Kansas City Newsbeat
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
It’s Jeff Sullivan, with GIFs, talking about defense on Fangraphs. Read it.
The Royals feel like an exaggeration of what defense can do. In this way I can only speak for myself, but when, say, Miguel Cabrera goes on one of his tears, I see him at the plate and I feel like he could hit a dinger at a moment’s notice. I can sense the threat of a slugger, because I’m aware of the range of possible outcomes. The Royals have made me sense a defense. The feeling I get is that every ball in play is doomed. Hit a ball to the outfield and you might as well just walk back to the dugout, unless you hit it 420 feet. Not every ball in play is converted, naturally, but not every slugger plate appearance turns into a handful of bases. It just happens often enough to set the expectation. The expectation is that the Royals will make the out, if it’s in any way possible. [...]
I get how weird it might be to see something of a pro-Royals article on FanGraphs, given, you know. But for one thing, this isn’t specifically about the Royals. And for another, there’s no better current representation of something we all hold to be important. The Royals are like if UZR were a general manager, and while there have been great defensive teams before, the Royals are sensational and the Royals are one win away from the World Series with limited other strengths. Is defense really as important as WAR suggests? I mean, I don’t know with 100% certainty, but the Royals make a hell of an argument. Outs are in — and so are the Royals.
Joe Posnanski ponders Ned Yost and, inter alia, the recent history of Royals managers:
The players, though, keep on winning for him. “We all know, Ned’s got our backs,” pitcher James Shields says. The Royals best overall player, Alex Gordon, talks at length about how big a role Yost played in his emergence after he was sent to the minors to learn how to play the outfield. “I know that his belief in me has been a big part of my story,” Gordon says. Ibanez, who was brought in more for his leadership than his bat, sees how Yost lets the players be themselves. “This is a fun team, a team with a lot of really fun personalities,” Ibanez says. “I give Ned a lot of credit for letting these young players breathe and enjoy playing the game.”
And this is Moore’s point too: All the strategic things Ned Yost does that may drive people crazy are a miniscule part of a very big job.
“Let me tell you how I look at strategy,” Moore says. “To me, every single one of those 25 players on the roster should be able to do whatever job Ned asks of them. If they can’t do the job, it’s my fault – those are the players I gave him. Those are the players that we, as an organization, targeted and acquired and developed. If they’re not good enough to get outs in the sixth inning or get a key two-out hit, that’s our fault.
Monday, October 06, 2014
Well, SugarBear Blanks begs to differ, for one:
I mean, this is what many of you want, right? People tell me all the time, “The networks need to show teams other than the Yankees and Red Sox.” Well, thanks to the outcomes of the two American League Division Series, fans no longer will be bound and gagged and forced to watch the despicable Northeast monsters against their collective will.
So, will you be glued to your televisions? I mean, it’s put up or shut up time, right? The Orioles and Royals in the ALCS is a dream matchup for those who want fresh faces, fresh stories, fresh cities – and in the Royals’ case, a fresh (if retro) brand of baseball. But I’m betting TBS and baseball executives are nervous, fearing ratings will be low.
I’ve actually waited years to write this column, holding off because I did not want to come off as a shill for FOX. Now that the Orioles and Royals will be on TBS, I’m more comfortable making my case. Because honestly, I do not think you’re going to watch, at least not in the numbers that this matchup deserves.
They’re making it impossible not to like them.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It was an especially late night for some of the Kansas City Royals. They spent the night celebrating with fans after sweeping the American League Division Series.
After the game, some of the players invited fans to celebrate the victory with them at McFadden’s Bar in Kansas City’s Power & Light District.
Eric Hosmer announced the after-party on Twitter. He thanked fans for their love this season, and to return the favor he used his personal credit card to pay for an open bar for one hour for everyone at McFadden’s.
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
The Royals really are the closest baseball thing to a Coen Brothers movie. With two outs, the Royals tried some sort of double-steal with Billy Butler at first and Eric Hosmer at third. If I got the play right, and can write this without breaking down in convulsions, Butler was supposed to get hung up between first and second, distracting the A’s long enough to allow Hosmer to steal home. This, of course, ended in humiliation, with Hosmer being thrown out at the plate by 800 million steps, but as is often the case the spectacular ineptitude of the play was doubled or trebled by the Ned Yost explanation, where he explained that Butler left early and Hosmer left late and, otherwise, the Royals would have score a run.
Any comedian will tell you that you can’t explain comedy, and every effort to do so will just dig you deeper into anti-comedy, and maybe that’s why the straight-laced Yost always comes across so absurdly in these situations. Eric Hosmer is a generally lumbering first baseman, and Billy Butler might be the slowest player in baseball, and any complicated running play with these two is destined to become a Will Ferrell movie. It would have made me feel so much better if Yost had not given a considered answer on how that madcap scheme might have worked but instead said, “Yeah, that was crazy, right? Woo hop! Brain cramp! Hey, it’s the first postseason for me too!”
An absolute must-read from Jeff Sullivan, with illustrative .GIFs showing exactly how Jarrod Dyson, a veteran basestealer, marked his man in Sean Doolittle, learned his “tell,” and took advantage. There’s more explanatory insight into the in-game situational awareness required to be a great basestealer than anything else I’ve ever read.
I want to talk about the biggest steal of the game. Maybe the biggest steal of the season? When Jarrod Dyson stole third base in the bottom of the ninth, it was worth .133 WPA to the Royals. When Josh Willingham opened the frame with a single, it was worth .133 WPA. When Aoki brought Dyson home, it was worth .133 WPA. Stolen bases are usually incremental factors, but Dyson got himself to third with one out in a one-run game, and the numbers tell you how important that was. Now let’s look at how Dyson stole the base off Doolittle, leaving Norris almost helpless.
Dyson led the American League this year in swipes of third, with ten. He was topped in the majors only by Billy Hamilton, and Hamilton was caught one more time than Dyson was. Dyson was rather famously picked off at second by Joe Nathan just a few weeks ago, but that wasn’t representative of his skills. Also, Dyson had just been inserted into the game, for a rather obvious purpose. Also, it happened before Dyson could get a good read. When Dyson was caught stealing this year, it was within the first one or two pitches. When he moved up to third, it was always after observing multiple pitches, sometimes several of them. Dyson got to see a lot of Doolittle before he finally took off.
Again: read, read, read.
Worth clicking on for nothing more than the video of a thoroughly endearing clubhouse interview with Cristian Colon and basestealing hero Jarrod Dyson:
Players and former players texted me that Yost should be fired after he pulled right-hander “Big Game” James Shields in favor of rookie righty Yordano Ventura in the sixth inning. Yost chose Ventura, a starting pitcher, over a bullpen full of accomplished relievers. Moss hit a three-run homer, his second of the game, triggering a five-run rally.
At that point, I started writing a column comparing Yost to former Red Sox manager Grady Little, who was fired after sticking too long with Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series.
Red Sox fans, who at that point were still waiting for the “Curse of the Bambino” to end, would not have tolerated Little’s return. And I’m not sure Royals fans would have tolerated Yost’s return if the night had ended in bitter defeat.
But it did not.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
RIP, Jerry Lumpe, KC A’s stalwart.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
A former ballplayer working in Jackson County politics?
Royals Hall of Famer Frank White swung for the fences and hit a home run in his first bid for political office.
White said he was excited about “the whole experience.”
White beat retired firefighter Sherwood Smith to be the Democratic nominee for an open seat in the Jackson County Legislature. Theresa Garza is not seeking re-election and is expected to run for an open city council seat.
White will face Republican Weldon Woodward on the November ballot. Democrats are typically prohibitive favorites for the seat. That will certainly be the case for White who is one of the most widely known names in the Kansas City area.
White is an eight-time Gold Glove winner. He’s been in the broadcast booth for the Royals and had an administrative role, but had a parting of the ways after being passed over once again for manager. He’s also been affiliated with the T-Bones.
Smith is a longtime leader for the firefighters union. He had entered the race months before White’s surprising announcement.
Smith has racked up significant endorsements including U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. He looked tired, but remained upbeat and positive when KCTV5’s Betsy Webster talked about poll numbers, saying he ran a good campaign with limited resources.
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