though he was overly harsh with Hidy and Howdy and way too enamored with Magique (aka “a star with a wiener”) and the creepy Snowlets.

Speaking of shameless, there was the whole Russian doping scheme in Sochi.

Just to recap, the Russians didn’t just supply performance-enhancing drugs to scores of athletes. We’ve seen that act before. This time it constructed an actual building in Sochi next to the laboratory that tested athlete samples. It then drilled a small hole in the shared wall. Each night after the lab closed, it had workers on either side pass clean samples in and dirty samples out.

A few predictable things happened. Russia won the most medals. No Russians tested positive for PEDs. The man who orchestrated it, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who much later acknowledged the scheme, was awarded a prestigious honor by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Once the scam was uncovered, Rodchenkov fled to America fearing for his safety, which seems reasonable after two of his cohorts turned up dead. Just a coincidence, of course.

How’d that turn out? Well, the IOC isn’t letting Russia compete but there are over 150 “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and I’m sure Putin won’t try at all to claim those are Russian medals. Is this like taking away wins in college basketball? We all remember the games, even if they’re not in the NCAA record. For instance, even though these wins were all vacated, I still see a 38-2 record the 2007-8 Memphis Tigers at the top of this page as well as stats and results for those games that theoretically didn’t happen.

Saving the best for last: if you need to brush up on your curling (aka shuffleboard on ice) rules, this Sports on Earth article has you covered. Awesomely, not only is the team from Norway back, but so are their pants!

Vancouver 2010 Curling Preliminaries
Norwegian Curling Pants!
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Back in the fifth generation (N64 vs PSX), Nintendo took a beating with developers and this hangover carried over into the sixth gen. Even correcting for some of the mistakes of the past (most notably going to optical discs), one year into the launch of the Gamecube, there was little in the way of third party support. Then, in the dead of night, Capcom announced the games that could change all that: The Capcom Five. It was a marketing announcement famous enough to merit a wikipedia page.

From said wiki page:

At a time when Nintendo’s GameCube console had failed to capture market share, Capcom announced five new GameCube titles with the apparent goal of boosting hardware sales and showing off third-party developer support. Capcom USA followed up with confirmation that they would be exclusive to the GameCube. The five games were P.N.03, a futuristic third-person shooter; Viewtiful Joe, a side-scrolling action-platformer; Dead Phoenix, a shoot ‘em up; Resident Evil 4, a survival horror third-person shooter; and Killer7, an action-adventure game with first-person shooter elements.

Unfortunately, the announcement didn’t lived up to its initial hype. First, a clarification came down that only Resident Evil 4 was to be Gamecube exclusive. For the other four games, Sony or Microsoft could have them ported to the Playstation 2 or XBox, for the right price. Dead Phoenix was cancelled. The first, P.N.03, was released in 2003 and did remain a Gamecube exclusive. However, that was because it was both a critical and financial dud.

Viewtiful Joe was critically successful but not as commercially successful as Capcom wanted. So it was ported to the PS2 and even spawned a sequel. Killer7 would reach cult classic status and popularized Suda51’s work in the west. It was also ported to the PS2

The crown jewel, Resident Evil 4, was commercially and critically successful. It’s was one of the top selling games on the Gamecube at 1.6M copies. It proved to be very influential in the 3rd person shooter and adventure genres and is on a number of “best game of all time” countdowns. However, before it was even released, Capcom announced the game would only be a timed exclusive on the Gamecube. It was released a few months later on the PS2, where it sold 2.2M copies. Honestly, we could spend a whole SotD just on this game (and probably will at some point).

Today, we’re going to focus on my favorite of the Capcom Five: Viewtiful Joe. By this generation, most major 2D franchises had already migrated over to 3D (some were more successful than others): Mario 64, Metroid Prime, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ninja Gaiden, Sonic Adventure, Mega Man Legends, etc. And 2D platforming wasn’t really old enough to be popular nostalgia. While it did use highly stylized 3D cell shading, much like Zelda: Wind Waker, (and significantly slowed down the frame rate in later levels on the PS2), it was a 2D platformer, a daring choice at this point in video game history.

You play as the eponymous tokusatsu-style hero, a movie junkie who gets sucked into movies and gains superhero powers. His VFX effects mostly involve some sort of time controlling mechanic like slowing down action on screen or attacking very fast. Honestly, you can end up with pretty cramped hands from using the VFX powers (one of the few games the Gamecube controller wasn’t really well suited for) and it’s one of the harder games I’ve ever played. But, man, it is fun in a classic “beat ‘em up” way like the TMNT arcade game or Final Fight.

I couldn’t find a great video but I went with the intro level. It mainly features the Joe the Hero track and shows the game-included fighting tutorial, basic level play, and the first boss. Henshin-a-go-go, baby: