Wow. Just wow. The Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series. The Royals. Wow.
- I'm somewhat curious as to how the Angels' organization viewed Cory Rasmus before acquiring him from the Braves. If I recall correctly, at the time of the trade, I thought the Halos were just doing the deal in order for Scott Downs to be on a playoff team. Basically, dumping a little salary while doing a solid for a player who was a good soldier during his time with the team. Rasmus, it seemed, was just a throw-in to make the deal legitimate. Howere, now he seems to be part of the bigger picture with the Angels pitching staff, and I wonder if they just got lucky, or if Dipoto actually knew what he was doing: Rasmus prepares for potential full-time starting gig - angels.com, "Beginning on Aug. 30, Rasmus made six starts, posting a 2.37 ERA, .164 opponents' batting average and 0.84 WHIP through the end of September. By the end of the season, Rasmus had stretched from a two-inning reliever to a starter who could throw four innings and nearly 60 pitches. Rasmus said he had not had conversations with the Angels about becoming a full-time starter. "I feel I pitched pretty well and I'm sure we'll have some talks in the offseason," Rasmus said."
- Did you hear it? That orgasmic moan emanating from the sabermetric community? Here's why: Statcast is Becoming a Reality - FanGraphs Baseball, "Back in March, MLB Advanced Media announced a new project aimed to create the tracking data of our dreams. Instead of just measuring the velocity of a pitch or the exit speed of the ball on contact, this new system — eventually named Statcast — would track the full flight of the ball, the distance covered by fielders, the acceleration and top speed of the baserunners, and just about everything else we could want to know. And then, for months, there was basically no news."
- Are the Royals good, or just getting hot at the right time? Both? Royals sweep Orioles to earn shot at crown - MLB.com, "For the first time in nearly three decades, the Royals are returning to the World Series. This unlikely, undaunted, unstoppable club from Kansas City finished off the Baltimore Orioles in four straight games, sweeping the American League Championship Series with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium."
- This is one of the reasons I dislike the "Small market/big market" division among the MLB franchises. If a team is well-run, the size of the market doesn't matter. If you have a good product, people will buy it, regardless if you're in B.F. Kansas, or Densepack, New York: How the Royals reached the World Series after 29 years of angst - Yahoo Sports, "Want to hear something crazy about the Kansas City Royals? Twenty-four years ago, they spent more money on players than any team in baseball. It's true. On opening day 1990, the Royals carried a payroll of $23,873,745. And in 1991, they paid more in salary than the Yankees, and in 1992, they bumped it up 17 percent from that, and in 1993, their median salary of $1 million was the highest in the game, and in 1994, their total payroll ranked fourth, just $4 million behind the Yankees." All this was before their current owner, former Walmart head David Glass brought his Sam Walton-esque profit-making ways to Kansas City: David Glass (businessman) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, "Glass became the interim CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royals on September 23, 1993, following the death of the founding owner, Ewing Kauffman. Under Glass' leadership, the board cut the payroll budget from $41 million to $19 million. During the Major League Baseball strike of 1994-1995, Glass opposed any settlement with the players' union without a salary cap, and supported the use of strike breaking "replacement" players, despite a court ruling that the use of replacement players violated federal labor law."
- Defense Needed the Royals - FanGraphs Baseball, "The Royals have demonstrated the importance of team defense, and they’re doing it with everyone paying attention. They’re doing it while never losing in the playoffs, and they’re doing it without a shutdown ace or a mid-lineup slugger. The Royals are proving how far you can get as a defense-first ballclub, and while it’s not the only way to build a winner, it’s a way to build a winner. And if you can appreciate the importance of defense on a team, you can then break that down and better appreciate the importance of individual-player defense." That, or they're peaking at the right time.
- This is NBC Sports' new, long-form website. Great article, but I like the layout. Anyway, here's something within the post that thought was very interesting: Better off Ned - NBC SportsWorld, ""But I’ll tell you what makes Ned Yost a great manager: He’s a leader. You look at his energy level. You look at how positive he is every day. You look at how loyal he is to this organization and to his players. The players play for him. That’s what counts. He has a great coaching staff, and he lets them do their jobs. These things matter more than strategy. … Just about any strategy will work if you execute." That's the key; being able to execute the strategy. Fill your team full of high on-base speedsters, and as long as they continue to get on base and remain speedy, your strategy will work. Line-up of sluggers? Keep slugging and you win. This is the most important thing to winning: Successfully execute the strategy you implement.
- Jimmy Kimmel does the celebrity mean tweets (Celebrities Read Mean Tweets - Jimmy Kimmel Live, "There are a lot of celebrities on twitter and some people feel very comfortable using twitter to insult those celebrities.") . Here's MLB's version (via Hardball Talk): David Eckstein responds to the baseball blogosphere which has hated on him so - HardballTalk, "You're a good sport, Mr. Eckstein."
- Dodgers OF Matt Kemp to be fined for ripping ump Dale Scott's strike zone - CBSSports.com, "Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had called Scott's strike zone "very generous" after the game. But Kemp is the one who really spoke out. After the Dodgers' 3-1 Game 3 defeat in St. Louis, Kemp said, "Terrible. Terrible strike zone. I've never seen anything like it. The umpire took the bat out of our hands. When you've got balls in the other batters box ... "You've got to be accountable, man. When we do bad things, we get punished. We can get sent down. When stuff like that happens, you should be gone. There should be some type of punishment." As it turned out, Kemp is the one who'll be punished." Lame.
- Trade Howie for pitching and sign this guy!! Zomahgod!! Cuban Second Baseman Jose Fernandez Defects – MLB Trade Rumors, "Fernandez is among the three best Cuban ballplayers who are currently unavailable to MLB teams. According to Badler, Fernandez is an on-base machine who hits from the left side with an advanced approach and contact skills. (Remarkably, he struck out only ten times in 314 trips to the plate last year.) You’ll want to read Badler’s full report, of course, for a detailed account. Though a highly developed player, Fernandez does come with some warts, including an unconventional swing, tendency to hit grounders, and below-average speed and power tools. And his defense is described as merely adequate."