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Royals Rumblings - News for October 15, 2021

Mixed bag today: lots of good Royals blog stuff, finish up the Wizarding world movies, and a random music OT

News: Las Vegas Shut Down
I should have just gone with another Salvy pic this week

After fumbling through an entire season without streaming, Bally’s may not have one next year, either:

According to the Sports Business Journal, Manfred said Sinclair does not have digital rights from enough clubs to have a viable direct-to-consumer app.

“The other set of rights they’ve talked a lot about is gambling rights, they don’t have those either ...,” Manfred said. “We’ve been very clear with them from the beginning that we see both those sets of rights as extraordinarily valuable to baseball, and we’re not just going to throw them in to help Sinclair out.”

Sinclair’s long-range plan is to one day allow fans to bet on the games they’re watching, but that also appears to be nowhere near to becoming a reality.

To say nothing about parent company Diamond Sports Group’s potential bankruptcy problems.

Fangraphs posts MLB job postings for statistically-inclined jobs. The Royals are looking for a “Senior Researcher, Baseball Research & Development”:


Leverage statistical learning techniques to improve player evaluation and forecasting

Develop novel research ideas and work with other members of baseball operations to cultivate curiosity regarding baseball data

Implement project management best practices and mentor other analysts throughout the research and modeling phases of projects

Evaluate existing infrastructure for continual improvements and codebase maintenance

Communicate R&D products to non-technical stakeholders and utilize their feedback to improve and iterate on tools

They do not currently have anyone with that title. However, it’s kindof fun to look through the list of people and titles listed on the Royals Front Office page.

Not much on the “official” front but got a lot of good Royals blog content from some of my favorite sites (oh, and David and Craig, too - I kid, I kid) so all the Royals stuff all gets smushed together.

At Inside the Crown, David Lesky looks at arbitration eligible trade targets:

Now, based on some conversations I haven’t had this year but did have last year, I believe the front office would be willing to go to as high as roughly $110 million on their payroll for 2022. That leaves a bit under $35 million to fill 27 spots on the 40-man roster. I think it’s safe to assume that there will be at least 19 of the current additional 25 that I have on my spreadsheet as part of the 40-man, so add in their $11.4 million estimated and we’re sitting at $86.6 million. Obviously, some of those pre-arb players could move in a trade, so that part is flexible....

So that brings us to the trade market. And while there are a lot of possibilities out there, I want to focus on arbitration-eligible players based on the MLBTR list that I talked about so long ago that you probably have to scroll twice to see. To find matches there, you need to find a team that may not be willing to pay a high price for a player or a team that may not be willing to pay a high price for any player.

Craig with some quick hits at Into the Fountains including this one:

One number that I wanted to work into Wednesday’s edition but did not, was something about the Royals bringing home a runner from third with less than two outs. It’s not a repeatable skill or anything like that—more “clutch” than anything I suppose—but it still always interests me to see who comes through in that situation.

So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Whit Merrifield was the guy you wanted up in that situation. He scored the runner from third with less than two outs almost 66 percent of the time. League average was right around 50 percent. In a smaller sample, you’d probably be fine with Ryan O’Hearn up. Really! He came through seven out of 10 times with a runner on third and less than two outs.

On the other side, Hunter Dozier really struggled in this situation. (Although that could be said about all situations for Dozier in 2021.) He brought the runner home just 42 percent of the time with less than two outs. You may be surprised that Salvador Perez also was below league average in this category, with a 44 percent success rate. And he was tied for the team lead with Carlos Santana with 43 opportunities. Had Perez been slightly above league average, he could’ve finished with a cool 125 RBI.

Of course Alex Duvall and Royals Farm Report would be all over the Arizona Fall League. Everyone wrote about Asa Lacy’s outing, so let’s see what he wrote about another player:

Seuly Matias has a monumental fall ahead of him. He’s Rule 5 eligible this offseason and hasn’t really given the front office much reason to protect him to date. He’s had an awful time staying healthy and we all know about the strikeout issues. The power is still insane, borderline 80-grade raw power, and there is certainly room on an MLB roster for Seuly if he can keep his K% under ~35% at the big league level. Whether or not he’s able to do that remains to be seen, but the Royals will need to take a long look at him this fall to determine his standing in the organization as we approach the Rule 5 Draft. I mentioned on the RFR Podcast recently that if Seuly can bop 4-5 HR this fall and keep his K% under 30%, I’ll consider it a massive victory and deserving of strong 40-man roster protection consideration. He’s off to a good start after his first game.

Darin Watson at U.L.’s Toothpick with his monthly post, this one about the “All-’Deadball’ Royals”. It includes a Nicky Lopez photo from Minda and a Nori Aoki GIF (you know the one).

Lopez did make me start pondering how many other Royals had what would be considered a successful season while not hitting many home runs. Since he finished the season with those two dingers, I decided I would make that the limiting factor, although I wanted to find players who played as close to a full season as possible.

Sorry, Kevin. You know I love your site and the Royalty Awards are fun. But, this? This is your best concession in Kauffman for the year? (Ed note: I have never tried them but food lists are great for stirring up controversy so I’m running with it - we had, what, 40-something comments yesterday?)

Concession Item of the Year: Chickie’s and Pete’s “Crab Fries”

As stated before with the “Gordo Golden Ale”, I enjoy concession items that fans can only get at Kauffman Stadium. Chickie’s and Pete’s is a national brand, based primarily out of Philadelphia and is widespread across the East Coast. That being said, they have made their presence known since 2019 at Kauffman Stadium, and their standout item, the “Crab Fries,” really stands out as the best concession item overall at the K in 2021.

First off, the “Crab Fries” are unique, especially for an area of the country that is not as “familiar” with crab boils and feeds, which are much more prevalent in the West and East Coast. Now, what makes it “Crab” fries is that the fries are dusted with Old Bay seasoning, which is the seasoning of choice for steamed Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, which are widely available in the East Coast, especially Philly and Baltimore. The crinkle cut fries are hot and crisp, and seasoned generously with that wonderful spicy magic dust. And to top it all off, Chickie and Pete’s gives you a side of cheese sauce for dipping.

Finally, some quick hitters:

There was a big game last night: NLDS Game 5 between two of baseball’s biggest rivals, both of whom won over 100 games. Rumblings was written before that game was concluded. I think you can find out what happened without my help.

Despite making the playoffs in all three of his seasons, the Cardinals fired manager Mike Shildt:

Cardinals president John Mozeliak said the firing was “something that popped up recently,” but he refused to expand on what he called “philosophical differences” between Shildt, the coaching staff and the front office.

“All I can say is where we felt the team was going, we were struggling to get on the same page,” Mozeliak said. “With him having one year remaining on his contract, we could have gone into 2022 having that over him and we just decided that internally it would be best to separate now and take a fresh look as we head into a new season.”

...Mozeliak met with Shildt and the rest of the coaching staff Friday, but the two did not meet again until Mozeliak informed Shildt of his firing. When asked about the manager’s response, Mozeliak replied: “He was very shocked.”

Tony La Russa is reported to return next year to manage the White Sox.

La Russa’s future was a bit of a question after the White Sox’s season ended Tuesday. He said afterward it’s up to management first and then the players. If they want him back, then “you check and see whether you got the desire to continue to manage, so I do,” he said.

The Yankees shed some of the coaching staff and, while it appears they prefer manager Aaron Boone to return, it’s unknown “how Boone will respond to the dismissal of some on his coaching staff”:

The fallout from the Yankees’ disappointing 2021 season has started, as New York will not renew the contracts of hitting coach Marcus Thames and third-base coach Phil Nevin, sources have confirmed to ESPN. The Yankees also are expected to not renew the deal of assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Last week, I mentioned we might hit up the Fantastic Beasts movies but just ran out of characters so let’s do that now.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) - I’m really glad they found a way to revisit this universe as, pardon the pun, there is something magical about it. However, this series has got some real challenges. I don’t think Newt Scamander, as played by Eddie Redmayne and as written by J.K. Rowling, can carry this series. He’s not as compelling or likeable as he needs to be. Unfortunately, the supporting cast just isn’t as good - Tina is forgettable while Queenie and Kowalski (Fogel is so fun, though) are cute, but clearly secondary characters. And there’s not much else to work with. John Voight’s plot is a throwaway for this movie as are the Second Salemers. Ezra Miller, who we’ve seen be quite fun as the Flash, is constrained by the drab Credence. And Colin Farrell is replaced at the end of the movie. Never mind Dumbledore, who will be in the next movie, but where are the Rickmans, Smiths, and Coltranes to follow us through this series? The weird analogy that pops into my head is that this is “The Legend of Korra” to Harry Potter’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. It’s a followup to a hugely successful franchise with big shoes to fill. There appear to be some good pieces put into place like a fun Roaring 20s setting, some established characters to expand on, and some lore to explore. The first outing is imperfect but shows some promise even if it spends way too much time doing the cliche “New York as a character” thing while chasing yet another fantastic beast but not moving the plot. But I’m just not sure if there’s another full story to tell.

I posted this review back in 2020 of the second movie:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) - I didn’t really appreciate Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander in the first movie but it grew on me here. Unfortunately, the rest of the quartet takes a bit of a step back from the first movie: Dan Fogler’s Jacob gets forced into a lot of buddy comedy and he’s not as fun as in the first movie where he stole the show, Katherine Waterson’s Tina keeps coming off as wooden, and Alison Sudol’s Queenie feels out of character the whole movie (writing problem not acting problem, though, I think). Jude Law owns the Dumbledore role and Johnny Depp hams up Grindelwald so they play off each other brilliantly. I /like/ movies with exposition and character development but the plot moved slower than it should have with lots of mostly uninteresting digressions. It’s probably the weakest outing in the entire Wizarding World series and showed with both the lowest critical reception and box office take in the series. The third movie is being made but it was pushed back a year and if they have another outing like this, I’m not sure there will be any subsequent movies.

I’m just not sure they (Rowling, director David Yates, writer/producer Steve Kloves, and producer David Heyman) know where this is going. From the very first moment of the very first book and movie, Harry was on a collision course with Voldemort. In this one, I think it’s Dumbledore is after Grindlewald but Scamander is the main character. And there’s the a real creative difficulty of making Grindlewald and Voldemort seem like different characters and different kinds of threats.

I was going to add in another couple of movies but we’re already over 2000 words this week so we’ll save that for another week. It’ll be a long offseason.

Speaking of over 2000 words, let’s revisit Donkey Konga. The B-52’s Rock Lobster is already a weird song, so why not bathe in its bongo drum glory:

How about a random musical-themed OT idea? Anyone up for trying to create a rock “road trip” playlist? I’ll throw out some random musings to get us started and see if anyone wants to play along at home. Any song on the list has to be something you can listen to while driving on the highway - so mostly songs that are fast with good guitar and rhythm. I think something driving themed in the song helps. I mean, it doesn’t have to be as on the nose as “I Can’t Drive 55”, “Born To Be Wild”, or “Highway to Hell” (though those rightfully make a lot of lists). But I saw, for instance, “Enter Sandman” on a number of lists and I don’t see that as good a candidate as a song I didn’t see on many lists like “Runnin’ Down a Dream”. I think locations could make the list, so long as the music fits - I dunno, something like “China Grove” or “Sweet Home Alabama”. “Welcome to the Jungle” also feels like it could fit that bill. Any thoughts, RR musical minds?