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Royals Rumblings - News for September 18, 2020

Only 10 games left in the season. Wait - didn’t it just start?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers
Safety first
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Without a game yesterday, kindof a short Rumblings today.

In a story from Lynn Worthy at the Star, Salvy is so lovably optimistic:

When asked by The Star if there’s significant carryover effect to a strong finish to this season, Perez beckoned to the season leading up to their back-to-back World Series runs. “I feel like we’re in 2013 right now,” Perez said.

Brady Singer missed an immaculate inning by one pitch on Wednesday.

Singer got two quick strikes on Cabrera, who then fouled off a pitch. The next pitch caught Cabrera looking. Ten pitches, three strikeouts and very nearly an immaculate inning

There are some fun auction items in the Royals Charities Broadcast Auction. The idea is to have ten Royals (including front office and mascot) and put together a collection of their “favorite things”. Alex Gordon’s includes an ice pack (no joke), sugar free gum, and an autographed baseball. Scott Barlow has fishing stuff in his basket. Dayton Moore’s has copies of The Natural, a bottle of wine, and a couple of former Atlanta Braves pitching prospects.

Here’s your daily dose of The Athletic.

I couldn’t decide which Tweet of Andy McCullough’s to use from story where former Royals beat writer interviews former Royal Liam Hendriks.

His other tweet had the quote, talking about a young Hendricks leaving home to play baseball abroad: “I was taking it like Frodo Baggins: I’m on an adventure.”

Just a couple of blog posts so I’ll highlight each.

As mentioned last week (?), Royals Reporter does some great articles. Kevin O’Brien (no relation to RR Kevins) asks “Will the Royals shake up the coaching staff this off-season?

Despite this improvement, Royals fans have to wonder if Bradhaw has been responsible for this development at the plate, or if there are other factors in play. Over the past couple of seasons, the Royals have seen the growth and development of many Latin American hitters in Kansas City. Jorge Soler hit 49 home runs in 2019, and became one of the better (and strongest) designated hitters in the American League this year and last. Maikel Franco and Salvador Perez have enjoyed bounce back seasons in Kansas City after lost seasons in 2019 due to ineffectiveness and injury. However, while those hitters have seen improvement since 2019, it hasn’t been Bradshaw who has been credited for their resurgence.

Instead, that credit has gone to Mike Tosar, who was recently hired as a special assignments hitting instructor in January of 2020. All three players have gone to Tosar for instruction in Miami in the off-season and have seen monumental gains after seeing Tosar. And thus, with shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and perhaps minor league outfielder and former top prospect Seuly Matias in need of his services this Winter, it would make sense for the Royals to bring Tosar on to the Major League staff as a regular coach.

And U.L.’s Toothpick covers a very newsworthy day from 1980 where the Royals clinched the AL West crown, George Brett (.396/.462/.664) returned from the DL, and this happened:

Between games, the crowd of 25,908 got a special treat. A group of fans paraded through the lower deck while carrying Yankees pennants. That brought some loud boos, but those changed to cheers when another fan grabbed one of the pennants and set it on fire.

Imagine that happening in a stadium today. Hah!

Let’s look around the MLB:

One night after the Dodgers clinched the first playoff berth of 2020, the White Sox qualified for their first playoffs since 2008.

Josh Donaldson got ejected after hitting a home run.

Rangers announcer C.J. Nitkowski tested positive for COVID.

The father of one of the Parkland shooting victims is placing cardboard cutouts of his baseball fan son in stadiums around the country:

Joaquin Oliver was one of the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018. Before the shooting, Joaquin and his father, Manny, had started touring ballparks and visited Detroit, New York and Boston. Now that tour continues. Oliver, who runs Change the Ref with his wife Patricia to battle gun violence, is working with advertising agency MullenLowe to put cardboard cutouts of Joaquin in 14 ballparks around the country.

Sometime this weekend, we’re going to surpass 200K deaths in the United States from COVID. And, as always, there’s this difficulty of balancing the urgency of the situation with our desire for normalcy and the mental health of that.

I have to admit, I feel a bit ooky writing about sports. I want things to be normal but I know things are /not/ normal. And I do feel like pretending things are normal when they are not causes people to do things they should not. We want to pretend that it’s NFL season and school is starting up and putting a bunch of people together in close contact during a pandemic won’t result in bad things. But any of us could have easily predicted this headline from the Kansas City Health Department yesterday: “Fan at Sept. 10 Chiefs’ game tests positive for COVID-19; contacts quarantine”.

It gets even more complicated when we’re talking about college sports where’s a huge power asymmetry and players who aren’t even paid (but, yes, are compensated). Or, as Ray Ratto wrote yesterday, at the real Deadspin’s new home, Defector:

Because it serves as yet one more reminder that we have clearly prioritized our own selfish entertainment ahead of the well-being of even our entertainers. And don’t even start with the invertebrate greedwhores who run the Big 10 Conference’s 14 schools

This is all a long way to say “it’s odd (and conflicting) to say, but it’s football season”. As I said the last time we talked about the show/game, “I’m also going to use this as my license to use more NFL Primetime music in the future”. As I mentioned at the time, the music for the show has its own following, evidenced by its wikipedia page having a section specifically devoted to the music. NFL Primetime, also awesomely returned last year to ESPN+, and has continued into this season (though, the incomparable Tom Jackson opted out over COVID concerns).

Let’s go with the most iconic song to come from the show, International Statement: