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Royals Rumblings - News for August 6, 2021

Be safe, y’all: It’s getting bad again

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox
Elbow bump! And hopefully no trip back to Omaha tonight!
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Lynn Worthy at The Star talks to Salvy about his great season with the bat:

Perez, who has always maintained that defense dominates his daily focus, has become more aware of the opposing pitcher’s tendencies and has taken the time to develop a plan of attack at the plate. Perez, who won his third Silver Slugger last year for the shortened season, has credited the offseason work he has done with hitting guru and Royals special assignment hitting coach Mike Tosar and listening to the advice of major-league hitting coach Terry Bradshaw.

“(Bradshaw) told me one good point, try to use all fields, right field, the gaps,” Perez said. “I think in the past, I just tried to pull, pull, pull. I’m trying to listen to him. He told me, ‘Hey, you can get homers to right field too. Try to stay more middle. Try not to open your front shoulder a little bit.’ Sometimes (I open up) too quick, like that last at-bat when I hit into a ground ball double play.”

This Tweet yesterday was pretty funny (it’s a 45s video):

In his daily Prospect Notes, Eric Longehagen at Fangraphs scouts a Royals farmhand:

Dylan Coleman, RHP, Kansas City Royals

Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Omaha

Age: 24 Org Rank: 21 FV: 40

Line: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 R, 2 K

Notes: Coleman was an afterthought in the Tim Hill trade with San Diego. Edward Olivares (who also came over in the swap) had been hot leading up to the trade and Coleman had struggled when he was last seen, dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness. His velocity, which was 93-96 as a starter at Missouri State, had dropped, dipping to 90-92 toward the end of a rough 2019, and he struggled with command. Now back in 2021, his velocity has not only returned, but has actually exceeded its previous highs; he’s now sitting 96-100 with a hard slider that doesn’t always finish. The combination of the injury history and the lack of a consistent plus secondary weapon keeps Coleman out of the 40+ FV tier, but he’s become a high-probability big league reliever by virtue of his velocity rebound.

Sadly, that’s it from the official outlets. But we have a lot of blog news, fun and odd, and it comes to you in threes.

First, three longform stories from three reliable Royals blogs.

Let’s lead off with Royals Reporter Kevin O’Brien asking “Can Salvador Perez be the Royals’ DH in the long-term?

Of course, the big issue will be if Salvy’s free-swinging approach will spur a regression. Obviously, posting such lackluster BB/K ratios and high chase rates are not ideal characteristics of a team’s best hitter, especially if they should make hitting their full-time profession at the Major League level. However, while Salvy may never really improve his “plate discipline” per se as he gets older, he is showing some interesting trends when it comes to making productive contact, especially over the past couple of years.

David Lesky looks at four homer games (among other things):

In 2019, they had four homers twice and five homers twice. And one of the games was in Chicago against the White Sox. They did it three times in 2018, seven times in 2017 (the year they set their franchise home run record by a lot), three times in 2016 and just twice in 2015, both in September and both against Detroit. So with last night’s four home runs, they’ve hit at least four home runs in a game 25 times and have gone 22-3 in those games. Randomly, two of those losses are to bad Tigers teams.

And Craig Brown is back after a couple of week hiatus:

What’s the purpose of the Royals? This isn’t some sort of trick metaphysical question. It’s not posed to make you dig into your zen or your tao or whatever. It’s something I’ve been thinking of since the trade deadline.

The Royals, despite their best effort in the previous offseason, are out of contention in 2021. And judging by the way this season has gone, it’s likely they’re already out of contention in 2022. Sure, there’s maybe some help in the system (it’s fun to see Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto continuing their assault on minor league pitching, and let’s not forget MJ Melendez) but their current .429 winning percentage is worse than where they finished in 2020’s shortened season (.433). I’m not going to say they’re worse than last year. They’re not. They are, however, treading water in a sea of mediocrity. That’s a really bad place for a Major League Baseball team to reside.

Speaking of phoenix action:

  • In the past couple of weeks, KC Kingdom has come back to life with a trio of new writers: Lucas Murphy, Ethan Lee, and Jacob Milham. Their latest is entitled “What does the future hold?” The other Fansided site, Kings of Kauffman, continues to churn out stories. The latest is Mike Gillespie’s “Best trade deadline move was a non-move”.
  • Speaking of back from the dead, Sean Thornton of Bleeding Royal Blue wrote his first post in months: “Comebacks are truly the best”
  • And, one of my favorites, Darin Watson at U.L.’s Toothpick, has his first post in a month. It in the Year of the Card series, this one looking at Pat Kelly and his 1970 Topps.

And how about some weird Royals blog news?

  • This doesn’t even fit under “Royals blog”. Hell, it’s barely qualifies as “website”, using the 1997 Geocities definition. But this exists:
  • (nah, we’re not linking to it to give them business), Clint Scoles old domain name, is up for sale for the (cough) bargain price of $2299.
  • Finally, RoyalsBlue is a blog I’ve linked to in the past with posts from Connor Miller. It appears to have been taken over by a spambot calling “herself” Sarah Davis, serving up lorem ipsum word salad and spam links to dating sites (presumably - I’m not clicking on them).

Let’s look around MLB:

J.R. Richard died Wednesday.

Richard, a large and intimidating right-hander who struck out more than 600 batters over two seasons for the Astros in a 10-year career that was cut short by a stroke, died Wednesday at age 71. He left behind a legacy larger than his 6-foot-8 frame and remains one of the biggest what-ifs in Astros history.

A third Yankee has tested positive for COVID-19. Gary Sánchez tested positive Thursday. Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery tested positive earlier this week.

Next Thursday is the Field of Dreams game, which is a game I badly wanted to go to. At least until this whole global pandemic thing making air travel and crowds impractical. The White Sox and Yankees uniforms for the game were revealed yesterday. If you haven’t gone to the site, add it to your baseball bucket list. It’s less than a 6 hour drive from Kauffman.

The Cleveland Indians Guardians (look, I’m happy for the change - it’s just going to take a while to get used to) lease at Progressive Field was due to run out in 2023. Thursday, they announced an extension out to 2035 with another pair of 5-year options after that.

The organization also announced on Thursday morning that Progressive Field — the 11th-oldest ballpark in the Majors — will soon be undergoing renovations.

On Wednesday, Max linked to this note in Rumblings: “John Axford, who began the year in the TV booth, was acquired by the Brewers.” What he failed to mention in the story was what Axford was traded for:

The product of Simcoe, Ont., was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday for exactly $1, according to the Associated Press. You read that right. One loonie, four quarters, 10 dimes, or 20 nickels were sent to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for the relief pitcher.

Cash considerations, indeed. Speaking of cash, the Cubs are proposing a 2-story DraftKings Sportsbook at Wrigley Field. However, local infighting is amusing. Per Danny Ecker of Crain’s Chicago Business:

But there are significant hurdles to clear: In addition to winning approval from the landmarks panel, the team needs the City Council to sign off not only on the development itself but also pass an ordinance that would allow sports betting inside the city’s major stadiums. Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) introduced such an ordinance last month, but the proposal was sent to the Council’s Rules Committee, which could stall its consideration. The ordinance isn’t without controversy, as some aldermen are concerned that sportsbooks at pro sports venues including Wrigley Field and the United Center could cannibalize spending at a future Chicago casino, something the city is counting on as a vital new revenue source.

Since we didn’t get any takers last week talking about World Class Track Meet and the Power Pad, we’re going to try again. There were 500K sold and I only have 2 of them so I know at least one of you had to have one.

Per wiki (link above), there were 11 games that worked with the accessory and about half were never released in the US.

We covered the biggest one last week in World Class Track Meet. Heck, it was big enough to get the triple cartridge treatment, alongside Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt. What I didn’t realize is that it was originally released at Stadium Events before being rebranded. The solo Stadium Events game is hard to find, fetching five or six figures when sold.

There was a 2015 movie called Nintendo Quest where two friends set out to buy every single NES game officially published, without buying online (I kindof want to find this movie now but the reviews are pretty bad). And they considered Stadium Events to be the rarest game of all:

The film is a road movie, following Jay and Rob and crew south, cruising highways and an array of second-hand stores and basements so impressively stocked with mint-condition gaming relics that they’d turn anyone a Hyrulean shade of green with envy. Online sales being off limits, Jay meets a world of comparably enthusiastic sorts, some who are more than happy to aid his mission, while others basically get in the way. Collecting can be pretty competitive, so it turns out. As Jay’s quest unfolds, we’re given a basic history lesson on Nintendo, and learn why it is that this one system’s software means so much, not just to this film’s makers but to video gaming as we know it today.

Two other Power Pad games, Athletic World and Super Team Games, also featured different “Olympic-style challenges”. Last week, I also mentioned Dance Aerobics, the game that pretended to be 80s aerobics and was also a forerunner to Dance Dance Revolution. Then there was the combo cartridge Short Order / Eggsplode!. The former was a Simon says sandwich making game while the latter was a whack-a-mole puzzle game.

I had played or, at least, had knowledge of each of those game. But the USA release on the list I hadn’t heard of was called Street Cop. You play as “Little Ben”, a New York beat cop, who goes around the city, taking down small time crooks and big bosses. The controls seem like they’d take a bit to get used to, using all 12 buttons on the Power Pad. Or, as this review put it:

Here is how you control Little Ben with the Power Pad. The neutral position is standing on buttons 6 and 7, right in the middle of the Power Pad. Alternate presses by either walking or running on those buttons to move forward. There are three different running speeds depending on how quickly you move. If you jump in place, Little Ben will jump, but you need to be standing on both buttons before you jump and sometimes it doesn’t respond like you would expect. You face either left or right and you are locked into that direction. To turn around, step once on either 10 or 11 in the bottom row. To move sideways, step on either 5 or 8 to sidestep one time in that direction. You will move in or out on the screen depending on the direction you are facing. If you need to walk into a building or down an alleyway, turn right by standing on 3 and 7 or turn left by standing on 2 and 6. The idea is you need to turn your body and face in the direction you want Little Ben to turn. The corner buttons are for using items. Thrown items can be tossed by pressing 1. Little Ben wields a baton at the bad guys by stepping on 4. Either 9 or 12 is used for any secondary items you may be holding. You also have the option to use the controller for a couple of options. Press B to use throwing items and press A to swing the baton.

Easy as can be, right? Fortunately, you get unlimited continues and there are only 6 levels with 10-minute timers so it sounds like it’s reasonable to beat once you figure out the controls. Being a platformer with the Power Pad, this game is quite unique so maybe it could be fun to play. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly common so I’m not sure it’s worth the $50 price tag it’s usually saddled with.

Here’s a playthrough of the entire game: