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Royals Rumblings - News for March 27, 2020

I miss baseball

Opening Day 2004!
Opening Day 2004!
Photo by Dave Kaup/Getty Images

Vahe Gregorian catches up with Denny Matthews and talks Opening Day:

Opening day might mean something different to everyone … and perhaps something similar to everybody. To Matthews, it beckons him to April 8, 1969.

In their inaugural game at Municipal Stadium, the Royals beat the Twins 4-3 in 12 innings as the 25-year-old Matthews made his major league debut at the side of mentor Buddy Blattner.

Meanwhile, new Royals owner John Sherman talked to Dave Skretta of the Associated Press:

“We wish that we were playing baseball today,” Sherman told The Associated Press in an email, “but we are rightly prioritizing other things for the greater good. We are focused on keeping our people safe — our families, our associates, our players and coaches and our fans. We also want to be present in our community helping those who need it the most.”

R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports simmed every game on OOTP. The Royals couldn’t even get their game in there.

Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox PPD

This one was rescheduled for March 28 due to inclement weather.

Baseball may be silent but Royals blogs are not

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter has a pair of stories:

Call to the Pen also has a pair:

Joel Wagler for KC Kingdom proclaims “Jorge Soler’s power numbers are legitimate

But the real heroes are over at KOK, who have 4 new stories up.

Mike Gillespie looks back at “The day the runs just kept coming

While a trio of writers looked forward in their “Projecting KC Royals prospects” series:

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made some noise the last couple of days with interviews talking about the state of baseball, ahead of Opening Day.

He’s hoping to start baseball in June:

Though Manfred made no promises, he said that his hope is teams can restart training camps sometime in May. Presuming a four-week ramp-up period, that would put everyone on schedule to begin the season in early June, or the same timetable suggested by previous reports. Whether or not that proves feasible hinges on the effectiveness of the various containment strategies imposed across the country in recent weeks.

He also wants to be part of the national recovery.

”I think it will mark a real milestone in the return to normalcy,” he said. “I think you saw it after 9/11, in terms of the resumption of play. I was there in Shea Stadium that night we began playing. It was one of the most memorable games I’ve ever attended. It’s an honor for our sport to be regarded in a way that we have been part of our country coming back from some horrific events, and we hope that we can play a similar role with respect to this one.”

The investigation into the Red Sox is complete.

In an interview with ESPN on Wednesday in which he discussed the status of the MLB season, Manfred said that MLB’s investigation into the Red Sox complete, but he conceded that handling the coronavirus fallout has prevented him from producing a report and announcing a decision on a punishment.

And, per anonymous sources, the MLB draft may be moved to July:

The Major League Baseball draft is increasingly likely to happen in July, though it could be shortened and include bonus deferrals, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN. Fear of handing out significant signing bonuses amid cash-flow questions prompted a number of owners to question whether the 2020 draft should be canceled altogether, according to sources.

I really don’t get this in the least. The money spent on the draft is chump change compared to most other MLB expenses and some of the most efficient money teams spend... but they’re still going to nickel and dime the draftees? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

With baseball season supposed to have started yesterday, the Best of Royals Review (TM, patent pending) is now on hiatus until next offseason... we think? Who knows at this point.

Until we have baseball to tide us over, this section will probably become “stuff about today from Wikipedia”. We probably need a punchier title than that. So what’s special about March 27th?

Some notable events on this day:

  • 1794: The US establishes a permanent Navy
  • 1871: The first international rugby match
  • 1977: Tenerife airport disaster is a good case study if you want to read about airplanes and the term “Crew Resource Management”
  • 1980: Silver Thursday - apparently Lamar Hunt (yes, the Chiefs owner) and his brothers tried to corner the market on silver but instead lost over $1 billion

Birthdays include Henry Royce of Rolls-Royce fame (1863), Quentin Tarantino (1963), and 2015 World Series MVP Matt Harvey (1989).

It is also a day for drinking. Wilhelm Beer died in 1850 but was reincarnated 2 years later when Jan van Beers was born in 1852. *May or may not be factually accurate. It also is “International whisk(e)y day”, which is one of those stupid made up internet holidays.

In 1915, Typhoid Mary was put in quarantine for a second time. Topical! Her story is both tragic and complicated. An asymptomatic carrier of typhoid, she worked as a cook for a number of families in New York, and a number of them began developing typhoid. A researcher tracked the cases to her and she was forced to quarantine for 3 years. After that, she was released but had to not work as a cook as that was believed to be how it spread. She worked as a “laundress” but it paid less so, after a few years, she changed her name and went back to cooking, causing a major outbreak at a hospital. At that point, she was arrested and confined for the rest of her life, another 23 years.

Time for some more “One Line Movie Reviews”. This time we have a trio of pairs... or, well, you’ll see what I mean.

  • Summer Wars (2009) - It’s a well done anime. The visual contrasts between the virtual world and real world are striking and gorgeous. It’s part romcom, part family drama, and part sci fi. Lots of themes and plot points are tightly wound throughout the movie (some a little ham-handed) so there are no loose threads: family togetherness, family history, the satellite, King Kazma, baseball, etc. Despite the stakes of nuclear plant destruction and world domination by AI, it plays mostly breezy, both to its credit and detriment. It’s not over-dramatic but the stakes don’t feel as big as they should be. In general, the movie is really well done but it suffers a little from the Pixar problem or, in this case, the Miyazaki equivalent. Every serious anime is going to be compared to Ghibl’s work and this doesn’t quite have the emotional resonance the best of those do. Still, Hosoda has proven to be a worthy contemporary and with Miyazaki’s retirement, anime is in good hands.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) - It’s a very nice “little” movie. It doesn’t have the stakes of Summer Wars and, at its core, is a simple ensemble buddy picture and romcom, pleasantly complicated by its science fiction plot device. The ending is a little lackluster, but doesn’t detract horribly from an otherwise good movie. If I had to recommend one of the two movies, I think I’d pick this one
  • The Incredibles (2004) - An iconic movie, one of best Pixar movies, which is saying a lot. In fact, if I had to pick a single Pixar movie to sell someone on the studio, it would be either this or the original Toy Story. It’s a brilliant deconstruction of the superhero genre combined with family drama to make an amazingly fresh package that still holds up more than 15 years later. Also on this most recent viewing, I noticed: Chop, chop, chop – the cuts are quick and the movie hums in a way that many 1990s and 2000s movies. A lot of 1960s and 1970s movies are needlessly slow and that (mostly) got tightened up in the 1980s so that the 90s and 00s were generally good at this. But movies have started getting more overlong and needlessly complex again.
  • Incredibles 2 (2018) - A pretty good movie, but writing about the original and this back to back remind me of just how good the first is more than the second. It’s flatter and simpler – there’s no real economy of scenes and the added “complexity” is more tacked on than organic, by and large. It’s hard to make movies 15 years apart. It’s fine up against other standards, but with Pixar’s gold standard, this is in the bottom half. Elastigirl’s plot is good but a lot of the rest of the movie is not. Mr. Incredible’s: it plays like a 90s sitcom where he has to play the dumb and stubborn Mr. Mom while pretending to put on a brave face and support her but, really, you feel he’s more babysitting than being the parents because, you know, dads can’t do that. The kid conflicts are similarly simple and stereotypically shallow.
  • Big (1988) - I’m always a little worried about watching 80s stuff because a lot of stuff from the decade hasn’t aged well. Tom Hanks is brilliant, the story is simple, and the magical realism is believable. Don’t think too hard about the relationship with Susan or his too-quick adult attitude turn and you’ll be ok. It’s sweet and a little creepy but still pretty fun.
  • Shazam (2019) - I can’t say I know much about Captain Marvel*. Yes, that’s what the character’s name is, but for obvious reason (re: Disney lawyers), it was called Shazam (which was the name of the wizard). Zachary Levi was... good enough, but could have been better. This has to be slotted as the second or third best DCEU movie (depending on where you have Aquaman). But, well, DC suffers from comparisons of its incompetent handling of movies versus Marvel’s juggernaut. A top half DCEU movie would slot in as a mediocre, at best, MCU movie. There’s just not enough polish or enough money (stars, script, etc). For instance, the villain was fine, I guess, whereas MCU would have picked a decent A or B-star and you would have remembered who it was like pulling in Jude Law as a rando villain for their Captain Marvel. And the end battle wouldn’t have felt like a slightly higher budget version of Power Rangers.

*Except for his pivotal role in Kingdom Come, which is my favorite comic in my limited reading of the genre

We’ve done Dr. Mario songs before with the two popular songs Fever and Chill . However, we were never able to give the game its full treatment. The best I did was in the first entry: “For those who don’t remember, it was one of Nintendo’s entries into the puzzle crazy in the wake of Tetris’s massive popularity. It’s a simple color matching puzzle game where you have to line up pills of the same color to kill viruses in a medicine bottle.”

So let’s hit some Dr. Mario trivia.

  • A note about its creator: “Gunpei Yokoi is best known for designing the Game Boy. He also designed R.O.B., the Robot Operating Buddy, and the infamous Virtual Boy, his greatest professional failure. But his longest lasting innovation has to be the Directional Pad, or D-Pad, which he invented for Nintendo’s Game & Watch portables. Pretty much every video game system since the Famicom has copied Yokoi’s D-Pad design; it’s become the control staple of the video game industry. He also produced several hit games, including Metroid, Kid Icarus, and Super Mario Land 1 and 2. Basically, the man was a video game god... Yokoi also designed one of the most addictive puzzle games of all time, Dr. Mario.”
  • Though I can’t find any concrete confirmation, I remember the factoid that it was the first game ever to be released on both a home console and handheld on the same day (in Japan, anyways).
  • The original viruses were RBY. In Dr. Luigi for the Wii U, they introduced CMY colored viruses.
  • Mario’s assistant? “In the Dr. Mario installments for the series, Peach wears a pink nurse outfit. In localizations of the original instruction booklet, she is mentioned and given the name Nurse Toadstool, although this was revised as Nurse Peach in one of the “Tips” of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Nurse Toadstool would presumably be Dr. Mario’s close personal assistant, but she does not have a major role in any version of the game and she is barely seen outside promotional artwork.”

Today’s song is the menu music: