Had a decent number of links today, between new news and stuff that slipped through the cracks the last couple of days.
Sam McDowell of the Star talked to Dayton Moore about the college pitchers the Royals drafted last year:
On the other hand, Moore added, “It’s been my experience that you move slow with your pitchers’ development. And when they’re ready, they’ll move really quick. You won’t be able to stop them.”
A number of sites had “New Years Resolutions” (or similar) for the team.
Drew Osborne at Royals Farm Report penned 10 resolutions for the organization.
1. Let the young guys play. This is the same as I had last year at the number one spot. But we spent half the season letting castoff veterans play positions and not letting the young guys get any experience. And then at the end of the season, when the young guys all came up and we moved the wasted spots from the roster, we played well going 23-22 over the last 45. Not really a surprise to us at Royals Farm, but might have been to the baseball community as a whole. Specifically, let Mondesi and O’Hearn play without fear of the bench.
Leigh Oleszczak at KC Kingdom wrote 5 resolutions for the team. Slideshow Warning.
In order to obtain Zobrist, KC had to part ways with Sean Manea, who has gone on to be sensational for the Oakland A’s. That hurts a bit, yes, but Zobrist was amazing when he was with the Royals for those few short months. While it’ll be a different type of trade this time around, Moore and the Royals can’t be afraid to make a big deal if the opportunity arises. If a team wants Whit Merrifield or Salvador Perez come the trade deadline and the asking price is right, DO IT.
Ty Bradley at MLB Trade Rumors listed “3 Remaining Needs” for each AL Central team:
Scour the depths for pitching help...
Cash in peak-value assets...
Find regular at-bats for Brett Phillips and Jorge Soler...
Anyone have the “Remembering Justin Grimm” article queued up? He signed a minor league deal with the Indians yesterday.
Speaking of which, that’s where The Best of Royals Review (TM) is going today: The Ballad of Joe Randa.
It doesn’t technically have the “Remembering” title and I’m not 100% certain this is the first one chronologically, but we’re going with it. The idea of this series is simple: once a player is done for the Royals, write a eulogy about their best moments and seasons, what they are remembered for, and put them into the context of the team at the time.
I think I’m right to assume these numbers are a tad surprising, especially the games played total and the doubles and total bases to a lesser extent. Well, this is what regularity and adequacy can get you, and its worth celebrating in a way.
The series runs the gamut from excellent serious entries about Mike Sweeney from both Will and Max to the historical (“In 1995 an alien invaded Gaetti’s body”) to the bittersweet (“like a long forgotten summer breeze, our beloved Ken Harvey was gone”) to the absurd (Terrence Long’s actually spans two entries).
CBS’s Mike Axisa guesses who will be the top 50 players in 5 years. Guess which blue-clad team has no current or future players on the list?
Jay Jaffe at Fangraphs is doing an in-depth looks at this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. Each of his two “One-and-Dones” articles includes an infamous former Royal. Miguel Tejada is in Part 1 and Part 2 has Rick Ankiel.
And just because the Marlins are such a clown show and Sheryl Ring is so good, I’m linking to her latest update on Jeffrey Loria’s attempt to screw Miami-Dade County:
When we last looked at this case, the Marlins, under the new ownership group helmed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, rather dubiously claimed British citizenship as a way of moving the lawsuit to federal court (a process called “removal”) and attempting to force arbitration. Despite the less than stellar optics and even more questionable legal basis for the argument, the team nonetheless went all-in on their position that the team was, at least in part, a foreign citizen. In response, Miami sent Laurence Leavy – the attorney better known as “Marlins Man” for his formerly ubiquitous presence at Marlins games – and radio personality Andy Slater to the British Virgin Islands office where the team’s lawyers argued that one of the companies which owned the team, Aberneu, was ostensibly located. In a revelation that surprised no one, Aberneu, it turned out, had no offices or physical presence there – just a post office box. The Marlins, however, didn’t appreciate Slater’s involvement, and responded by revoking Slater’s press pass.
We’ve already established that Sega’s a bit, well, weird (and I say that with all the love in my heart). I’m going to let wiki start this one:
Amusement Vision president Toshihiro Nagoshi... devised the concept of rolling spheres through mazes based on his desire to create a game that was instantly possible to understand and play, as a contrast to increasingly complex games at Japanese arcades at the time. Prototypes involving a plain ball or a ball with an illustration were considered visually unappealing due to difficulties in perceiving its movement, so after a series of revisions monkey characters previously created by a female Amusement Vision designer were placed inside the ball, with their appearance being altered to include their “distinctive” ears. Intended to feature a “cute” aesthetic and accurate physics engine, the game debuted at the 2001 Amusement Operator Union trade show as Monkey Ball, a single-player arcade cabinet controlled with a distinctive banana-shaped analog stick.
Why merely play Marble Madness when you can play Marble Madness with a monkey trapped in a plastic ball? Yes, you the player, guided a monkey inside a ball through an obstacle course where perspective changed as your monkey ball tilted on the course. You had to get your monkey to the goal before time ran off and without falling off the stage. So many dead monkeys must have littered the ground below these levels...
I’ll grant the premise is a bit odd, but behind it all was a really well designed game. Sure, it had a simple premise but it had that “just one more level” quality that game designers strive for. It eventually ramped up to insane difficulty levels and I never got anywhere near beating the harder courses in the game. But you couldn’t really fault the game: the levels were well designed and the physics engine precise. But, as the player, you had to be perfect.
Aside from the main game, there were six surprisingly deep party games that were basically Monkey Boxing, Monkey Pilotwings, Monkey Kart, Monkey Pool, Monkey Bowling, and Monkey Golf. This launch title would end up being one of the best party games for the Gamecube along with the peerless Super Smash Bros Melee and the Mario Party entries.
Our video today is a play through of every single (single-player) level in Super Monkey Ball. Some of those levels, especially in the last 15 minutes, are unbelievably hard. They don’t necessarily look it because this Youtuber is really good, but getting the timing and movement right in this game could be extremely difficult: