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Royals Rumblings - News for February 2, 2024

Happy Groundhog Day to those who celebrate

MLB: JUL 15 MLB All-Star Game
There are a decent number of “Lego baseball” pictures in the archive
Photo by Brian Ekart/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I know we’ve mentioned both of these stories before but they’re relevant again today due to timing.

First off, Royals Rally is this weekend:

The Royals posted the schedule on their website earlier this week.

And, secondly, well, I’ll just let the Royals say it:

If you haven’t been to the historic Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM), or if you’ve been itching to visit again, now is the time to go.

In honor of Black History Month, the Kansas City Royals Foundation will once again provide free admission to the NLBM throughout the month of February. The museum, at 1616 East 18th St. in the heart of the city’s historic 18th and Vine Jazz District, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

At The Star, Jaylon Thompson is reporting on a, um, situation:

Kansas City Royals minor-league infielder Darnel Collins is facing federal charges after an incident aboard a Delta Airlines flight.

Collins, 19, faces one count of interference with a flight crew and one count of assault by striking, beating and wounding aboard an aircraft.

On Thursday, Collins was scheduled to appear at the United States District Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

“The Kansas City Royals are aware of the situation and will continue to monitor,” a Royals spokesperson told The Star.

At Inside the Crown, David Lesky unveils his Top 20 Royals Prospects. You’re going to have to go check out who is #1 for yourself, but here’s part of the summary:

Going through this exercise, I do find myself liking the depth in the system. I like the 11-13 of Barnett, Sandlin and Champlain and think there’s likely one or two big league starters among those three. I think Charles could get some serious helium this year if he can make more contact. Wolters could be a top-50 prospect in baseball by the end of the year with the stuff he has. Owen is such an interesting pitcher to me because he could rise toward the top of a good system pretty easily. There are so many strong possibilities.

If Cross and Mitchell and Mozzicato bounce back and perform to their draft position and someone else like one of the above steps up, this farm system goes from good depth and no top-end talent to actual top-end talent and depth. I don’t pretend to follow the other systems closely enough to know where that would put them in rankings among other teams, but I think it should get them into a much better position at least.

At Farm to Fountains, Jared Perkins looks at Spring Training Battles:

CENTERFIELD Most Likely: Kyle Isbel

Isbel took steps last year to solidify himself as the Royals starting centerfielder. Kevin O’Brien covered how Isbel is ready to break out in 2024. Defensively, Isbel looked more than up to taking on centerfield at The K. He was in the 96th percentile in outs above average (OAA) in 2023 and made spectacular plays. He struggled with consistency at the plate but did show a good ability not to whiff or strikeout while putting up decent exit velos. He’s going to have to find a way to get the ball off the ground a bit more if he wants to be the everyday guy. 2024 will be a big year for Isbel, and the hope is that he can finally solidify himself into an everyday major league who resembles a Kevin Kiermaier or Michael A. Taylor.

The Strongest Contender: Drew Waters

The Darkhorse: Dairon Blanco

Royals Blog Roundup:

We’ve talked Legos on this site before. Whether it’s movie commentary, links to stories about “pediatricians are swallowing Lego heads in the name of science”, or game recaps talking about stepping on Legos (that could go a number of directions).

Of course, the greatest Lego moment in Royals Review history (and one of the site’s finest moments) was when Max did an entire game recap in Lego. If you’ve never seen it, take a couple of minutes and just enjoy. We’ll be here when you get back.

I’ve played with Legos since I was a kid. Sure, I had a dark age like most AFOLs (Adult Fans of Lego). But, I came back in long before I had my own kid. One of the favorite date activities with my wife is to put together a set, though our backs are less and less happy about this hobby as we get older.

However, I was scattered in my collecting - if I had money jingling in my pocket and found something that I thought was a bargain, I’d buy it. Once my son got old enough to play with Legos, we got more and more and the pandemic put that into overdrive. As I started running out of space, I’ve become more focused. I even traded in some of my other sets (there’s a Lego reseller here) to get... other sets. Hey! I’m not the one on trial here!

One of the themes I’ve settled on in the last few years is a giant amusement park. I suppose this isn’t a surprise, what with some of my other rollercoaster writings. And it’s one that my son has really enjoyed working on. We have a loft in our game room upstairs that’s perfect for building. Only, well, at this point, it’s outgrown that even. I’ve half joked that we might put it all together and take over our dining room for a couple of months. My wife was oddly non-committal about that so I may have to bring it up again... hmm.

The “smaller” version from 3 years ago

So, today, we’re going to talk about the sets I use to put this all together. And, yeah, I’m blueskying how I want to set this up if I put it all together in one place (if that’s even possible). And, yeah, this might go long... ok, it’s already going to be split into this week and next week. And, yeah, it may not be the most organized of my thoughts. And, yeah, I keep getting distracted and falling down internet holes. What was I saying again?

Lastly, I don’t have pictures of all my sets and I can’t just willy-nilly steal other pictures online and insert them here. Instead, to help with visualization, I’m going to link to all of the sets on Brickset so you can just open each one on a separate tab and check it out as we go along.

Friends - If you’re sleeping on Friends because it’s pink and girly, knock that off. In terms of building, it’s one of the best themes going with interesting and sometimes complex builds, unique pieces, and reasonable prices because there’s no extra cost for a license like Star Wars or Marvel. I mean, they came out with a bleeping Friends modular last year and it’s really nice. If you want to look at all the Friends Amusement Park sets on one place, here’s Brickset’s page for the theme.

Friends Amusement Park Wave 1 - These all came out in 2016. However, I didn’t get them until COVID. Sure, I had a couple of stand-alone roller coaster sets before that. But these were the ones that got me thinking I could do an entire amusement park. These rolled into our local used Lego shop and I snatched up one set and then all the rest.

Amusement Park Roller Coaster (41130) - This was really the set that started it all for me. It retailed for $100 but can be found for $50-$60 on eBay or a used Lego store. It’s not perfect: the roller coaster track is smaller than the usual Lego train track (4-wide vs 6-wide), the Ferris wheel isn’t perfectly balanced or scaled, and good luck replacing that tall yellow piece if you break it. But, the whole set takes up a lot of space horizontally /and/ vertically. There are 3 large rides and none of them feel cheap. Translucent pieces are used in abundance to emphasize the space theme and there’s even a light brick in the roller coaster. Even beyond that, there’s a lot of little bits included like a ticket booth, map, and multiple little food elements. Heck, if you were building a town and just wanted a little carnival area, you could get this set and be done. This is one of my favorite sets and my son likes it so much that he got himself a copy, too (he can only play with dad’s Legos with dad but I don’t care what he does with his).

Amusement Park Bumper Cars (41133), Amusement Park Space Ride (41128), Amusement Park Arcade (41127) - While 41130 retailed for $100, all the rest were under $40. These got me thinking about how I needed to have some flats in my amusement park. Not everything is a big roller coaster - you need things for bulk. My favorite is the 41128 - it has a cool spinning mechanism to make all the spaceships fly, though it’s a little light so you have to be careful with how hard you spin it. For 41133, the chair ride has a cool rotating mechanism and the bumper cars are cool but it would have been nice to have a larger surface. 41127 has some fun motion functions.

Amusement Park Hot Dog Van (41129) - Friends sets love to have food. And bathrooms, too. If you were going to skip one from this set, this would be it. But even it has its charms with someone in a hot dog suit, a cool neon hot dog sign, and a photo booth. I didn’t initially get this when I got the others but I did pick it up for completeness later. But, seriously, as we go through these sets, don’t do a drinking game about food and bathrooms or you won’t make it to the end.


Friends Amusement Park Wave 2 - I don’t think there’s a technical term for these “waves”, but have been 3 different years (so far) of Friends Amusement Park sets. In 2019, there were only 3 new sets (and a polybag) but they were all bigger and more complex than anything from 2016, save 41130.

Heartlake City Amusement Pier (41375) - This is the new wave’s version of 41130. It only has 2 big rides instead of 3, but they’re more elaborate. The pirate ship roller coaster feels more playable with a lot of little hidden elements and more details like the haunted pink sails. However, I think the swing ride is also really strong. It uses little chains and is just really unique. It also comes with all the trappings of a flagship set with additional booths like tickets, ice cream, and a prize wheel. It initially retailed for $130, which was just too much. But I found it for nearly half that and it can still be found in that range if you’re patient.

Funny Octopus Ride (41373) - You can’t deny that all 3 sets in this wave were unique. This could just be a simple, small Technic carousel. But, nope. The giant octopus ride uses repurposed hot air balloon pieces to make an octopus and uses these weird plastic tube pieces for the “track” that the four cute animals go around on. The retail cost was a high 12c per piece, but I guess that made sense considering all the odd pieces used.

Underwater Loop (41337) - This is another quality flat to help fill out the park. It’s like a larger version of the rotating chair ride from 41133. However, it has really cute theming with a brick-built turtle and clown fish for seats and a crab on the ticket booth.


Friends Amusement Park Wave 3 - This 2021 wave of sets tried something new. If you squinted, you could say that all of wave 2 were water themed, however, wave 3 had a strong magic theme and look like a cohesive whole. Initially, it was my least favorite of the three, but it’s started to grow on me. These came out after the image above so they’re not in the picture but will be a part of any future amusement park. Because of the theming, they can easily be their own “section” of the park and it would look sharp.

Magical Funfair Roller Coaster (46185) - If you like the color theming for this wave, the flagship for this wave is a looker. The magic theme is heavily emphasized with a central big top tent, a giant rabbit in a hat, and color theming that’s consistent throughout all the sets (including glow-in-the-dark pieces). All the Friends are wearing magician clothes in these sets, too, to complete the look. At first, I thought the roller coaster for this one was too short, but after looking at the other ones, it’s not really - it’s just that it’s not as well themed on the behind the tent. A ring ride is the next largest feature to go along with the assorted little booths and signs.

Magical Ferris Wheel and Slide (41689) - I’m not sure why these were combined, other than to give a mid-level set and price point to this theme. Lego has done a number of Ferris wheels (we’ll get to that in a bit), but the hat one is quite cute and well execute. The slide is less so. There are “magic tricks” scattered throughout this theme and this one has a mirror that makes an optical illusion where it looks like the person on the slide goes out one side, but instead goes out the other.

Magical Funfair Stalls (41687), Magical Caravan (41688), Magical Acrobatics (41686) - The stalls make a good addition to a midway, though it’s not readily apparent what all of the stalls do just by looking at them. I guess that’s my main complaint about this wave - they got so caught up in the theming that they took away some of the functionality. As for the other two sets, I guess horses are also part of a magic show? The interior of the caravan is quite detailed, but that set was criminally overpriced at $40 originally.


(We’ll get to more Friends next week)

Creator - Along with Friends, this is one of the best themes for casual builds. Yes, Modulars and Architecture have them beat for complexity. However, if you want to just get some bricks and let your imagination run wild, it’s a wonderful theme. All of the creators listed below are 3-in-1, meaning they have the pieces and instructions to do 3 different builds in one box. However, with most of them, there’s a “featured” build that’s on the box and two lesser builds that use significantly fewer pieces.

Pirate Roller Coaster (31084) - Chronologically, this was the first amusement park set I got and it’s wonderful. Before I had any idea of building a giant amusement park, I just liked this set and picked it up. Because of the 3-in-1, the entry pirate castle has some odd coloring and brick choices, but the ride is wonderful. The techniques to build the skull, the octopus, and the split pirate ship are really creative. Unlike the Friends sets, this one has only gone up in price and it’s difficult to find a complete one for under $100. However, the other builds aren’t nearly as good so I just need one set. In my build above, it’s the featured roller coaster and themes nicely next to the 41375.

Space Roller Coaster (31142) - I do not have this set yet, but I will absolutely be getting it when it goes on sale. Just look at that beauty: a reasonably long roller coaster with great space theming. The main build is the definite star, but the shuttle launcher ride looks pretty good, too.

Ferris Wheel (31119) - The most fun of the many Ferris wheels in my park. I mean, it says it right there on the ride and who is going to argue with happy sun and his clouds? I feel in love with the theming for this ride the moment I saw it. Honestly, I haven’t build the other two yet because the Ferris wheel is just so darn cute. FYI: if you go to Brickset and look at the “Images” tab, they have images that show how many pieces are left out from the other builds compared with the main one.

Ferris Wheel (4957) - This is an older 3-in-1 Ferris wheel. Back in the day, this was a real bargain at $70, considering its high piece count and it also included a motor. However, it’s been retired more than 15 years so the only way I was able to pick it up cheaply on eBay was because it only had the parts for the Ferris wheel and not the other builds. It isn’t mini-figure scale, but has little micro figures. I’ve added both of these Ferris wheels since our first iteration of the park above. Part of the challenge of building another will be determining how to maximize each of the different sizes and designs of Ferris wheels throughout the park.

Fairground Carousel (31095) x3 - You know how I keep lamenting that the secondary builds aren’t nearly as good? I feel this one does have a main build that is best, but the secondary builds are also good. I feel that way so much to the point that I have 3 different copies of this set and put them all next to each other as the theming and color look good next to each other. The other sets we’ve already mentioned were $80 and up. This one was $50 and could be found for cheaper so it was a nice way to add bulk. The rocket ship ride adds some nice verticality and some additional booths while the small Ferris wheel chair ride looks sharp and mimics another ride we’ll see next week.

Legoland (theme page) - This is our last theme for today. It’s meant to be a promotional line that you can only get at Legoland parks. Fortunately, Target carried a number of them online briefly during COVID and I snatched them up for my collection. Lego doesn’t seem to know what to do with this theme. It typically depicts scenes or rides from the theme parks, but they’ve had anything from a brick-built family scene to rides that would be right at home with the sets above.

LEGOLAND® Park (40346) - This one is wonderful if you can get your hands on it. It has an observation tower, a submarine ride, a rotating pirate ride, and a small dragon roller coaster. It also has a front gate, ticket booth, a cute signpost, a miniature park, and a number of other little stands and signs. It also has 11 minifigures. It’s a whole park in a box! Unfortunately, because of its exclusivity, it’s hard to find for a reasonable price.

LEGOLAND NINJAGO World (40429) - This is a cute shooting ride. It’s a little small but fits nicely into the top left corner above. The Brickset review said that Lego’s promotional material showed 2 of these sets linked together and, yes, I think that would look better. You know, it’s only about $30 on eBay.

Mythica (40556), Pirate Splash Battle (40710) - These are the two newest and I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on either. The former looks like a showpiece only, though it doesn’t look much like a ride. The latter could work in water park.

LEGOLAND® Water Park (40473) - Speaking of water park, this is a nice set with 3 connected slides that appears in next week’s water park. The middle “slide” has the fun barrel-of-water effect. One thing that’s really nice about these sets is that they come with an abundance of minifigures to help populate a theme park.

LEGOLAND® Fire Academy (40393), LEGOLAND® Driving School Cars (40347) - You can see on the left side where I slapped together a couple of baseplates and put both of these “rides” together. They’re not very ride-like in appearance, but they’re apparently rides you can do at Legoland so I included them.

LEGOLAND Entrance with Family (40115), LEGOLAND Train (40166), Micro LEGOLAND® Castle (40306) - The scaling on these is tough to make work. Maybe you could pretend 40115 is a giant statue, the castle could go in the miniature park from 40346, and the train is like a park train.

The long and short here is that 40346 is an excellent addition to any park. Beyond that, YMMV.

Next week, we’ll look at the rest of the amusement park.

I try hard to not repeat songs to the point where I have a running list that I check each week. I reviewed the Lego Movie 2 and then talked about Lego video games and used clips from Lego Star Wars. I talked about The Lego Movie 2 again (whoops) and used the sequel song “Everything’s Not Awesome”. But somehow I’ve never used “Everything is Awesome”. And, if I search for those words on this site*, the only other link I get is this OT Thread from 2014, right around when the movie came out (hi, Gopherballs!). That link takes me back. Me, my wife, and my baseball life partner went to Arizona, hiked the Grand Canyon, saw the Royals at Spring Training, and, on the day we were supposed to go on a hot air balloon ride, it rained for the first time there in 2 months so we went and watched The Lego Movie instead (which was, of course, awesome).

*(using Google, of course, because the SBNation search is terribad and, sadly, DuckDuckGo isn’t great for a search this specific)

I’m going to be kind today and use the whole movie clip around the song so it might not get stuck in your head. But, yeah, who are we kidding. If you get to that point, you’re not getting it out: