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Royals Rumblings - News for September 22, 2021

The fan who ended up with Salvy’s 46th home run ball refused to give it up:

Obviously we’re all going to read Joe Posnanski on Salvador Pérez:

But if you watched him play every day … you couldn’t help but love him. The joy that pushed the Royals to sign him in the first place, well, he never lost that. His smile was the sunshine as the Royals collapsed in the aftermath of World Series glory. He was the one thing you could count on in Kansas City baseball; Salvy would always be there, always smiling, always swinging for the fences, always playing his guts out.

And then, he missed the entire 2019 season with an elbow injury.

I’m trying to think what the odds would have been in 2019 that Salvy would be the one to break Johnny Bench’s home run record. A thousand to one? A million to one? He’d been a solid power hitter — hitting as many as 27 homers in a season before the injury — but he was also turning 30, and there were a lot of miles on that body, and …

… and in 2020, Perez played in 37 games and slugged .633. The ball was just jumping off his bat. It was quite stunning. He had worked all offseason with hitting coach Mike Tosar, and he looked like an all-new hitter.

And then came this year.

At FiveThirtyEight: It looked like it would come down to Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. … then along came Salvador Pérez.

Randy Holt at Beyond the Box Score includes Nicky Lopez on a list of “accidental stars” on rebuilding teams. Frank Schwindel is also in there.

Appearing primarily at shortstop this year, Lopez has proven capable of holding down the six. His 17 Outs Above Average (OAA) trail only Nick Ahmed at the position. Good company to keep, to be sure. Offensively, though, is where Lopez has shined. He’s at a wRC+ of 107, hardly elite, but it’s his first year up above the 100 threshold. His slash features an OBP of .368 and is his first season even over the .300 mark there. He’s also cut his K% down about eight percent from last year (13.5).

The question with Lopez is whether or not he actually belongs on this list. There’s always a place on a roster for a guy like Lopez. Someone capable of playing elite defense at either middle infield position is always rostered. But his BABIP is at .350, his .238 xBA is in the 31st percentile, and it’s not as if he’s hitting the ball miles harder this year than in the past. He has, however, made a lot more line drive contact in the second half of the year (24.2 percent), which is encouraging. But with Bobby Witt, Jr. on the way, will Lopez actually be holding down one of the two spots when the Royals are able to contend again?

MLB and the Players Association will kick off a hearing on Monday, September 27 regarding the grievance over the length of the 2020 season.

Celebration after the Kansas City Monarchs swept their way to a title.

Chris Bassitt of the A’s will pitch on Thursday, just over five weeks after taking a 100 mph line drive to the face.

Would your favorite player have kept the play card or returned it?

Previewing the 2021-22 free agent class of first basemen.

The Durham Bulls had some fun with MMA fighter Conor McGregor’s hilariously bad first pitch:

JJ Redick is retiring from basketball, he announced on his podcast.

Alaska has a high rate of deadly aircraft crashes. What’s the solution?

Is it ethical to travel right now?

A fun read on generational interpretations of emojis. I, an Oldhead, learned a lot.

StubHub may owe you a refund of actual money (not site credit) if you had tickets for a cancelled event early in the pandemic.

A campaign to kill off some wolves (etc.) in Idaho and Montana may have resulted in too many wolves dying.

A Twitter thread from last year highlighting 10 breeds of giant dogs.

One of the greatest joys of Twitter is the annual video by artist Demi Adejuyigbe commemorating the 21st night of September, from the lyrics of that Earth, Wind & Fire song. This year’s video was the final one, and it is a JOY. And the attached fundraiser was up over $700,000 as of 10:30 last night when I wrote this sentence.

SOTD: I couldn’t decide between these two covers, so we will simply have two songs. The first is Bree Sharp covering ‘The Boys of Summer,’ with a hat tip to John Scalzi who posted it yesterday.

The second is Lil Nas X doing a DIVINE cover of ‘Jolene,’ which now makes me long for a duet between him and Dolly Parton.