Jeffrey Flanagan is reporting that Raul Mondesi is healthy.
As luck would have it, the day back in March that shortstop Adalberto Mondesi was set to start his first Cactus League game was when the pandemic shut down MLB. But Mondesi, recovering from left shoulder surgery last fall, didn’t get frustrated. Instead he used the extra three months to continue to strengthen the shoulder. He now reports it is 100 percent, no limitations.
Max had a story about this last week with regards to season ticket holders. But yesterday I got an email that the Royals Fanbassador program (read: cardboard cutouts in the crowd) are available on a limited basis to everyone. They cost $40 each and a portion of the proceeds go to charity. However, this line is a dealbreaker for me: “(10) understand and acknowledge that Fan Cutouts may not be displayed at the Venue for the full 2020 season and, in the event Fan Cutouts are no longer displayed at the Venue during the 2020 season, I will not be entitled to a refund and after a reasonable period of time, Fan Cutouts will be destroyed”. Look, if I’m going to pay $40, could you at least send me the cutout when you’re done with it? Like if I had an option to pay $20 more and get the cutout for a souvenir, I’d consider it. But to just have my likeness in the stands... that’s less fun to me.
At the Star, Lynn Worthy talks about the optimism in Summer Camp
“I think we felt pretty good about our team going into the regular spring training,” Royals All-Star infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield said. “Knock on wood, the guys stay healthy, we navigate this (COVID-19) thing and keep guys on the field, I think we’ve got a really good chance to do something pretty cool.”
Not about the Royals, but here are a couple of stories (sub required) from The Atlantic:
Imagine spending your entire adult life trying to save something, and never knowing if it will pay off. For 23 years, a New Jersey man has done just that for Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the few remaining ballparks to regularly host Negro League baseball. https://t.co/QQCRNjqbnt— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) July 9, 2020
If someone said, "You wrote this whole absurd 60 greatest baseball moments series just so you could finally unload your rant that Rachel Phelps is the true hero of 'Major League' didn't you?" I would have to plead the fifth. https://t.co/UHMpnlCQfT— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) July 9, 2020
In the responses to his Tweet, I stumbled across this video I had never seen before.
Nope. I can’t accept this.
You know I love an article from a non-standard source. The Vallejo Times Herald has a story about Damon Hollins as the new first base coach:
“Mike Matheny (the Royals manager) was calling me up previously while I was working with some players in Arizona,” Hollins said. “He had alluded to me a few weeks prior to possibly being one of the 12 coaches. About a week ago he asked, ‘Hey, we’d like you to be our first base coach. What do you think?’ I took me about, I don’t know, 0.5 seconds to say that I was in.”
Here’s a quartet of stories from the Royals blogosphere:
- U.L.’s Toothpick’s walk through the 1980 season is at the All-Star break so he looks back at the first half.
- As part of his season preview, Royals Reporter asks “Will the 60-game slate benefit or hinder the Royals’ outlook? “
- Royals Blue looks back at a Kansas City REO Speedwagon concert
- Bleeing Royal Blue talks about “A Season in Doubt”
We’ll do an abbreviated look at July 10th since there’s a lot more to cover down below.
- Wyoming becomes a state in 1890
- The Scopes Monkey Trial begins in 1925
- The first satellite, Telstar, is launched in 1962
- Boris Yeltsin takes office in 1991
- The US wins the 1999 Women’s World Cup
Hall of Famer Andre Dawson celebrates his 66th birthday today. I think we already linked to this story, but ESPN had a great piece about his COVID experiences. He runs a set of funeral homes in Miami. Royals Hall of Famer Hal McRae is 2nd in bWAR for the day at 27.9. Three younger Royals players also have this birthday: Will Smith (1989), Scott Alexander (1989), and Johnny Giavotella (1987).
There’s been a few fun news stories that have hit my radar this week.
In Oregon, a police chase ended when the man in a stolen car they were chasing crashed into a woman... also driving a stolen car.
Two volumes of an old Chinese encyclopedia were bought at auction this week for $9M. There are a number of interesting parts of this story, mostly about the work itself, which I had never heard of. They were two volumes of the Yongle Dadian, a “leishu encyclopedia” from the early 15th century. Per wiki, the Yongle Dadian “comprised 22,937 manuscript rolls or chapters, in 11,095 volumes. Fewer than 400 volumes survive today, comprising about 800 chapters (rolls), or 3.5 percent of the original work. Most of it was lost in the 2nd half of the 19th century, in the midst of Western attacks and social unrests. Its sheer scope and size made it the world’s largest general encyclopedia until it was surpassed by Wikipedia on September 9, 2007, nearly six centuries later.” The original was mostly destroyed sometime in the 16th or 17th century. However, a copy was made in 1567. That survived until the 1800s when much of it was destroyed.
The other interesting part is about the sale: “One volume is about the lakes of China and the other informs readers about funeral rites. Together, they were bought by an unnamed buyer for €8.128 million including fees. Before the auction, they carried a price estimate of €5,000-€8,000.” Wait? What? How do you miss by like 1000x? Unknown secret treasure map? Money laundering?
At a re-opened amusement park in Japan, patrons, well..
At the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park recently, the chief executive and his corporate boss took a ride on the park’s No. 1 attraction, the Fujiyama roller coaster, and plunged 230 feet without so much as a peep. A video showed the two executives, both clad in masks, sternly riding the coaster in complete silence. It ended with a message: “Please scream inside your heart.”
Man, I’d love to go to Fuji-Q. The aforementioned Fujiyama was the tallest coaster in the world until (the world’s best coaster) Millennium Force surpassed it in 2000. Eejanaika is a 4D coaster, similar to X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain (which is a fun ride). Do-Dodonpa goes from 0 to over 100 mph in 1.6 seconds, fastest in the world. Takabisha has a 121 degree angle drop, which was steepest in the world when it was built. Yes, please.
Speaking of Japan, it’s time for an update on the baseball that actually /is/ going on right now. For the record, this was written on Wednesday so it might be a hair out of date but work with me here. I tried to include lots of links so you can find out various information about the leagues.
First, let’s start in Japan with the NPB. The Yakult Swallows will be the honorary Royals team for this league as both Nori Aoki and Alcides Escobar are current members. Rex Hudler (1993) and Aaron Guiel (2007-2011!) have played for the team. They won 4 Japan Series championships from 1993-2001 but haven’t won since. However, they did win a pennant in 2015. Yup, this is our team.
The team is currently in 3rd place in the Central League at 8-7-1, 2.5 GB of the league leading Yomiuri Giants. Speaking of which, those two teams play a 3 game series this weekend. Aoki is hitting .268/.369/.482 on the young season while Escobar is at .289/.360/.311. Their best hitter is Munetaka Murakami at .333/.449/.579. That’ll play.
Next up, time for the KBO. Back in May, we established the Hanwha Eagles were definitely the Royals doppelganger. Looking at ESPN’s broadcast schedule, we won’t be watching our Eagles this week on tv. I’m thinking ESPN may be giving up a bit as their last KBO Power Ranking was from a month ago. Let’s see how our Eagles were doing.
10. Hanwha Eagles: 9-27 (10) — On Sunday, Hanwha not only snapped its record-tying 18-game losing streak by winning the resumption of Saturday’s game against Doosan that was suspended in the third inning due to rain, it won the regularly scheduled game as well. Now the red-hot Eagles have the longest active winning streak in the league at two.
When Hanwha’s Tae-hyung No, a 25-year-old rookie, rapped a ninth-inning walk-off single Sunday, the Eagles and their fans — indeed all of KBO — rejoiced and breathed a sigh of relief. And add this to the list of differences between KBO and MLB: After breaking their 18-game losing streak, the Eagles apologized in a statement on their website. “Despite your loyal and unwavering support, our performance on the field has been a disappointment and we would like to apologize to all Eagles fans,” the statement read. “Even though we finally ended the slide today, we are extremely sorry that we haven’t lived up to our fans’ expectations.”
Double Oof. So it’s like watching the 2005 Royals. Since then, it’s not gotten much better. The Eagles are 14-41 and in last place. But, wait, the SK Wyverns are also bad, only 3 games ahead of our Eagles. And guess who is coming to Daejeon for a 3 game series this weekend?!?
Finally, my beloved CPBL. They’re almost done with the first half of the season and are now in the rain makeup games(yes, they build in time in the schedule for this). The Rakuten Monkeys started the season on such a blistering pace but the CTBC Brothers have run past them in the standings. It looks like the Brothers will likely win the 1st half and qualify for the postseason. The second half begins on July 24th. Chu Yu-Hsien, who started off the season with an insane 10 HR in his first 13 games has cooled off considerably. Last year, he set the CPBL half-season HR record with 22. A strong finish by either Su Chih-Chieh or Lin An-Ko on the Uni-Lions could topple that as they are both at 19.
For today’s Song of the Day, let’s revisit Star Fox on the SNES. We’ll look at the Black Hole stage, which for those who don’t remember, was basically a warp zone that was hard to find (unless you had Nintendo Power) and let you skip a couple of levels:
How much of the MLB season will be played in 2020?
This poll is closed
Won’t make it out of Summer Camp presented by Camping World
Less than three weeks
Half the regular season
Most of the regular season
All of the regular season but not full playoffs
All season and all playoffs