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Royals Rumblings - News for September 21, 2018

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Just one more full week of baseball left :(

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Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals
A Whit Merrifield steal for our Remington Steele themed song of the day
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Not here at RR, of course, but around the sports media landscape, those writing about the Royals have mostly thrown in the towel for the season

That’s not entirely fair as Clint Scoles had an entertaining article looking at parallels between the 2008 and 2018 Low-A champions.

Despite the usual rhetoric, the Royals minor league squads started winning almost immediately, taking championships at multiple levels along the way to a 2015 World Series title. The first championship came at the Low-A level in 2008 at the Midwest League after the Burlington Bees rode a second-half division title into the playoffs and through a perfect playoff run. Ten years later, the Royals front office built another Low-A championship as the Lexington Legends defeated the Lakewood BlueClaws for the South Atlantic League title. Ten years apart and built in similar fashions but how does this recent championship team compare to that one?

The Star’s Pete Grathoff examines John Smoltz’s proposal to split the season in half and have playoff qualifiers from the first and second half of the season.

A dreadful first half ruined any chance of the Royals competing for a playoff spot. But under a radical proposal from Hall of Famer/TV analyst John Smoltz, the Royals would be in the playoff hunt right now...

“I would like to see a first-half and second-half scenario. I know people would roll their eyes at it, but it works in the minor leagues, and it would work in the big leagues. It would create so much more interest.’’

Also in the Star, Sam Mellinger waxes poetic about how “100 losses used to mark Royals futility. This time is different.”

The record is an abomination — Moore went on national radio and said he was “embarrassed” by the results — and made worse by the front office’s stated expectation of competing. The Royals will finish with a worse record than many teams that are openly tanking.

At Minor League Ball, Asher Fletman profiled Meibrys Viloria:

Last fall, the Kansas City Royals added a young catcher to their 40-man roster. Meibrys Viloria was thought a year or two away from being a year or two away from reaching the big leagues, but he was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft last winter. Thus, the Royals added him to the 40 despite minimal experience above Rookie ball. The former middle infielder from Colombia would be turning 20 in a couple months (February) and is, by far, the youngest player on the Royals 40-man roster.

Nothing new from The Athletic. No referrals means no chances to add to my watermelons-signed-by-Gallagher collection.

Ready for listicles? Tough! Here they are anyway!

MLB.com lists “Each club’s best rookie in 2018”:

Royals: Brad Keller Keller, a right-hander, was an absolute steal in the Rule 5 Draft. He started the season in the bullpen and eventually graduated to the rotation, where he has been arguably the Royals’ best starter and certainly a top-of-the-rotation guy moving forward. Opposing hitters throughout the season have called facing Keller an “uncomfortable at-bat.” His four-seam fastball, which hovers around 93-95 mph, moves like a cutter, and he has worked to develop an effective slider and changeup. During a recent six-game stretch, Keller went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA, permitting just a .645 OPS. While Keller, 23, likely won’t win the AL Rookie of the Year Award -- especially with Shohei Ohtani, Torres and Andujar in the running -- he at least deserves some consideration. Keller is a lock for the rotation in 2019.

ESPN’s Sam Miller writes about “The best moment for each out-of-it MLB team” (NOTE: the date is when the playoff odds were 0.0%, not the date of the “high point”):

April 26: Kansas City Royals Record since: 47-82

Post-zero high point: Jorge Lopez carrying a perfect game into the ninth... Jorge Lopez was half the return the Royals got when they traded Mike Moustakas to the Brewers. In his fifth start as a Royal, he took a perfect game into the ninth inning, the longest perfect-game bid in the majors this year. Won the trade!

Even MLBTR is getting in on the act with “Silver Linings: American League Central

Royals: The Middle Infield

Entering the year, the K.C. organization had a middling outlook up the middle on the dirt. Whit Merrifield had turned in a late-twenties breakout, sure, but could he keep it up? Meanwhile veteran Alcides Escobar was brought back to keep things patched up at short.

As it turns out, though, Merrifield has more than doubled down on his 2017 effort. Entering play today, he was — *checks* — **double-checks** — 25th (!) among all position-players by measure of fWAR. With ample cheap control remaining, he’s a heck of an asset, even if he is already 29 years of age.

Shortstop, though, remained an evident conundrum for much of the year. Enter (okay, re-enter) Adalberto Mondesi. The 23-year-old, whose first MLB action improbably came in the 2015 World Series, is presently carrying a .284/.311/.467 slash with nine home runs and 25 steals in 241 plate appearances. He’s grading as an elite baserunner and high-quality defender at short, making him a potential core piece.

Our Fangraphs entry for today is a bit of a listicle, too. Carson Cistulli ranks MLB ballkparks by walkability. Unsurprisingly, Kauffman does not fare well.

The Fansided network has a pair of slide shows. You’ve been warned:

How about some national news?

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports looks at the NL playoff picture. In the past, we’ve had crazier scenarios on the table at this point in the season, but I think he’s actively rooting for the 3-team tie between the Brewers, Cardinals, and one of the Rockies and Dodgers.

Adam Jones of the Orioles blocked a deal to the Phillies because he didn’t want to platoon and play RF, hurting his value in free agency this upcoming offseason.

Bryce Harper reflects on what could be his final homestand in Washington.

And if you want a feel good about a scrappy little club down on their luck... well, this isn’t it. Yahoo’s Tim Brown talks about how hard it has been this season for the Dodgers. I think I hear someone firing up the world’s smallest violin.


While Mario Kart was in the news this week (for all the wrong reasons), I think we’ll go a different direction. Perfect Dark has appeared in this space before and, to me, it’s the refined version of today’s game. However there’s no denying the popularity of its James Bond licensed predecessor. Of course, we’re talking about GoldenEye 007 for the N64.

I’m not sure I need to do much more than say “N64 GoldenEye” to start the comments, but here’s some context anyway. It was developed by Rare during the time when it was an amazing Nintendo 2nd party developer. Along with GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark, they also developed N64 million sellers Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Jet Force Gemini. Goldeneye was its biggest seller and the 3rd highest on the console at 8M.

I’m not sure who Mel Magazine is (the About page makes it sound like its the magazine for the Dollar Shave Club), but, about a month ago, they did the whole “oral history” article thing with some of the game’s designers and those in industry at the time. Lots of fun tidbits:

GoldenEye 007’s multiplayer mode was one of the many ideas that wouldn’t have happened if everything went according to the original timeline of launching with the Nintendo 64 and the movie. Most first-person shooters only existed as single-player games, and GoldenEye 007 was expected to follow suit. But when the team found out there would be four controller ports, they wondered what a multiplayer mode would look like: Without telling Nintendo, they went to create it on their own.

...

But then, I remember it was quite late — because the day the MGM studio executives came, I was setting up the Aztec level with Baron Samedi [who originally appeared in 1973’s Live and Let Die] in it, and they were quite pleased we had Samedi in it because he was an iconic character. So we showed them we had all the Bonds… Well, soon after that we got a memo saying we couldn’t have all the Bonds, because only the GoldenEye actors had signed off on the digital rights to their likeness to be used in games, not the older movies.

...

I remember Ken came in excited one day and said, “You guys! You named a gun after me!” We told him, “That’s the good news; the bad news is we named it after you because it’s loud and inaccurate.”

...

Oddjob is cheating: He is banned. That said, I have only played with a caliber of people who would never consider choosing him, so it has never been an issue.

As for our song today, a couple of years ago, some of the uncompressed music was released so you can hear it in its original glory. There are a number of tracks on this video, but we’re going to start with the Frigate level and it’s memorable theme: