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Royals Rumblings - News for August 31, 2018

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Four year ago, this battle for the basement was for a trip to the World Series

ALCS - Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals - Game Four
Seriously - this was just 4 years ago
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

News is slowing to a crawl as the team barrels towards 100 losses.

With the O’s coming to town, a common story idea this week has been the race to the bottom. BPKC’s David Lesky looks at the two “contenders”.

Basically what it boils down to is this is the biggest series of the year for both teams. Getting swept can all but lock up being the worst for the Orioles, but if they falter and win the series or even sweep, anything can happen. All eyes will be on Kauffman Stadium this weekend as the baseball world eagerly watches the race to the bottom.

Meanwhile, Matt Snyder at CBSSports takes a bit of perverse pleasure in handicapping this race to the bottom.

They really need to botch this in order to “overtake” the Orioles for the top pick, but we’ve seen them play some pretty awful stretches, so maybe they have it in them. Perhaps the most interesting aspect here is that the Royals host the Orioles for a three-game series this coming weekend. Pack Kauffman Stadium and root for losses, Royals fans!

Sam McDowell of the KC Star writes about the work Adalberto Mondesi is doing in an attempt to become a better player:

The raw ability has been evident for quite some time — a potential five-tool player who can impact a game at the plate, in the field or on the base paths — but the behind-the-scenes preparation required work. Mondesi battled injuries during his time in the minor leagues, and as the Royals approached the season, general manager Dayton Moore remarked that Mondesi needed to prove his body could survive a 162-game season. The Royals preferred he spend more time in the training room to prepare for everyday play. But Mondesi was initially reluctant, even after his June call-up to Kansas City, fearful that being seen with a trainer would imply he was injured again.

Also from the Star, Blair Kerkhoff samples the highlights of the Royals Spring Training schedule.

The Royals’ spring training trip in March to play an exhibition against their Class AAA affiliate in Omaha, Neb., was postponed because of weather. The teams will try it again next season.

The 2019 spring training schedule was released on Tuesday. The Royals’ opener is set for Feb. 23 against the Texas Rangers, their spring training complex partner in Surprise, Ariz.

The 33-game slate ends on March 25, when the Royals visit the Omaha Storm Chasers at Werner Park in suburban Papillion.

Something called an “Alex Duvall” at Royals Farm Report lists some minor league players who are having a hot August.

August can be a weird time for Minor League Baseball players. Seasons are wrapping up, playoffs are set to begin, some prospects are in their first full season as a professional baseball player and some have been at it for 10 years. Some players wear down in the heat of August after a long season, some become rejuvenated. Well, the Royals have quite a few prospects that have been hotter than the weather they are playing in this month.

Sadly, OMD stole the only Royals story on The Athletic from yesterday. Thus I will not be able to order any of the special edition swearing Furbies in The Athletic’s secret referral catalog.

Reliably, there are a couple of stories on the Fansided Network:

Jeff Passan looks at the “fragile labor peace” between the MLB and MLBPA. Some quotes from a familiar face are included:

“It’s really smart, but it’s also really bad for baseball,” Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke, who emerged over the winter as a prominent labor-relations voice among players, . “It’s just a sideshow. There’s always ways to get a little advantage, but the main problem I have with it is you do it that way, then you’ll end up never paying any player what he’s worth because you’re not going to have guys starting, you’re not going to have guys throwing innings. You just keep shuffling guys in and out constantly so nobody will ever get paid. Someone’s going to make the money, either the owners or the players. You keep doing it that way, the players won’t make any money.”

I’ve been in Toronto a lot of the last week* so, with the short week, it’s time to resurrect Leftover Links (TM, patent pending). This is where I trot out some older, typically longform, stories I’ve read on my phone over the past month that probably were not from here (or are old enough to be forgotten):

A site called Grub Street put out a giant FAQ entitled “The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right”:

It’s beyond strange that so many humans are clueless about how they should feed themselves. Every wild species on the planet knows how to do it; presumably ours did, too, before our oversized brains found new ways to complicate things. Now, we’re the only species that can be baffled about the “right” way to eat.

Really, we know how we should eat, but that understanding is continually undermined by hyperbolic headlines, internet echo chambers, and predatory profiteers all too happy to peddle purposefully addictive junk food and nutrition-limiting fad diets. Eating well remains difficult not because it’s complicated but because the choices are hard even when they’re clear.

With that in mind, we offered friends, readers, and anyone else we encountered one simple request: Ask us anything at all about diet and nutrition and we will give you an answer that is grounded in real scientific consensus, with no “healthy-ish” chit-chat, nary a mention of “wellness,” and no goal other than to cut through all the noise and help everyone see how simple it is to eat well.

Here, then, are the exhaustively assembled, thoroughly researched, meticulously detailed answers to any and all of your dietary questions.

The somehow-a-music-magazine-writer-is-a-better-financial-journalist-than-anyone-on-financial-tv Matt Taibbi wrote in Rolling Stone about how “ We Need a Financial Transactions Tax Before It’s Too Late”:

The Wall Street version of a sin tax, even the tiniest financial transactions surcharge could help rein in greed orgies just enough to keep the economy from exploding. In the past, these micro-taxes have been envisioned as a way to pay for the inevitable bailouts in our increasingly deregulated economy.

Prior to a NBA Western Conference Finals featuring two high scoring teams, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz and Kevin Pelton wrote about “How the NBA got its groove back”.

In the intervening seasons, a league that toiled at a snail’s pace for the better part of a decade from the mid-’90s onward has systematically adopted a frenzied, rapid-fire style of basketball. That uptick in pace has coincided with crowd-pleasing barrages of 3-pointers and attacks that exist as much in transition or “early offense” as they do in plodding half-court sets.

How we got here is a fascinating confluence of planning and serendipity, innovation and imitation. The influencers were from a large and diverse cast of characters that included NBA mandarins who wanted to reform the game and coaching iconoclasts who wanted to upend it; athletic freaks such as Nash and Stoudemire who wanted to make best use of their skills; and analytics mavens who saw a market inefficiency that could be exploited with one thing: Speed.

It feels like a bit of a sales pitch for time management seminars and the lament of every mommy blogger on the planet (though I’m not entire sure anyone /needs/ to make Valentine’s Day cupcakes, much less at 2am... says the guy finishing up a Royals blog post at 10pm), but I think the sentiment of “what do you value in life and how do you spend your time” is valuable in this Time article from 2014 by Brigid Schulte: “Overwhelmed: I’ll Finish the Dishes When I’m Dead”.

Lost in my churning thoughts, I didn’t notice the sun go down. Or hear my kids go inside. When I looked up again, the sky was dark, the yard still covered in weeds, and I was alone. I have often thought back to that moment with such regret.

But it wasn’t the only moment. Because this is how it felt to live my life most days: scattered, fragmented and exhausting. I was always doing more than one thing at a time and felt I never did any one particularly well. I was always behind and always late, with one more thing and one more thing and one more thing to do before rushing out the door. Entire hours evaporated while I did stuff that “needed to get done.” But once I’d done it, I couldn’t tell you what it was I had done or why it seemed so important...

Caught up in what I’ve come to call the Overwhelm, the thought kept nagging me: Was I not just bad at time, but was I squandering my one and only life?


Also, due to said short week, we’re finishing up Guitar Hero month. Next week, we’re going to do a new game that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. However, tonight was was not the time to delve into it.

Here’s the impossible bonus song on Guitar Hero III: DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and Flames”.

*(humblebrag) A field view room at the City Centre Marriott is one heck of a unique, albeit expensive, baseball experience. That’s stadium #25 for me.(/humblebrag)