Whit Merrifield gets some ink in this Associated Press story about the grind of Spring Training:
”A couple years ago, I was trying to make the team and I played in like every spring game but one,” Merrifield said. “I came into the season sore - the spring is tough in that regard - but once you get established, you get days off, play the first half a game and get out.”
Brett Phillips has always been the fastest player on his team, whether he was playing in Little League, starring at Seminole High School or climbing the rungs of the minor league ladder. When he looks around the Kansas City Royals’ clubhouse, though, the fleet-footed outfielder was left to ask a very sobering and sincere question: “What am I, the 10th fastest now?”
At MLB.com, Jeffrey Flanagan attempts to predict the Royals 25-man roster after Ned tells him it won’t be official until the last day:
“You can fall into a trap, because maybe a guy goes 2-for-2 and looks great one day,” Yost said, “and then the next day he goes 0-for-4 with four strikeouts with the bases loaded and you want to send him to Siberia. You have to be patient with your evaluations.”
Sam Mellinger caught up with Alex Gordon, who wants this year to be more fun and less expletive:
“I just want to have fun,” he said. “Last year, the first half sucked. We were just terrible. Then, I don’t know why, but it just switched. We were having fun. Even though we were losing, it was a fun group to be part of. That’s what I want this year.”
Fellow Tommy John surgery recipient (victim? sufferer? what’s the right word here?) Lance McCullers Jr tweets well-wishes at Salvy:
.@SalvadorPerez15 I wish you luck on your surgery and recovery my man. You will be back hitting homers off me in no time . See you in 2020!— Lance McCullers Jr. (@LMcCullers43) March 6, 2019
The traffic has subsided from Fansided. There’s only one story over the last couple of days as Bradley Potter asks “Can Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria fill the void?”
Only one listicle, too. Katherine Acquavella at CBS Sports gives MLB Offseason Grades.
Kansas City Royals: C
Like many other teams this offseason, the Royals’ winter was just another stepping stone in the current rebuilding process. It was a lot of bargain signings for Kansas City as they grabbed Billy Hamilton and Chris Owings as quality low-cost additions. Rule 5 picks Chris Ellis and Sam McWilliams, as well as Homer Bailey and Kyle Zimmer will try to help address their rotation.
The Royals will now also have to address the catcher position, with Salvador Perez expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. The team is likely going to use the duo of Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria.
But, the Royals best move of this winter was extending utilityman Whit Merrifield who slashed .304/.367/.438 with a 5.5 WAR in 2018, to a four-year, $16.5 million deal.
Actually, the Royals appear on another list. Craig Edwards at Fangraphs lists players who count as the most dead money in 2019. The top spot belongs to a Royal!
We at Best of Royals Review were torn between two different options for this week’s entry so one will run this week and one will run next week. As our last entry in February was about the Zack Grienke trade, today we’ll revisit the James Shields trade: Royals and Rays OVER THE Brink.
So, there’s not a lot in the thread as Clark was just updating the story with news as it came in. However, the comments, all 1200+ were, um,
frustrating, mourning, frustrating, cathartic, frustrating, ...enlightening? I dunno.
We hesitate to even re-open this wound of a thread but it was one of the most significant moments in Royals history. It was like a support group for Royals fans going through the stages of grief. Or at least it /was/ until a couple of Rays fans felt it was a perfect time to come over and threadcrap in celebration. One of them went full concern troll and then went back to DRaysBay and was bragging about how badly he got RR. Nice guys.
This might be a bit too dark for Friday’s Rumblings, but I ran across a couple of heavier, older stories for this week.
First, Vox’s Sean Illing talked with the founder of a Buddhist hospice center and looked at: “What the living can learn from the dying”:
When we come close to the end of our life, what’s really important makes itself known. It isn’t whether or not we have two Mercedes or whether or not we spent more time at the office. For most people, it’s about relationships. It’s about answering two questions: “Am I loved?” and “Did I love well?” So much of what happens around the end of life boils down to those two questions.
This story was featured on ESPN’s front page for quite a while last summer. It’s about a soccer ball that survived the Challenger explosion and then went back into space.
This ESPN story is about a professional loser, so to speak. The gimmick for wrestler Curt Hawkins is (was?) that he always lost, losing at least 200 straight matches. Odd side note: it seems like ESPN and CBS have both increased their coverage of rasslin’ the last couple of years.
Speaking of heel turns, is this the most elaborate in history?
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says fans may not remember the final score of game --- but they will remember the experience pic.twitter.com/yPGDcCPhHG— WPLG Local 10 Sports (@Local10Sports) March 6, 2019
Mike Axisa at CBS Sports picks apart Jeter’s press conference.
Imagine Jeter saying “it’s impossible to win every single game” during his playing days. Never would’ve happened. He wasn’t wired that way -- or at least didn’t want anyone to know he was wired that way -- and I reckon fans and the media would’ve been taken aback to hear the longtime Yankees captain make such an admission.
Or, if you don’t like any of those because life is too short and miserable, try Arbys.
Today we’re going to talk about the 22nd best selling game of all time. It sold more copies than Super Mario Bros 3, any Pokemon generation except the first two (RBY and GS), and any Grand Theft Auto game except V (which is multi-platform and just passed this game very recently). To put too fine of a point on it: it has outsold any game that has ever appeared on any Sony or Microsoft console except for the aforementioned GTA V and the X360 pack-in game Kinect Adventures. That means no Call of Duty, no Halo, no other GTAs, no Final Fantasies, no EA sports games, nothing. What is this game? The innocent little “educational” Nintendo DS tile Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about Reggie’s retirement and one of his major talking points in the mid 00s was Nintendo’s “blue ocean” strategy. The Cliffs Notes version is that “red ocean” is competing with exiting companies over the same customers while “blue ocean” is opening up your product to other markets. With the Nintendo DS and then the Wii, Nintendo tried to market games to some traditionally non-gamer demographics and was decried for doing so in some circles. However, It was a smashing success.
This started with pet simulator Nintendogs, which had a “marketing campaign that targeted non-traditional game advertising outlets, including young female magazines such as Teen People and Seventeen.” Nintendogs would go on to be the 14th best-selling game of all time. Next would be Brain Age.
Dr. Ryuta Kawashima is a Japanese neuroscientist who did studies on the brain and authored a book Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain, because he “found that by performing simple mathematical calculations and reading books aloud, one could retain mental clarity and stave off the mental effects of aging”. This would become the basis for Brain Age, a simple “educational” game that calculated your “Brain Age” and then had exercises to improve it. There were simple math puzzles, word puzzles. reading aloud, Stroop tests, Sudoku, and more.
The” game” caught fire in Japan and would eventually sell 4 million copies there. This runaway success pushed Nintendo to release it in the US and Europe. US sales exceeded Japanese sales while European sales doubled them! It has sold more than 20 million copies to date.
Nintendo’s success with the Blue Ocean strategy would continue into the next decade as the 1st (Wii Sports), 5th (Wii Sports Resort), 12th (Wii Play), 17th (Wii Fit), 18th (Wii Fit Plus), and 40th (Brain Age 2) best selling games of all time followed (alongside the aforementioned 14th and 22nd).
Below is a video featuring the music and gameplay from Brain Age: