We’re going to “mix” the blogs and official news in here together since there’s still not a ton.
The big news yesterday was that Mike Sweeney and Jeremy Guthrie are joining the broadcast team. There are a number of outlets covering this story, but Max already got us yesterday.
MLB Pipeline released their 2023 prospect lists for the AL Central yesterday. Gavin Cross sits atop the Royals Top 30. From the writeup:
Gavin Cross is “the real deal,” multiple scouts said throughout this process, and the No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 Draft is the No. 62 overall prospect in baseball. He’s the Royals’ No. 1 guy and leads a position-player-heavy Top 10. Seven of the Royals’ top 10 prospects are hitters, while most of the Royals’ pitchers populate in the middle of the list.
The Royals released a hype video for the powder blues with #5 front and center:
Iconic. pic.twitter.com/70jiRjbMZz— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) March 2, 2023
Craig Brown writes about our favorite baseball savant:
Of course, I just love this quote. Can’t you just see Greinke buttonholing someone from baseball ops and telling them the guy they called up wasn’t a good prospect?
Sure, it’s Spring Training, but we can still enjoy Salvy hitting a home run and... stealing a base?
So, Perez flashed his wheels for his manager, sliding in safely before popping up and pointing at the Royals’ dugout with a big smile. “Yes, he did. And that’s why he won’t do it again,” Quatraro quipped.
That’s what speed do!
Salvador Perez hit his first homer of the spring. He's got that power-speed combination.— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) March 2, 2023
At Kings of Kauffman, Jacob Milham talked about the “2 fastest and 2 slowest players on 2023 roster”. Salvy made that article, too!
Speed? Lorenzo Cain will be inducted into the Missouri Hall of Fame along with Carl Peterson, Matt Besler, and others.
Speaking of Cain, he was this week’s entry in Darin Watson’s ongoing series at U.L.’s Toothpick: 50 Greatest Kauffman Stadium Moments, #7: Cain Scores From First, Davis Holds On After Delay (October 23, 2015)
The last time we talked about children’s books, it was a hit so I’m bringing this back for a second time. I’ve actually got 4 editions mapped out and, as mentioned before, Dr. Seuss gets one all by himself*. Like the last one, this set of books skews a bit younger but maybe not as much as the last one. Also, this one has a few more books I don’t care as much for so maybe that’s how they ended up on the second list instead of the first.
*It’s slated to be the next one and it’s probably April 21st
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak - Might as well start out with the most controversial take here. I don’t really care for this book. The art style is unique but the word choice is bland and the plot is boring. I didn’t read it as a kid so think I came to it at a wrong time in life. It’s a story about anger and imagination and I’m acquainted with both of those, even at this point in my life. This November, it will celebrate it’s 60th birthday.
Corduroy by Don Freeman - I was also late to this classic book but I appreciate it a bit more than our previous entry. This was one of my wife’s favorite books growing up. There are two stories going on - one about a living teddy bear who gets lost in a department store and another about a little girl who wants to buy him. It’s a sweet little book and Freeman “wanted the storyline to portray a difference between the luxury of such department store and the simple life most people live, at the same time highlighting basic values”.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf - This was another of my wife’s favorite books. It involves a docile bull that just happens to sit on a bumblebee when they are rounding up bulls for the matador fights. They bring him to the ring but he doesn’t want to fight and is sent back. A few people may remember a decent 2017 CGI film based on the book, starring John Cena. But I find its history fascinating:
In 1938, Life magazine called Ferdinand “the greatest juvenile classic since Winnie the Pooh” and suggested that “three out of four grownups buy the book largely for their own pleasure and amusement”. The article also noted that Ferdinand was accused of being a political symbol, noting that “too-subtle readers see in Ferdinand everything from a fascist to a pacifist to a burlesque sit-down striker”. Others labelled the work “as promoting fascism, anarchism, and communism”. The Cleveland Plain Dealer “accused the book of corrupting the youth of America” while The New York Times downplayed the possible political allegories, insisting the book was about being true to oneself.
The book was released less than two months after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and was seen by many supporters of Francisco Franco as a pacifist book. It was banned in many countries, including in Spain (where it remained banned until after Franco’s death). In Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned (as “degenerate democratic propaganda”), while it was the only American children’s book available for sale in Cold War era Poland. It received particular praise from Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, Gandhi, and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Following the 1945 defeat of Germany during the Second World War, 30,000 copies were quickly published and given out for free to the country’s children.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin - My wife has a thing for cows so this modern book was also popular in our house. It’s has cute watercolor pictures, a farm animal rebellion, and the line “Duck was a neutral party, so he brought the ultimatum to the cows”.
Berenstain Bears books by Stan and Jan Berenstain - I was raised on a number of these books. But, man, they’re quite a bit outdated now, less timeless and a lot more a product of their time than many others. Most children’s books moralize, but they all aren’t dressed up with 50s stereotypes, gender roles, and morality. This isn’t to say that everything from that era is bad, but, you know how we all made some mistakes when we were young and naive and we look back and cringe a little bit? More importantly, we wouldn’t do the same things now because we know it’s a mistake? This is the cloying literary version of that. But this does have that wacky deal about the Mandela effect and Berenstain vs Berenstein - I’m thinking it’s not because of a parallel universe with the other spelling leaking into ours but what do I know.
Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems - I didn’t originally like these modern books, but this set of 25 books grew on me. Willems churned out 2-4 a year from 2007 until 2016. They star a worrier elephant named Gerald and his carefree pig friend name Piggie. The books range from the simple like one where Gerald internally debates whether he should share his ice cream with his good friend to the meta “We Are in a Book!” My son loved Elephant and Piggie and he loved reading them with my parents. Sadly, he hasn’t read them much since Dad passed. Maybe he was aging out of them, but I think he also really misses his favorite Gerald.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker - These two are absolutely modern classics and ones my son read a lot from ages 2-4. They have a simple enough premise: a set of anthropomorphized construction trucks learn about working hard and working as a team. While your kid is looking over the beautiful illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld, they’re also learning about types of trucks. But what I really like is the excellent rhyming verse: it doesn’t feel like there’s a bad word choice in either book and there are lots of clever word tricks. We’ve read the Christmas book and it’s not quite as good. Apparently, there are other holiday ones, too. Also, there’s Steam Train, Dream Train learning about train cars, but it didn’t catch his (or my) attention as much.
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak - Max mentioned this one last time and it is (was?) one of my son’s favorites. Yes, it’s that B.J. Novak from The Office. And, yes, the book has no pictures. But it’s still very amusing. To get an idea, check out our video for The Song of the Day. It isn’t the entire book but it gives you the idea what you are in for with the book as Novak reads it to a room full of amused children: