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Royals Rumblings - News for January 14, 2022

MLB Owners Lockout: Day 44

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Nintendo Holds News Conference At Start Of E3 Gaming Conference
The offseason is long
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Saints be praised for Alec Lewis, David Lesky, and Fansided.

David Lesky compares ZIPS, PECOTA (I’m obligated to “boo”, right?), and actual Royals performance in 2021. Here’s a sample:

Mike Minor - I’ve said for awhile that if you look past the ERA, Minor had the year pretty much everyone thought he would. Now, ZiPS was a lot closer on his FIP to reality than PECOTA’s DRA and honest ZiPS in general was pretty much dead on, but both systems projected a decent number of strikeouts, a good walk rate and a solid pitcher who shouldn’t be one of your best. I think this is a heck of a projection.

We have a trio of stories from Fansided. The first is from KC Kingdom while the other two are from KOK:

Sadly, I missed Royals ZIPSmas (curse you, Szymborski, Szymborski, Szymborski) so there’s not much news around the MLB.

I mean, the labor talks did nominally restart, but, really, it was just the owners throwing a little spit shine on the same old bad deal from a few weeks ago. You know, when THEY LOCKED THE PLAYERS OUT.

Well, let’s talk about the “new” proposal. There was a little movement:

During the sides’ first meeting that discussed core economic issues in 43 days, the league proposed changes to the arbitration system for players with two-plus years of service, tweaked its proposed draft lottery and offered the ability for teams to earn draft picks if top prospects find early success in the major leagues, according to sources.

Of course, it didn’t move any on the most important issues, namely pay, service time, and salary taxes:

MLB hoped the proposal would spur discussion with the union after the sides’ failed negotiations leading up to the lockout led to six weeks of inaction. Topics not discussed Thursday that have been in the players’ suite of asks include changes to the competitive-balance tax and raising the minimum salary. While the league indicated before the lockout that it was not open to considering free agency before six years or changes to the current revenue-sharing plan, the union could include both in a counterproposal.

But, hey, MLB keeps pushing hard for 14 teams in the playoffs. I’m going to let Rany field this one:

Hard to tell if this is part of the negotiations or just a coincidence this news also came out yesterday. The Atlantic League, “an independently owned and operated baseball league that has a partnership agreement with Major League Baseball” is discontinuing two experimental rule changes: a 61’6” mound and robot umps for 2022.

As noted, the Atlantic League will retain several other experimental rule changes moving forward, including larger bases and the extra innings tiebreaker rule. The league implemented the 61-foot, 6-inch mound and automated strike zone in the middle of last season, and as our R.J. Anderson reported, players were fed up and nearly went on strike.

To be clear, the Atlantic League returning back to the norm does not mean MLB is abandoning those potential rule changes. It just means the Atlantic League will not use them. MLB used the automated ball-strike system in some minor leagues in 2021, and chances are the league will expand its use moving forward.

More minor league news: This story gets a bit low brow. The Portland Pickles added to their follower count with a publicity stunt involving, well, mascot Dillon’s, um, pickle.

Although they claimed innocence, it does seem like the Pickles intended for the photo to be “misinterpreted,” especially considering they tagged Oscar Mayer, Manscaped, and California state senator Scott Wiener in the suggestive tweet.

This story is being covered by such sporting publications as Uproxx, HuffPo, and British tabloid The Daily Mail.

Dumb trivia/discussion thought of the day. It’s self-serving actually baseball related. I’m kicking around the idea of getting a copy of Poz’s The Baseball 100 for my baseball shelf from Rainy Day Books as you can get a personalized inscription. Unfortunately, it’s limited to 10 words or less. But I’ve got some ideas and I’d kindof like it to be Royals-related, if I can come up with something good enough.

How do you wash a unicorn” - from Meche-ing with Sasquatch, his brilliant article about the day Gil Meche was broken (ok, it was a re-run of the blog post from when Meche was broken but close enough and the only thing available that I could find on

It’s all the years you spend waiting for Wednesday night that makes baseball great.” - I know it’s more than 10 words, but damned if it’s not a great closing line to one of his best articles, Baseball Night in America. I know it’s about Game 162 from 2011 and has nothing to do with the Royals but the sentiment feels very Royals.

Yuniesky Betancourt belongs in this book”? I feel bad bashing Yuni - I don’t think he’s a bad guy. B9YS was just the perfect symbol for the darkest years.

We’re back to my pet favorite console, the Gamecube, for today’s game. My wife has started a replay of Pikmin, much to the delight of our son, who loves imitating the sounds they make.

Quick note: Gamecube games aren’t getting any cheaper. My scratched, used Blockbuster copy of Pikmin would occasionally not play but on eBay, disc-only copies are running about $50 and they look as beat up as the one I have. And before you say “well, with inflation, everything’s getting more expensive” - sure, but the Gamecube has more games that go for $100+ (30 vs 29) than its contemporary PS2, which had a library 3x as large. If you’re curious about the other 6th gen system, the original Xbox has exactly, checks notes, 3 games that go for $100+ and, the Dreamcast (RIP), in its short life, had 12.

For those unfamiliar, our intrepid hero Olimar (a play on Mario) crash lands on a planet and he has to escape with the help of the part-plant, part-animal life forms that live there. The game it’s closest to is probably Lemmings, but it’s really its own unique thing that has spawned a pair of sequels and a couple of spin-offs.

Here’s a window into how a truly great game designer thinks as the story of Shigeru Miyamoto and Pikmin is well known in video game lore (full interview here). One day, he’s just chilling out in his yard and, bam, idea for a new hit game. Some people are just wired a bit differently.

One day, around 15 years ago, Miyamoto was relaxing on his patio and saw a line of ants marching past his feet and off into the grass, carrying leaves towards their nest. Then he imagined for a moment – because this is how the Miyamoto mind works – what the scene might look like if they were tiny people.

“Ants, as you know, always have a leader, and tend to be carrying things, and as they move they create a kind of rail,” he says. “And I started thinking about a game about lots of small people carrying things in a line, following a leader, with everyone going in the same direction.” The idea struck him as something he’d never explored before in his work. More importantly, it also sounded like fun.

“When we think about video games, we always have the idea of a start and a goal, and it’s like a race between individual players: who can make it and who won’t?” he says. “And I thought, ‘Why does it have to be a competition? Why can’t everyone just move together in the same direction, carrying things as a team? Who made these rules in the first place, anyway?’”

It’s crazy to me that someone did an entire playthrough in less time than the average Marvel movie. But what’s really impressive is that they did it in 9(!!) days of game time. That’s just insanely good micromanaging.