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Royals Rumblings - News for August 3, 2018

Today’s Rumblings Rock!

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MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox
Yesterday’s highlight
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

At Royals Farm Report, Andrew Trites profiles a few “Minor League Role Players” for the Royals, past and present:

A few examples of some role players within the Royals Farm System would be guys like Alex Liddi, Terrance Gore, Parker Morin and some former Royals minor leaguers by the name of Brayan Pena, Irving Falu, Manny Pina, and even Paulo Orlando (although he was at AAA Omaha this year for a while).

Also at RFR, Joshua L. Payton implores the “Royals should free Connor Joe from the Dodgers”:

Personally, I hope Wily Peralta or Jason Hammel can go on a tear and the Royals trade both to the Dodgers, or maybe the Dodgers have a renewed need for some of the Royals international bonus pool, or a combination thereof, even if the only return is Connor Joe. Because a third baseman that walks 10% of the time, has a .250 ISO, slashing .301/.404/.548, with 16 homers, 50 walks in only 312 at-bats, is straight sexy cool.

Yahoo’s Tim Brown looks at the potential comeback of former Royal Rick Ankiel:

Five years into retirement, 14 since he threw his last competitive pitch, Ankiel is considering a return to that life, he said Thursday morning. He is considering – “toying with,” he said – pitching professionally again. “I have nothing to lose,” he said. “I’m not afraid. I might as well try.”

The KC Star’s Deaundra Allen reports on a partnership between the NLBM and Hy-Vee:

The Otis bobblehead is the second bobblehead in the Kansas City Monarchs Legacy Bobblehead collector series. The series represents “legendary Kansas City Royals players as members of the Kansas City Monarchs.” The first in the series was a likeness of Frank White. The bobbleheads sell for $10. Next in the series is Willie Wilson. In honor of Buck O’Neil’s 107th birthday celebration, the Wilson bobblehead will be available Nov. 2 in all 20 Kansas City-area Hy-Vee stores.

Pete Grathoff with a pair of lighter Royals stories:

Some of my usual sources are a bit light on material today. For once, there’s nothing from the Fansided network as Leigh has cut back to not doing an article every single day and KOK only had a small blurb yesterday. Similarly, I will receive no fourteen pound lime-with-pieces-of-pear Jello mold for referring you to The Athletic as their stories on the Royals front page are from yesterday.

In distinctly non-Royals news, MLB released its postseason schedule. No November baseball this year.

Yesterday, OMD linked to Dan Szymborski’s (Szymborski! Szymborski!) AL Trade Deadline roundup. Now he’s added an NL Trade Deadline roundup with mentions of former Royals like Mike Moustakas and Jon Jay.

Finally, the national listicles (I guess we could add the above article to that):

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports grades the trade deadline sellers:

Kansas City Royals: A-
Received: OF Brett Phillips, RHP Jorge Lopez, OF Brian Goodwin
Traded: 3B Mike Moustakas, RHP Jacob Condra-Bogan
Kept: 2B Whit Merrifield, 1B Lucas Duda, LHP Danny Duffy

There wasn’t much left to trade in Kansas City, to be honest. Turning Moustakas into two big-league ready kids (Phillips and Lopez) with upside was an excellent move, and I love rolling the dice on Goodwin, a former first-round pick who got squeezed off the roster in Washington. The Kelvin Herrera trade went down before our cutoff date (July 18) though the three prospects that came over drew mixed reviews.

I assume the market for Duda was nonexistent -- those bat-only first basemen rarely generate interest -- though there was a market for Merrifield, and the Royals opted to keep him. I’m not sure a soon-to-be 30-year-old is part of their next contending team, but he is under control long-term, and they’ll have plenty of chances to deal him. Same with Duffy, who hasn’t had a great year overall. The Royals traded the guys they were supposed to trade and got a great haul for Moustakas.

Rhett Bollinger of takes stock of the AL Central:


What they did at the Deadline
Traded outfielder Jon Jay, closer Kelvin Herrera and third baseman Mike Moustakas, all with expiring contracts. Acquired Brian Goodwin as a potential starting center fielder.

What it tells us
The Royals’ No. 1 priority since last fall was finding ways to restock the farm system and accelerate the rebuild. They made a nice haul with their trades, picking up outfielder Brett Phillips, who could be a long-term starter, and another Major League-ready outfielder in Goodwin. They also added prospects to their Top 30 list per MLB Pipeline: right-hander Elvis Luciano (No. 23); third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez (No. 17) and outfielder Blake Perkins (No. 15). Right-hander Jorge Lopez, also acquired for Moustakas, could be a bullpen piece by next season.

What’s the goal
Get a long look at Phillips and Goodwin (presently on the disabled list), and other internal prospects such as first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, among others in the system (Richard Lovelady, Josh Staumont, etc.).

Big question
Wins and losses are mostly irrelevant as the Royals barrel toward a 100-plus-loss season. So, the battle for roster spots in 2019 essentially can begin now. Kansas City will need to clear space off the 40-man roster so they can activate Eric Skoglund and Jesse Hahn off the 60-day disabled list, and call up other prospects from the Minors. But will it start the service-time clock on Lovelady, Staumont and/or Nicky Lopez?

(imagine this being read by Casey Kasem or the Behind The Music guy)

The year was 2005. Music rhythm games were a thing in Japan with titles like Dance Dance Revolution and Taiko Drum Master. Some had made it across the Pacific, but even games like PaRappa the Rapper, Samba de Amigo, and Donkey Konga were only mildly popular in the West. But that all changed when a small California game accessory company called Red Octane and a niche video game developer from Boston called Harmonix teamed up.

The former saw the popularity of GuitarFreaks across the pond and came up with the idea to make a small plastic guitar. They approached the latter, developer of well reviewed but modestly selling games like Frequency and Amplitude, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When the first Guitar Hero hit the shelf, it was met with reviews like this from IGN:

Guitar Hero is pure bliss, on a stick even. It’s got a fantastic soundtrack that’s blended incredibly well into the game, a great peripheral in the SG guitar controller and well, that’s really what it’s all about. The game is just fun. Pure, unadulterated fun, and that’s all there is to it. Buy this. Now.

It sold extremely well and the awards rolled in. A sequel, Guitar Hero II, was released the next year and sold even better. A craze had begun! For instance, Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya may (or may not) have injured his arm playing too much Guitar Hero in the 2006 playoffs.* Big name guitarists like Tom Morello and Slash signed up to be in GH3 as boss battles. By 2008, the series had topped $1B in sales in just 26 months.

*no joke: I badly want a Joel Zumaya autographed Guitar Hero guitar for my video game collection; I’d love the opportunity to ask him to sign one

They thought it would go on forever. But it was too good to last. I’ll let Digital Spy’s Liam Martin take it from here:

In between the release of the first and second game, Activision purchased RedOctane and MTV acquired Harmonix, essentially breaking up the original partnership. The final Harmonix offering was the first of many GH spinoffs called Rock The ‘80s, which featured a reduced setlist comprised purely of songs from the decade of decadence. With Harmonix out of the picture, Activision handed the franchise to Tony Hawk developer Neversoft, while Harmonix would attempt to evolve the genre by introducing new instruments in a brand new franchise. The resulting Rock Band was released in 2007 in North America, a month after Neversoft released the Guitar Hero game that would take the franchise out of the arenas and into the stadiums.

Both parts of the partnership were bought up by competing companies. For a while they coexisted, but ultimately, the next chapter is summed up in a wikipedia section aptly titled “oversaturation”:

The large number of Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles on the market is considered to be partially responsible for the sharp decline of music game sales in the latter half of 2009, along with the effects of the late-2000s recession. The market for rhythm games was $1.4 billion in 2008, but dropped to $700 million in 2009 even though more titles were available that year.

By 2011, the party was over. Legions of plastic instruments were left to rot on retailers’ shelves. In the current video game generation, Guitar Hero and Rock Band have both tried to revive the genre but have failed. Maybe a nostalgia-driven reunion will happen in another 10 years.

But until that time, I’ll leave you with the song that started it all. Here’s level 1-1 of the musical guitar craze of the mid 00s, “I Love Rock & Roll”: