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Royals Rumblings - News for April 3, 2020

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Home opener came and went and the Royals are still in first!

Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles
In times like these, Rex’s infectious optimism can be good
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

You know what’s nice about this, though? The Royals are still in first! Just look at the top of Yahoo’s team page! Take that, naysayers!

The Star is trying valiantly to crank out some content despite there not being sports. Pete Grathoff caught up with Rex Hudler about his time away from baseball right now.

“So my wife and my children all know: it’s been six months on and six months off (at home). But now with a little extra stretch of spring,” Hudler said, pausing for effect, “they’ve had enough of Hud. Just about all they can handle.”

Lynn Worthy talked to a local health official about the situation:

When asked Wednesday if he felt confident the Royals will play at all this season, KU Health System chief medical officer Steve Stites replied, “I don’t know the answer to that question, to be completely honest. … I think that baseball will be back this year. I don’t know when it’s going to be back. I don’t think it’s going to be in June; I think it will be more toward the late summer.

We’ve got a bit of a good news, bad news situation here, looking at baseball overseas and maybe the future of MLB.

First, the positive. R.J. Anderson at CBS Sports gives you a Korean Baseball Organization primer as the league is going to try and start in May.

If there is good news for seamheads, it’s that another league will attempt to resume play over the coming weeks. The Korea Baseball Organization, described in the past as delivering the “wildest, most outlandish” version of the sport, is hoping to kick off its season in late April or early May. KBO teams have been playing intrasquad games recently, and the league has an eye on expanding to a traditional exhibition campaign in the coming weeks, provided everything tracks well.

Unfortunately, Newsday’s David Lennon had a story entitled “Japan’s baseball league a cautionary tale for MLB’s possible return

Nippon Professional Baseball — or NPB, their version of MLB — is turning out to be a cautionary tale, exposing the pitfalls of re-starting any sport before the coronavirus threat has been silenced, or even adequately contained.

The anxious NPB owners, fearful of any prolonged shutdown, first momentarily halted spring training before resuming exhibition games played in empty stadiums. But that didn’t shut out the virus, as three Hanshin Tigers tested positive for COVID-19 last week, a jarring development that now has some league officials reconsidering the April 24 opener, according to Sports Nippon.

The life-and-death risk involved in these games really hits home once players see their colleagues fall victim to the virus, as well as the greater threat to the public health overall, even without allowing spectators into the ballparks. Before the Hanshin players contracted COVID-19, the NPB thought they had exercised the proper precautions, quarantining their teams and even taking the temperatures of players, staff and whatever media was permitted in the building, as the Japan News reported. And still the virus leaked through, infecting the very faces of the sport and casting serious doubt on the NPB’s ability to protect their players

Listicles are all the rage now and ESPN’s David Schoenfield did “The biggest MLB one-hit wonders for every American League team”. As long as you’re old enough, you should be able to guess the Royal.

Kansas City Royals: Bob Hamelin (1994)

Manny Ramirez was an American League rookie in 1994. Jim Edmonds was a rookie. So was Carlos Delgado. Rusty Greer hit .314 with a .410 OBP. None of them won Rookie of the Year. Instead, in that strike-shortened season, it was a 26-year-old burly DH for the Royals who wore glasses and had played nose tackle in high school (receiving a scholarship offer from Notre Dame) who won top honors. Predictably, they called him “The Hammer,” and with his everyman physique, Bob Hamelin became an immediate fan favorite.

Hamelin had been a freshman All-American at UCLA, but then transferred to Rancho Santiago JC, and the Royals drafted him in the second round in 1988. He suffered a stress fracture in his back, had surgery, put on weight and his trek through the minors was slow. He finally broke out at Triple-A Omaha in 1993 with 29 home runs and made the Royals out of spring training in 1994.

”He’s not some flash in the pan,” Royals manager Hal McRae said at the time. “He’s too good a hitter for that. He’s got a good eye and a level head.” After the strike, Hamelin came to camp overweight in 1995. He got off to a slow start. New manager Bob Boone and bench coach Gene Mauch weren’t fans. He was sent down to Omaha and finished the year at .168, and played just one more year with the Royals and one more apiece with Detroit and Milwaukee.

Now a scout with the Red Sox, Hamelin recently told MLB.com, “I have a lot to be grateful for. I mean, [I] was the Rookie of the Year. My favorite part of that story is that you know who the runner-up was that year? Manny Ramirez. I beat out Manny Ramirez. I’ve got that forever.”

Unfortunately, I ran out of time this evening but the good folks at Kings of Kaufman and Royals Reporter are still putting out stories. Give them a read!


Until this mess is over, we’re going back to more “Stuff about today from Wikipedia”. Anyone got a better title for this section than that?

Birthdays for April 3rd include Washington Irving (1783), Doris Day (1922), Marlon Brando (1924), Jane Goodall (1934), and Eddie Murphy (1961). Both Jay Bruce and Jason Kipnis were both born on this day in 1987.

This day in 1860 marks the anniversary of the Pony Express. Today was the first successful ride from St. Joseph (MO) to Sacramento. I didn’t realize this but the Pony Express only lasted for about a year and a half, closing in October of 1861. That seems like a really short amount of time for something that remained in the national consciousness for a long time. If you had made me guess how long it existed, I would have said something like 40 years to get the level of notoriety it had. Per wiki: “The continued remembrance and popularity of the Pony Express can be linked to Buffalo Bill Cody, his autobiographies, and his Wild West Show.” What killed it? Well, the Civil War and technology: “The Pony Express announced its closure on October 26, 1861, two days after the transcontinental telegraph reached Salt Lake City and connected Omaha, Nebraska, and Sacramento, California”.

In 1922, “Joseph Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union”. To be fair, it was not the position you think of at that time. Stalin used the position to build his power. FYI: the last member Not Mikhail Gorbachev, but Vladimir Ivashko, who held it temporarily after Gorbachev had resigned and before the post was abolished.

In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

On April 4th, he is assassinated in Memphis. If you ever get a chance to go to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, do so.

Finally, in 1996, the “Unabomber” (Ted Kaczynski) was captured in his Montana shack. Remember when that was the worst thing going on?


Good news: we have a bunch of stories about baseball that are pretty fun and fit on a Friday. Bad news: they’re all behind The Athletic’s paywall. That’s why they get their own section down here.

I’m a little annoyed at Poz. For a while, he was running his Baseball 100 series on Thursdays so I could link to it. But now he’s changed Thursdays to another series. Fortunately, it’s Royals related this week so it goes here!

Does this fit Friday Rumblings? I think so.

Hey, remember when we talked about the SNES’s wonderful Ken Griffey Jr. baseball a couple of months ago? We even had a section about the names in the game. Apparently, The Athletic took a closer look at this.

I’m going to sneak in another couple of MLB stories here for lack of a better place to put them.

Buster Olney reported yesterday that even if the 2020 season were cancelled, former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch will have served their suspensions.

Lastly, I think Chris Cwik of Yahoo has been broken. This project can only be seen through the lens of a stay-at-home madman deprived of sports crossed with a jilted lover. He decided to see what would happen if Derek Jeter had never been allowed anywhere near the Marlins.

Finally — after multiple restarts and many hours wasted — the season can begin. I should be wondering what I’m doing with my life, but instead I’m energized by the prospect of the 2020 zombie Marlins winning the World Series. I envision a single tear rolling down Derek Jeter’s face when he reads this article and realizes what could have been. The thought nourishes me.

And, really, for no other reason than because the article above mentioned it, here’s a link to the first episode in Jon Bois’s 2013 series Breaking Madden.


I really wanted to do something baseball game related to go with the above. But I’m just not doing well on time this week so how about the baseball level from Elite Beat Agents?