With baseball, um, lurching back, we’re starting to see some stories.
Let’s start out with a 4(!) pack from the KC Star from the last couple of days.
Lynn Worthy leads off with a long form story talking about race and the Royals:
A graduate of Junction City High School in Kansas who went on to play college baseball at Northwestern State University in Louisiana, Heath has learned from his own brushes with racial tension. One time he was called the N-word on a school bus and got into a fight that led to his suspension. As bad as that incident was, he then had to explain it to his mother.
As a college student he had a heated on-field exchange with a coach who addressed him as “boy” during practice. Heath’s emotions boiled over and he yelled at the coach. The two discussed the incident later and Heath said they grew closer because of it. The coach even reached out to him recently to check on his well-being in light of the nation’s recent turmoil.
“When I was younger, I used to handle it with aggression,” Heath said. “I’ll be open about that. But now that I’m older, I’m more so like, ‘Look man. You’ve got a lot of hate in your heart. If I can help you at all, let me know. But I’m not going to let you get me out of element because you’re expecting to see an angry Black dude.’”
He also lists 5 factors that will determine how the Royals season goes:
Salvy and Mondi
Multiple-time All-Star and Gold Glove-winning catcher Salvador Perez and budding five-too shortstop Adalberto Mondesi will both go into camp fully healthy after rehabbing from injuries that may have led to early restrictions in a normal 162-game season.
GM Dayton Moore and manager Mike Matheny have said that Perez, who’s coming off Tommy John surgery he underwent in March 2019, is in even better shape than he was during spring training in Arizona.
Pete Grathoff relives a favorite Bo Jackson home run from 30 years ago.
When Jackson stepped to the plate in the sixth inning, George Brett was at first base. Some of the 25,407 on hand booed Jackson. But the mood changed quickly:
Tigers announcers George Kell and Al Kaline had never seen a ball hit that far at what is now Kauffman Stadium, and they weren’t alone. I had never witnessed anyone hitting a baseball that far and I haven’t since.
He also talked about a Whit Merrifield interview and some of the changes they’re seeing due to COVID.
“The food room is shut down, you’ve got to sort of navigate differently, because you’ve got to keep space between everybody. My hangout was the training room. I’d go in and hang out with those guys and watch TV a little bit, get some treatment. Now it’s not a hangout. Now you only go there to get treatment. We’re talking about having to order food and then go pick it up like we’re ordering at our apartment.
Jeffrey Flanagan lists his “5 Royals players to watch in Summer Camp”. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHO IS #1! Actually, you will, since we’ve already mentioned him above. It’s Mondesi.
Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi
When Spring Training was suspended in March, Mondesi, coming off left shoulder surgery last fall, hadn’t even played in a Cactus League game. He was scheduled to make his first spring appearance the day camp was shut down. Though he was highly questionable for Opening Day, that subplot has changed since Mondesi has had 3 1/2 more months to heal.
Not 100% Royals related but interesting stuff in The Athletic (sub required):
At long last, the Royals — and Tigers (@CodyStavenhagen) — received the invite to the AL Central party.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) July 2, 2020
A round table with round table veterans @DanHayesMLB, @ZackMeisel & @JRFegan:https://t.co/7V8xTyUFFC
The crazy story of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton & other MLB stars and the underground sandlot games no one knew about.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) July 2, 2020
“We would’ve had 10,000 people there.”
For @TheAthletic: https://t.co/2VHpOQCp4T
I have not listened yet, but Royals HOF’er Mike Sweeney appeared on a podcast this past week.
Hey @royals fans, take a little time to enjoy this podcast about our own Mike Sweeney’s (@msween29) MLB beginnings with his “brother” @Sweendog9 & @mikepomeranz. https://t.co/1vyelFvlP3— Dave Holtzman (@DHoltzy) July 1, 2020
If you want to do some game threads, McCovey Chronicles is doing the 2014 World Series. They had Game 2 on Wednesday and should be doing Game 3 on Saturday, if I’m reading this right. They’ve only had 7 and 1 comments for the first two games, though.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak suspending the 2020 MLB season, we’re rewatching the three San Francisco Giants postseason runs, game-by-game, on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights at 6 p.m. PT, with a gamethread for each.
Also, because they keep confusing Yahoo and getting their stories put on Yahoo’s Royals page (STILL IN 1ST PLACE!), a shout out to the Billings Royals. They appear to be an American Legion team that is playing in the Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers Baseball Tournament. If I had told you that Max Keller, Brady Uhren, Aiden Montez, and Brenden Concepcion made the Royals 60 man taxi squad or whatever it’s called, would you have doubted me?
A trio of Royals blog posts:
- Royals Reporter asks “Can the Royals surprise the Cardinals and Cubs and shake up the top of the NL Central? (Interleague preview part 1)”?
- UL’s Toothpick continues his 1980 run
- And Royals Blue asks “Can Greg Holland return to form?”
And, to follow up from a story Max had yesterday, Rob Manfred had to walk back his comments that sounded a lot like “hey, it was only ever going to be a 60 game season”.
If you were looking forward to talking about the Battle of Adrianople in 324 A.D. or the extinction of the Great Auk today, I’m going to have to disappoint.
Wait? Seriously? Aside from having conflicting dates (June vs July) - what is wrong with people?
The last colony of great auks lived on Geirfuglasker (the “Great Auk Rock”) off Iceland. This islet was a volcanic rock surrounded by cliffs that made it inaccessible to humans, but in 1830, the islet submerged after a volcanic eruption, and the birds moved to the nearby island of Eldey, which was accessible from a single side. When the colony initially was discovered in 1835, nearly fifty birds were present. Museums, desiring the skins of the great auk for preservation and display, quickly began collecting birds from the colony. The last pair, found incubating an egg, was killed there on 3 June 1844, on request from a merchant who wanted specimens, with Jón Brandsson and Sigurður Ísleifsson strangling the adults and Ketill Ketilsson smashing the egg with his boot.
Great Auk specialist John Wolley interviewed the two men who killed the last birds, and Sigurður described the act as follows:
The rocks were covered with blackbirds [referring to Guillemots] and there were the Geirfugles ... They walked slowly. Jón Brandsson crept up with his arms open. The bird that Jón got went into a corner but [mine] was going to the edge of the cliff. It walked like a man ... but moved its feet quickly. [I] caught it close to the edge – a precipice many fathoms deep. Its wings lay close to the sides – not hanging out. I took him by the neck and he flapped his wings. He made no cry. I strangled him.
So like people knew there were very few left so we went and butchered the last of them? Um, good job, humanity!
Anyways, I was just going to do baseball birthdays. There are no Hall of Famers, but 4 players with career bWAR of 30+: Frank Tanana, Moises Alou, Nig Cuppy (I did not make this name up), and Greg Vaughn. Baseball stats from the 1800s are wild. Cuppy had 376 IP in his first season in 1892. That sounds like a lot, right? It doesn’t even make the top 10 for the season. A name we all know, Cy Young, was 5th with 453 IP. The league leader was Bill Hutchison of the Chicago Colts, who would eventually become the Chicago Cubs. He threw... 622 IP that year. 70 games with 67 CG. He went 36-36 with a 2.76 ERA. Game logs from this era would have been awesome. Like what happened in the 3 games (OUT OF 70!) that he didn’t finish? Also, Hutchison died in 1926 in Kansas City (but he’s buried in Connecticut - how do you get the body across country in those days before it gets to... you know, what? let’s just not think about this any more).
Royals birthday include Edinson Volquez. He will always have a special place in my heart for Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. After that, it’s Casey Coleman. If you’re looking for a “C C” clue on a Friday Sporkle about 2014 Royals you don’t remember - that’s probably him. And, in last place, with -3.5 career bWAR, Brandon Maurer. His 7.76 ERA was the best of the infamous BGM (?) bullpen trio from 2018.
I know I had promised an Asia baseball update but that’s going to have to wait until next week. CPBL, KBO, and NPB updates are coming. I promise! But I wanted to get to a new game today as I’ve been promising that for a while now, too, and we’re up over 1500 words already.
So, today’s “game” is a game I own (sort of) but have never played. For a long time, it was one of the most difficult games to track down for the Nintendo DS. Today’s game is Electoplankton.
It was shown at Nintendo’s E3 keynote in 2005. but was lost in the shuffle. Both Zelda: Twilight Princess and the Nintendo Revolution (eventually renamed Wii) were shown at length*. Speaking of which, if you can find a cartridge of the Twilight Princess trailer from the Nintendo E3 press kit, it can go for $1000 or more (not a misprint). It’s one of the more rare modern gaming collectibles.
But this little quirky game was also shown and got considerable time. For some reason that was never really was explained, it was sold online only and became quite the collectors item, as well (though prices have fallen since). Keep in mind, this was in 2005. Yes, Amazon existed and, yes, there was some E-commerce. But not like today. So it was rare to find a used copy at Gamestop and they wanted something obscene like $60+ for it for a long time.
As for the game itself, the player picks out one of 10 different plankton and just plays with it, making music. From IGN:
At the very least, the game does what it sets out trying to be: interactive art. The game looks beautiful and, depending on player input, sounds even better. It’s just like staring at a series of classic painting in a museum for hours: the enjoyment is simply appreciating the creator’s intentions. There are no set rules and no set challenge in any of these ten audio toys, other than to simply mellow out and give your ears and eyes something pleasant to hear and see. It’s a wonderful outlet for a player’s creative flow.
It looks fun but, sadly, you can’t actually save any of your projects so anything you make it just ethereal: here one minute and gone the next. Check it out: