Max already caught you up on the big news of the day: Nick Loftin is getting a September call up.
Here’s the Anne Rogers story about it: Royals to call up their No. 5 prospect Loftin (sources)
MLB.com also has a page about the Ned Yost Hall of Fame weekend Friday and Saturday:
Saturday, September 2 – Ned Yost Royals Hall of Fame Induction
Don’t miss the induction of 2015 World Series Champion manager Ned Yost as the 27th member of the Royals Hall of Fame. In addition to Ned, several players and coaches from the championship teams he led will be returning to The K to celebrate his receiving of the ballclub’s highest individual honor, including Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Jason Vargas, and more. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 5:10 p.m. to view the induction ceremony including a special tribute video.
Jaylon Thompson at The Star writes about the 30/30 club as Witt closes in:
Witt’s pursuit has him in rarefied air. There have only been four shortstops to enter the 30-30 club. The list includes Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Rollins and Hanley Ramirez.
Witt is also looking to be the first Royals player to join the exclusive list. He is halfway there with 38 steals this season. He moved closer with a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
In the minor leagues, Witt nearly had a combined 30-30 season in 2021. He had a stolen base taken away after a weather delay canceled a game. He finished with 33 homers and 29 steals.
Speaking of Witt, I haven’t listened to this podcast yet and am not familiar with it, so if it’s like all profanity or someone professing their love for provel cheese - let me know and I’ll pull it down. But Mark Simon talks with Witt:
On this episode, Mark Simon (@markasimonsays) is joined by Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who has been one of the best players in baseball both offensively and defensively since the All-Star Break. Bobby talks about how he’s no longer trying to field balls and make throws at the same time and how he mentally resets before each pitch. He also breaks down some of the best plays he’s made in 2023 (0:29).
Quick aside: I noticed his other guest on the podcast was Bobby Scales, who is part of the Tigers broadcast crew. Looking through his Twitter feed, I noticed Jim Price passed away in August and that made me quite sad (I missed Max’s mention in Rumblings). I can’t do him justice, but I do want to say a few words of praise. I’ve had MLB Audio for at least a decade and he was half of my favorite MLB broadcast crew. In many game threads, I’ve sang the praises of Price and his longtime partner Dan Dickerson. They were knowledgeable about other teams, really doing their homework. But they also did a great job of talking analytics, not explaining it using pedantic definitions or lording the knowledge over the audience in an elitist erudite way, but using it to describe the action on the field. They really were a great team who could make the game come alive while sounding like old baseball men. Jim Price, you will be missed.
Not familiar with The Missouri Times, but they had an article: “To North Kansas City” advertising campaign launched to move the Royals to Clay County
Things are heating up in the Kansas City area as the Kansas City Royals prepare to make a decision on the location of their new stadium. An advertising campaign has launched in the Kansas City market to support efforts for the Kansas City Royals to choose Clay County for their new stadium.
The advertisement contained a web address, www.ToNorthKansasCity.com, which contains information on the benefits of a Clay County stadium. The website also shows the television ad.
“The television ad that started today reflects the amount of excitement regarding this possible move to the Northland by the Royals,” said former city councilwoman Heather Hall. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about this opportunity for North Kansas City and the state of Missouri as a whole.”
We’ll use that to segue into Royals blogs. Leading off today is Darin Watson at the underrated U.L.’s Toothpick as he writes “Against a New Stadium”:
Which brings up another issue. I took those renderings with a grain of salt, because of course that’s not necessarily the final design for the new park. I get that. But I don’t get the complete lack of a crown-shaped scoreboard, the tiny fountain area that seems shoehorned in as a way to say “See, we care about things that make Kauffman unique!”, or the idea of Royals Park as a name when that’s obviously a placeholder for a corporate sponsor, with the added bonus that the team doesn’t have to remove Ewing Kauffman’s name from the stadium to rake in those extra bucks. I don’t expect the Royals to build an exact replica of their current stadium, but it would be nice if there were something in these renderings that made me feel like the team gives a rip about its history. Kauffman is unique in many ways; the drawings look like any stadium that could be plopped down in any city.
Speaking of criminally underrated Royals Blogs, Kevin O’Brien at The Royals Reporter shared an update:
Usually, I am able to get through it, and still churn out a few posts here and there. However, professional and personal challenges this year required my full attention over the past 30 days. As a result, blog posts stopped here, and honestly, my coverage of the Royals on X (still feels weird saying that) and other avenues (i.e. Pitcher List, Discord, etc.) ceased as well.
I thought about shutting down the blog on a permanent end at times this month. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I think I was nearly there, brainstorming a post that I would share here to thank everyone for following and for their support since this started in 2019.
...But the regular posts will be back soon. The deep dives will be coming. And be prepared for all those crazy types of data being brought up when talking about this Royals roster and organization as a whole, and the direction of the club for 2024 and beyond.
At Powder Blue Nostalgia, Patrick Glancy writes about Anthony Young’s historic losing streak.
At Swinging Bunts, Hunter Samuels doesn’t write all that often. However, this one’s worth a read: it’s about his daughter’s first baseball game and Bobby Bob Bob, which the blog officially recognized last year:
Bobby Bob Bob is now canon.— Max Rieper (@maxrieper) April 7, 2022
As there wasn’t a lot of Royals news and there was some interesting news around baseball, it gets its own section today.
Chris Getz was named the new GM for the White Sox. “Getz announced Grifol would return for the 2024 season despite the team’s lackluster record.” So that’s a pair of former Royals running the show in Chicago.
In case you missed Max’s comment from yesterday, I’m just stealing it as it contains what will henceforth be known as the Getz Tetralogy:
“Should we give up on Chris Getz?” by Freneau on November 16, 2010
“Learning to Love Chris Getz” by Clark Fosler on April 15, 2013
“Royals non-tender Chris Getz” by Max Rieper on December 2, 2013
“Chris Getz retires” by im_not_that_bright on May 16, 2014
Two rules changes are coming to AAA, which means they might not be that far off from MLB:
The robot strike zone will be getting slightly bigger at Triple-A starting Tuesday in an attempt to make it better reflect individual batters rather than averages, and the pitch clock will be altered, too.
The robots this season were programmed to call a two-dimensional zone based on where the ball crosses the midpoint of the plate, 8 1/2 inches from the front and the back. MLB reduced the top of the zone to 51% of a batter’s height from 56%. The system averaged batter heights, rather than accounting for body shapes and stances...
The pitch clock will be set at 17 seconds at all times, instead of 14 seconds with the bases empty and 19 seconds with runners on base. In the clock’s first use in the major leagues this year, it has been set at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners.
There was an usually high amount of waiver wire activity yesterday:
After placing six players on waivers Tuesday, the Angels lost right-handed starter Lucas Giolito, left-handed reliever Matt Moore and right-handed reliever Reynaldo Lopez to the Guardians. Two other former Angels players — outfielder Hunter Renfroe (Cincinnati Reds) and reliever Dominic Leone (Seattle Mariners) — were also claimed.
And, um, there’s this from the Boston Globe: David Ortiz says he’s a ‘victim of extortion’ after apparent phone hacking
Speaking in Spanish in an Instagram video post, Ortiz said law enforcement authorities in his native Dominican Republic and the United States are investigating the case for alleged extortion and fraud. He warned viewers, “my people,” to avoid becoming ensnared in the matter. “I am a victim of extortion,” said a solemn Ortiz, who has long grappled with the risks of life in the limelight.
Citing “the fear of what could be exposed out there” from his phone, Ortiz said, “I wouldn’t want any of my beautiful people from the Dominican Republic to get involved in this because we are taking legal action.”
On to the song of the day. And you’re about to find out why I don’t write about music. I’m just not very good at it. Or well versed in it. If you want to know something about rock or alternative from about 1992-1997, I can probably hold my own. Maybe something about arena rock from the 80s, but it was a little before my time so I’m coming at it from a retrospective point-of-view. Beyond that, I’m out over my skis. This is probably going to come off like a 7-year-old discovering something commonplace like how colanders are magical devices that get water out of noodles or no word rhymes with orange. I mean, at least with video game music, it was niche enough that just knowing a little about it meant I had some “in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king” going on. Fortunately, it’s a Friday before a holiday so no one is paying attention.
Going back to last week, I mentioned going to see a concert up in Dallas. As I mentioned last week, I haven’t gone to a “real” commercial concert in at least 10 years. This definitely qualifies with about 100K fans crammed into the Jerry Dome. In not really logical fashion, I’m going to talk about the bands in reverse order.
The main band was Metallica. I’ve wanted to see them for a long time and, well, they aren’t getting any younger. James (Hetfield) and Kirk (Hammett) are both 60 and the other two band members aren’t far behind at 59 (Lars Ulrich) and 58 (Robert Trujillo). They’re milking the tour a bit with a Friday and Sunday night in each city as part of a “no repeat” weekend. Their extensive library of hits does (mostly) support this format and they didn’t cheap out as each night had 16 songs and they played for more than 2 hours. I didn’t feel cheated by the show’s format at all – I just regret not being able to go both nights as I missed some favorite songs.
They put on a very professional show: it’s obvious they’ve done this before and they’ve done it before. A guy we talked to at the Rangers game mentioned that Kirk has a solid gold guitar that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars – I cannot verify his claim, but, if so, shows like this are how they do that. I mean, if the average cost for a ticket was “only” $200, they cleared over $40M between the two shows. They have a formula and they’re practiced at it. It was fun and that’s all that’s probably worth sharing. Better people than me can write more about them.
Pantera opened for them. Well, sort of. A lot of people are derisively calling this a Pantera tribute band. Vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown are touring but the Abbott bothers are both dead: guitarist Dimebag Darrell (killed by fan) and drummer Vinnie Paul (heart disease). Instead, we have Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante filling in as “touring members”. In my mind, you could do much, much worse than Wylde, who is skilled and a big name in his own right (and he brought his selection of crazy colorful guitars), and Benante of Anthrax.
You could tell it was a very personal show for Anselmo, who was out there barefoot and grunting away. I think this was their first tour in a long time and probably last inside this size of venue. And they all realized how good it was to be touring with Metallica. Additionally, Arlington is home so this was a very personal show for them. To be playing for 100K fans in their hometown, many of whom were wearing Pantera shirts, after the death of the brothers, well, it was a big deal for them.
While it was clear Metallica was the headliner, Pantera was definitely part of the “main part” of the concert. The lights were down for their part of the show and they used the video boards. However, before them, was Mammoth WVH. And one of the things I kept thinking was that being the opening band is tough. The house lights are up and the crowd is only half there so there’s not a lot of energy. While most of the fans stood for much of Pantera and Metallica, almost everyone was sitting for the opener.
Speaking of tough, I have to think that Wolfgang Van Halen’s life has been simultaneously very easy and very difficult. His surname is from his father, one of the world’s best guitarists (and don’t short his drummer uncle Alex) and his given name is that of one of the most famous composers of all time. That’s a great pedigree and gives you a giant leg up on life, but it also gives you a lot to live up to. Also, if you were expecting a scrawny Dutch kid, he looks more like Hurley from Lost (Jorge Garcia) - a larger guy with flowing hair and often a smile.
Near as I can tell, opinions on him are very polarized. He was part of Van Halen for the last decade plus after Michael Anthony was forced out. Eddie talked him up like he was the second coming, like only a father could. No one could live up to that as there were cries of nepotism. Now he’s struck out on his own with Mammoth WVH. And by, on his own, I mean it. In his first two albums, he’s credited as “lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, keyboards, piano, bass guitar, drums, percussion”, a one man band. That’s a lot to take one and I’m not sure anyone is talented enough to do that all alone. It takes a lot of ego to think you can. For the record, he tours with additional members because, obviously, you can’t be a one-man-band on stage. He claims to be a drummer, first and foremost, but during the tour, he was vocals and guitar.
Then there’s the paradox of: how do you straddle the line between being a Van Halen without being Van Halen. Even though he grew up with and knows 80s arena rock best, he can’t play it. That era is past and all it would elicit would be unfavorable comparisons to his father. However, I think he has this one figured out: his music has a distinctly 90s to early 00s sound. For the record: I miss that type of music and, while I’m sure it’s out there somewhere, it doesn’t get a lot of play now.
On his first album, simply titled Mammoth WVH, the Grammy nominated song Distance feels like it could have been from the Goo Goo Dolls. However, the music video is a tribute to his time growing up with his dad and released not long after the guitar legend died. Different music style but leaning into the legacy.
That said, I prefer the faster, driving alternative tracks. The lyrics could be lifted from the grunge or alternative music of the turn of the century, too. In a couple of interviews I’ve seen, it sounds like he idolizes Dave Grohl and you can definitely see some Foo Fighters influence. I hear some Stone Temple Pilots in there, too.
His second album, Mammoth II, dropped last month and it feels like he’s better handling the conflict between his pedigree and striking out on his own. He’s starting to let loose a bit more, to the betterment of the music. Today’s SotD is “Another Celebration at the End of the World”. It’s fast and it’s fun and that guitar solo is fire (that’s what the kids say these days, right? Hell, it’s probably not even what they were saying a decade ago).
This is the official music video. He goes back to a video gimmick he used for Don’t Back Down from the first album where he plays multiple roles. However, maybe the lesson in the video is that doing everything isn’t really possible and he adds each of his touring band members to the song as the song goes on. It’s a little pretentious but more amusingly tongue-in-cheek. Bonus points for the Guitar Hero scene... ok, I think it’s Rock Band, but you get the idea.
Warning: Some NSFW language in the intro video part (first couple mins), but not in the song itself.