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Royals Rumblings - News for October 4, 2019

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#4 on October 4th

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
Lo, Danger Ox
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Sorry about the last couple of weeks. I’ve been fighting issues with the 2-factor authentication, but that should be cleared up now. For the couple of you who have missed video game Fridays, we’re back! For the rest, it’s tethered swimming for you.


Not a ton of Royals news, in general. The Star and Royals.com have slowed down a bit. Royals Farm Report and Royals Academy appear to be entering winter hibernation.

Checking in on Bleeding Royal Blue, I see an article from a week(ish) ago that I don’t think we’ve linked to. It was Sean’s (not Shaun) farewell to Alex Gordon.

I find it hard to imagine a world where Alex Gordon isn’t playing baseball for the Royals. My mind tells me it will happen eventually and for someone like me who is a realist, I know it is going to happen soon. But the idea of him not out in left field saddens me and it has been a long time since I have felt that way about a player on the Royals. Gordon is that piece of Kansas City, before they returned to prominence and before back-to-back World Series appearances.

Only one article at KC Kingdom and it’s a slideshow. Cody Rickman gives his “Way too early 2020 rotation predictions

But KOK picks up all the slack, cranking out a plethora or articles:


We begin our third year of Best of Royals Review (TM). For those of you just joining us, as things slow down in the Royals universe in the offseason, we like to look back at some of the best posts of yesteryear. As per tradition, October looks back at game threads of Royals postseason games.

By my count, the Royals won 22 games in the 2014-2015 postseason. We’ve used 9 games so far. That means we probably have another 3 years’ worth of game threads to use. So the Royals better get back to the playoffs in 2022 or this formula is going to have to change. I mean, I guess we also have 9 losses to use (and we’ve already done 2014 Game 7) but those are a lot less fun.

This year we’re going to look at some of the more underrated games in the playoff run. In the 2015 ALDS, the Astros jumped on Yordano Ventura in Game 1, scoring 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, and not looking back en route to a home-field-advantage-stealing 5-2 win. In Game 2, the Astros took another 3-0 lead and things looked pretty dire. But then the 2015 Royals happened: ALDS Game 2 Open Thread: Astros at Royals


I was going to do some of the off topic writing prompts I tend to throw out in the offseason. However, those will have to wait as there’s a ton of news around the league over the last couple of days.

Here’s some fun from two days ago:

ICYMI, LDS headlines from yesterday and today:

Matt Snyder at CBS Sports tried to put the “Year of the Home Run” in context with all of the records broken.

The following 15 teams set franchise home run records: Twins, Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, Athletics, Cubs, Braves, Brewers, Red Sox, Mets, Reds, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Padres and Indians. That’s half the league.

He also talks about the number of 100-win and 100-loss teams.

Let’s look at the Cleveland Indians as an example. It’s easy to think that this season was unfair for them. They won over 90 games and missed the playoffs. Without any context you might think that’s a really successful season for a team that was left on the outside looking in.

Apply the full context, though. The Indians went 30-8 against the Tigers and Royals. That leaves them 63-61 when they don’t play two 100-loss teams. That’s .508 baseball, which is a full season pace of 82-80. Are they really a great team that deserves to be playing in October? Again, look at the context. They benefited from playing in a division with two historically bad teams.

Local celebrity (ok, for me, since I live in Houston) Mattress Mack placed a $3.5M bet on the Astros to win the World Series. There’s more to it than that, though, as it’s a hedge against a promotion from his store.

For much of the baseball season, McIngvale has been offering to refund mattress-related purchases of $3,000 or more if the Astros win the World Series. He ran a similar promotion in 2017 and refunded more than $10 million in purchases when Houston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the franchise’s first World Series. That year, McIngvale placed more than $1 million in bets on the Astros with Las Vegas bookmakers, helping him limit his exposure from the promotion. This year, with more states offering sports betting, he has expanded options, including Mississippi and New Jersey.

In a move that’s not really surprising, the Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway after a tumultuous two seasons. Unless he had made the playoffs, I’m pretty sure he was a dead man walking after that argument with the reporter earlier in the summer.

Callaway becomes the first manager in franchise history to lose his job after completing a full season with a winning record. (The Mets dismissed Davey Johnson and Willie Randolph the year after winning seasons, but both had losing records at the time of their dismissals.) The Mets finished 86-76 this year to improve to 163-161 in Callaway’s two seasons at the helm.

Speaking of which, CBS Sports has a MLB Manager Carousel Tracker.

As does ESPN.

Some members of the Baltimore Orioles sent handwritten “thank you” letters to season ticket holders.

She said watching them write was “a little bit like watching guys cheat on a test,” but everyone ended up with different, heartfelt ones.

The Reds are planning to spend in free agency this offseason and make a run at the playoffs.

”The goal for us now, all we’re talking about is the postseason,” Williams said. “That’s what matters. That’s the goal next year. It’s not taking incremental steps in a rebuild. It’s about the postseason. “Our players made it clear that they think it’s possible and they feel it. They want to make it happen. Our coaches are going to do everything they can to make it happen. Our front office staff is anxious for this offseason to get started because we believe in our ability to help from our chairs.”

On the other side of the state, Cleveland picked up the club option on Corey Kluber, but there are rumblings they will shop him in the offseason. They declined the options of Dan Otero and longtime Indian Jason Kipnis.

I think you all know my disdain for slideshows, but I can’t pass this one up. As you know, we like to run a story about the best and worst Media Day photos every year. Yahoo’s Ben Rohrbach did this for NBA Media Day.

And speaking of pieces of sh—urely very quality business decisions, Sports Illustrated had a really bad day yesterday. It also sounds like this is the first of many bad days to come.

After setting then canceling “transition meetings” today amid reports of substantial layoffs, Sports Illustrated management rescheduled the two meetings and finally went through with them just before the end of the day. This was despite a last-minute public plea from employees to nix a deal with TheMaven, a seedy platform that would replace a number of SI staffers with contract work.


I’m pretty sure this is our first forray onto the PSP, which, many do not know, is the 10th best selling platform of all time. Wait? Wasn’t it a massive failure that got stomped by the Nintendo DS? Sort of. But it also sold better than the N64, Xbox, and GameCube combined. So, yeah, this a complicated story.

The previous generation was dominated by the Playstation 2, the best selling console of all time, with a staggering 74% of consoles sold (157/211 million). For the seventh generation, Sony leveraged their console dominance to build another market. For those who don’t remember the heady days of the mid 2000s, Sony overplayed their console hand but parlayed it into a win in the physical media space with Blu-ray. The PS3 bareley eeked out a win over the Xbox 360 87-85 million, but, the numbers for Sony + Microsoft are almost identical between the two generations (157+24=181 vs 87+85=182)

Nintendo, licking their wounds after an unheard of 3rd place, stormed back, led by their “Blue Ocean” strategy (yeah, I know, we’ve already gone over some of this before). They packed a one-two punch with the Nintendo DS (2nd highest selling console of all time) and then the Wii (5th highest). They did this by creating new gaming markets, catering to groups who didn’t traditionally play games. This pulled a number of new consumers into the market and everyone benefitted from this approach (Nintendo most of all).

Back in the 6th gen, the handheld market was a one horse race with the Game Boy Advance selling 81 million. By the 7th gen, handheld computing power had increased substantially. The Nintendo DS and Sony PSP launched in 2004 and mobile gaming was still a ways off, as the first iPhone didn’t drop until 2007. Nintendo dominated the market with a formula of proven handheld franchises (Pokemon, Animal Crossing) and significantly scaled down versions of their other popular franchises (New Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Mario Party). They also had great success with a new genre of games optimized for the touch and dual screen capabilities of the system and targeted towards new markets (Brain Age, Nintendogs).

Sony took their handheld in a different direction: they wanted playing on the go to feel like playing at home, just on a smaller screen. When it arrived on the market, gamers and critics were wowed by the beautiful screen and the potential to play massive games on the go. Their games were not scaled down in the same way Nintendo’s were. Sony wanted you to play Metal Gear Solid, God of War, and Grand Theft Auto just as you did on the big screen. The PSP was also solid in some of Sony’s other traditional strongholds like jRPGs and racing games.

Unfortunately, it had some issues that kept it from reaching its full potential. First, it suffered from too hefty a price tag. $249 for a handheld was outrageous. Aw, those were the days.

Second, like Sega’s Game Gear before it, Sony’s ambitions outstripped the technology of the day. Solid state cards were not large or cheap enough to fit the games they wanted. Remember: this was only one generation removed from when Sony’s Playstation trounced Nintendo’s N64 on the strength of going to CDs over cartridges. However, smaller handheld games could still be technologically advanced and fit on cards for Nintendo. Sony opted for the proprietary “Universal (HAH!) Media Disc”, or UMD, for short. It allowed developers to create the large CGI movies that were standard in blockbuster games. However, this came at the cost of pretty substantial load times. Also, between that pretty screen and the mechanical motion of the UMD player, the battery life was stretched beyond its limits. After the battery drained a little the first year, most gamers couldn’t play the pack-in Spider-Man 2 movie on a single charge.

Finally, Sony whiffed a bit on trying to figure out what would make a good handheld game. Nintendo has always seemed to have this innate sense of knowing what makes good pick-up-and-put-down gaming. However, a lot of the PSP’s library, especially early on, consisted of crude ports of PSX or PS2 games. Why would you play a smaller, lesser version of the same exact game you could play on your PS2 or PS3 on a system with less battery life and a less ergonomic controller?

This isn’t to say that the PSP didn’t have good games. In fact, it had a really nice library. Unfortunately, this is where I let down Hokius as he’s been hoping that this is all leading up to Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. That game will get its day. However, today we’re going to talk about one of the launch games for the system and one of the ones that Sony really got it right on this system. Today’s game is Lumines.

Today’s is just a simple gameplay video so you can see what it looks like. But I can guarantee we’ll hit more of the soundtrack in the future. Per wiki, there was a lot of thought put into how the soundtrack would affect gameplay:

Due to the constraints of the sound system, Yokota initially thought the game would be limited to dance and techno music and had doubts on the project because of the lack of musical variation. Nakamura was able to demonstrate solutions to the problem due to being capable of constructing a rich variety of songs built on a deep understanding of the game design. The music and skins were developed simultaneously and the music had to be completed before the skins were finalized. Yokota used Adobe Photoshop to produce the graphics. Both Nakamura and Yokota would exchange ideas in order to make the necessary adjustments on both sides of the development. When it came to Versus mode, the audio tracks “The SPY loves me” and “Japanese Form” were mainly influenced by the overall design that Yokota had envisioned. Yokota also implemented strict rules for the songs to follow 4/4 time signature, with the exception of “Big Elpaso” song. This was due to the playing field being divided into 16 rows, and the Time Line needing to match the tempo of the music and in sync with the beat. By using 4/4 time signature, it allows a total of sixteen eighth-notes to correspond to two bars precisely