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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Posnanski: Blaming the fans

Ehh, they’re in a pennant race, it’s about time to fire him anyway.

Tuesday night, Royals manager Ned Yost – in the moments after what was perhaps Kansas City’s signature baseball victory in 20 years – decided to unload on Royals fans for not showing up.  You can go to the most excellent Sam Mellinger to get a full recap of Yost’s blundering nonsense, but I think the essence can be condensed into his sarcastic, “I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?” opening shot… Well, every year we’ll get two or three of these blunders from managers or players… First, the statement will be widely discussed – fans lambasting Yost, a few fans will counter that he has a point and Kansas City fans must represent, other fans will lambaste those fans – and before the day’s out we’ll have Yost backtracking from the statement, probably saying he was speaking emotionally, and it was misunderstood and he loves the Kansas City fans and just wants them to be a part of things.

But I’m not sure he will get, even then, why what he said was so insulting and stupid. I didn’t get it for a long time… First, there are the obvious things. One, you can’t win a few games and expect people to just stop their lives for you… A large percentage of tickets sold are season tickets… A large percentage of tickets sold are bought well in advance… Families build their plans around their children’s schedules – and school started this week…

the heart of what’s wrong with blaming fans for anything: The fans are right. I don’t mean they are right in the “customer’s always right” sense, though that’s true too. What I mean is that fans aren’t a PART of spectator sports. Fans are the REASON for spectator sports… If more fans buy one book than any other, it goes to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. If more fans go to a movie than any other, it becomes the No. 1 grossing movie. If more fans buy one song than any other, it shoots to the top of the ITunes list. People can and do complain about the choices of these lists and what they say about society, but what they’re not complaining about the lists themselves. The lists are reflections of the fans wishes. The fans define those lists. They cannot be wrong. A director who moans that more people should have watched his or her movie is not just ludicrous, he’s by definition wrong. Exactly as many fans watched the movie as watched the movie.

When 13,000 or so fans showed up for the Royals game Tuesday night, that was what the Royals had wrought… How many people you draw to a game is not a reflection on the people. It’s a reflection, entirely, on you.

The District Attorney Posted: August 27, 2014 at 11:05 AM | 90 comment(s)
  Beats: joe posnanski, ned yost, royals

Royals Walk Off; Ned Yost Complains About Attendance

Pretty disappointing crowd, but perhaps this walk-off will wake Kansas City up.

Alex Gordon’s ninth-inning, two-run homer was all the Royals needed in a spectacular 2-1 win over the Twins that preserved a 1.5-game lead in the division. But after the game, Yost took issue with the fact that only 13,847 fans were there to see it. The Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger has the full text of what he calls Yost’s “rant.” Some highlights:

   “I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?”

   “It’s really, really important we have our fans behind us at the stadium.”

   “We had a great crowd last night, and I was kind of hoping we’d have another great crowd tonight, and we really didn’t.”

   “We’ve been working hard to make our fans happy and make our fans proud for a lot of years, and we’d like them out here to enjoy a night like this with us. Because this was a special night. This was a fun night. I just wish there could’ve been more out here to enjoy it with us.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance, ned yost, royals

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fan puts Derek Jeter’s head on the Mona Lisa, terrifies the world

Are you warm, are you real, Derek Jeter
Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art sculpture

llo

With Derek Jeter’s retirement coming at the end of the year, people are falling all over themselves to pay tribute to the surefire Hall of Famer. Teams are giving him gifts. Fans are making him signs and corn mazes. And then—AHHHHHHHHH

Repoz Posted: August 26, 2014 at 08:26 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: art shamsky, royals, yankees

Monday, August 25, 2014

Neyer: Alex Gordon, Royal for Life? Let’s just hope for 2016.

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Look, I admire fans who have stuck with the Royals throughout the last 30 years. I mean, really stuck with them. Based on the Royals’ attendance over that span, there really can’t have been many of you. But if you’re one of them, I do admire you. I’m just not exactly like you.

My obsessive passions might have been able to survive my relocation from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. They might have been able to survive my profession. They might even have been able to survive management’s gross incompetence for some decades. But my obsessive passions could not survive all three.

Okay? You got me. I’m a fair-weather fan who moved away 20 years ago and is supposed to write with some degree of objectivity. Don’t tell me how to enjoy baseball, though. Frankly, my friends, I don’t give a damn what you think about my passions. I love my fiancée, I love my dogs, I love Portland, I love the birds that visit my backyard, I love baseball stirrups … and somewhere, way down deep, it seems I still love the Kansas City Royals, at least a little bit. If that bothers you ... Well, I can’t really say that I’m sorry, because I haven’t done anything wrong. Instead I will ask you, politely, to keep your thoughts to yourself. After nearly 40 years of thinking about the Royals nearly every day, I think I should be allowed to enjoy this little stretch in my own however-foibled way.

Maybe he’d have loved the Royals all this time if they put a bird on it.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2014 at 03:44 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, fair-weather fans, portland, rob neyer, royals

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Even as his value rises, Royals’ Alex Gordon says he’ll delay free-agency

His agent has redirected all his bookmarks to FanGraphs…

[Alex Gordon] can become a free agent after next season, as long as he declines his $13.25 million player option for 2016… Gordon indicated he plans on picking up his 2016 option and delaying his free-agency…

The Star polled a group of big-league executives and talent evaluators to measure Gordon’s value. The consensus was he could command a five-year deal after 2015 worth somewhere between $75 million and $95 million…

Gordon himself is still coming to grips with his placement among the game’s elite. When a reporter mentioned certain metrics now considered Gordon as the most valuable player in baseball, he could not contain his smile.

“For you to say that just kind of shocks me,” he said.

“I think the whole MVP talks that I’ve heard in the last day is because we’re winning. That’s why it happens. If we were on a losing team, there’s no reason I would be in that kind of consideration, or anything like that. That’s what winning does. It brings accolades and all the good things with it.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 24, 2014 at 06:36 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, free agency, royals

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Posnanski: The Royals might actually know what they are doing

In a small way, the Royals are back-to-back World Champs.

I And so, more or less from the start, the Royals became a more professional operation under Moore. He hired some excellent people to work with him. He dazzled people inside baseball with the team’s commitment to building a farm system. And, in short order, the Royals were not the joke of baseball. The Royals lost 100 games four times between 2002 and 2006. They have not lost 100 since.

That, though, is not exactly something you brag about on your resume, and while Moore made the Royals slightly more respectable, he and his staff could not do much more. They continued to make horrendous blunders on the Major League roster. Moore hired Trey Hillman to be the manager. He signed Jose Guillen and Gil Meche to team-record contracts. The Royals talked a better game but continued to feature an allotment of aging Jason Kendalls and Ross Gloads and Miguel Olivos and Scott Podsedniks, while mixing in relatively-young versions of Yuniesky Betancourt and Kyle Davies and Luke Hochevar. The results were, in their own way, as depressing as ever…..

In 2011, there were signs that Moore’s work was having an impact. That was the year I wrote my Sports Illustrated story about the Royals’ future dynasty, and the year various people around the sport began gushing about their minor league system. Then, last season, the Royals won 86 games, their most since the strike – a season so promising that even Moore’s ill-advised “In a small way, I feel like we’ve won the World Series” quote at the end did not tarnish the optimism.

And … it is working. Shields has been the good pitcher the Royals expected. And the Royals’ rotation has been altered. Last year, the Royals led the American League in ERA. This year, they have five pitchers who are on pace to throw 170 innings and win 10-plus games. I’m no fan of the pitcher-win statistic, but it is telling that the last time the Royals had five pitchers with 10 wins was, yep, 1985….

And what makes all of this so satisfying for Royals fans because most never saw it coming. They were the same old Royals until, suddenly, they weren’t. They were defined by their blunders until, suddenly, some of their plans actually worked.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 03:37 PM | 109 comment(s)
  Beats: dayton moore, joe posnanski, royals

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jazayerli: They Might Be Royals (Royals)

And keep your gushers sealed in tight with aluminum foil (foil).

The Royals’ walk rate (6.04 percent) is the lowest in the major leagues since the strike zone was redefined in 1969. They’re on pace for 99 homers, which would be the fewest by an AL team since 1994… while they’re last in the majors in walks, they’re also last in strikeouts… All of that contact has propelled the Royals to third in the majors in batting average, meaning that despite their historic lack of plate discipline and power, their overall OBP (11th in the AL) and slugging (11th) are merely bad, not putrid. Their 110 stolen bases are 24 more than every other AL team, and their 83 percent success rate is third in the majors…

The Royals rank ninth in the AL in runs scored… However, they excel in run prevention. I say “run prevention” and not “pitching,” because while the Royals’ pitching staff is above average, their defense is the best in baseball for the second year in a row. Their fielders have been worth 52 runs above average this season according to FanGraphs, a year after their defense saved an incredible 88 runs… The Royals’ outfield defense, in particular, has been astounding…

The Royals’ playoff odds, which were barely out of single digits at the trading deadline, are now above 70 percent, including better than 60 percent odds of winning the division…

Appropriately enough in a season in which up is down and black is white, the Royals aren’t really winning because of their fabled farm system, the one labeled maybe the greatest ever three years ago, when it put a record nine players on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list… Of the nine players featured on that top prospects list, only one, lefty Danny Duffy, has made a significant contribution to this year’s team…

To win without any power, and without any plate discipline, requires a minuscule margin for error.

But on their 29th try, the Royals might have finally hit a gusher.

The District Attorney Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:11 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: rany jazayerli, royals

Monday, August 18, 2014

Neyer: Grains of salt

Get that dunce cap off your head and put it on Pedro Guerrero’s!

If I gave you a choice of any non-Kershaw major leaguer for the rest of the season, who would you choose?

Right: Mike Trout. Get that dunce cap off your head and move a little closer to my desk, right this minute.

And your second choice?

I’m not going to make you put the dunce cap back on if you don’t immediately think of Alex Gordon. But by this measure, he’s actually been the best player in the major leagues this season... [but] There’s no functional difference between 5.7 fWAR and 5.6 fWAR. Better to say those two have been the two best in the majors this season…

this is where I caution everyone, quite carefully: None of this means that the people at FanGraphs believe Alex Gordon is one of the two best players in the majors, or is as valuable as Mike Trout.

Every method has limitations, and we’re simply looking for the method with the fewest limitations. Wins Above Replacement is really good. But this version, anyway, seems to overrate really good corner outfielders like Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward. I think Gordon’s a great player. I’m just not sure he’s this great.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 18, 2014 at 02:26 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, angels, mike trout, rob neyer, royals, sabermetrics

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Billy Butler would be willing to renegotiate deal to stay in KC next season

When Billy Butler thinks about next season and ponders the possibility of not being in a Royals uniform, he quickly tries to think of something else.

“It would definitely be painful,” Butler tells FOXSportsKansasCity.com.

Butler is in the final season of a four-year, $30 million deal he signed in 2011. There is an extended year to the deal, but it is a club option valued at $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout.

The Royals, naturally, won’t comment on their plans with Butler now. But it seems highly unlikely they would exercise the option at that price.

And that means this could be Butler’s last season with the Royals, the only team he has known since they drafted him out of high school 10 years ago. He is fully aware of this, of course.

“Absolutely,” he says. “This game is a business. I know what my job is for now and through the rest of the season. After that, who knows? That is what happens when you have an expiring contract.

“Any player with any team who has to go through that uncertainty knows what I’m talking about. But you just focus on each night and try to play the game right and then ...”

Butler’s voice trails off as if not to think of the future. Make no mistake, he wants to stay with the Royals….

And Butler has always dreamed of playing his entire career in Kansas City, just like George Brett did. And, in fact, Butler has borrowed Brett’s oft-used line that “everything I have in life I have because of the Royals.”

That is why Butler said he would be willing to take less money in a renegotiated deal just to stay with the Royals.

“I would definitely be more than happy to make that an option,” he says. “I’d do it because I love playing here. It’s all I have ever known. There’s been a lot of tough years, but there have been a lot of good memories, too.

“I don’t want to let that go. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: billy butler, contract, royals

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BP: Sveum’s unheard guide to fixing Royals’ offense

Freddie Patek says just get shorter hitters!

[The Royals] fired [their] previous hitting coach, Pedro Grifol, at the end of May. The replacement was Dale Sveum, before that the manager of the Cubs. The position of hitting coach is widely believed to be largely ornamental (and sometimes sacrificial) in nature. They don’t do much to change the hitters in their tutelage, but they are the first to be fired when the offense underperforms. Accordingly, the Royals were on their fifth hitting coach in two years.

Dale Sveum seemed different from the moment of his hiring, however. At introductory press conferences, hitting coaches are asked what steps they’ll take to improve the offense. The answer is - almost invariably - a nondescript and banal quote about increasing or decreasing the selectiveness or aggressiveness of the hitters. Sveum said something altogether different:

‘The bottom line is we’ve struggled with elevation and we’ve swung at pitches down in the zone probably way too much,’ he said. ‘From thigh high to the top of the strike zone, we’re not doing enough damage.’

The District Attorney Posted: August 12, 2014 at 03:04 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dale sveum, royals, sabermetrics

Monday, August 11, 2014

Royals Acquire Josh Willingham

Hopefully not sharing too much time with Ibanez…

The Royals have acquired Josh Willingham from the Twins, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). The Twins will receive right-hander Jason Adam, per Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link).

Willingham was claimed by Kansas City off revocable waivers, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press… 

The right-handed hitter, 35, is set to reach free agency following the season and will therefore be a pure rental for the Royals. He has posted a .210/.345/.402 slash with 12 home runs through 278 plate appearances on the season… Willingham brings some much-needed pop to a Royals lineup that has struggled to score runs at times. He is expected to see many of his plate appearances out of the designated hitter spot, per a tweet from Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star, sharing time with the lefty-swinging Raul Ibanez…

The return for Willingham is not insignificant, which is a fair achievement for Minnesota given that the pending free agent was claimed (leaving the Twins without leverage to deal with multiple trade partners). Adam, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2010. He has scuffled somewhat in the upper minors as a starter (5.13 ERA in 242 1/3 Double-A innings), but has had some success at Triple-A this year in a relief role (2.35 ERA over 15 1/3 frames). Baseball America rated him Kansas City’s 9th-best prospect coming into the year, saying he has a solid heater and average slider but will need to develop a go-to third offering (change or curve) in order to succeed against lefties at the next level. MLB.com also rated him in the ninth slot among KC prospects entering the year, but dropped him to 16th in its mid-season update.

The District Attorney Posted: August 11, 2014 at 07:32 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: jason adam, josh willingham, royals, trades, transactions, twins

To Sung Woo, Thanks For Everything! Rany Jazayerli

Hey, I’m a Korean Royals fan too!

This summer, Sung Woo finally decided to take the plunge. Taking advantage of a job change, he was able to carve out ten days from his schedule to come to Kansas City, watch the Royals play, and maybe do a little sight-seeing and barbecue-eating while he was in town. He emailed Kamler and fellow Royals fan Dave Darby that he was buying his plane ticket and reserving his hotel room; they told him not to worry about transportation, that they’d pick him up and drive him to the ballpark and introduce him to Arthur Bryant’s and maybe the Negro League Museum while he was in town.

If the story had ended there, that would have been enough: three people who have never met, and can barely communicate with each other, bonding together like long-lost friends over a shared mutual interest in a crappy baseball team. A couple of guys were going to take a day or two off of work to show a complete stranger around town. Movies have been made with flimsier plots…..

For posterity’s sake, I’m going to do my best to summarize what has happened since, though to save time I won’t be able to link to everything. To get the full flavor, check out Sung Woo’s Twitter feed, or Kamler’s.

- Greeted by camera crews Tuesday afternoon, was on four local TV broadcasts that night.

- Was featured in the Star Wednesday morning.

- Took a tour of the Negro League Museum later that morning, featuring tour guide Bob Kendrick and an entourage of two dozen people.

- Gets featured at Deadspin and USA Today.

- Has lunch at Arthur Bryant’s.

- Is interviewed on 610 Sports that afternoon.

- Trolls the Best Fans In Baseball.

- Tours Boulevard Brewing Company that evening.

- With the Royals still playing in Arizona, he gets a shoutout from Danny Duffy – who, behind the scenes, also had a lot to do with Sung Woo’s story becoming as big as it has – on the Royals pre-game show.

- Got an email from Mike Sweeney.

- This is all still Wednesday, by the way.

- Appeared on 96.5 The Buzz Thursday morning. Was given a helmet signed by Billy Butler and a hat signed by Bruce Chen from the station.

- Is featured in the English-language Korea Times.

- Received a personal tour of Kauffman Stadium from the Royals, led by Jennifer Splittorff, who presented him with a SPLITT patch and one of her dad’s bobbleheads afterwards. Goes out on the field, touches the grass, picks up a bullpen phone, basically does everything short of hitting a double in the gap.

- Gets a personalized “SungWoo Lee” #23 Royals jersey, presented by Curt Nelson, the Director of the Royals’ Hall of Fame.

- Walks across the Truman Sports Complex to tailgate before the Chiefs’ preseason opener.

- Is presented with his own personalized #1 jersey by the Chiefs, gets tickets near the 50-yard line. Meets former players and current team president Mark Donovan.

- Friday was a pre-scheduled trip to see the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, so much of it was spent in the car. However, once there he managed to:

- Watch batting practice from next to the cage;

- Get invited into the clubhouse by manager Vance Wilson, who had heard about his story;

- Shake hands with every player one by one, and give Mitch Maier – back mentoring the baby Royals – a bear hug.

- Rode the Naturals’ pickup onto the field with their mascots.

- Got on the field as a human bowling ball during a mid-inning promotion. He managed to knock over six pins.

- Got Maier’s autographed jersey after the game.

Saturday, he was back in Kansas City for his first chance to watch the Royals play live.

- Prior to the game he was the star of a massive tailgate party in the parking lot, where he met his adoring masses.

- Appeared on the Jumbotron in the middle of the fifth inning.

- Was a story on Sportscenter – SPORTSCENTER – after the game Saturday night.

- Appeared in studio with Joel Goldberg and Jeff Montgomery on today’s pre-game show. Montgomery gave him an autographed glove as a gift.

- Took part in the dance-off competition against Jimmy Faseler – whose spot as Everyone’s Favorite Royals Fan he usurped. Sung Woo won, of course. (Sorry, Jimmy.)

- Was featured at MLB.com.

Somewhere along the way he appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered. He’s gotten tweets sent to him from Jeremy Guthrie, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler (at least – there may be more.)

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:23 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, korea, rany jazayerli, royals

Friday, August 08, 2014

Mike Schmidt: Today’s hitters don’t want much help

One of the most telling stories was shared by George. He said when he was hitting instructor last year, there were two indoor cages, and he would be in one flipping balls and the assistant coach in the other. The young Royals hitters were lined up to hit in the cage with the assistant, and none to hit in George’s cage.

I find that hard to believe, but at the same time know why. George, one of the greatest hitters ever, was there to coach, to offer his expertise, to suggest mechanics that might make a young hitter better.

The other coach was there to coach as well, but not with a sense of urgency — rather, more by telling the hitters what they wanted to hear. George eventually quit because he felt he was wasting everyone’s time in a failing effort to connect with them.

There could have been other issues going on behind the scenes. Maybe his cage-side manner was uncomfortable, maybe he was too quick to criticize, perhaps his stature made them uncomfortable. But I got much the same report from all the HOF guys, which confirmed my personal experiences over the last 10 years that young hitters resist coaching, especially from the great ones.

They listen out of respect, but don’t hear.

Maybe they were terrified he’d tell them about the Bellagio?


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Royals Hall of Famer Frank White wins first political race

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.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 06, 2014 at 10:52 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: frank white, jackson county, kansas city, politics, royals

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Korean Royals fan gets royal treatment for first visit to Kansas City

Lee, a Royals fan since the 1990s who follows the team from his home in Seoul, South Korea, was treated like royalty upon his arrival Tuesday at Kansas City International Airport.

Camera crews, fellow Royals fans and curious bystanders watched and cheered as Lee made his way through the gate, wearing his Royal blue jersey…

Kamler said he and other Royals fans have been communicating with Lee for a few years on Twitter. Kamler said Lee tweets with fans during the games despite the 14-hour time difference from Kansas City, and many fans have been asking Lee for years to come to the United States to watch the Royals and see Kauffman Stadium.

About a month and a half ago, Kamler received an e-mail from Lee that said he was going to make the trip. Lee’s welcoming committee has helped organize an itinerary for his week-long stay that includes attending five Royals games. He is scheduled to throw out Monday’s first pitch before the Royals take on the Oakland A’s.

On Wednesday they will visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Arthur Bryant’s and the National World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 11:48 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: korea, royals, super fan

Why The Wild Card Game Should Be A Two-Game Series

But adding an extra game would push the World Series to Christmas!

Wha’? A two-game series? Erm…don’t know how to tell you this, Nico, but…um…two is an even number. I know. And the wild card game should, for many reasons at once, be a two-game series. Here’s how I think it should work, and why…

To advance to the ALDS, the 2nd wild card team should have to beat the 1st wild card team twice. That “two chances to win one” backdrop gives the 1st wild card team a significant advantage over the 2nd wild card team. This is important because the difference in record between the 1st and 2nd wild card teams can be large, potentially even larger than the spread between a division winner and a 2nd place team.

Never has this been more evident than in 2014, where the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim, if you didn’t know) are currently in the 1st wild card slot despite currently being on pace to win 97 games. Leading the 2nd wild card race, at the moment, are the Toronto Blue Jays, currently on pace to win all of 86 games.

A team 11 games worse should not be on such equal footing as to have only to snatch one game, albeit an away game, in order to advance. Consider a team like the Seattle Mariners, also in the thick of the wild card hunt just 2 games back of Toronto, that is on pace to win only 83 games but has King Felix Hernandez as a tremendous “one-game wild card” weapon.

In order to create sufficient incentive to win the 1st wild card, and not just “any wild card,” making the 2nd wild card sweep a two-game series in order to advance is more fair to the 1st wild card winner.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 11:47 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, blue jays, mariners, royals, wild card, yankees

Friday, August 01, 2014

Rosendo ‘Rusty’ Torres found guilty of 5 counts of sex abuse, acquitted of 3 other charges

It has not been a good summer for former Yankees outfielders accused of sexual impropriety.

A Nassau County jury convicted a former player for the Yankees, Rosendo “Rusty” Torres, Thursday of sexually abusing a girl at his baseball clinic in Plainview several years ago.

The jury of nine women and three men acquitted Torres, 65, of Massapequa of charges that he sexually molested another girl who attended the clinic, which he ran from 2008 to 2012 while he was employed by Town of Oyster Bay. He was suspended after his arrest.

Torres remains free on $50,000 bond. He refused to comment as he left Nassau County Court in Mineola. His attorney, Troy A. Smith of White Plains, said, “We respectfully disagree with the verdict.” He said an appeal was planned.

“Mr. Torres is obviously gravely disappointed. I’m gravely disappointed. We believe there were reasonable doubts,” the attorney said.

Torres, a light-hitting outfielder with a .212 career batting average and 35 home runs during his nine years with five Major League Baseball teams, faces up to 7 years in prison on each of five counts of sexual abuse in the first degree when he is sentenced Oct. 7.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Valencia traded to Toronto

The Blue Jays provided some much-needed balance to their lineup Monday afternoon by acquiring infielder Danny Valencia from the Royals in a deal for catcher Erik Kratz and right-hander Liam Hendriks.

Toronto’s batting order is predominantly left-handed and there’s a void on the right side, especially while Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie are on the disabled list.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos attempted to help fix that, and while the trade is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, it does address an area of need.

Paul d mobile Posted: July 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, royals, trades

Friday, July 25, 2014

SoE: AN IDIOT IN EXILE

Johnny Damon was a major league baseball player for 18 years. He won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004 and another one with the Yankees in 2009, which is why he once said, “Being a baseball player is so great.” He said the game “was fun,” and winning championships was even more “fun.” He learned how to have “fun” with the A’s and then taught his teammates with the Red Sox and Yankees how to have “fun.” His concept of “fun” was mostly that of a young boy. “I could buy different toys,” he said. “Jet Skis, boats, motorcycles, all the stuff that baseball affords you the privilege to buy.” His first wife, Angie Vannice, explained that her husband “plays better when he’s buying things. He likes to shop more than anybody.”

The Peter Pan of baseball, it would seem….


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ex-MLB star Chuck Knoblauch accused of assaulting ex-wife

And yet, still no justice for him hitting Keith Olberman’s mom.

Former Major League Baseball star Chuck Knoblauch was arrested Wednesday night and accused of assaulting his ex-wife.

Knoblauch, 46, is charged with assault of a family member after allegedly hitting Cheri Knoblauch.
They divorced in 2012.

Memorial Village police officers arrested Knoblauch and he was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

This isn’t the Knoblauch’s first brush with the law. He was convicted of hitting Stacey Stelmach, who he was married to at the time, in 2010. He was sentenced to one year of probation in that case.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 24, 2014 at 03:43 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: chuck knoblauch, domestic violence, royals, twins, yankees

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dave Cameron: 2014 Trade Value: The Top 10

7. Salvador Perez

If there’s one piece of feedback I got more clearly than any other last year, it was that I was too low on Salvador Perez. I had one friend in the game tell me should have been in the top five, and I had him at 36. My bad, Kansas City. Consider this a mea culpa.

Perez might not yet be the best catcher in baseball, but there are a lot of people convinced that he’s going to be in the near future. He’s basically a power spike away from being Jonathan Lucroy, only he’s four years younger than Milwaukee’s backstop, and at a point where many catchers are still honing their craft in the minors. And while framing metrics don’t love him the same way they do Lucroy, his defensive reputation is still stellar, as he shuts down the running game as well as anyone.

And then there’s the contract. Because the Royals locked up Perez after just 39 big league games, he’s set to make $2 million each of the next two years, and then they have team options for three additional years at $4 million, $5 million, and $6 million respectively. It’s $19 million over five seasons, or an average of $4 million per year. The best catcher in the American league is signed to the kind of deal you give a decent middle reliever.

Perez doesn’t even have to get any better to be one of the biggest steals in baseball. If he does improve, though, he might eventually challenge for the top spot on this list.

BUT WHO IS #6????


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The forgotten brilliance and influence of ‘Little Big League’

Ron Gardenhire should not have made this movie.

From the beginning, “Little Big League” looked destined to fail — and that’s not just because Pincus wanted to make a movie about the Royals. Pincus was an aspiring screenwriter with zero credits to his name. He had grown up on the East Coast, and relocated to Los Angeles to chase a career in Hollywood. But by the early 1990s, not much had materialized.

But there was one idea in his head, something that sounded fun. What if a kid managed a big-league baseball team? What if a kid ran a baseball team. So in late 1990, more than three years before the movie would arrive in theaters, Pincus went to work on a script. But first, he needed a team. As a child in the mid 1970s, he had been a fan of Royals infielders Freddy Patek and Cookie Rojas, the forefathers of the Royals glory years.

“Some of my favorite baseball cards,” Pincus says.

So it was settled. It couldn’t be a big-market club like New York or Los Angeles. It had to be small.

Billy Heywood would manage the Kansas City Royals…

So if you don’t mind a spoiler from a 20-year-old baseball movie, you might want to know about the final scene. You might want to know that the Twins lose. In the bottom of the ninth, Lou Collins hits a deep drive to center, and then Griffey robs the would-be home run, and the Twins lose.

Twenty years later, Pincus can’t remember all the details about the movie he wrote. But he can tell you this: The Twins always lost.

“It always ended that way,” Pincus says, “and it’s okay to lose. Only one team wins.”

Yes, it should have been the Royals.

 


Texas Rangers deal Jason Frasor to Kansas City for pitcher

The Royals simply get tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

The Texas Rangers on Wednesday made their first sale of the season, trading RHP Jason Frasor to Kansas City for 26-year-old RHP Spencer Patton.
Related

Patton, 26, will be assigned to Triple-A Round Rock. He was at Triple-A Omaha this year, compiling a 4-3 record and 4.08 ERA with 14 saves in 34 appearances.Patton has 60 strikeouts in 46 innings so far this year, but has also walked 26 and allowed nine homers….

Patton, a 24th round selection in 2011, had a big year in 2013, going 5-2 with a 1.86 ERA between Class A and Double-A. He struck out 103 and walked just 26 in 82.1 innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:47 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: jason frasor, rangers, relievers, royals, trade

Monday, July 14, 2014

Alex Gordon: The Eugene Cernan of the 2014 MLB All Star Game

Full disclosure, this writer works for me on another site. Also full disclosure: Alex Gordon is my favorite player, and Eugene Cernan is my favorite astronaut.

Alex Gordon, on the other hand, is a little bit more like Eugene Cernan, the 24th—and last—man to walk on the moon. Maybe you’ve heard of him, but probably not. “The 24th Man to Walk on the Moon” doesn’t have much musicality to it. His achievement is far from being as historical as Armstrong’s, but still, he’s been to the ####### moon ... and you haven’t. Similarly, Gordon isn’t a record-breaking super-deity like Trout or Cabrera, but he is one of the best players in the game….

Most of Gordon’s value comes from his seemingly unethical arm strength and his superb range in left field. Maybe that’s a knock on his All-Star credentials to some, since the metrics that inflate the defensive hemisphere of WAR are volatile. Is it more volatile than the BABIP-tethered merits of batting average, or the number of times a ball lands on the other side of a fence? Maybe, maybe not. The volatility of those metrics tends to average out over the span of a few years, and since Gordon began seeing regular playing time in left field in 2011, only Trout, Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Robinson Cano, and Ben Zobrist have produced more wins according to FanGraphs. Like Gordon, most of Zobrist’s value comes from defensive metrics. In fact, the two players are almost indiscernible, yet Gordon doesn’t have quite the same ironically notorious reputation for being underrated.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, mike trout, royals, war

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Drama after Billy Butler’s drop in Royals lineup isn’t what anyone wanted

The last thing this eight-years-in-the-Processing Royals season needs is drama, but here it is anyway. One of the team’s highest-paid and longest-tenured players feels singled out and is going passive-aggressive to make his point and subtly call out a teammate.

Ego and self-interest are on both sides of this, team and player each having legitimate beef. Billy Butler justifiably sees himself as the club’s most established hitter, and wonders why he’s been occasionally benched and now moved down in the lineup for the second time while Eric Hosmer appears to have birthrights to the top of the batting order every day.

The truth is that Hosmer’s spot in the lineup is being evaluated, but for now, the team sees Butler as an underperforming and now overpaid hitter on a roster in desperate need of consistent production, exposing an ego that’s always simmered just beneath the surface.

Ned Yost has final say on the lineup, which is put together with the input of the coaches and front office, including sabermetric specialists. None of them would say it publicly, but moving Butler down in the lineup while keeping Hosmer higher is as clear a sign as the team can give that — track record or not — they have more faith in Hosmer reaching his potential than in Butler regaining his past.

Wait, what? You buried the lede! The Royals have sabermetric specialists????

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:50 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: billy butler, dayton moore, ned yost, royals, sabermetrics

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