Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Our coverage of these Royals is kind of like that: slowly disappearing, soon incomplete sentences and broken links.
But this is too good to not share: Joe Poz, near the end of a really hilarious column for SI:
I'm going to give you an amazing statistic about Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke. He is, unquestionably, the best pitcher in the American League. He leads the league in ERA, complete games, WHIP and home runs per nine innings. He is second in strikeouts, and fifth in walks per game.
No, I haven't given you the amazing statistic yet.
He leads the league in shutouts. He has made 20 starts where he allowed two runs or less, most in the American League. He has made 24 starts where he allowed three runs or less, most in the American League. He has only had two starts all year where he has given up five runs in a game.
No, haven't given you the stat. Not yet.
Greinke's first 10 starts, he had an 0.84 ERA. His last five starts, he has a 1.38 ERA. Greinke himself has a higher slugging percentage (.333) than the right-handed batters who have faced him this year (.318).
And no, that's not the stat either. Here's the stat that will blow your mind.
The Kansas City Royals have a losing record in games that Zack Greinke has started this season.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I had no idea, however, the extent of the animosity towards the Royals' front office until I spent a couple hours today trolling the blogosphere (with a VPN, of course, as Blogger's blocked in China). Just click on any random link in my blogroll and you'll see (Royals Review has been leading the charge, e.g., here, here and here). The line of disgust and antipathy and -- could it really be? -- hatred has been sunk so deep that even some blog readers have begun to cringe and ask something to the effect of, "Eek... really?"
A sampling of the comments to Rany's 4,254-word renunciation of his fanhood:
Travis: Bull shit. I don't buy you're quiting on the Royals. As much as I like your blog, I'm not begging you to keep writing it. We don't need diehards giving up whenever they get pissed. It's one thing to bitch about the Royals moves, it's another to quit on your team for good. Calm down, have a shot of whiskey, and lets hope for some more moves at the deadline.
jason y: its a sad day to be a royals fan....but how is that different from any other day? when you're at the bottom the only place to go is up. dont lose faith.
(This one is kind of awesome) Keith: Rany, I kept checking your blog Friday night. I thought perhaps you pulled the plug on the whole thing. As an almost casual fan I was bothered by the trade immediately. If I've heard of Cortes then he must be valuable. This is clearly a lost season and I thought it was time to unload contracts and pick up players for the future. I've quit the Chiefs but the Royals are still meaningful. I think it helps not to care too much. Family and friends are whats really important.
Scott: And I also agree with Travis. You can't just give up. It doesn't work that way. I'm 27 years old (Betancourt's age! And I'm not nearly near my peak, thank you very much) and have never known the Royals to be good. Ever. But, here I sit, just waiting for what will definitely be one of the greatest moments of my life when the Royals finally "find a nut."
stpat: ...All I can say is stick with them, if for no other reason than to give us (the Fans) a legit voice.
Ryan: I don't really see the big deal. It's not like they traded Hosmer or Aaron Crow or someone like that. Also, unlike the Jacobs deal, it's not like they are blocking someone better on the farm with this deal either. I really don't see it having that much of a negative impact. Maybe it costs Glass some money if he continues to tank but I don't really care about that. Someone other that TPJ has got to play short and I don't see any other options out there.
And another thing, I'm sick of hearing people talk about I'm not going to anymore games, I'm done with this team, I'm not wearing anymore Royals gear.......good. I'm with Travis and Scott. We don't need you around making ridiculous claims about your loyalty. If you leave, stay gone. I don't want to see you back when the tide turns. And it will turn.....
Matt Berger: Rany im 20 years old, ive never really seen a winning Royals season 2003 doesn't really count. I want to give up, I want to stop caring but I can't and I haven't so you can't either. Might I suggest you keep being critical and hope you're comments reach ears who belong to someone in position to make decisions. You have a bully pulpit keep using it. I look forward to meeting you Saturday.
So on and so forth.
I admit I did not read all 134 comments (I will never understand what would ever motivate someone, like ejfunk, to write a near-500-word response to a blog post; I mean that in the best way possible). I will also admit that despite the many affirmations of loyalty to the Kansas City Royals, I was still dismayed, or unconvinced of one thing or another. What that thing is exactly I can't or don't want to articulate. I feel as if the world's blown up and I was on the moon.
Here's the thing: when you live somewhere that's removed from baseball, you lose touch with the rhythm of the season. You forget if those 1-0 losses were pitched by Brian Bannister or Zack Greinke, or if Luke Hochevar's still in the rotation, or why the name "Bruce Chen" is in the box score. I check the scores every morning and feel a distinct pang of disappointment when I see the Royals have lost, an unmistakable pick-me-up, like the first sip of fresh-brewed coffee (in terrifically short supply here), when they've won, but still -- you lose perspective. You find yourself clicking on "standings" every other week, something you shouldn't need to if you're watching Baseball Tonight every other day.
And it is here that I admit that until today, when I had the good fortune to read the blogosphere's reactions, the Betancourt trade didn't bother me all that much. I didn't think much of it. I read Bob Dutton's article and felt it disingenuous to some degree, but I really didn't think it worth my time to fuss over yet another trade of a couple minor leaguers for a middling position player.
Now I wonder...
Those who run counter to the zeitgeist risk inducing something much worse than irrelevance, a pit where this blog has been fast descending (damn you, Great Firewall of China) -- disdain. I don't want that. Those who sigh and curse, pound their fists and wring their hands while following this maddening yet beautiful, wonderfully intricate and fascinating game deserve better than yet another loathsome Royals commentator.
In other words, I'm not entirely sure whether In Dayton We Trust has a place in this current landscape. We're taking a vacation until the steam evaporates off Royals Land.
I won't go so far as to quote Keith -- "Family and friends are what's really important" -- but right now I am going to slip on my flip-flops, walk to the convenience store and buy an ice cream cone.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
And look: wit!
JAYSON STARK: Yeah, not to suggest it's been a while since the American League lost an All-Star Game or anything, but after the AL had ripped yet another All-Star triumph off its relentless July assembly line Tuesday night, we couldn't find a single member of this year's AL All-Stars who could correctly answer the following straightforward trivia question:
Do you even remember the last time the National League won an All-Star Game?
"The last time they won one," he wondered, "who played in it?"
"Yeah," Greinke laughed. "And probably Stan Musial, too."
And lest you forget, Greinke is more or less Mr. Daytona Beach USA.
POSTSCRIPT: Apologies to these Royals blogs, which should've been on my blogroll long before now: Everything Royals, Tangled Up in (Royal) Blue and Royals Primacy. And if you're wondering, yes, I recently learned about at least two of the above due to the Yuniesky Betancourt trade. See, there is something positive to come out of it, and we haven't even given it time to play out yet.
"My idea, when I saw him, was to say, 'What's up?' to him,'' Ichiro said through the Mariners team interpreter. "But I got nervous. You know, he has that kind of aura about him. So I got nervous and I didn't say that to him. I was a little disappointed about that. But I realized after seeing him today that presidents wear jeans, too. So my hope is that our skipper, Don Wakamatsu, was watching that and we can wear jeans on our flights as well.''
And the NL fails yet again.
POSTSCRIPT: Taking votes now -- Obama in blue jeans: cooler than this?
Because this is pretty damn cool.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Albert Pujols’ Mother Drafted Matt Wieters First Overall In Her Fantasy League.
Matt Wieters Can Switch-hit From All Five Sides Of The Plate.
In the First Jurassic Park Movie, The Tyrannosaurus Wasn't Chasing The Jeep. Matt Wieters was Chasing The Tyrannosaurus.
We checked www.ZackGreinkeFacts.com. URL not taken, surprisingly.
Zack Greinke Is The Reason The Suicide Rate Is 95 Percent Among Americans Named Zach.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Angels announcer 1 (paraphrasing): That says a lot, with all the distractions and the pressure, to step up and hit a home run in your first time up.
Angels announcer 2, without missing a beat: Somebody probably tipped him to what was coming.
And that's only one of the reasons I'm enjoying this telecast. Another: Meche is much better than Matt Palmer.
UPDATE, minutes later: I hate MLB.tv.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
And...I can't even believe what a big number I'm about to type here...remember that MLB average is 100, and last year's Cy Young winners Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum had ERA+ of 175 and 167, respectively.
OK, are you ready? Zack Greinke's ERA+ is 1173. Yeah, four digits. One thousand, one hundred seventy-three.
Greinke has four starts in his career with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Every other pitcher to suit up for the Royals in their history has combined for four such starts: one by Gordon, one by Gubicza, one by Johnson, and one by Rich Gale.
Sam Mellinger, KC Star:
It’s an hour or so before Zack Greinke’s first pitch, and Billy Butler is talking to a teammate.
“I’m guaranteeing a shutout tonight,” Butler says. “What do you think?”
This from brilliant reader Rob: Dating back to last year, Greinke has won nine consecutive starts, and in those nine starts he has an 0.69 ERA. How good is that? Well, legendary. There have been 50 pitches since 1954 who have won nine or more consecutive starts. Greinke’s is the second-best.*
*The best of those by ERA?
1. Bob Gibson, 1968: 12-0, 0.50 ERA.
Note for posterity: Gibson completed all 12 of those games.
2. Zack Greinke, 2008-09: 9-0, 0.69 ERA
POSTSCRIPT: From Posnanski, a trip down memory lane to 2003.
Ozzie Guillen's still staring, blankly, into the long abyss.
Lots of Royals commentators have been saying the game vs. the Twins a few days back, which the Royals also won in 11, was one the team had no business winning, in fact would not have won last year, three years ago, 10 years ago.... I put tonight's contest in the same category. Consider:
- The team drew 11 walks, with Coco Crisp walking on four straight plate appearances, often after being down 1-2 in the count.
- The team's crucial sixth run was scored after consecutive walks, both on 3-2 counts (credit Crisp with that RBI... I should mention here that he is, officially, now my favorite player; after he stole second base in the 8th, I could've sworn he was going to score the go-ahead run).
- Talk about picking up your starter: Kyle Davies gave up six runs in four innings; the bullpen went seven while allowing just one (how 'bout Jamie Wright's three scoreless? That's a good night's work. On a related note: is Joakim Soria still okay?)
- And talk about picking up your starter (which is exactly what these players have talked about recently, actually): John Buck, hitless in his five previous at-bats, singles in the walk-off run with two outs after Mike Jacobs failed to get it done.
The list goes on, but in conclusion, this was, from start to finish, one of the most remarkable wins of the season. In the early-going, this was the sort of game you wouldn't have minded losing, insofar as that's ever possible. You fall behind 4-0 and 7-4 and wonder whether you shouldn't just be happy to leave still in first place. But the Royals battled and scrapped -- not to use this most anathema of words, but the Royals really scrapped -- and, sometime around the middle innings, you somehow felt something would change. That the White Sox, obviously inferior, would break. And then it occurs to you: these Royals are different from all the others you've known and followed and loathed. These guys are actually good.
If this team -- the 2009 Royals -- don't revert to their old form -- in other words, if they play like they played tonight -- they will contend from here till late September. Perhaps some of you have known this for a while now (a week?). After today, I see it -- and I would have sooner if not for MLB.tv's frustratingly inconsistent streaming. I believe. And I don't mean it like we all meant it in 2003, with that silly catchphrase -- this time I believe with reason.
POSTSCRIPT: Want to know what separates a good Major League hitter from a decent one who somehow rakes in the minors but can never seem to break through? This was actually something one of the Royals broadcasters said, but it was illustrated in tonight's game: the ability to take a strike, i.e. the confidence to hit while down in the count. Major Leaguers can put the same kind of swing on a 1-2 fastball as a 2-1. The moment that brought this to light for me was Mitch Maier's at-bat in the 8th, with Crisp on third, Mark Teahen on first and two out. The pitcher, Scott Linebrink, had walked Crisp earlier and obviously wasn't exhibiting great control. The first pitch was a ball. And then Maier, perhaps feeling he needed to justify himself because the White Sox had elected to intentionally walk Teahen, swung on the 1-0 count and flied out, ending the rally. It was exactly the sort of at-bat his teammates weren't taking all night and the sort the Royals resorted to all the time before this year.
Not saying Maier doesn't belong -- I like him as much as the next guy. Maybe just that there's a reason it took him so long to make it to the big-league team.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
a. I am so ticked off I missed Zack Grienke Friday night. What a great story -- he threw a three-hitter to beat Detroit (and the kid from West Orange, Rick Porcello) to go to 4-0. The story of the month in baseball, with nothing even close for second place: Grienke. In 29 innings, he's struck out 36 and given up zero earned runs.
b. And the Royals drew 36,363 to the refurbished Kauffman Stadium. Good for them.
c. Was that you, Zack, in the Classic Cup on the Plaza for breakfast Saturday morning? If so, a lot of us left you alone on purpose.
d. By the way, thanks to two Tweeters for steering me to the Classic Cup. Great pulse-of-the-Plaza breakfast spot.
Friday, April 24, 2009
In a game completed in two hours and six minutes in front of 36,363 fans at beautiful Kauffman Stadium.
young diva or prodigy who can "bring tears to your eyes." So, a weekend suggestion, if we may: lean back in your favorite sofa and take a breath. Things are gonna be a-okay.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
- Via Sam Mellinger: something even the most awful of Royals teams never did.
- Royales With Cheese: Wikipedia demonstrates the extent of this fan base's anger with Trey Hillman.
- Joe Posnanski rants -- or gets as close to ranting as you'll see from him -- on Hillman's mismanagement of the bullpen on Sunday.
And tomorrow: Brian Bannister. Yes, Brian Bannister, riding a nine-inning shutout streak. Who cares if it was against minor leaguers... he's back!
POSTSCRIPT: This is why blogs are the future: read the comments to this Ball Star blog post, particularly the thread about ERA+.
Monday, April 20, 2009
However, the question was, is, and will be for the foreseeable future whether we -- the fans, the manager, the man who decided to pay him upwards of $4 million this year, his teammates -- will ever trust him to do his job. Allow me to put it this way: how many scoreless innings must Farnsworth string together for our first reaction upon hearing his name to not be, "Suck on a goat's balls you gutless shiteating piss of a fraud!" or, simply, $&%#!?
This is a serious inquiry.
I ask not for myself but for an increasingly aggrieved fan base. They are angry, and they are angry. And I can only imagine no one feels the brunt of Farnsworth's failures more heavily and personally than Dayton Moore, and on this topic I can provide no words of solace. You will remember that of this offseason's acquisitions -- all those many words volleyed back and forth about Mike Jacobs (it seemed like the baseball universe was focused on that trade), all the analysis of Coco Crisp, those many jokes cracked at Horacio Ramirez and Willie Bloomquist -- the only one I did not openly defend was the Farnsworth signing, dismissing criticism against him with, "I'm willing to see how this plays out... to find the positive, hope for the best." Well, how long before we say there is no positive? Has that time already passed?
Among the victims of Farnsy's collapses -- other than the Royals' win-loss record -- has been manager Trey Hillman. His reputation would be called collateral damage in another context. Royal Report Card titles a post, "Hillman's Gotta Go..", and he doesn't mean shopping. The Royal Treatment is less subtle: "FIRE TREY HILLMAN NOW!" Ah, the things people will say when still mad as spit over a blown lead. Undying Royalty is one of the few who have kept perspective. In any case, even Sam Mellinger of the KC Star seems to be baffled by Hillman's latest string of game decisions. This is not a good sign.
I tried defending Hillman after the Opening Day debacle to a friend by saying he'll learn from his mistakes and improve. I believe I used the phrase "he's still young," which prompted my friend to reply -- rightly -- that managers are not prospects. "They're either idiots or they're not," he said. "You, my friend, have an idiot for a manager." I'm not ready to go that far -- look, it's a tough job; you're dealing with 25 different personalities, 25 needs, and you're required to find some balance, conjure some nonexistent formula that'll keep everyone happy and the "chemistry" good. Put another way, you play the hand you're dealt, and it so happens that Hillman has Farnsworth (and let's throw Ron Mahay into this discussion while we're at it) in his clubhouse, a guy he sees every day. I'm not going to call for his head. But I do think it's getting damn near time for some lesson-learning.
POSTSCRIPT: Via Royals Review, an *interesting* interview with Joakim Soria. This shows, incidentally, why I was initially slightly uncomfortable when I heard his nickname was The Mexicutioner. As long as he's okay with it though...
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
“Today was that game that (general manager) Dayton Moore had in mind when he put this team together,” [John] Buck said. “If we can get to our strength, which is the back of our pen, we’re in good shape."
The early-going of 2009 sure resembles '08, with Dayton Moore's bullpen locking down games for a methodical and effective starting corps. (Here's to hoping it gets better when Luke Hochevar and Brian Bannister come back). With Meche-Greinke-Davies at the top, one has to feel good about this season.
As of yesterday:
Royals' team ERA: 2nd in AL
Strikeouts: 1st (tied)
Walks: 2nd (tied)
Earned runs: 3rd
And the money stat:
Wins: 4th (one behind the leaders)
On the subject of pitching -- specifically the bullpen -- apologies to Old Man Duggan and anyone who thinks Joakim Soria needs to be moved into the rotation, but he's the savior. Savior. God what a filthy curveball. Yes, I'm still shuddering about that 68-mph knee-buckler he threw to Jhonny Peralta on Monday on a 3-2 count. With the bases loaded. Excuse me for this: GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH.
On a still-related note, when it comes to evaluating baseball, the feeling vs. stats debate rages on, as with the question of whether to use Soria in the bullpen or rotation. On this I will only say -- as one who wouldn't mind, necessarily, seeing him get a try in the rotation -- I think anyone who takes Joe Posnanski literally and decrying him when he writes, "But it is true, as far as I know, that no statistic can measure the feeling of knowing that you have a game won in the ninth inning" (emphasis mine), needs to take a breath and ask himself why he follows sports. And I don't want anyone to accuse me of being a "traditionalist" in the Joe Morgan-type sense, but honestly, if your first reaction to words like "no statistic" and "feeling" is to denounce the writer, and if you don't think things like "confidence," which Soria inspires when he enters the game with a lead -- what Buck was getting at, what Poz was hinting at, what Royals management is counting on -- are tangible -- the difference between fairy dust and believing in fairy dust, between a sugar pill and the placebo effect -- then you've been brainwashed. You've officially crossed into that zone where baseball is no longer played by people but trading cards and dice. And, pardon me for saying so, but that's a sad state to exist in, better left for the professionals who get compensated for their enjoyment-nullifying efforts.
Monday, April 13, 2009
POSTSCRIPT: Joe Posnanski contends Joakim Soria's value as a closer:
...The Royals scored three runs more than they scored the first two games of the Yankees series and took a 6-4 lead.
And Soria trotted in from the bullpen in the ninth. “Welcome to the Jungle” blared over the enhanced Royals sound system. Images of fire flared up on video screens all over the stadium.
And here’s the argument: The game was over.
And now it is I who echo this advice to dear Joe of the newly begun New Blue Tradition. Not knowing anything else about you -- your hobbies, your ambitions, your food of choice or style of dress -- I advise you quit now, while you're ahead. You pick up some momentum and something will grab hold of you, something sinister from "out there" in a land marked by Google signposts. You might escape from its clutches someday in a few months or years, when all the endorphins have drained away, but there will come a random day in January or February when a gal you've never met will decide, out of the midnight abyss that is our subconscious, to start a blog called "New Blue Tradition," and on an overcast day when nothing at all could go right you'll check your stat meter and find -- holy Soria! -- your blog's geting hits again, from random Google searches, and you'll scratch your head and wonder and, against all your better inclination, begin publishing again.
They reclaim, in the end, your soul.
We'd like to welcome back Royal Blues (not Minda's new Royal Blues, part of MVN, which has added two new Royals blogs to its network, The Throne Room and The Scorecard). We last heard from him on March 3, 2007, writing about a fantasy baseball draft.
Now... did anyone notice how good Tony Pena Jr. looked while scoring the tying run in the bottom of the 8th yesterday? Got his uniform dirty, then sprinted across the plate standing up. The small crowd was boisterous. Thank goodness for Phil Coke (and Joe Girardi).
I would also like to state for the record -- for the thousandth time -- that Joakim Soria is awesome. Elite. Crème de la crème. His line from yesterday:
I'm not a big fan of the word "agape," but that's the state his final curveball left me.
Gil Meche is pretty epic as well.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I mean, it is what ultimately matters. I suppose it'd be more prudent to take my meaning as "Royals won," but you probably already knew that anyway.
Kyle Davies for Cy Young.
Game story from the excellent Bob Dutton, already in midseason form. As he notes:
The Royals closed out this first series with their three starters — Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Davies — permitting just one run and 13 hits in 20 innings. The three also combined for 21 strikeouts and five walks.
And now the ball goes to Sidney Ponson as the Royals return to a renovated Kauffman Stadium for their home opener.
I typed that with a straight face.
POSTSCRIPT: On the Coco Crisp home run call, imagine Hawk's voice dropping a sad octave when he says "gone" and you'll understand why I found this so very amusing: "That ball is gone."
Thursday, April 9, 2009
He also said he really likes talk radio, and -- we're less than 10 minutes in, folks -- apparently Paul Konerko is one HELL of a defensive first baseman.
Where has this been all my life?
1:20 p.m. And the Royals are out of the inning because Jim Thome isn't batting against Kyle Farnsworth.
Don't say I said this, but Kyle Davies looks sharp. It's gonna be a good year.
1:24 p.m.: Billy Butler beats one down the line! (Just kidding -- E-5.)
1:18 p.m.: Eh, I've decided I'm okay with Gordon at No. 6. Mike Aviles fly-out, inning over.
That's a can o' corn for Carlos.
1:35 p.m.: Yikes. Davies hung another one -- pulled foul. The next pitch got a lot of plate but Alexi Ramirez hit it off the end of the bat to center.
"That's a can o' corn," Hawk said before immediately falling silent, perhaps realizing he'd just used the exact same expression.
1:37 p.m.: If it sounds like I'm being overly critical, please don't misunderstand: I admire Hawk for being passionate -- like you and me, really -- and for disguising nothing. He and Stone were talking about the White Sox minor leaguers earlier as if they were their children (I don't mean Hawk-Stoney love child, though that's a pretty good image). He calls the players by their first names. If you ever missed a game and needed someone to fill you in, would you not want Hawk to be the guy doing it?
(Actually, that is patently absurd.)
And, wouldn't you know, Willie Bloomquist... struck out.
A good night and a good day to everyone.
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was among three people killed in a crash in Fullerton, California, early Thursday, according to the team and a hospital spokesman.
Adenhart, 22, from Silver Spring, Maryland, died at UC Irvine Medical Center, according to spokesman John Murray.
It's just that I just watched him pitch on MLB.tv, and knowing nothing else about him -- not the area he grew up in, whether he was an only child as the article implied, whether he had aspirations beyond baseball, whether he ever dreamed he would, through tossing a baseball, worm his way into the living rooms of people the world over -- I just have to say: this bit of news, at 1:33 a.m. where I am right now, seems horribly tragic.
UPDATE, 4/10: SI: Joe Posnanski and Lee Jenkins.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The Royals represented so much of what Kansas City wanted to believe about itself. They were a family. They were creative. They were tough. And they were part of the community … you could go out to the Plaza after a game, and there would be star third baseman George Brett or big first baseman John Mayberry or pitcher Dennis Leonard. You could buy a player a drink, and he would probably walk over and talk about the game. Frank White, who grew up in Kansas City and worked on the construction crew that built the new Royals Stadium (now the even newer Kauffman Stadium), played second base like no one had ever played it before.
Willie Wilson, perhaps the fastest man to ever play major league baseball, would hit balls that skidded off the artificial turf, and he would be a wonder to watch run around the bases. Hal McRae, who believed that you played baseball to win, would slide hard to break up double plays. Relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry would throw strike after strike after strike, counting on his brilliant defense to make the great plays behind him. And more often than not, it did.
Kansas City could not get enough of that team. From 1976 to 1993, the Royals, playing in perhaps the smallest market in baseball, averaged more than 2 million fans per season.
Especially post-game quotes like this:
“I got behind him 2-0,” [Kyle] Farnsworth said, “and I tried to come back on him with fastballs. That one was up a little bit. That’s why you try to get ahead of him. You fall behind good hitters like that, they’ll make you pay.”
Excuse us while we scream a string of curses.
This will go on for a while, so go ahead and continue what you were doing...
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We can all agree that this was worth the wait, as always, and what is making it even more fun this time is being able to watch it live in crystal-clear, staggeringly spectacular HD on your computer via MLB.TV Premium.
We can all agree that this was worth the wait, as always, and what is making it even more fun this time is being able to watch it live in crystal-clear, staggeringly spectacular HD on your computer via MLB.TV Premium.
Beau Frusetta is a Red Sox fan in Phoenix and he also uses it to follow his team in a way no other broadcast capability can match. It is anywhere-baseball, loaded with interactive functionalities that are beyond your average TV set's capabilities. They just don't make those with Fantasy trackers built in or constant delivery of highlights.
"Having an HD stream available from MLB.TV this year is amazing -- some other professional sports leagues should take note," he said. "I think what most people don't realize is that you can hook your computers up to those lovely 40-inch-plus LCD HD TVs that everyone has these days and stream HD content from the internet in full screen to their TVs. For $20 a month, that's a smoking deal to be able to see all the Red Sox games that I miss during the year being in the Phoenix market. It's also a much better deal than you'd get on some other services like satellite/cable, and you can take it with you if you have a laptop -- not much better than that!"
And these are -- not kidding -- the top three user comments as of 9:02 a.m. ET:
POSTSCRIPT: Fail blog -- it's been pretty incredible this past week.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Some rainy-day reading, then:
- Sports Illustrated's preview: Tom Verducci:
The Reds and Rangers have been down too long in the democracy of the modern game. They are among only seven franchises that have not reached the postseason this decade. Toronto, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore and Washington/Montreal have somehow also missed the crowded party. The Yankees are guaranteed to have the most wins of the decade (they have a 37-win lead over Boston), but the Red Sox have the most world championships (two, with seven other franchises tied with one). Keep in mind, too, that in this decade alone teams have busted championship droughts of 10, 24, 28, 41, 86 and 88 years -- awakenings that must warm the hearts of Indians fans on the chilly shores of Lake Erie.
- Joe Posnanski writing in the Kansas City Star:
Well, this year — for the first time in a dozen years or so — I have not written the “Royals will win” column. Many people have written in and wondered about that. Have I finally lost hope? Have I allowed the naysayers to break me? Have I given up on this silly gimmick?
No. It’s something else this year.
I think the Royals really and truly might win the American League Central this year.
- Joe Posnanski writing in SI.
- The KC Star Royals preview section.
- Royals Review: optimism and anxiety (seems like the perfect words)
- Continuing with the optimism angle... Royals Authority
- Even Rany... (seriously)
- New Royals blog: Royal Report Card (I'm sure there are others I'm missing...)
- Nods to Sully Baseball, aka Paul Sullivan of HBO Sports, who compiled this about the Royals (if you're into reminiscing), and George Blowfish.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Recently I've had a chance to re-watch the critical moments of the WBC final between Korea and Japan, and I have to say: like watching soccer on Univision, watching a Japanese broadcast of baseball really adds to the experience, even if you don't know what anyone's saying. Although you could probably guess, after the camera pans out from its besotted slow sweep of Ichiro's face, that the guys in the booth are screaming something to the effect of, "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!"
The seven-and-a-half-minute version of that video is here.
With Ichiro standing on first, a color commentator on a Chinese (probably Taiwan) broadcast said, "Hero. Really nothing else to say. Hero," while the play-by-play man raced over his words to describe what just happened.
And this is the bottom of the 9th, in Chinese:
Finally, the American version (the highlights, anyway).
Friday, March 27, 2009
They will probably win more than 6% of their games—that would be 10—come the regular season, we'll give him that. But this stretch of sustained failure does give pause. It challenges the whole idea of spring training as just seven weeks of enforced camaraderie, a competition-free zone, no consequences whatsoever. It's just not likely, not from what we know of sports, that a team can lose that many games in a row and have it simply not matter.
Ourselves, we're kind of hoping the Astros do go on to the World Series, if only to satisfy the fantasy that somewhere (either in Arizona or Florida, of course) and sometime (just early spring) there are grown men playing baseball just for the fun of it, without penalty or sanction. It's a pleasant idea, isn't it? The games will count way too much, soon enough.
Still, we'd like to point out the Royals are third from the top among American League teams.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
On one side you have the naysayers, including many Major League Baseball general managers and inane national columnists like Gene Wojciechowski who have mastered the art of thinking small.
On the other you have the people who know and like baseball, including the actual participants.
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's read this blog whose side I'm on. My two cents:
Why is there even a debate?
The term "provincialist" has been used as a popular put-down for non-supporters, but I don't think we need to resort to name-calling. I've implied it before but I'll make it clear now: for Americans who can't see or understand the allure of the WBC and its impact on international baseball -- not to be confused with "international tournaments"; I'm talking about professional baseball leagues in Japan, Korea, Cuba, etc., and baseball fans in countries around the world -- I say, Too bad.
It's too bad you didn't think it worth your time to watch baseball players slide so hard into second they'd crack their helmets in the front and the back.
It's too bad you don't like rivalries, especially ones seeped so deep in world history it'd be fair to call last night's game one of those "transcendent" sporting events.
It's too bad you don't like watching ninth-inning rallies, and stars shine at just the right moments, and managers second-guessed, and celebrations worthy of a parade.
It's just too bad.
I don't need to rehash the arguments for the WBC, such as how injuries can happen in spring training, players can use preparation for the WBC as an excuse to not be lazy in January, etc., nor do I want to copy and paste large portions of Verducci's column about the WBC's impact in other countries (please just read it; I will say he mentioned the Royals: "The interest was not confined to the Pacific Rim. The 39 WBC games drew an average of 20,549 fans per game -- making the WBC, on average, a better draw than three major league franchises: the Royals, Pirates and Marlins. The WBC drew seven crowds in excess of 40,000 -- more than the Marlins, Nationals, Royals, Indians, White Sox and Athletics combined in 486 games last year").
I'll just leave it at this: watch this video and tell me you wouldn't have wanted to be in L.A., or whether there was a time Jon Miller and Joe Morgan ever sounded so good.
As for last words, ESPN's Eric Neel can have them:
I didn't see a game so much as a happening, an event in which every moment, from the plays made in the field to the explosive cheers in the stands, felt charged with intense desire and fierce competition.
I hope you saw it too. I hope, like me, what you saw made you think the lingering questions about whether the WBC is here to say seem silly. I hope, like me, what you saw made your worrying and wondering about what happened to Team USA and about why they have failed to win this tournament twice now seem entirely beside the point.
I hope you saw Japan 5, Korea 3 for what it was: A great night of baseball, a great night for baseball.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Again -- congratulations to South Korea for advancing to the WBC finals.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- On the heels of the Bruce Chen signing, Tug Hulett's demotion to Triple-A Omaha and the birth of Jose Guillen's son Derek, the Kansas City Royals mixed in another intriguing transaction this week. They picked up Sidney Ponson, World Baseball Classic stalwart, nemesis of Aruban judges and a guy who was released by Texas last June for conduct unbecoming a teammate.
About the importance of a strong bullpen, this is more or less right on:
Both the front office and manager Trey Hillman also subscribe to the notion that nothing crushes a team's spirit more than blown leads in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
"I just read a comment by [Diamondbacks manager] Bob Melvin last week and I agree with it wholeheartedly," Hillman said. "He talked about how terrible you feel when you lose a game out of the bullpen. When you have a lead and end up losing the game, it cuts twice."
A recommended read. You won't find a longer article in a national publication/website about the Kansas City Royals bullpen.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Dominican Republic from the World Baseball Classic
Maybe the Dominican Major Leaguers and its manager should've gone easier on those "we're way better than them" quotes after their first loss to the Dutch, eh?
Netherlands 2, D.R. 1, 11 inn.
ESPN's Jorge Arangue Jr.:
Late in the game, after each successive inning in which the impossible really did happen, Netherlands first baseman Randall Simon paced around the area near his position and pleaded with his dead mother for a miracle. Simon's team had fought the powerful Dominican Republic team to a draw in Tuesday's elimination game, making it the night of the improbable, so who was to say she would not listen?
"If you're here with me," Simon said to her, "talk to the Lord, because these guys really deserve it."
SI's Tom Verducci:
Major League Baseball can work all of its machinations to pump up interest in the tournament, such as marketing and broadcasting. But there is nothing more powerful to sell the tournament than the unscripted magnificence of the game itself, never more so than when what we regard as the meek overtake the mighty. The Dominicans, because of the country's abiding love for baseball, will bear grief and shame for the defeat.
But for the Dutch, and for those who saw the WBC as a means to grow the game, victory is eternal. Van Gogh. Escher. DeKooning. And now make way for a new Dutch master: DeCaster.
POSTSCRIPT: From the above-linked Verducci article, a blurb too good to not post here:
Venezuelan fans match their passion with inventiveness. At-bats by Chavez were occasions to announce their disapproval of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez: "Endy, si! Chavez, no!"
And speaking of heads of state, Fidel Castro is blogging on the WBC. No, really. The Cuban president, writing under Reflections by Comrade Fidel, apparently is down with sabermetric principals that regard giving up an out with a sacrifice bunt as poor strategy. He took Japan to task for bunting in the eighth inning of a one-run game against Korea. ("an error whichever elemental way it is analyzed"). He also rapped his own team for "carelessness" on the basepaths (in a blowout win over South Africa, no less), lamented not winning the game by the mercy rule, and wrote he wants Cuba to beat Japan in the finals. Harsh stuff. Does the guy think he's some dictator, or what?
Monday, March 9, 2009
Lest you need another reminder, they love him there.
God I miss this.
Meanwhile, in China, no one noticed the national team bowed out of the tournament with a pretty bad loss to South Korea. It's not the Olympics any more...
But, hey, at least they beat Chinese Taipei (again).
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Yes, once again I'm far removed from baseball and all other Americana -- unless you count McDonald's, Starbucks, KFC, iPods on subways, a shitload of cars, basketball, golf, commercialism, pretty faces on big billboards, high-rises, VIP lounges and a few other things -- so this is your obligatory apology post. I won't drift too far, but I can't afford to keep IDWT numero uno on my blog depth chart either (the complete list is in my blogger profile).
A departing note: I'm gonna be keeping an eye on this pending blog war between Royals Review -- which is, let's face it, Britain circa 18th to mid-20th century -- and Hapless, which kind of reminds me of India. Or maybe a better metaphor -- if war metaphors for
We won't know until we get full-blown conflict. Where's the potential Saraevjo? Where's Fort Sumter? Get it at!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
So, too, would this fine introduction from our latest Royals blog, Hapless Royals, be shrugged off, or at least analyzed outside of (the yet-nonexistent) context:
Welcome to my new blog. Be warned. I will cuss in just about every sentence. If this offends you, go the fuck away.
This blog will be about the Kansas City Royals, their fans, stupid bloggers, idiot fans, shit I read on other website geared toward the Royals, and whatever crap I feel like posting.
I'll try to post once or twice a week. And I'll start tomorrow off with something I'd like to call: "The internet is ruining the enjoyment of Baseball."
So be it. These are the times we live in. It doesn't matter the bar you set: just whether your jump makes the audience ooh and aah.
POSTSCRIPT: Mike Sweeney was at the Royals Awards Dinner yesterday and received the Mr. Baseball Award, the night's highest honor. He received a standing ovation and choked up in his acceptance speech. Read about it here.
Friday, January 16, 2009
- I wonder if Joe Posnanski's "columns" on SI.com draw as many unique voters as those same columns he posts on his own website. Just a thought. Unrelated:
I have received many emails from Royals fans and national baseball fans who are beginning to have serious questions about Royals general manager Dayton Moore. Well, I think, in many ways that matter, Dayton has done, and is doing, a terrific job. There is so much that he has done below the surface. I think the Royals organization is much stronger. I think their minor league system is getting stronger and better run. I think they are much, much more competitive in Latin America. I believe the Royals will improve their record this year for the fourth straight year.
- Royals Authority: What is a reasonable timeframe for Dayton Moore?
- Lee Warren on the Royals Caravan in Omaha (he's got a bunch of videos up as well).
- Congratulations to Rickey Henderson. Now The Onion's "Controversial Hall of Fame Selections":
Robin Yount: Although the three-time all-star had a solid 20-year career with the Brewers, he never would have made it on the first ballot if his 385 cousins weren't voters.
As a final note, this top thread on Chiefs Planet -- Rickey Henderson quotes -- has to be the most plagiarized piece of work in sports, as no one seems to know who deserves the credit for compiling the quotes in the first place. I link it to you now in honor of Rickey and because, even though it's appeared on this site before, it really is that good.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
You know what, though? Fuck Florida. Give me wholesome values and that can-do Midwest spirit any day, or something like that.
But seriously: Florida is the worst state ever. Ever.
The discussion thread's interesting too, highlighted by this (among other starred) comment:
cmkeller: "It’s easy to criticize, but let’s not forget that the win total has increased by 6 or so every year since GMDM took over. How much does he need to do to get cut a little slack around here? I’m not saying that I think Kyle Farnsworth is worth almost $5MM per year (I’d love to know who GMDM thought he was bidding against for his services), but I do think the Royals will do better next year than they did last year, and the doom-and-gloomers need to keep a broader perspective."
It's also inspired this 667-word post from Sweep_the_Leg.
C'mon people, in this worsening economic climate, don't you have some resumes to build? (I'm just kidding.)
And with that, we happily transition to...
January 17-18 at the Overland Park Convention Center, "the second annual event, which will be expanded for 2009 and feature 25,000 square feet of additional space" blah blah etc. etc., read about it here.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
On the flip side, he's disdained by a very active Mariner blogging community, which pokes fun at Bloomquist because of his lack of power and overall offensive production. Among his nicknames: "Ballgame," "The Ignitor," "Princess Willie" and "Willie Boom-Boom."
Sports on a Schtick also gives you Willie Bloomquist, Dragon Rider. This can be a great game: Willie Bloomquist, Low Rider; Willie Bloomquist, Whale Rider; Willie Bloomquist, Pony Express Rider.
I'm sorry, I really got nothing. Royals Review's got you covered though.
Play us out, Willie Alexander.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
One other announcement, via the PR arm of MLB.com:
But there will be other awards for the dinner at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, Jan. 16, at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel in Overland Park, Kan. Tickets, $75 each or $750 for a table of 10, are available online at Royals.com or by calling 816-504-4040.
Couple things: the Royals.com link actually links to www.royals.com, even though the article is hosted on the very same site and a direct link to the ticket-buying page is posted in the article's sub-head.
Second: if you're bringing a table of 10, shouldn't you get a discount? I mean, really, wouldn't that encourage people to fill these tables?
I dunno. Maybe it's just me.
But congrats to all the Royals receiving awards. An impressive list, really.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I'm not exactly sure what that reason is, but this somewhat approximates it:
doxadad: Has Sluggerrr ever let you operate the "Hot Dog" gun?
(Mark) Teahen: No, Sluggerrr is very protective of his toys.
It straddles the line between the zany and the banal, the innocent and the inappropriate. There is no neat way of describing that exchange -- indeed, no neat way to characterize even how we should feel about it -- and that sort of reflects our shifting world in these uncertain times: confusing, surreal, ponderous. That's what I like about it.
Also, Teahen would like you to know he has a fashion show "this Friday to benefit Challenger Sports, helping children with special needs. It will be the chance of the winter to see a few Royals players. There are still tickets available on www.challengeyourfashion.com. The event starts at 6 p.m. [CT] on Jan. 9 at the Kansas City Convention Center."
Now, check out this video [HT: Minda].
POSTSCRIPT: The market for hitters has apparently bottomed out after Mark Teixeira's signing. With Adam Dunn possibly getting as little as $10 million a year and no one wanting to touch Scott Boras's demands for Manny Ramirez, somehow we like Jose Guillen a little bit less right now.