Not a ton of Royals news at this point in the offseason.
NEW — Last week, Pedro Grifol met with Mike Matheny at Starbucks. They talked about life, baseball and the team they’re both happy to be working for in 2020. The Kansas City Royals.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) November 14, 2019
Over at Royals Farm Report, Drew Osborne reports that “Daniel Tillo is on Fire for Team USA”:
Tillo has been awesome so far. He has faced 12 batters allowing only 1 to reach base. That one batter who reached hit a lazy fly ball to left that the outfielder flat out dropped. The left fielder was camped and the ball hit the pinky finger of his glove and bounced out and to the ground. The other 11 batters have been over matched. Six have struck out. Two grounded to short. One grounded to second. And two hit weak grounders back to Tillo.
Over at Fansided, there are a number of stories:
- At Call to the Pen, David Hill writes about the “Kansas City Royals working to do right by Alex Gordon”
- At KC Kingdom, Cody Rickman asks “What new representation could mean for Jorge Soler”
- The final three stories are from KOK. David Scharff suggests “Wade Miley should get some consideration from Kansas City”
- He also needlessly slideshows an article with the title “Positional battle, Whit Merrifield on the move?”
- Finally, Mike Gillespie asks “Has the time run out on Eric Skoglund in KC?”
And... that’s all the Royals news for today.
When the Best of Royals Review (TM) committee was out looking for stories last year, we ran across this old chestnut: Dayton Moore Incompetence Tournament. We thought it would be great to use after yesterday’s Craig Brown’s enormously titled story “A mixed bag of mediocrity: A look at the extensive track record of Dayton Moore in the free agent market”. The tournament was organized by the polarizing Scott McKinney as a F...Fa...Fanpost - some weird and ancient thing from the before times of SBUnited. It sought to pit Dayton Moore’s bad moves against each other in a Thunderdome-esque battle to the death of... ok, you know what a “bracket of things” is.
Some of the one seeds don’t look so strong any more as we’ve had more years to work with. Sure, the Yuni trade and Guillen signing still look awful. But Jason Kendall for two years is just “meh” bad as opposed to “number one seed” bad. Same with the DDJ trade. If we did this today, top seeds might include Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez, the 2017 San Diego trade, the Soria salary dump that cost Alexander, the Alex Gordon contract extension, the Ian Kennedy contract... you know, we could do another one of these.
Ed note: I do worry would be a recency bias, though, as some folks have forgotten, for instance, just how awful a through process that the first Yuni trade was. Like half of the Royals blogosphere seemingly quit overnight from the disgust of giving up real prospect assets for a player with negative value /and/ an expensive (for the Royals at the time) contract.
Over at Fangraphs, Craig Edwards set out to find the worst team in baseball history. The last 2 years of the Royals made the “worst teams of the decade” list but only the middle. The only really notable Royals team as they went back more historically was the 2005 Royals.
The Dodgers, Giants, and Angels have some of the best worst teams. I’d also note that the Cardinals haven’t gone below a score of 90 in a non-strike season since 1978 when they had an 86.7 score. Indeed, they’ve only been below 90 three times in the last 100 seasons. Perhaps even more impressive, the Yankees have only gone below 100 four times in the last 50 seasons, with all four coming in succession from 1989-1992. In the last 100 years, they’ve only been below 100 a total of 10 times, with a run from 1965-1969 accounting for half of those seasons (1925 was the only other year not previously mentioned). I was going to end on a positive note and say that using the same method, the best two regular-season teams of the last decade based on average yearly score have been the Dodgers and Yankees, but I can’t help but also note that neither team has won the World Series in that time.
Former Royal Clint Hurdle formally retired from baseball.
I completely missed this story about Mike Piazza and an Italian soccer team but it was mentioned in a story about him coaching an Italian baseball team.
There’s truly no way a summary can do that saga justice — you should read the details in their unbelievable entirety — but it involved Piazza misunderstanding Italian labor laws and raising his team’s operational costs 12-fold in the first year, then putting his wife in charge to try to slash costs before the team eventually folded.
The latest Pokemon game, Sword/Shield, the first main lane game(s) on the Switch are due out today. Normally, the formula for releasing a new Pokemon game is pretty simple: “Take same addictive formula that has been working for 20 years, update the game engine every other iteration to modern technology and gaming conventions, come up with 100ish new Pokemon that are mostly cute but will always be compared unfavorably to the hazy memory of the best of all generations past like a Super Bowl halftime show, add some bells and whistles that will mainly be forgotten by next gen, don’t even really promote it much except to remind parents that it’s coming out a month or two before Christmas, sit back and wait for the money to flow in”.
But this release has generated more controversy than arguably any before it. The original videos showed a simplistic graphic engine. Many were hoping the move to the Switch would be a big leap forward in the series, but that was probably wishful thinking from a billion dollar franchise that just went to 3D a couple of iterations ago. However, the real firestorm started when it was announced the game would not feature a complete Pokedex. This would mark the first time in the series that players would be unable to collect every Pokemon in a series whose tagline is “Gotta Catch ‘em All” (though, in all fairness, getting a complete Pokedex is often not easily achievable in any game). Game designer Junichi Masuda’s response did little to quell the furor and the bad blood has continued through the fall. Tags like #dexit (the game is England-themed) and #GameFreakLied have been hugely popular. Rumors were flying that morale was at an all time low and all the negative press even lead to a positive backlash (is that a phrase?) with #ThankYouGameFreak trending recently.
Patricia Hernandez wrote a good article about this whole mess at Polygon and the toxic video game environment out there right now. She lays out the concerns but also points out the logical fallacies behind a number of these “acerbic rants”
Pokémon’s toughest challenge is balancing the needs and wants of older players, while always planning for the reality that the latest games will be someone’s introduction to the franchise. Few people pose the Sword and Shield issue this way outright, but every so often you see folks reveal that they’ve had a problem with the games, and Game Freak more specifically, for years now. The “Dexit” controversy just finally gives them an outlet to express that disappointment.
Game Freak is the latest victim in an ongoing war between video game fans and the people who make their entertainment. It is also perhaps the most egregious target so far: There’s something jarring about seeing such raw vitriol spewed toward a children’s game whose mascot is a cute yellow rodent. It’s a tiresome time to be a Pokémon fan, sure. I’ve spent more time reading about the apparent shortfalls of a game few people have played than I have talking about the legitimate reasons why I’m excited to play the newest installments in a series, historically speaking, has been pretty good. But it’s even more exhausting to love video games at all right now. There’s always a new puddle to be angry about. Or, in this case, a tree.
So, all that aside, I’m still going to be picking up a copy today at lunch because, for me, there’s enough goodwill built up from 20+ years of gaming that it will take a bad outing for me to walk away. And, you know what? The reviews so far are pretty good - not great by Pokemon standards, but still good.
Here’s one of the most recent trailers: