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Royals Rumblings - News for June 28, 2019

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The season is halfway over!

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals
Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Jon Jay
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Alex “no relation to Robert except that he saw a VHS of Gone in 60 Seconds” Duvall continues his mid-season prospect rankings with 75-61. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHO IS #69!

No, I mean, really, you probably won’t know who Alex thinks is the 69th best prospect in the Royals system because it’s so far down there’s probably not any consensus and you may never have even heard of this person. Well, apparently, it’s Gabe Speier, one of the two pitchers the Royals received in exchange for “Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Jon Jay” along with Elvis “Now a Blue Jay” Luciano.

Gabe Speier is a big league reliever. He joined the Omaha bullpen earlier this season and already has 13 K in 11.2 IP at AAA. Speier’s splits are a little worrisome. Righties get the better of him far more frequently than lefties do. However, even as a lefty-dominant reliever, Speier should have some value in a big league bullpen.

Around the Royals Blogosphere:

This is the closest we have to a listicle this week:

  • Six of ESPN’s writers voted for All-Star teams and selected both Dozier and Whit. However, it looks more like they split the “only rep” vote so likely only one of them will get it.

Aaaaand... that’s it for Royals news. How about some other news around baseball? It has some “former Royal” flavor.

Did you know that the Yankees and Red Sox are going to be playing in Londo-- never mind. I’m sure ESPN has that covered.

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports looks at the AL Central race:

That 7 1/2-game lead is nice, but here’s the thing: Minnesota had a 10-game lead as recently as last Wednesday. They had a season-high 11 1/2-game lead on June 2. The Indians have been chipping away at their AL Central deficit the last few weeks, enough that it’s time to wonder whether they can finish the job and win their fourth straight division title. Now, is it likely the Indians come all the way back to win the AL Central? No, I don’t think so. It’s not often an 11-game lead gets erased. Is a comeback possible though? Absolutely. There is roughly half-a-season remaining and that lead can disappear as quickly as it was built. I assure you the Twins don’t consider the AL Central title locked up.

Devan Fink of Fangraphs analyzes how Moose is hitting pitches low in the zone:

This season, Mike Moustakas has jumped into elite offensive territory. After two years of struggling to earn a long-term contract, he is likely playing himself into a large payday this winter. Amazingly, it seems to have all happened on the back of one subtle adjustment at the plate.

Jay Jaffe at Fangraphs boldly proclaims: “We’ve Reached the Point of ‘Too Many Homers’”:

To these eyes — and I know I’m not alone — such improvement would include the restoration of some normalcy. When a player’s 40-homer season, or a team’s mountain of 200 homers, is no longer worthy of celebration, is as common as a garden weed, we’ve lost something. It’s worth searching for how to get that special something back.

The Mets are planning to honor Tom Seaver:

The New York Mets renamed the street in front of Citi Field in honor of former ace Tom Seaver and announced plans to erect a statue of the Hall of Fame right-hander outside the stadium. The team made the announcement that 126th Street would be renamed Seaver Way on Thursday in a ceremony outside their home ballpark. The address of Citi Field is now 41 Seaver Way. Seaver wore No. 41 during his career.

Say, haven’t heard anything else fro the Mess Mets lately that would need to be knocked off the front page, right? Oh, wait. Well, um, Jason Vargas has been in the news lately (below quote from this story). And not in the good way. He spoke to the media yesterday, keeping this story alive.

A few beats later, Vargas and Healey were in a stare down. Vargas asked Healey why the reporter is looking at him, to which Healey replied, “It looked like you had something to say.” “I’ll knock you the f--k out, bro” Vargas said to Healey. Seconds later, Vargas charged toward Healey and the two were separated by teammates Carlos Gomez and Noah Syndergaard, as well as a Mets official, among others. Healey left the clubhouse shortly after the intense altercation.

Let’s end on a happy note. Joe Posnanski, borrowing from Jayson Stark, explores the topic of “best right handed hitter ever”.

I think you know where this is going. If you want a right-handed hitter for the next 20 years, I will take Aaron with Mays in a virtual tie. If you want a 10-year peak of awesomeness, I will take Pujols (you might prefer Hornsby, and that’s cool too). And all of this probably moot anyway. Because in 10 years, I think that Mike Trout will be the right answer.

The best NES RPG series is...? No, it’s not Final Fantasy. At least not in the US, where only one game was released. I’d argue it was the Dragon Quest series. Today, we’re going to look at the first game, Dragon Quest, or, as it was known in the US, Dragon Warrior.

Publisher Enix has an interesting origin story, per Wikipedia:

Enix was founded on September 22, 1975 as Eidansha Boshu Service Center by Japanese architect-turned-entrepreneur Yasuhiro Fukushima. The company initially published tabloids that advertised real estate. In February 1980, Eidansha Boshu Service created a wholly owned subsidiary for the purpose of specializing in real estate trading and brokerage. This new subsidiary took the name Eidansha Systems in August 1981. The following year, in August 1982, Eidansha Systems was renamed Enix Corporation. After a failed attempt of Eidansha Boshu Service to go nationwide in 1982, its newly established Enix subsidiary began a foray into the gaming market by holding a personal computer game programming contest.

So, uh real estate isn’t really us. Let’s try this video game thing! I mean, they’re so similar.

The history of RPGs mostly started on PC, though the NES had ports of the most important. For instance, 1981’s Wizardry, was the first traditional RPG in color and the “first true party-based role-playing video game”. 1983’s Ultima III: Exodus brought us substantial advances in plot, animated characters, and complex party combat. Both games inspired the creators of 1986’s Dragon Quest and 1987’s Final Fantasy, the first major jRPGs.

Dragon Ball’s Akira Toriyama provided the artwork and character design. Koichi Sugiyama, who Nobuo Uematsu referred to as the “big boss of game music” provided the sound. And the game was designed by Yuji Horii, who is still designing Dragon Quest games to this day, and was part of the “Dream Team” that made Chrono Trigger.

Dragon Quest was the game that brought RPGs to the masses*. Back in 2009, Gamespot named Dragon Quest the 15th most influential game of all time:

Way back in 1986, Enix released what is, in many ways, the most influential role-playing game of all time. The game was Dragon Quest, or as it is known in the US, Dragon Warrior. Before Dragon Quest, many RPGs were overly complex, so with this game the developers aimed to create a game that would be enjoyed by young and old alike. Enix probably never knew how influential its game would be. Although Dragon Warrior did not find a US release until 1989 on the NES, the game has left many marks that can still be seen on nearly every RPG released today. The simple bitmapped and tiled 2D graphics of Dragon Warrior have been used in countless RPGs to this day. It was not until consoles began dabbling in 3D that RPGs moved away from this graphical approach. The classic top-down perspective is nearly always a dead giveaway of an RPG.

*At least in Japan, where it sold 2 million copies. In the US, it had a bit chillier of a reception. It was overproduced to the point where most people got it as part of a promotion with Nintendo Power. However, it was popular enough that the next three games in the series were ported over, late in the life of the NES. The first three games comprise a trilogy while the fourth is a gigantic (by 8-bit standards) game the unfolds across multiple chapters. The series never reached the popularity in the West of Final Fantasy, but the stories of its crazy release days in Japan are legendary.

I was just going to do the iconic overworld song. But then I found a complete long play of the game that comes in at under 2 hours. It seemed so much longer than that (well, it is when you die a lot).