mayhap: (Wade Davis)
Realistically, even if the 2017 Royals had stumbled backwards into the second wild card, they were far too hampered by lingering injuries and boneheaded roster moves to be able to do anything with it. Monday's makeup game in the Bronx made for a tolerably good approximation for how it might have gone—I mean, yes, the game would have been managed differently if it were an elimination game, so maybe the Royals lose 6-1 instead of 11-3, but it's really hard to imagine that they actually win. The Twins, who actually did stumble backwards into the second wild card after selling at the trade deadline, don't look poised to do much with it either, but then they've already exceeded expectations for this year and they aren't losing anyone significant to free agency next year, either.

I actually do hate to say 'I told you so' because it would have been infinitely preferable to admit to being wrong than to watch career years from hometown heroes and impending free agents Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas get frittered away amidst general mediocrity and ineptitude over the course of a hundred and sixty-two often-painful games. The Davis-Soler trade was far from the only problem with the team, but it was maybe the biggest single one and it was bad in exactly the way that I predicted that it was going to be bad, so naturally I can't help but perseverate on it.

Closers were maybe the hottest single commodity during the 2016-2017 offseason. Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen all commanded massive contracts as free agents. Greg Holland, coming off of Tommy John surgery, signed a deal that was quite lucrative albeit structured with incentives. Fernando Rodney got snapped up by a contending team, for heaven's sake. While the free agents had their choice of suitors, the Royals were the only team shopping a closer in a trade, or at least the only team that pulled the trigger, and for some reason they settled for absolute garbage that both parties pretended was a major league-ready player in return.

When Jorge Soler isn't injured, which is rarely, he's undisciplined, lackadaisical and surly. He would not recognize major league pitching if it bit him in the ass. Sure, when he manages to connect with a pitch, purely at random, he has the strength to hit it out of the park, but most major league pitchers can manage not to give him a pitch to hit when they know he'll flail helplessly at off-speed pitches that aren't even in the same zip code as the plate. He alternates between making half-hearted attempts to field balls that get away from him in the outfield to making big showy diving attempts to field balls that get away from him in the outfield, practically gift-wrapping third base to runners on a regular basis. He appears to have little aptitude for defense, in spite of playing one of the easiest defensive positions on the field, nor has he shown any desire to improve.

He has no incentive to improve, since his contract guaranteed him the same three million dollars whether he was performing worse than a replacement player on the big league club or jacking meaningless dingers off minor league pitching for the Omaha Stormchasers. In a mere 34 games, he racked up an astonishing -1.3 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference and -0.9 Wins Above Replacement according to Fangraphs, who use a slightly different formula to calculate WAR. A hypothetical replacement player earning league minimum would have been, by definition, worth 0 WAR over those same 34 games and they would have only gotten paid a little over $112,000 to do it. A minor leaguer playing in triple-A only makes $12,000 for an entire season, which is disgraceful, but that is a slight digression from the fact that Jorge Soler earned three million dollars for being completely unsuitable for playing above the AAA level where he spent the majority of the year.

It would have genuinely been better for the team if they had given Wade Davis to the Cubs for literally nothing, because Soler cost more and was worth less than the organizational filler that every team already has available. Oh, and we're still stuck with him for another three years/$12 million dollars, the very prospect of which makes me want to cry almost as much as the idea of Eric Hosmer on the Yankees, Mike Moustakas on the Giants, and Lorenzo Cain on the Rangers, all credible rumors at this admittedly early stage.

Meanwhile I've seen how Joe Maddon uses his rental closers in the postseason and it isn't pretty. If he breaks Wade I swear to God I will burn Chicago to the ground again. I hope the Cubs flame out in the division series.
mayhap: Clint drinks straight from the coffee pot (Clint/coffee)
It's probably just as well that I don't live in Japan or I would be far too tempted to scoop up all of this adorable Café Inui merch. How can you say no to delicious probability 100%?

Meanwhile, Peter Moylan is serving the rest of the Royals coffee drinks out of his locker, including a signature drink involving espresso and chocolate milk over ice that he calls a "Sledge-iatto". Yum.
mayhap: watercolor star over a hill (le plus beau et le plus triste paysage)
I had something running through my head about how I felt about sports teams like Rudyard Kipling felt about dogs—they're just so gosh-darned adorable that I keep adopting them, knowing full well that mostly what they do is break your heart.

What I had in mind was injuries, trades, and playoff losses, though. Not this: Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura dies in Dominican Republic vehicle crash at age 25. It's the saddest fucking thing.
mayhap: (champions)
I think those last two innings actually shortened my lifespan, and I wouldn't have it any other way. ♥
mayhap: two hands reaching with text Grip tape is love (grip tape is love)
I went downstairs and found my mom using the YouTube app on the bluray player to watch compilations of Salvador Pérez's Instagram videos.

The last I knew, she had no idea that there was a YouTube app on there or how to do anything with it.
mayhap: (champions)
I'm still ridiculously overwhelmed by last night's game! I mean, don't get me wrong, once they took a 3-1 lead in the series I never doubted that they were going to win, but I thought they were on track to do it in six games. Another game six in front of a home crowd tomorrow would no doubt have been a lot of fun, but we're having a giant parade instead.

I plan to be at that parade. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a massive logistical nightmare, but it should be an incredible massive logistical nightmare. But now I really have to get some sleep, or I really won't survive this experience.


Oct. 30th, 2015 10:57 pm
mayhap: (black nail varnish)
I'm disappointed in Thor, TBH. Who starts a game by throwing at someone's head for no reason at all? Uncool.

Baseball bats aren't like Mjolnir though and you don't have to be worthy to swing them.
mayhap: Patrick Stump with a tie in Gryffindor colors and a smug smile (Gryffindor smug)
Now that is the guy we broke open the piggy bank full of young pitchers to get.
mayhap: Chris Young pitching for the Royals (tall for no reason)
Chris Young, man. By all rights he shouldn't even exist. No other team wanted him at all this year. Certainly no other team dreamed that they could take him all the way to the World Series where he would get the win in game one, and yet there he is. (I thought that was fitting, since he couldn't get the win in game four of the ALCS because they went to the bullpen early to play it safe while it was still a closely-fought game, even though it ended up being a 14-2 blowout. This time he was the one who bailed the bullpen out.)

So far it seems like the oddsmakers and various baseball pundits had the right idea when they said that this was going to be a very even matchup. I feel like the Mets and their fans got a pretty good crash course in the crazy things that could possibly happen in a game with the Royals, starting with that preposterous inside-the-park home run on the first pitch. (But seriously, who throws Alcides Escobar a fastball over the plate on the first pitch? Do you even scout, bro?) It certainly wasn't boring, unless you count the part where play was stopped due to technical difficulties.

I am looking forward to seeing Jacob deGrom pitch tonight, even though he is apparently burdened by his glorious hair and plans to cut it after the World Series. How could he do such a thing? His hair is a national treasure.


Oct. 24th, 2015 12:30 am
mayhap: Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Pérez celebrating (hermanos)
The Royals are going back to the World Series!!!!!!!!!!!!!
mayhap: illustration of young girl consulting tattered map (Dave McKean)
I encountered several semi-random strangers today who said they wanted the Royals to lose this game so they could come back and win it in Kansas City instead and yes, discussing baseball with semi-random strangers is my life now. Any given person you encounter in the metro area is likely to have something to say about it.

I personally was in favor of winning as quickly as possible regardless of location but bringing the series back home is all right too. This is why we played for home field advantage at the end of the season, after all. The home crowd at Kauffman has a crazy way of loving and the Royals are going to want to get them some.


Oct. 20th, 2015 10:36 pm
mayhap: Chris Young pitching for the Royals (tall for no reason)
Yesterday's Royals game was a bit alarming, I'll admit. With two more games to be played in Toronto, things could have gotten very messy very quickly. Which they did…for the Blue Jays.

I wound up deeply pitying the Blue Jays pitchers, who included two old men, a rookie, and a position player, the last of which is apparently a first in the history of postseason baseball, all desperately attempting to keep something in reserve for tomorrow without actually letting the game continue until tomorrow, and giving up 14 runs in the process. Ultimately, the Royals did not actually need to run the score up that much, as they also held the Blue Jays to two runs, but it was fun to take the wind from beneath their wings.

This piece about Chris Young, posted before the game started, is easily the finest piece of humorous sports writing I have read this year. I love watching him pitch.


Oct. 19th, 2015 10:51 pm
mayhap: Mizuki stomps with rage (Mizuki sulks)
That was a game that happened.

There were some great looks of panic on the faces of Blue Jays fans during that last inning, though. They were not entirely willing to rule out the possibility of a seven-run Royals rally in the ninth, and that in itself is like a tiny victory.

So, happy birthday to my new friend [ profile] joeybats19, I guess.
mayhap: Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Pérez celebrating (hermanos)
Fun games today! I think the Royals might actually enjoy falling behind just so they can stage a ridiculous rally and then win. I mean, I'm not saying that they do it on purpose, but…
mayhap: (Hosmoose celebration)
For a while it seemed like we were in for another terrible nailbiter, where another epic last-minute Royals comeback was the best outcome we could hope for. In the middle of the game the Royals decided that they would rather cruise to an easy victory instead, which was much kinder to my nails, not to mention a lot of fun to watch.

The Astros were so young and bright-eyed that I almost felt bad watching their dreams get crushed. Almost.

Champagne bukkake continues in the Royals clubhouse.


Oct. 13th, 2015 09:47 am
mayhap: Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Pérez celebrating (hermanos)
The Royals aren't playing today, so have this great vid of Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Pérez as Perfect Strangers:

(So that's the show that Family Matters spun off of! I'm pretty sure I never actually saw it.)
mayhap: (Hosmoose celebration)
The Royals' postseason chances are still alive.

I am still alive.

My uncle is still alive, even though, being in town, he kept trying to make conversation during the game. Not during the commercials, which would be fine and all, but during crucial at-bats! He did depart before the five-run rally in the eighth, though, so maybe I can blame him for jinxing the game and then credit him for removing the jinx.

My mom also left to meet a friend for coffee and ended up having me FaceTime the television for them during those crucial final innings while they in turn passed updates along to the guy in the Royals shirt sitting at the next table at Panera.

Now I can breathe until Wednesday night.


Oct. 11th, 2015 10:28 pm
mayhap: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (no good very bad)
For a few brief, shining innings it looked like the Royals might be able to hand Dallas Keuchel his first home loss this year, but then reality came crashing down from that obnoxious roof on Minute Maid Park. (Seriously, I hate that stupid ballpark so much. It's crammed with a million idiotic quirks that require more special ground rules than any other park and they can't even justify any of it with history or tradition, which I could respect, because they built the damn thing all of fifteen years ago.)

True, the Royals only have to win one away game to bring the series back home for a deciding game five, and tomorrow's Keuchel-less matchup is a slightly more plausible candidate, but I'm not sure I'm ready for sudden death baseball starting at noon tomorrow.

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