Ready for the second half?!? How about a series against the Orioles?! The trade deadline a couple of weeks away?
Let’s start out with some Alec Lewis
"As long as I feel good about our people and processes and systems for getting better in the future, I try to make sure I stay balanced and focused on that."— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) July 15, 2021
A conversation with Royals owner John Sherman, via @alec_lewis ⤵️ https://t.co/ZrwxCDi5VM
We can also use an Alec tweet to segue us to this Dan Szymborski (Szymborski! Szymborski!) article about ZIPS’s biggest misses this season.
It's just wild that, per @DSzymborski, two of the four hitters who have most underperformed their projections are middle-of-the-lineup Royals.https://t.co/sxq5jL3DJm— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) July 15, 2021
Here’s a couple of “In case you missed it” articles about the All-Star Game.
Lynn Worthy at the KC Star chronicles the night for Salvy and Whit, as well as Swanee:
The FOX broadcast recognized longtime Royals public relations executive Mike Swanson during the top of the sixth inning. Last month, Swanson, the club’s vice president of communications and broadcasting, announced plans to retire at the end of the season.
The broadcast showed a collage of photos of memorable moments from Swanson’s career, as well as a photo of him with his wife Renee and their daughter Rachel and the message “Congratulations on Retirement!”
From Pete Grathoff (also Star, of course): Despite a bad baseball team and only having two players in the contest, Kansas City had some of the highest ratings.
Kansas City, however, was third with a 9.7 rating and 19 share. That trailed only San Diego (12.2/28) and Cincinnati (11.3/23). Denver (9.6/22) was fourth, followed by Cleveland (9.1/18).
Anne Rogers at MLB.com interviewed Salvy and asked him about, who else, Shohei Ohtani:
“It’s better to catch him rather than face him,” Perez said with a laugh. “He’s one of the best players in the league right now. You guys see what he’s doing. Hits homers, he’s going to steal bases, the way he pitches — slider, curveball, split-finger — everything for strikes. It’s like a dream for me to catch him. Hopefully we’ve got more opportunities in the All-Star Game to do that.”
We might have joked in the ASG thread about Salvy not understanding what to do when pitchers actually hit his glove where he sets it.
I’m not a big bobblehead person but I have to admit the Royals did well this year between the Soler power one, the Whit hit counter, and the Bull-Dozier one:
Get your Bull-Dozier bobble Saturday night at #TheK.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 15, 2021
At Inside the Crown, David Lesky uses the break to take a step back and look at the good and bad of the first half.
The Back of the Bullpen - It’s really easy to scoff at this after the last week with the guys wearing down and blowing a bunch of leads and giving up a lot, but even with that, the quartet of Scott Barlow, Jake Brentz, Josh Staumont and Kyle Zimmer has been good this year. Of course, they’ve walked too many, but they’re part of the Royals, so you really would expect that. But the 3.25 ERA for the four of them is solid, if not as good as it was even two weeks before. That number was 2.57 before the start of July. It might seem odd to talk about them as a positive when they’ve seen their ERA balloon in just a handful of games like that, but they’ve actually been really good this season.
As is now custom, Colby Wilson does the lion’s share of Into the Fountains on Thursdays, taking over for Craig Brown. Among other things, he advocates for Denver to permanently get the All-Star Game:
I’ve now seen the All-Star festivities pass through Colorado twice and both times the event surpassed expectations. The thin air against the league’s best pitchers, one of America’s most well-considered ballparks, an easily-accessible city from both coasts and one that offers both family-friendly fun and… other types of entertainment as well. I love Denver. I want you to love Denver too.
After a little bit of a break, Kevin O’Brien is back at The Royals Reporter. He talks about three players to watch in the second half, including the man-bun:
In June, while his ERA over the month wasn’t bad, he gave up two home runs and walked four in seven appearances. He ended up hitting the 10-Day IL due to a knee issue, but the decline in fastball velocity was probably the most alarming sign. Between June 6th and June 8th, according to Statcast game log data, Staumont was only pumping fastballs in the 94-95 MPH range, a far cry from the 100+ MPH ones he was throwing with regularity back in 2020. Thus, it’s not a surprise that with his inconsistent fastball velocity, Staumont has struggled the past few months, and that was even evident in the month of July, as he has posted a 7.36 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in four appearances, one of his worst months yet this year.
At Royals Farm Report, Alex Duvall looks at the hot hitters in the Royals system:
MJ Melendez, C - I’m pretty sure Melendez is ready for the jump to AAA Omaha, but I would understand if he finishes out the year in NWA as well. Melendez’ turn around this summer has been incredible to watch. He’s striking out in just 21.4% of his PA which is by far the lowest number of his career. Hell, it’s the first time he’s been below 30%, and this is his fourth professional season. From June 13th through July 13th, Melendez hit .283/.374/.585/.959 with a 0.65 BB/K ratio and 152 wRC+. His K% across 123 PA was just 18.7%. He went 2-4 with 0 K last night. His hit tool has been remarkably better than year’s past. He’s still been a very good defender behind home plate. He’s got a little bit of a logjam ahead of him, as I imagine Sebastian Rivero will be back with the team on Friday (and Meibrys Viloria and Nick Dini are already there), so I don’t know how the Royals would feel about moving all of these guys around all at once, but MJ is definitely as deserving of a promotion as Nick Pratto. He just has a tougher road ahead of him as well.
A bit of a news dump day around the MLB. Let’s start with the bad and work our way towards the good.
Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended through at least July 27th:
His leave will now extend beyond the scheduled July 23 hearing over the temporary ex parte restraining order, when he is expected to contest the allegations. MLB is presumably waiting for more information on the case before making a firm decision on any potential league discipline. Bauer has not been charged with a crime as law enforcement officials continue to investigate the allegations. Bauer continues to collect his salary of roughly $1.5 million per week while on leave. He would not necessarily be paid in the case of a suspension.
Yesterday, MLB cleared the schedule so that there was only one game between... (who else?) ...the Yankees and Red Sox, of course. However, it was postponed due to a COVID situation with New York.
Shortly after the announcement, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman revealed that three players have tested positive for COVID-19. The trio—pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes and Wandy Peralta—have all already been placed on the COVID-19 injured list and have all previously been vaccinated. Cashman added that at least three other members of the player population have pending COVID-19 tests, meaning the number of positive cases could continue to rise. The status of Friday’s game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium is currently up in the air, per Cashman. Results of pending tests will play a role in deciding whether or not an additional game will be postponed.
I thought we were done talking Asia baseball after last week. As we mentioned, the CPBL started back up on the 13th. Unfortunately, the KBO has suspended play for the week due to a COVID outbreak.
The KBO will go on a Tokyo Olympic break from next Monday to Aug. 9. This means teams will miss one week of actual play because of the suspension. There have been five reported cases of COVID-19 involving two clubs, the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears, since Friday, causing multiple games to be canceled over the weekend. The KBO first canceled two games on Thursday, after a guest at a Seoul hotel used by the Dinos and the Hanwha Eagles during their road trips tested positive for COVID-19.
In positive COVID developments, the Blue Jays are working towards returning to Toronto:
“So I can’t give you a date in terms of when a possible decision would be made for the NIE or national interest exemption, but I would say that in terms of the discussions from a public health perspective, they’ve been going very well.”
A team spokesperson said the club continues to work with the federal government toward a July 30 return. The Blue Jays open a three-game series against Kansas City on that date. The venue is listed as “TBD” on the Major League Baseball website. If the Blue Jays are not given an exemption for the 10-game homestand July 30, the next homestand begins Aug. 20.
Next week, an all-female crew will call the Orioles-Rays game:
According to a report by the New York Times, five women will serve as the on-air broadcast team a game between the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays on July 20, marking the first time an all-women team has handled the entire broadcast for a Major League game.
Orioles radio play-by-play announcer Melanie Newman will be on the call for the game, with MLB.com writer Sarah Langs serving as the color analyst. Alana Rizzo will be the on-field reporter, with Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner anchoring both pre and post-game coverage.
Finally, in uniform news, the Mets are bringing back their black jerseys.
The Mets last wore a home black jersey in July 2012 during an 8-5 defeat to the Dodgers that included R.A. Dickey’s first relief appearance in 10 years. It was New York’s eighth loss in nine games. Memorable Mets games in black jerseys include: Bobby Valentine returning to the dugout with eyeglasses and a fake mustache of eye black following an ejection on June 9, 1999, against Toronto; Robin Ventura’s game-ending grand slam single in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series against Atlanta that Oct. 17; and David Wright’s first major league home run, against Montreal on July 26, 2004.
ROYALS, GET ON THIS:
Ok, let’s go back to that Bobby Valentine game. Everyone remember that? The basics were that Mets manager Bobby Valentine was ejected in the 12th inning of a game against the Blue Jays back in 1999.
Pat Mahomes was pitching. Hmm... I wonder if he’s any relation to the Chiefs QB. Nah, we’d probably have heard about it if he was.
Pat Mahomes, one of my best athletes, was on the mound — he was 8-0 for me in 1999. I called the pitchout because of his big leg kick.
On the pitchout, the ump ruled catcher’s interference on Piazza for going too far in front of the plate to catch the pitch. Valentine came out to argue and was subsequently ejected.
Well, I went up into the clubhouse and two of my favorites, Orel Hershiser and Robin Ventura, asked me what the heck I was doing up in the clubhouse when I was needed down in the dugout. I said, “I can’t go down there.” Robin threw me a hat, Orel threw me some sunglasses and said, “Just put these things on, take off your uniform and go down to the dugout.” And I said, “Guys, it’s a night game. I can’t wear sunglasses down in the dugout.”
He went back into the dugout. However, the Mets broadcast showed him almost immediately.
No, that wasn’t the reincarnation of Groucho Marx — it was Bobby V. The Mets’ announcers couldn’t hold back their laughter as they accidentally exposed him. The skipper’s disguise was the talk of the town the next day, though he initially denied that it was him. Regardless, the league wasn’t amused. Valentine was fined $5,000 and suspended two games.
I guess it worked: the Mets won the game, nudging themselves to 3 games above .500. But they’d play better the rest of the season, making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
We’re already at over 2000 words and I know the release of Skyward Sword HD is today but, truth be told, I never played the original so I don’t have much to add. But if you do- please, share. I never got around to playing it and, like so many others, I probably should.
How about today we take a look at the 2010 E3 where it was announced? This was Nintendo near the peak of their post-resurrection powers. Miyamoto spent the first 20 minutes playing the Skyward Sword demo. Reggie had a bit of a satisfied, smug air talking about Nintendo’s blue ocean strategy of gaming for everyone, which he was scoffed about a few years previous. Only now, the Wii was flying off of retail shelves, en route to a dominating seventh generation victory. And then Iwata walked out to a smoky obelisk, where he revealed the Nintendo 3DS and it’s amazing 3D screen which required no glasses (and the return of Kid Icarus).