Bobby Witt Jr. remembers sitting in classroom after classroom at Colleyville Heritage High School, listening intently to the question being asked while he racked his brain for an answer.
“What do you want to major in,” teachers and administrators would ask, “when you go to college?”
Witt Jr. didn’t have an answer. Most of the time, he’d make one up off the top of his head. There was only one major he was focused on, and it wasn’t a degree.
Draft news (of a sort):
Alex Gordon will represent the Royals at Sunday's MLB Draft in Denver, 16 years after being selected second overall.— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) July 8, 2021
Royals own the seventh pick. #Royals
Please view the image from the following Tweet with protective eyewear:
I ran across this on the Royals website. Royals doing a raffle called “Take Mike’s Toyota”, which benefits the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Pete Grathoff with a couple of little notes off of Wednesday’s game.
Bally’s has a broadcast glitch where they turned away from the game:
“Cable subscribers missed the end of yesterday’s game. It was the result of a technical error at our master control facility,” Bally Sports Kansas City said Thursday in a statement to The Star.
“What happened yesterday was unacceptable and we want to apologize to the Royals fans who missed the end of the broadcast. The issue has been resolved, and we’re taking steps to improve the overall response to any issues should they arise in the future.”
And Sonny Gray streaked to a retired batter streak:
In the fourth inning, the Royals had three hits and two walks, pushing the game’s first two runs across the plate. That’s when Gray took matters in his own hands. Gray left the dugout and went into the clubhouse, where he took off his clothes. Seriously.
“I came into the clubhouse, and I got completely naked, and I changed everything that I was wearing, except for my cleats, because I didn’t want to go out there in white cleats,” Gray said. “I had gray cleats on. So I just tried to cool off. I changed my jersey, my pants, my underwear and my socks. I guess that’s all I was wearing and just tried to like reset and start over. So, I don’t know. That is what I did, and maybe it worked.”
Getting naked apparently did the trick because Gray set down the next nine Royals he faced in order
Speaking of Wednesday’s game (and with copious apologies to both, but I’ve been wanting to make this joke for a while now), David Brown and Craig Lesky at Into the Crown and Inside the Fountains, respectively, each looked at Brady Singer’s start. I’ll let you pick which is which:
It’s been a bit of a trying year for Brady Singer. He started off with a rough start against the Rangers and then got on track for a bit before taking a line drive off his foot and being really hit or miss throughout the season. There have been some good outings, some bad ones and a whole lot in between. Oh yeah, and there was a shoulder issue thrown in that has limited his pitches and innings in recent games. But yesterday, he had a shot to give some innings because it’s his last start before the break, meaning he’d have at least eight days between starts (and probably nine or 10, depending on how the Royals want to line up when they get back to face Baltimore). So he was unleashed a bit.
Singer, as is typical, relied almost exclusively on his sinker/slider combo for most of the afternoon. He offered a four-seamer on five occasions. His changeup was thrown once. Singer was really locating his sinker well, working both sides of the dish. It was lively, as was his slider. When both those pitches are on, he’s tough. He got most of his called strikes in the lower regions of the zone and when he worked up, Reds batters weren’t able to hit him all that squarely. Only five of the 16 balls put in play had an exit velocity of 95 mph or above.
And how about some blog roundup?
- Mike Gillespie at KOK: MLB Draft 2021: What KC Royals fans need to know
- Also Mike (slideshow warning): MLB Draft: 3 catchers the KC Royals could consider
- Danielle Sachse at Inside the Royals: Royals Favorite Mike Moustakas Welcomed In His Return To Kansas City
- Christopher Tenpenny at Inside the Royals: The Kansas City Sellers: Who the Royals Should Trade this July
I thought we were done with our Asia baseball midseason look. However, there was some news this week.
The CPBL is going to resume play on July 13 after a 56-day pause due to COVID!
According to the league, the games will be played behind closed doors with no fans. All the players, coaches and staff will undergo coronavirus testing once a week. All the teams will be traveling in groups from hotel to stadium and back to the hotel again.
Here’s some select dates from CPBL Stats’s timeline to remind everyone how quickly the pandemic can escalate, even in a country that had contained it so well last year:
May 14: Taiwan reported 29 new domestic coronavirus cases
May 15: CDC increased the alert level in Taipei and New Taipei City to level 3. The CPBL postponed two games in Taipei City.
May 17: CPBL postponed the entire week of games from May 17 until May 24.
May 18: Taiwan reported 240 new domestic cases.
May 19: CDC raised the pandemic alert level to level 3 for the entire country. The CPBL postponed the 2021 season until further notice.
May 27: Taiwan reported 401 new domestic cases.
July 5: Taiwan reported 28 new domestic cases.
Things are on a less positive trajectory in Japan:
Fans were barred from the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics that will open in two weeks, following a state of emergency issued on Thursday.
The ban was announced by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers, reducing the games to a made-for-TV event. Although widely expected, the move marked a sharp turnabout from just weeks earlier, when Olympic organizers said they aimed to hold the games with limited spectators.
Speaking of Japan, in talking about the NPB last week, I linked to the For the Fans Network, which shows a free NPB game every day at 4PM Royals time. It’s stuffed between things like minor league MMA, college rugby, the Simulation Football League, an American Ninja Warrior knock off, and pickleball.
I remembered to catch a game this week between the Rakuten Eagles and the Orix Buffaloes and enjoyed what I saw. The booth is in English and there are no commercials, but there are commercial breaks with music. The games last 2 hours and they don’t show all of the innings (“due to time constraints, we now move ahead in the action”). But, honestly, it’s more fun to watch that way as I’m not really invested in the teams.
Lastly, Justin Choi just published his June KBO update at Fangraphs. Of note:
- “The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo take place this month, which means the KBO will be on hiatus from July 19 to August 9.”
- Former Royal Mike Montgomery replaced... former Royal Ben Lively as a foreign player on the Samsung Lions
- Below is his capsule for our rooting interest, the last place Hanwha Eagles:
Woo-ram Jung 정우람, the Eagles’ legendary closer whose achievements rival those of Seunghwan Oh 오승환, broke the KBO record for most career games (902) last month. He’s still chugging along, extending his own record to 905 games with a scoreless inning on July 7.
The replacement bug also bit the Eagles, who parted ways with Ryon Healy and swiftly signed Hernán Pérez to a deal. During the offseason, I remember thinking to myself that Healy would either hit 40 home runs or strike out 150 times – boom or bust. He did neither, instead swinging a mediocre bat (86 wRC+) that lasted him through 67 games. Now in comes Pérez. My guess is that the Eagles are shooting for defensive versatility with Pérez rather than offensive output. It’s a fine decision, one that could complement Carlos Subero’s penchant for infield shifts.
In other news, the Eagles traded for Lions infielder Sung-kon Lee 이성곤 on June 25. It’s a minor transaction, but this article detailing how the Eagles front office explained its decision to Subero that caught my attention. GM Min-cheul Jung reportedly used metrics such as exit velocity and barrel rate in his presentation, which a few years ago would have been unthinkable in the KBO. Lee will get reps at first base due to Healy’s departure; I’m curious to see how his underlying data translates into on-field results.
Today’s song is from Guitar Hero Smash Hits (which was basically a “greatest hits” of GH1-3):
*and brought to you by the “is anyone even paying attention at this point” commission