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Royals Rumblings - News for April 6, 2018

Royals travel to Cleveland this weekend

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Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers
How many game winning streak for the Royals, Ned?
Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

I’ve been citing Royals Farm Report more and more in my Rumblings (never mind that seemingly half of the Kevins hail from there). This week’s high quality content is a quartet of Royals minor league team previews:

Over at BPKC, old friend Craig Brown picked apart the Junis-Cabrera at bat in Tuesday’s 3rd inning:

It wasn’t the plate appearance that tipped the scales in the Royals favor. In a 1-0 game those key moments come later, when the outs are precious. So while this wasn’t a key event in terms of Win Probability, it did loom large as the Royals desperately wanted to extinguish the threat and get out of the inning with their lead intact.

Junis would lean on his best pitch against the Tigers’ best hitter. It was the defining moment of the game.

Fangraphs’s Jeff Sullivan looked at that same AB and more:

When I look at Jakob Junis, I find it easy to think about Corey Kluber. Now, Kluber might be the best pitcher in the league. And he has a little more zip than Junis does. Kluber, also, throws a cutter, that Junis doesn’t possess. But Junis has the same kind of breaking ball, and he has two very similar fastballs. He’s topped out as a fringe prospect in the minors, even though he’s able to throw his pitches with precision. A simple explanation is just that Junis’ talent doesn’t reveal itself immediately. The slider does, sure, but the velocity isn’t remarkable, and it takes a while to be sold on a pitcher’s ability to locate. The raw stuff isn’t there, so Junis doesn’t get slapped with an ace-level ceiling. Junis, though, can win you over, if you give him the chance. If you don’t like the Kluber comp, he’s also like a slightly less powerful Jose Berrios. He’s hardly overwhelming, but he’s always around the zone, so hitters get put on the defensive. The slider’s a real wipeout offering, when Junis elects to throw it.

The purpose of this post is not to announce that Jakob Junis is amazing. Plenty left to prove. Plenty of innings still to throw. I don’t know what Junis will amount to. I just think he’s worth keeping an eye on, because he’s flown under the radar, as a fringe prospect in an underwhelming system.

Sungwoo Lee is raising his new son to be a Royals fan. Sorry, kid.

Yay! The Royals are back to being the butt of AP jokes! Yeah, this rebuild is going to fit like a comfortable, familiar old pair of shoes.

The Kansas City Royals celebrated as if they had won.

They cheered Wednesday morning when their scheduled game against the Detroit Tigers was postponed due to inclement weather.

Zach Hodson at Royals Blue asks the appropriate question “Who the blank are these guys?” when profiling the bullpen.

Around SBNation, Stuart G. Matthews at Halos Heaven wrote a long form piece about Shohei Ohtani’s first week.

Even other players are catching Shohei fever. Relief pitcher and baseball card collector Pat Neshek pulled a rare Ohtani autograph card from a pack and is planning on selling it on eBay. For the record, the few others that have sold on eBay have gone for $1000-$4000!

UPDATE: The card was placed on eBay last night and bidding is already over $2500.

Lest you think the Royals were dealing with uncommonly bad weather, check out Tuesday’s Pirates-Twins game that was played in heavy snow.

Apparently, the Twins were not done with their wacky week. At their home opener yesterday, a bald eagle mistook Mariners pitcher James Paxton for its trainer and landed on him.

Up. Up. Down. Down. Left. Right. Left. Right. B. A. (Select.) Start.

Gamers of a certain age will recognize this sequence immediately. It is of course the famous Konami code. In Gradius, this combination of buttons gave your ship a number of power ups. In TMNT II: The Arcade Game, you got 9 lives. For Gradius III, you had to pause the game. After entering the code, it appeared to give you all power ups. But once you unpaused, your ship was destroyed and you lost a life. Cruel, Konami.

The most famous use of the Konami code? Of course, it’s Contra and the 30 lives awarded to those in the know. The multiplayer co-op shooter remains a favorite among NES fans to this day. Multiplayer games were fairly rare on the NES, particularly cooperative ones. Growing up, I tried over and over to beat this game with a friend on his NES. I still remember the intense satisfaction of finally beating the game for the first time. Yes, it took both continues, and, yes, close to all 30 lives. But I do believe it was the first major game I beat.

Did you realize Contra had a plot? According to Wikipedia:

In 2633, the evil Red Falcon Organization have set a base on the Galuga archipelago near New Zealand in a plot to conquer the world. Two commandos, Pfc. Bill Rizer and Pfc. Lance Bean of the Contra unit (an elite group of soldiers specializing in guerrilla warfare), are sent to the island to destroy the enemy forces and uncover the true nature of the alien entity controlling them.

The NES version was slightly different:

When the NES version of Contra was localized for the North American market, certain details of the game’s background story were altered. The year of the setting was changed from 2633 to 1987 (the year of the arcade version’s release) and the location was moved from the Galuga Islands to the Amazon. Bill and Lance were also given the codenames of Mad Dog and Scorpion.

Never forget the great New Zealand Red Falcon alien invasion of 1987!

Also, 10 year old me missed what should have been readily apparent: the game was just a mash-up of popular 80s action moves:

These two cigar-chomping avatars of 80s action cheese revisited copyright-friendly facsimiles of the jungle from Predator, the factory from The Terminator, and the research station from The Thing. Red Falcon, the alien entity at the center of the invasion, was smoothed out and made over to look like one of H.R. Giger’s Xenomorphs from Alien.

I’ve always thought the music was always a bit underrated with a good-for-8-bit and somewhat varied soundtrack. Here’s a complete play through of the game (though, unfortunately, no Konami code was entered):