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Royals Rumblings - News for January 10, 2020

In Soviet Tampa, baseball plays you!

MLB: JUL 19 Royals at Indians
Whit Merrifield on his way to a triple
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Whit having a little fun with the Royals’ Twitter account:

Flanny with an equally cheeky response:

We get a couple of articles from sites that post very infrequently.

Darin Watson at U.L.’s Toothpick pens a Danny Jackson retrospective, using his 1985 Fleer card as a jumping off point.

As the 2020 season nears, Royals fans are understandably excited about the stockpile of pitching prospects the team has accumulated. We’re all anxious to see them make it to the majors and (let’s hope) lead Kansas City back to the postseason. Of course, the concept of a group of young pitchers making an immediate impact and bringing playoff glory to KC is not an original one in franchise history. The tale of the 1984-85 Royals rising from the ashes of a drug scandal and capturing a World Series title on the backs of Bret Saberhagen, Mark Gubicza, and Danny Jackson kept many a fan going through the dark years.

Logan Parks at Royals Blue asks “Is 2020 A Make Or Break Season For Adalberto Mondesi?

Fansided continues to provide a plethora of content:

Listicles are definitely not being used to pad content (and they never are).

ESPN’s David Schoenfield lists “The player most likely to be traded in 2020 for all 30 MLB teams

Kansas City Royals: Ian Kennedy

Kennedy is in the final year of that $70 million contract he signed in 2016, making $16.5 million. That wasn’t the wisest of investments by the Royals, but Kennedy did have a good year in the bullpen in 2019 (3.41 ERA/2.99 FIP). He could add a veteran presence to a contender looking for bullpen help.

Mike Axisa at CBS Sports lists “30 MLB players primed for bounce-back seasons after missing time in 2019

Salvador Perez

Aside from Jorge Soler becoming the first Royals player to ever lead the league in home runs, there wasn’t much to get excited about in Kansas City in 2019. Salvador Perez, the club’s beloved stalwart catcher, blew out his elbow in spring training and needed Tommy John surgery. I suppose the good news is the injury saved Perez’s legs a season of wear and tear in a rebuilding year. That could help the Royals down the line, when they’re in position to contend again.

Today, in the Best of Royals Review (TM, patent pending), we highlight one of the best recap gimmicks to ever grace these pages. While Josh Duggan may be gone, he gave so much to this country: Shields and the Royals defeat the Devil Rays and Russia, 6 - 0. USA! USA! USA!

Best I can discern from Googling is that this is not OMD’s first time of mentioning the St. Petersburg Rays as a Soviet sleeper cell, but I believe this is the first recap he writes completely in that voice: “Freedom runs cannot be stopped. Neither could the Royals this evening.”

And who can forget Leo Nunez/Juan Carlos Oviedo:

The odd thing, of course, is that this pitcher looks eerily similar to former Royals’ relief pitcher Leo Nunez. His name, however, is apparently Juan Carlos Oviedo. While they could just look similar to one another, the four runs he allowed while grooving pitch after pitch in the strike zone imply another story. It seems clear that Oviedo is an alias and that Leo Nunez is, in fact, a spy.

For more Royals news, we turn to the BBC.

Apparently Prince Henry and Meghan Markle are “stepping back as senior royals”. Perhaps they are intimidated because Rusty Kuntz is back in the organization.

The Chicago Tribune’s headline department knocked it out of the park on this one:

I’m guessing this is a follow up to their previous story: “NU alumni notes: 2003 grad accepts government post in London”.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t post the most shocking story I found while researching this. Apparently the queen is a shape-shifting reptile! But if she’s shape shifting, how is she a reptile? This is not the kind of thorough reporting from an outlet that also is reporting the really important news, like the linked related story that “Moon is hollow ‘Death Star’ like base”.

Craig Edwards asks if the cost of a free agency win is still linear. ”Betteridge’s law of headlines” wins again.

Overall, it’s pretty plain to see that the cost of a win in free agency is no longer linear given the huge discount being applied to below-average players. As for why this is happening, there are multiple reasonable explanations, including the availability of more good, young players, good teams not adding once they’ve reached a certain expected win total threshold, and bad teams not trying at all. The win-curve and a team’s financial outlook are topics that will be explored in my next piece.

If you were here for serious baseball news, well, you probably are in the wrong place. Friday Rumblings? Really? Ok, that aside, you really should leave now.

I was thinking I was going to have a really slow day when Max drops this gem in my inbox. Not content to just ruin the Marlins and the gift basket industry, Derek Jeter apparently was destroying the career of a Yankees minor leaguer. Let’s select a look at a few paragraphs in this amazing tale.

In a rambling, conspiracy-laced lawsuit, a failed prospect, who never played above High-A and had a career batting average of .244, sued the Yankees for $34 million and blamed Yankees legend Derek Jeter for derailing his career as a shortstop, presumably because the soon-to-be Hall of Famer was afraid of the competition... In the lawsuit, dismissed by a judge in May, Garrison Lassiter used letters, newspaper clippings and scouting reports to weave a strange tale of conspiracy that he said was launched against him “to protect the career of Derek Jeter.” He alleged that it was “blantanly (sic) obvious” that Jeter controlled the Yankees organization, and he insisted Yankees employees libeled and slandered him to other teams, preventing him from reaching the major leagues.

I really, really hope that he was able to bring a conspiracy wall made out of corkboard and string into the courtroom.

I don’t want to quote the whole article, that it also includes these points:

  • He claims he’s broke and sleeping in his own car after putting himself through law school
  • He missed the lesson about “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client” in said law school
  • He included the sentence “These are the facts big dawg” in his letter to Rangers GM Jon Daniels when trying to get on that team
  • He stated “I’m the only Baseball Player that will stand up to the New York Yankees”
  • He sued Ricky Proehl’s football training complex for “failing to get him an NFL tryout”
  • He sued the Reds, an organization he never played for. Looks like this story explains why (age discrimination for not letting a 30 year old not try out for the minors).
  • After his Yankees career: “He redshirted at quarterback for University of Miami, never appearing in a game. Lassiter said Miami kicked him out of the program in 2014 for rallying the team and asking head coach Al Golden to make him the starter.”

How did he arrive at that $34 million number?

In the lawsuit against the Yankees, Lassiter considers himself as a mix of Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year winner who made it farther than Lassiter did by age 20, and Brandon Weeden, a former Yankees pitching prospect went on to play parts of five seasons as an NFL quarterback. Lassiter decided the Yankees owed him $17.468 million, based off what Seager had made. Then he said the Yankees should fork over to him another $11.598 million, citing Weeden’s earnings but admitting the figure was a “guesstimate.”

It’s been a few week since I’ve done some One Line Movie Reviews* (TM, patent pending), so let’s touch on what I’ve seen in the past couple of months. It’s been a pretty mediocre couple of months of watching, unfortunately:

  • Star Wars IX: Rise of Skywalker (2019), Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) - We already have this thread to talk about these
  • The Polar Express (2004) - Tom Hanks is trying his best and I bet the original book is good as that end scene is brilliant and lifted straight from it. But he’s got too many parts and a small children’s book is spread way too thin. There’s also the creepy “uncanny valley” problem as 15 year old CGI was not quite up to the Zemeckis’s vision.
  • TMNT 2: Out of the Shadows (2016) - It was like a bloated “greatest hits” version of the Turtles, written by someone who doesn’t understand them. It was still better than the first movie but that was such a low bar to clear. A good incarnation of the Turtles should have a lot of fun, a lot of humor, and a lot of heart but they’ve never been able to do that with any of the live action movies, 90s or now.
  • Aquaman (2018) - It’s like a cheaper version of Thor - just look at the formula: Lesser hero in the public consciousness played by hunky manmeat, lots of fakish looking CGI in a fantasy land, pseudo-Shakespearean family tragedy of great kingdoms. Only one was directed by the foremost Shakespearean director of our times while the other was directed by the guy who did Saw and Furious 7. I was hoping we’d double the number of good movies in the DCEU, but, nope, sorry, Wonder Woman, you’re still it.
  • Road House (1989) - Not a bad movie but not going to be mistaken for a good one. It feels more 90s than 80s with fewer loose threads. There’s a bit too much gratuitous nudity and dumb plots to be taken too seriously but it moves fairly quickly, has good action, good music, and the famous “Be nice” scene. A lot of critics seem to not like Patrick Swayze in this role, but I think he pulls off Dalton.
  • Top Gun (1986) - I don’t think I had ever seen this iconic movie all the way through before. It’s s movie of extremes: the action sequences, music, and cast are great, but the characters fall short of shallow 90s action movie standards – these are cardboard cutouts doing cool things in airplanes. That sounds awesome but it leads to a lot of clock watching, even when the rest of the movie is an adrenaline ride

*Not literally one line

I was visiting a friend of mine over the holidays and he was playing Nier: Automata. NOTE: I haven’t played this game yet but have seen some videos and read up on it, so consider this all second hand information.

The game is set in the distance future and Earth-based androids are fighting off androids from another planet. They have different programmed personalities, which are used to explore (per wiki) “people’s impulse to kill and nihilism, while also incorporating issues such as confronting prejudice and escaping difficult situations”.

He was doing his second playthrough of the game to get the additional endings and, well,








Also, because the game actually deletes your saved game. Well, not exactly. But, once you beat the game, you end up in a bullet hell game that gets increasing impossible. While you have unlimited continues, when you die, you are sent back to a previous checkpoint so getting from one to another gets, again, increasingly impossible.

Once you inevitably lose, you are also given the option to delete someone else’s saved game so they can join you in the fight? Wha--? If you choose to, there’s a little message that says you deleted someone else’s saved game and they join you, ala getting an extra ship in Galaga. As it gets increasingly difficult, you are tempted again and again to absorb more saved games. So, even in the end credits, the game is testing your willingness to sacrifice others to save yourself. Then, once you win, you are given the option to delete your game and help someone else - a lesson in nihilism and self-sacrifice.

This video is the aforementioned scene from the end of the game and someone else’s playthrough: