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Royals Rumblings - News for November 13, 2020

Friday the 13th? Bah! I mean, it’s 2020, what’s the worst that could happe...

CTBC Brothers v Uni-Lions - CPBL
Your CPBL Champion Uni-Lions
Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images

I’m just going to leave Alec Lewis’s Tweet about his story from The Athletic (sub required), and let you have at it:

Former Black & Veatch executive Karen Daniel is joining the Royals ownership group.

“Karen is a great addition to the ownership group,” Sherman, the Royals chairman and CEO, said in a release. “She’s been a decades-long business and civic leader in Greater Kansas City, has a deep passion for the game, and seamlessly fits the criteria of the ownership group. She will undoubtedly bring meaningful value to our efforts.”

Kevin McCarthy has signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox:

We have a new entry into Royals blog-dom. I’m not familiar with Overtime Heroics - they look a bit like Fansided, B-R, or, dare I say it, SBNation. Nick Whyman looks at who could close for the Royals in 2021:

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter looks at “How Matt Shoemaker could affect the Royals rotation in 2021

Connor Miller at Royals Blue lists a Bargain Bin free agent target: T.J. McFarland.

More hardware was handed out yesterday. Freddie Freeman of the Braves won the NL MVP while Jose Abreu from the White Sox won the AL MVP.

Freddie Freeman and José Abreu choked back tears of joy and spoke of their families when they received the news. In so many ways, they represent the best of Major League Baseball, from their production on the field to their leadership in the clubhouse and selflessness in the community.

Both men put an appropriate finishing touch on their finest seasons Thursday night, capturing Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Player Awards in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Freeman won in the National League, Abreu in the AL for seasons in which their teams — the Braves and White Sox, respectively — both made the playoffs.

Somehow, Cubs RP Ryan Tepera got a vote. Guess which team’s beat writer made the mistake? You guessed it: Frank Stallone the Cardinals.

One of the open GM slots has been filled. The Angels hired Braves Assistant GM Perry Minasian. Here’s the takes from Talking Chop and Halos Heaven.

MLB making some minor league changes around clubhouse managers and how food is provided:

Rob Manfred said MLB wants butts in the seats:

“As we look forward, we will be more aggressive about having fans in ballparks. There were places where we could have had fans this year, and in fact we did have fans for the LCS and the World Series in Texas. Even though local jurisdictions had started to open up, we decided for this year that we would stay empty during the regular season.

“I don’t think that’s a tenable position for us going forward. We’re going to have to allow the clubs to operate safely. We’re obviously going to have league-wide protocols. If local public health authorities allow for fans, I think you’re going to see fans in the ballpark next year. Now, will it be full stadiums? I kind of doubt that. But we do think it’s important, and it’s why we did it in the World Series and the LCS: to get people accustomed to the idea that you can go to these live events with appropriate protocols, pods of people, social distancing, masks, and do it safely.”

Personal responsibility, appropriate protocols, etc, etc. Good news, ticket-holder: it’s all on you to stop the pandemic. And it you don’t, that’s kindof on you.

In the Wall Street Journal (sub required), Jared Diamond (no, not making that up) penned an article entitled “Baseball’s Dearth of Black Catchers Helps Explain Its Dearth of Black Managers”.

Out last update for baseball across the big pond (Can we call the Pacific that? Is that a thing?) was in early October so let’s put a bow on how things went with our sister teams. You might notice a pattern here. Previous updates: (July), (Late June), (Early June), (May), (Pick KBO team), (CPBL Intro).

NPB (Japan): Yakult Swallows

The Yakult Swallows finished 41-69-10, in last place in the Central League, 25.5 games out of 1st. Nori Aoki finished 3rd in the league in batting average with a .317/.424/.557 triple slash. Alcides Escobar batted a more modest .273/.312/.329. Yakult’s season ended Wednesday as they (obviously) missed the playoffs.

The NPB is made up of the Pacific and Central leagues (think AL and NL). The league playoffs are called the Climax series. In a normal year, the 2nd and 3rd place play against each other and the winner faces the 1st place team for the chance to go to the Japan Series. This year, however, the Central League opted to not have a Climax Series and will send the regular season champion Yomiuri Giants to the Japan Series. However, the Pacific League is still having a best-of-four series between the Fukukoka SoftBank Hawks and Chiba Lotte Marines. Wait... best-of-four you say? Basically, it’s a best-of-five but the first game was already awarded to the Hawks by virtue of their better extra season record.

So, to recap in MLB terms: the top two NPB AL teams play each other and the team with the better regular season record gets a 1-0 lead in a best of 5 series while the NPB NL just decided to have their champ go straight to the World Series with no playoffs. Got it?

KBO (Korea): Hanwha Eagles

The KBO regular season finished in October and our Hanwha Eagles... also finished in last place. They ended 46-95-3, 38.5 games back of the 1st place NC Dinos. Oof. Former Pirates farmhand Mel Rojas Jr. (yes, the son of Mel Rojas) of the 2nd place KT Wiz just missed out the triple crown. He had a .349/.417/.680 triple slash with 47 HR and 135 RBI. However, Choi Hyoung-woo of the Kia Tigers edged him out with a .354 batting average. If Reddit is to be believed (ok, grain of salt but probably true), Choi is now the KBO active hit king with 1986 career hits. KBO’s all-time hit champion Park Yong-taik retired after 19 years, all on the LG Twins, with 2504 hits and a career .308 average.

There are 10 teams in the KBO with a “step-ladder” playoff system . The 4th and 5th place teams play in the Wild Card round, a best-of-3 with the 4th place team having a 1-0 lead. The 4th place LG Twins beat the 5th place Kiwoom Heroes in the 13th inning to take the Wild Card round. The Heroes scored 1 in the top of the inning but then the Twins plated a pair of 2-out runs to advance.

The third place Doosan Bears swept the Twins 4-0 and 9-7 in the next round. They are up 2-1 in the best of 5 against the KT Wiz. They won the first two games 3-2 and 4-1 but the Wiz won game 3 yesterday by a 5-2 score. Game 4 started at 3:30am Royals Time this morning and is on EPSN2 if it’s still on. Game 5 is midnight Sunday, if necessary. The winner faces the NC Dinos in the Korea Series starting Tuesday. All of the games are on ESPN2 or ESPN News (schedule here).

CPBL (Taiwan)

Finally, there’s my beloved CPBL.

The CTBC Brothers won the first half by 3 games over the Rakuten Monkeys and both the Uni-Lions and Fubon Guardians finished well behind. But the second half was much closer. The Monkeys were the only team under .500. The Lions (32-27-1) edged out the Guardians (31-28-1) and Brothers (30-28-2) to clinch the other playoff spot.

The 2020 Taiwan series was between the Brothers and Lions. The Lions won game 1 but then the Brothers won the next 3. The Lions clawed back in game 5. And then this:

Wait? Tim Melville? Formerly of BFSITHOW? I didn’t realize he was on the Uni-Lions! He came up big in Game 6, going 7 innings and only giving up an unearned run. The Lions put up 8 in the 8th and won 12-1 setting up the deciding game.

It was a seesaw affair. The Lions scored in the first three innings but then the Brothers got 4 in the bottom of the 3rd to take a 4-3 lead. I’ll let Rob at CPBL Stats take it from here:

With the Brothers’ starting pitcher Ariel Miranda’s pitch count getting closer to 120 pitches, the Uni-Lions took full advantage of that. They tied up the game with a passed ball and then scored the go-ahead run with a pinch-hit RBI single by Wu Chieh-Jui. The Brothers went to the bullpen and called upon Huang En-Shih hoping to stop the bleeding. However, the Uni-Lions’ Chen Chieh-Hsien decided to rub salt into the wound by launching a 2-run home to extend the lead to 7-4.

That would be the final margin. The Lions roar back (more lion puns!) from a 3-1 deficit to win their first title since 2013.

Sadly, the Asia Series is no more. From 2005-2013, there used to be a tournament that pitted the winners of NPB, KBO, CPBL, and a couple of other leagues. I would watch that.

I was surprised (and, frankly, a bit disappointed) when we got very few comments about Oregon Trail a couple of weeks ago. I talked about how MECC partnered with Apple to try and get computers in the classroom. Oregon Trail was, by far, their most popular software but certainly not their only game. The other one I remember from school was Number Munchers.

You played as a little Pac-Man-esque munching mouth that ate numbers on a grid. You could pick one of 5 modes (multiples, factors, primes, equality, and inequality) and on each level, you’d have to eat the numbers that solved an equation. For instance, if the level was “12”, you’d need to eat “9+3” and “17-5” but not “24/4”. If you ate the wrong equation, you’d lose a life. And if you got eaten by a Troggle, you’d lose a life.

What’s a Troggle? They’re the cute (and frustrating) bad guys that made the game more difficult than just solving math problems. Per wiki:

Each type of Troggle moves in a specific pattern. There are five species of Troggle, each of which has an English and a mock-Latin (binomial) name:

Reggies (Trogglus normalus) (magenta on Apple II, red in DOS, purple on Macintosh) - simply moves in a line unless redirected by a safety square in its path.

Bashfuls (Trogglus timidus) (green on Apple II, blue in DOS, pink on Macintosh) - moves in an arbitrary manner on the gameboard, unless approached by a Muncher, in which case he moves away from the Muncher. Became purple in later releases in the series.

Helpers (Trogglus assistus) (green on Apple II and DOS, magenta on Macintosh) - this ant-like Troggle eats all answers, leaving nothing behind. Became purple in later releases in the series.

Workers (Trogglus laborus) (purple and white on Apple II and DOS, magenta and white on Macintosh) - this Troggle adds new answers and/or changes existing answers as he moves around.

Smarties (Trogglus smarticus) (green on Apple II and Macintosh, yellow on DOS) - has large teeth and glasses, and the most difficult Troggle to avoid; always follows the Muncher on the board .

There’s also cute little Pac-Man-esque cutscenes. I was playing it earlier on Classic Reload (but, man, lots of ads). Enjoy another blast from the past: