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Royals Rumblings - News for August 13, 2021

Oh no! It’s Friday the 13th! If the Royals lose today... they could find themselves 18.5 GB instead of 17.5 GB

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MLB at Field of Dreams - Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees
Field of Dreams game was good stuff
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Let’s start with a national article. Carmen Ciardiello at Fangraphs asked “How Real is Nicky Lopez’s Batting Line?”

Part of Lopez’s success is a result of his career-high BABIP, which currently resides at .328 after just a .269 mark in 2019-20. His plus sprint speed (77th percentile in 2021) will help prop up this value more than his batted ball quality would indicate, but I would still expect some regression in this department going forward (as do our Depth Charts projections, pegging him for .297 the rest of the way). Clearly, he is hitting over of his skis thus far, but the types of players who have been comparable to him in the past have been much better than the 55 wRC+ Lopez displayed in 2019-20. An 84 wRC+ would not make Lopez a viable regular, even with elite defense at shortstop or second, but it would make him an extremely useful bench piece going forward.

With Salvy hitting the 10 year mark earlier this week, The Star’s Pete Grathoff looked back at how it all started:

“I was so excited that I don’t know what I did at that moment,” Perez said. “But after that, I didn’t talk for two hours. I just sat in front of my locker. Everybody came by and asked, ‘Are you OK?’ I couldn’t say anything.”

Anne Rogers profiled Kasey Kalich, the prospect the Royals received in the Jorge Soler trade:

The Royals were high on Kalich out of Texas A&M in ’19, which is why they were so excited to land the power right-hander, who projects as a back-end bullpen piece on a Major League staff one day. Since Kalich became a Royal, he’s been acclimating to High-A Quad Cities, where he was reunited with his former teammate, Asa Lacy, for a few days.

“My head was spinning for a little while after the trade,” Kalich said. “But overall, once I got on the road and once I got to see a familiar face in Asa Lacy, the overall transition was good. I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve loved it. There’s a great group of guys here. I’m happy to be here.”

Matthew Pouliot at NBC Sports Edge (huh?) wrote about the Royals at the trade deadline:

The veterans the Royals have, though, don’t seem up to the task. Moore gave 35-year-old Carlos Santana and 33-year-old Mike Minor two-year contracts last winter. Santana has responded with a 98 OPS+, leaving him at 95 since the start of last year. Minor, whose stuff fell off a cliff last year, has a 5.39 ERA in 23 starts. What really hurts is that there were trade markets for both Santana and Minor at the deadline, even though both were paid market value and have since disappointed, and Moore still decided to stay the course. Even without getting anything in return, it would have made sense to clear those salaries from the books and try again with different free agents this winter. However, Santana, at least, probably would have netted the team a solid prospect.

Not a lot of Royals news due to the off day, but

I think I have to classify this as a baseball blog. It’s not a Royals blog but it is about Kansas City and baseball. Gary Cieradkowski looked back at the time Mickey Mantle was sent to the minors in Kansas City:

The Kansas City team Mickey joined in the summer of 1951 was a seething pot of dissension. Just like today, the Yankees never had to rely much on a farm system. Being the most successful team in the biggest market, the Yankees could purchase ready-made ballplayers unlike most other teams who had to grow their own. Though Kansas City was New York’s top farm team, it wasn’t so much stocked with budding stars as filled with has-beens and never-will-be’s. While many on the team knew they would never show their mugs in the majors, everyone knew Mantle was just in K.C. temporarily. In his book Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son Tony Castro writes that Mantle described the Blues as “malcontents” whose pitchers “carried pints of whiskey in their back pockets.” Before he was even with the team he was resented.

This message is for David and Craig: Guys, you’re both great writers and you often are perfectly tuned to the pulse of the Royals. But you’re on the same wavelength a lot and I think it’s time to start comparing notes before going to press. I mean, c’mon, you both had Singer dad puns as headlines and used the same two Savant Singer pitch charts for your first two graphics!

A couple of other stories:

Speaking of Inside the Royals, Jordan Foote, is taking over as the new editor-in-chief and relaunching Inside the Royals 2.0

The Field of Dreams game was really fun last night.

There are a number of stories about it out there. I’ll just drop this MLB listicle about “9 coolest moments from Field of Dreams Game”, but it’s the top story on basically every sports news outlet. This was a good thing for baseball. Also, just a reminder that Craig Calcaterra and his cynical hottakes are wrong.

Other MLB notes:

Future Hall of Famer Miggy is now at 499 homers after hitting one Wednesday

Jake Arrieta was released yesterday, ending his reunion with the Cubs. I’m sure it was his 6.88 ERA but it also brings to mind Buddy Bell’s second best quote as a manager. In the press conference after another game where he got rocked, he told a longtime beat reporter “I’d love you to take your mask off”.

Speaking of the north-siders, Andrew and Austin Romine provided a nice moment in an otherwise dreary Royals-esque loss :

In the final frame of a tough day for the Cubs, the Romine brothers managed to provide a memorable moment in a 17-4 loss to the Brewers. For the first time in more than six decades, a pair of Major League brothers were batterymates.

Chris Davis retires, meaning MLB listicle writers will have to figure out a new “worst MLB contract” when they churn out that article next year. Sadly, we will be deprived of Chris Davis day (ala Bobby Bonilla) as his deferred money will all be paid out by 2025:

According to sources, Davis will collect all the remaining money after he and the team restructured the deal, which from its beginning included deferred payments through 2037. He was set to earn roughly $21 million in 2022; that sum will still count against the Orioles’ 2022 luxury tax, but Davis will receive it in annual installments through 2025.

Finally, with the passing of J.R. Richards last week from COVID, Dan Szymborski (Szymborski! Szymborski!) has ZIPS project his career without the stroke:

ZiPS sees Richard as a little bit above his head in 1980, with 1979 being his career peak, but the computer is overall more merciful, giving him a more typical decline phase for a power pitcher, with the increase in league strikeout rate keeping those numbers up as he aged. In the end, ZiPS gives him 125 more wins for a total of 232, along with enough WAR to pass the 70 mark; his 73 WAR would rank 27th all-time today and 18th when he would have first been eligible for Hall of Fame induction in the mid-90s. Voters then weren’t using WAR, but I think 232 wins plus the dominance at his peak plus mercy for being a late-bloomer would have been enough to get him into the Hall. If not, he certainly would have been inducted by now.

Random OT question for the day. With the multis (pentathlon, heptathlon, and decathlon) towards the end of the Olympics last week, I had an idea rattling around in my head: Design a decathlon that you would have a reasonable chance of winning. Pretend the world most valued 10 skills that you have or things you could perform. The broader the skill the better - try to make it the most well rounded contest. But you have to have a reasonable chance to win, too. So, for instance, you wouldn’t want to make three of your events “Pop Tart Eating”, “underpaid writing contest”, and “2000s Royals trivia” because there are already 15 people on the Masthead who you’d be in direct competition with.

But, let’s use Matt as an example. His first few events could be:

  • “Musical Instrument Playing” - because he’s a professional at it and likely in the top 1% of people in the world
  • “Mario Kart races” - I assume that since he’s written about it extensively, he’s pretty good and there’s probably not a ton of crossover between the first two
  • “2000s Royals Trivia” - Let’s be honest: if you know anything about the 2000s Royals, you’re probably one of the few hundred most knowledgeable in the world
  • “Pop Tart Eating” - because I assume all Royals bloggers are good at this but it eliminates Hokius because he’s a computer

If you took his combined scores, he’s likely going to be near the top and have a good shot at winning.

In thinking about my own, I came up with some categories:

  • Something athletic-ish: A 9.5” foot slam dunk contest - seems athletic and I’m kindof tall, but it eliminates everyone under about 5’8”
  • Something job-related: I mean, odds are there’s something specialized you do in your job that few people in the world are as good as you
  • Something music-related: Or if you don’t have musical talent, maybe something like name that tune
  • Something knowledge-based: Again, akin to the Royals Trivia thing above
  • Something hobby-related: Good at identifying birds, woodworking, or geocaching? You can probably eliminate most of the people who aren’t with a couple of these

I thought it would be something silly to discuss as my mind was wondering last week.

Today’s game is one of those weird little historical footnotes. Back in 2006, Burger King partnered with Microsoft and Blitz Games to create a set of three, I dunno, ad-u-tainment that you could get either on XBox Live or go into your local Burger King and add them to your fast food craving for $4. Two of the games were PocketBike Racer and Big Bumpin’, but we’ll look at the third and weirdest, Sneak King.

Actually, I guess they were called advergames:

When it came to advertising in the 2000s, Burger King was more than willing to let fast food fans “have it their way,” routinely serving up ads and campaigns as fresh as they’d have us believe its burgers were. The seminal chain restaurant had always opted for “edgier” humor to push product. But in 2004, advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky joined forces with Burger King, introducing a campaign that would forever transform the brand’s approach to pushing its wares. Their strategy? Transform the chain’s then 30-year-old King mascot from a sprightly cartoon into a home invader in a bizarre, oversized mask.

How’d that play in video game form? From IGN’s review:

From all appearances, this looked to be the creepiest game ever. Images of the big-headed Burger King mascot hiding in garbage cans ready to leap out at unsuspecting citizens haunted our dreams for days. Then we got the game and found out that it really is as disturbing as we feared it would be.

Definitely not creepy:

A little rundown of the gameplay is in order. You take the role of the King and it’s your task to deliver food to hungry people. The people roam around the map in set patterns and have a small Metal Gear Solid style vision cone. If they have a burger icon above their head, then they’re hungry and its time for you to get food to them before they faint. This is when the sneaking comes in. If the person sees you while you are trying to deliver food, they’ll lose their appetite. You would too if you turned to see the unsettling face of the King sneaking up on you. You can run around by holding down the trigger, but this will make noise and cause nearby people to turn and look at you. To get the food into the hands of the hungry, you can either sneak up behind them or you can hide and wait in a variety of places scattered throughout the environment. Each time you make a delivery, you’re treated to a little dance from the King and a gurgle of thanks from the recipient.

Now, I bet you’re thinking to yourself: Where could I get a copy of these games? Well, some dude on eBay is selling 44 cases of them! Want fewer than 4400? Someone posted pictures of their collection of 200 copies of Sneak King to Reddit.

And that brings us to the question at hand: Why in the world would anyone want more than 200 copies of Sneak King? Well, Nomercyvideo, it turns out, is no stranger to self-inflicted pain. The person behind the account is Leroy Patterson, AKA The Human Tackboard

I don’t really like the cliche “mean review” thing because someone did spend time and effort to create a game. And, by all accounts, this game is at least a couple of steps up from the shovelware that plagues all systems. However, it is a shameless commercial tie-in so might as well just let YouTuber The Completionist rip on it