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Royals Rumblings - News for June 19, 2021

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Happy Juneteenth, everyone!

A flag in recognition of Juneteenth is flown over Fenway Park in 2020 while baseball was suspended.
A flag in recognition of Juneteenth is flown over Fenway Park in 2020 while baseball was suspended.
Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Song of the Day

Bugsnax was one of the first launch titles announced for the PlayStation 5 when it was officially unveiled. It quickly got strong word-of-mouth advertising on its wild premise, as described in the chorus of the theme song:

Kinda bug and kinda snack
Try to catch ‘em in your trap
Feed somebody and you’ll see
We are whatever we eat

In the trailers, you witness a “Grumpus” - the Muppet-like denizens of whatever world this game is set on - eating a Strawby - the colorful critter in the music video above - and instantly, their hand is replaced with a strawberry. It’s goofy, it’s colorful, and I found it all a bit disturbing. I like my hands to remain hand-shaped, thanks very much.

The game seemed intended solely to profit off of its memeability, but the reality is that while the premise is entirely bonkers, the developers actually use it to tell an emotional story with plenty of depth about a far more diverse cast of characters than you will usually find in a video game. It’s available on PS4, PS5, PC, and Mac. If you’ve any interest in diverse story-telling, relaxing adventure games, or extreme bizarreness, I highly recommend it.

On to the Rumblings...

The Royals Major League bats may be having trouble scoring runs, but the prospects in Class A are seeing no such difficulty. They scored 12 runs in the first inning of a game on Thursday.

Over at Kings of Kauffman, Mike Gillespie waxed eloquent about the 1970 Royals in recognition of today’s planned giveaway of replicas away jerseys from that season.

Sam Leweck of The Cold Wire writes about two veterans he feels the Royals must trade this season. The biggest surprise for me is that Jorge Soler is not one of them.

Duffy, who is a free agent after the season, got off to an outstanding start this year.

Then, on May 17, he landed on the injured list with a left flexor forearm strain.

That’s a massive red flag, as injures of that nature often indicate that Tommy John surgery will be needed

David Lesky answered many fan questions at his excellent - and still free - newsletter, Inside the Crown. Of particular interest was a list of candidates who could replace Cal Eldred should the embattled coach get fired:

Ruben Niebla - This is my top choice. He’s currently the Indians assistant pitching coach and you know what their staff is like. My thought process here is that maybe he has a relationship with Sherman from his time in Cleveland. But even if he doesn’t, this is a guy who fascinates me. I actually heard him on MLB Network Radio a few weeks ago and just the way he talks about pitching is something that I really enjoyed. He doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach and understands different styles of pitching to be able to work with a diverse staff.

Sam Mellinger interviews villain-of-the-hour Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred. If Cal answers the pitchers’ questions the same way he answers Sam’s, I think I might see how there could be a problem.

So, the question: To what level have the struggles of top pitching prospects Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar surprised you and underperformed your expectations?

Eldred’s answer: “Well, you’re part of the media, aren’t you the expectation gurus? You guys, the media may have their expectations, the fans have them, we do as coaches, and they do as players. They’re dealing with that. But I think it goes back to — more than thinking about the numbers, more than thinking about the wins and losses — it goes really to simplify it down to making quality pitches.

“That sounds really simple. It’s not easy to do on a consistent basis, wherever you are, and if we can keep that the focus then there’s some people’s expectations that these kids will never reach because they’re probably unrealistic. But these young pitchers, to a certain extent, the sky is the limit.”

Other news

If you’re not sure what this new federal holiday, Juneteenth, is all about, check out this article from Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the PBS website.

One writer lost his Fantasy Football League, and his punishment was to remain at a local Waffle House for 24 hours. I imagine he has many regrets.

If you are a regular reader of Hok Talk, you know that my soapbox topic of choice for the past few weeks has been the conflict between tennis superstar Naomi Osaka and nearly everyone else in tennis and members of the sports media. Earlier this week, I finally caught up to what KC Star columnist Sam Mellinger had written on the subject and created a tweet thread arguing with him. What ensued was an interesting discussion; I still can't entirely agree with Sam, but he’s got a better point than I think he described in his Mellinger Minutes. Here’s the first tweet in the thread: