Category Archives: Fake Royals Jerseys

Peter Moylan Jersey

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Jorge Soler’s record-settin’ dinger mashin’ earned him a third consecutive Royals Player of the Month award, while Danny Duffy was named Pitcher of the Month.

Soler, 27, led the Royals in September with 10 home runs and 20 RBI, his second straight 10-homer, 20-RBI month. Prior to August, the last Royal to hit 10 homers in a month was Mike Sweeney in June 2001. Soler’s first home run of the month, on September 3 vs. Detroit, was his 39th of the season, which broke a tie with Mike Moustakas (38 in 2017) for the Royals’ single-season record. Soler homered in consecutive games three times in September and had a pair of multi-homer games, on September 11 in Chicago and on September 28 vs. Minnesota. He reached safely in each of his last 14 games and recorded a hit in each of his last eight, including a home run in Game 162 to finish the season with 48, becoming the first Royal ever to lead the American League in home runs.

Former Royals reliever and coffee maker Peter Moylan has nominated himself to manage the Royals following the retirement of Ned Yost:

— Peter Moylan (@PeterMoylan) October 1, 2019
The Washington Nationals advanced in a playoff situation, coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the 8th to defeat the Brewers 4-3.

Sheryl Ring at Beyond the Boxscore talked to “baseball cop” Eddie Dominguez, who wrote a book about his time as an investigator for MLB’s department of investigations. It was, apparently, an ugly job.

“After fifteen years I saw that… It’s an ugly business. There’s a lot of corruption,” Dominguez said. “It wasn’t all bad. But if I could take it back I would love to. I’ve lost my love for sports. It’s not the same. That was my primary reason for writing the book – to express what I saw that a lot of people don’t see. There’s a lot more to it, but that was my primary reason.”

Also at BtBS, a look at Tyler Duffey’s adjustments making him a weapon for the Twins, written by Patrick Brennan. WAIT, we know Patrick Brennan!

Former Royals pitcher Brian Bannister, now the Red Sox VP of pitching development, was among those who talked to David Laurila of FanGraphs about developing his own changeup:

I originally had a four-seam grip, but I realized that created backspin, which was bad. So I went to a two-seam grip and tried to see how much I could turn it over, how much I could pronate my arm — similar to how Max Scherzer describes his. I tried to think about how much depth I could put on it, instead of how slow I could throw it. That was the difference for me.

The Angels followed their firing of manager Brad Ausmus by firing their pitching coach and bench coach.

Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball now works for the Reds, too.

Tremendously excited to join the Cincinnati @Reds.

A few things:

1) I will remain at @DrivelineBB.
2) I am Director of Pitching Initiatives // Pitching Coordinator.
3) I work almost entirely in the minor leagues, so fortunately, I won’t see @BauerOutage any more than I have to.

— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) October 1, 2019
If Nashville landed an MLB team, their home might look like these renderings.

‘Sesame Street’ is 50 years old, which means many Royals Review readers grew up with it. Here’s a fascinating look at what went into developing a curriculum for it.

Dolphins are returning to the Potomac River following a prolonged watershed restoration and cleanup effort.

The Highwomen are BACK as the Wednesday song of the day. The little bounciness in the chorus in the “lucky penny” line delights me every time. I want to see someone do a jaunty quickstep to this song.

Larry Gura Jersey

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The summer of 1980 was one of the hottest summers on record. The blazing summer heat gave way to three brilliant pennant races in major league baseball. In the National League East, it took a two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning in the second to last game of the season to propel the Philadelphia Phillies, past the people’s choice, the Montreal Expos by one game. Peine d’amour in Montreal. In the National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers went into the final series of the season needing to sweep the division leading Houston Astros, and they did just that, winning each game by one run which forced a one-game playoff. The Astros prevailed in the playoff game, 7-1, to earn the first division title in the team’s history.

In the American League East, the New York Yankees needed 103 wins to best the runner up Baltimore Orioles, who stayed home despite having the second-best record in all of baseball at 100-62. The only division that did not generate any late summer heat was the American League West, where the Royals, powered by the virtuoso performance of George Brett easily outdistanced the Oakland A’s, winning the West by a 14-game margin.

The fireworks continued into the National League Championship Series, as the Phillies advanced to the World Series for the first time since 1950 by beating the Astros three-games-to-two. Just saying it like that makes it sound pretty boring, but the truth was, this was one of the most exciting five games series ever played. Philadelphia took game one, 3-1 behind a strong performance by Steve Carlton. Houston captured Game Two with a 7-4 ten inning win. The series shifted to Houston for Game Three, which went to the Astros by the score of 1-0, as the Astros scrapped together a run in the bottom of the 11th against Tug McGraw. In Game Four, the Phillies held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth before the Astros rallied for a single run to send the game to extra innings. The Phillies answered in the top of the tenth, with hits from Pete Rose, Greg Luzinski and Manny Trillo to stake them to a 5-3 lead. McGraw put the Astros down in order in the bottom of the 10th to tie the series at two games apiece.

The series spun on Game Five. The Phillies started Marty Bystrom, while the Astros countered with Nolan Ryan. You’d have to assume the Vegas odds-makers favored the Astros in this one. The game was tied going into the bottom of the 7th before the Astros broke loose, capitalizing on three hits, a walk and a wild pitch to push across three runs. With the score 5-2 and Nolan Ryan throwing heat, it looked bleak for the Phillies. The Philly bats woke up and chased Ryan with three singles and a walk. Then the flood gates opened. With two outs, Del Unser stroked a single to right and Manny Trillo followed with a triple into the left field gap. When the dust settled, the scoreboard read Phillies 7, Astros 5.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Astros managed to string together four singles, good for two runs and a tie ballgame. In the top of the tenth, the Phillies Del Unser hit a one out double and Garry Maddox grooved a two-out double for the RBI to put Philadelphia ahead 8-7. Dick Ruthven set the Astros down in order in the tenth to deliver the Phillies to the World Series. The series remains to this day one of the most exciting series I have ever seen.

Over on the American League side, it was déjà vu all over again. For the fourth time in five years, the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals would do battle. Game One, played at Royals Stadium, went to the Royals 7-2 behind a strong pitching performance by Larry Gura. Gura was a Yankee castoff and usually reserved his best for his former team. In this game he scattered ten hits while pitching a complete game. There was some tension early on as Rick Cerone and Lou Piniella tagged Gura for back-to-back home runs in the top of the second, giving the Yankees a quick 2-0 lead. Kansas City got one back in their half of the second on a Frank White double, which brought home Amos Otis.

The Royals took the lead in the third with Brett working Ron Guidry for a one-out walk. Amos Otis came through with a two-out ground rule double to score Brett. After intentionally walking John Wathan, Willie Mays Aiken dropped a single into left field to score Brett and Otis and give the Royals the lead. The score stayed 4-2 until Brett mashed a one-out home run off Yankee reliever Ron Davis in the 7th. The Royals added some security in the 8th when Darrel Porter reached on a two-out error. Frank White singled to left and Willie Wilson brought them both home with a double to center.


Here are your 1980 Kansas City Royals
Game Two was played Thursday evening, October 9th in Kansas City. The Yankees started left-handed Rudy May and the Royals countered with their workhorse, Dennis Leonard. May went the distance for New York and only allowed six hits. Unfortunately for him, four of them were consecutive hits in the Royals third. With one out, Porter stroked a single to right. Frank White followed with another single. Willie Wilson then delivered the big blow, a triple into the right field corner. U.L. Washington followed with a double to center, giving the Royals a 3-0 lead.

Leonard was cruising until the Yanks nicked him in the fifth. Graig Nettles, who always seemed to be a burr in the Royals saddle, hit a one-out inside the park home run. Leonard got Bucky Dent on a ground out but gave up a two out walk to some stiff named Bobby Brown. Willie Randolph, another Royal burr, made him pay when he delivered a double to right. 3-2 Kansas City. Dan Quisenberry came on to work the ninth and with two Yankees on base, induced Nettles to hit into a game ending 4-6-3 double play, much to the relief of the 42,633 partisans in attendance. Upon further review, Brown wasn’t quite the stiff I recall. He managed to stay in the league for seven seasons, getting 1,277 at bats with four teams, and delivered a .245/.295/.355 slash line.

The series shifted to New York for Game Three, which was played on Friday evening, October 10th. 56,588 fans packed into Yankee Stadium for the game and it was a classic battle of crafty lefties: Paul Splittorff against Tommy John. The Royals struck first, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth, thanks to a Frank White home run. New York answered with two runs in the bottom of the 6th. Reggie Jackson hit a one out double, chasing Splittorff. Royals manager Jim Frey went to his best reliever, calling on Quisenberry to get the final 11 outs.

It didn’t start out too promising. Oscar Gamble and Rick Cerone hit consecutive singles off Quiz to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead as the crowd roared its approval. This set the stage for perhaps one of the most famous innings in Kansas City baseball history. Tommy John got John Wathan on a ground out and set down Frank White on strikes before giving up a double to Willie Wilson. Yankee skipper Dick Howser walked to the mound and gave the ball to Goose Gossage.

The Goose was the epitome of a bad-ass reliever. Gossage stood 6’3 and sported wavy hair and a Fu Manchu mustache. His demeanor on the mound suggested a man who was perpetually pissed off and just looking at him was enough to frighten most sane people. He had a high leg kick which helped propel his fastballs toward the plate in the upper 90’s. Between 1975 and 1986, he was one of the best relievers in the game and in 1980 he was in his snarling prime.

In this game it didn’t matter. U.L. Washington coolly beat out an infield single, which brought George Brett to the plate. Watching the game on television in my parents living room, I had the feeling that the entire series hung on this at bat. George didn’t disappoint. 1980 was his year and no one could stop him. Brett knew a fastball was coming. Power vs. power, mano a mano.

George didn’t miss, depositing the ball into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. Announcer Al Michaels said that over his entire career, this moment was the quickest transition from a loud ruckus to absolute silence that he’s ever experienced at a sporting event. Just to remind the Yankee fans and Gossage who their daddy was, Brett took 23 seconds to round the bases. Believe me, I timed it. After his leisurely stroll around the bases, Brett was mobbed by his teammates. Quisenberry worked a clean 7th, then escaped a bases loaded, no out jam in the 8th, thanks to a sweet 6-4 double play, which froze the Yankee runner at third. Howser went with Tom Underwood in the 8th, sending Gossage to the showers to search for his missing testicles. In the ninth, Quiz sat down Nettles and Brown on fly balls before getting Willie Randolph looking and the party was on.

Raul Ibanez Jersey

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Former KC Royals outfielder Raul Ibanez has officially been placed on the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot. The results of the voting will be announced on January 22nd.
Raul Ibanez had a career that spanned 19 seasons with four seasons being with the Kansas City Royals. The ballots has 18 players who will appear on the ballot for the first time as well as 14 others who have previously been on the ballot.

Out of those who are appearing on the ballot for the first time, it appears only Derek Jeter will be the only lock to be giving a speech in Cooperstown.

Of those who are appearing on the ballot for at least the second time, it can be debated who deserves to be enshrined with the greatest to every play the game. Controversy still looms over several of those on it due to the steroid era of baseball.

The 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, as announced by @baseballhall moments ago.

— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) November 18, 2019

For arguments sake, why not take a deeper look into Raul Ibanez’s career and see how he stacks up against other players who are in the HoF and see if he could possibly be inducted some day into the Hall of Fame?

It’s worth immediately looking at the career statistics and trying to compare them to the other players during his time as well as historically for his position. Ibanez played nearly 92% of his 1767 games in the outfield.

Ibanez posted the following career statistics with his current place among the others who have played the game in parenthesis:

305 Home Runs (143rd)
2034 Hits (268th)
1207 RBI (152nd)
career .272 BA
He also appeared in 44 total playoff games with six of them in the 2009 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Ibanez played in exactly one All-Star Game in 2009.

Larry Walker is another outfielder one the same ballot who put up the following numbers:

383 Home Runs
2160 Hits
1311 RBI
Walker played in five All-Star Games and won the NL MVP in 1997. He also won seven Gold Gloves while playing 28 playoff games to include four in the 2004 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

When looking at both of their numbers against both Hall of Famers Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett, there is a strong argument that Larry Walker should get in, but also Raul Ibanez should have some (although a small amount) consideration on future ballots.

Jim Rice was an eight-time AL All-Star and won the 1978 AL MVP. He was inducted in 2009 in his final chance on the ballot with the following numbers:

382 HRs
2452 Hits
1451 RBI
career .289 BA
Kirby Puckett was inducted in 2001 and went to ten All-Star Games, won six Gold Gloves and was the MVP of the 1991 World Series with the Minnesota Twins. He had the following numbers:

207 HRs
2304 Hits
1085 RBI
career .318 BA
Larry Walker clearly has a legitimate chance this year to be inducted into the Hall of Fame based on comparison to both Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett. Raul Ibanez, on the other hand, will hopefully see some recognition by a few on the BBWAA. Ultimately he will fall short of the 75% of votes needed.

Although he won’t make the Hall of Fame, Raul Ibanez is still one of the fan favorites in Kansas City. He will always be remembered for the closed door speech he gave the 2014 Royals team before they went on an 8-0 run in the postseason. That also helped pave the way for a World Series title one year later.

Brad Keller Jersey

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Royals Rumblings – News for November 18, 2019

In his Friday notes, David Lesky is okay with the Royals having a limited budget….for now.

Paying the bad team tax isn’t worth it yet. What’ll bother me is if all that does happen and it looks like the Royals are, let’s say, a center fielder and a reliever away going into 2021 (just go along for this ride with me, don’t argue the dates) and they don’t even check in on someone to trade for or sign then I’ll be upset. And yes, I very much hope this new ownership group is willing to eat some money on deals to bring back better prospects in trades and all that, but I can’t even begin to get worked up about payroll discussion. And add to that the fact that almost any public quote about payroll is going to err on the low side because it keeps some leverage and doesn’t lend itself to disappointing fans if and when they can’t make good on their promise. Think about the White Sox last year, throwing all sorts of money around, or at least talking about it. How disappointing is that when they got Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay in the end? Let’s just see how this plays out.

Jordan Foote at Kings of Kauffman is also okay with a low profile in free agency.

Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors writes about how the Royals may look to lock up young players.

Though they won’t be spending to add from the outside, the Royals will consider plunking down cash to secure the services of existing players into the future, according to’s Jeffrey Flanagan (via Twitter). He lists Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, and Adalberto Mondesi as conceivable extension candidates. One might speculatively add hurler Brad Keller to that group as well.

Of that slate of possibilities for long-term deals, only Soler is nearing the open market. While the 27-year-old has finally hit his stride, it’s debatable how wise it would be to lock into a bat-first corner outfielder. But there’s certainly merit to pursuing a deal at the right price. The other players listed have even more still to prove, though Mondesi does offer tantalizing upside as an extension candidate. lists the best athlete in each organization.

Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS (No. 1/MLB No. 8) – The No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft can do everything very well on the baseball field. He has 20-20 potential given his power and speed. That quickness also allows him to be a plus defender at shortstop with outstanding range and a cannon for an arm. As a bonus, his makeup and passion for the game allow his athleticism to play up.

Emails show Astros executives asked scouts for advice on how to steal signs.

Baseball is proposing to sever ties with 42 minor league affiliates, including clubs like the Royals’ Lexington Legends.

The star free agents that departed championship teams.

Kenta Maeda is not happy with how the Dodgers have handled him.

Why the Reds hired Kyle Boddy of Driveline.

You may have forgotten about these Nationals players, but they will receive championship rings.

White Sox GM Rick Hahn wanted Rafael Devers for Chris Sale.

Doug Mienkiewicz wasn’t enough of a yes-man to be a coach in the Tigers organization.

The Rangers unveil a new $12.5 million academy in the Dominican Republic.

Historian John Thorn writes about the three true outcomes, and a possible fourth.

USA Baseball fails to secure a bid to the 2020 Olympics in the WBCS Premier 12 tournament, but will have two more opportunities.

Analyzing the top 2020 NCAA baseball recruiting class.

Vera Clemente, widow of baseball legend Roberto Clemente, dies at age 78.

Why NFL backup quarterbacks are succeeding more than ever.

How Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending injury could impact the 2020 NFL draft.

The world’s most profitable company is about to go public.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is filled with gonk droids.

An ode to Ford v. Ferrarri and dad cinema.

Your song of the day is Joe Jackson with I’m the Man.

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Thursday’s press conference and announcement of Mike Matheny as the 17th manager of the Kansas City Royals was not a surprise.
The surprise is the reaction from a Kansas City Royals fan base that should be excited about the future of the organization rather than question the decision.

Mike Matheny was hired at the end of the 2018 season as special adviser for player development. Ironically, it was the same position Ned Yost had prior to replacing Trey Hillman at the beginning of the 2010 season.

For those that forget, Yost was fired by the Brewers with just 12 games remaining in the 2008 campaign. That same year the Brewers made it to the NLDS where they lost to the eventual World Series Champion Phillies in five games.

Both managers have taken the same path to becoming managers of the Royals to include being the only managers ever fired during the season with winning records.

Thursday’s press conference gave most us the first chance at hearing from Matheny since he was relieved by the Cardinals. His message was very clear; Mike Matheny loves the game of baseball. Not only did he loved it as a player, but he loves to manage. That is important to winning in Kansas City.

The majority of the criticism that has been placed on Mike Matheny has come from the fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, who have grown accustom to being over critical and quick to place blame when their team doesn’t win.

We have heard all the stories that Matheny was fired by the Cardinals because the culture in the clubhouse eroded. He was criticized for what was believed to be hazing towards younger players and being stubborn to make changes in the lineup.

Hazing has no place in today’s society period, but being stubborn describes most managers in MLB. Not just Mike Matheny.

As the special adviser for player development, Matheny has had the chance to reflect and decide if he indeed was ready to make the return to the dugout. He has had the ability to spend time in the Royals farm system to evaluate and be a part of the development of some of the younger players that are critical to success of the franchise’s future.

It’s a future that appears very similar to a decision to hire Ned Yost in 2010. It was a decision by Dayton Moore that ultimately landed Kansas City a World Series and most likely the number 3 retired next to Dick Howser‘s number 10 in left field.

Matheny spent nearly six seasons as the Cardinals’ skipper and had a winning percentage of .555 with appearances in four playoffs to include one World Series in 2013. Not a bad resumé if one simply ignores all the critics.

Thursday, Matheny was quoted as saying “I don’t think you can ever trust a leader without a limp.” Royals fans shouldn’t give him a cane or crutch, but rather give him a chance. He has probably learned from his mistakes and might just get the Royals back to the playoffs sooner rather than later.

Remember that the Cardinals and their fans also ran off a guy by the name of Joe Torre.

Eric Skoglund Jersey

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A third-round draft pick’s electrifying 2017 major league debut with the Kansas City Royals is the bright spot of an otherwise unremarkable career. The club has decisions to make about his future.
In late May 2017, slightly more than a full season removed from winning the World Series, and with hopes of contending one more time before free agency was certain to break up the club’s championship core, the Kansas City Royals were in trouble. Mired in last place in the American League Central Division on May 29, the Royals were eight games below .500 and owned the worst record in the league.

Instability and inconsistency plagued a battered starting rotation. Danny Duffy was hurt and would join newcomer Nate Karns on the disabled list the next day. Ian Kennedy, an earlier visit to the DL, was winless. Jason Hammel, signed in the offseason after winning 25 games for the Cubs over the previous two campaigns, had one win and the club had lost nine of his 10 starts.

In dire need of a starter, the Royals summoned Eric Skoglund from AAA Omaha on May 30 and announced he would start against Detroit that night. Skoglund, a lanky 24-year old left-hander and third-round draft pick in 2014, hardly fit the savior bill–he was 2-3 in eight Omaha starts and 13-15 in three prior seasons in the Royals system.

Easing him into the big leagues was not the Royals’ plan–not only was he to start that evening’s game, but he would debut against Tiger great Justin Verlander. Unnerved and undaunted, Skoglund pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, surrendered just two hits, struck out five, walked only one, and at one stretch retired 14 straight batters before yielding to the bullpen to save his, and the Royals’, 1-0 victory.

That gem, however, is the brightest spot of Skoglund’s career. It was his lone win in five rookie starts; he finished 2017 1-2 with a 9.50 ERA, a 5.05 FIP and 2.333 WHIP. He spent more time at Omaha that season and finished 4-5 with a 4.07 ERA, including one game he pitched for Northwest Arkansas to open the year.

Skoglund figured prominently in the Royals’ plans as they began rebuilding the club in 2018. The time was ripe for him to win a job, but Skoglund failed to establish himself in a rotation struggling to find itself. In a season marred by a UCL strain, Skoglund won just one of seven decisions and posted a 5.14 ERA.

The Royals hoped 2019 would be Skoglund’s breakthrough season. But in January, Major League Baseball suspended Skoglund for 80 games for violating its anti-PED policies; Skoglund denied knowing how he ingested a banned substance and expressed remorse.

Skoglund struggled after rejoining the Royals after the suspension, going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA, 7.36 FIP, and 1.857 WHIP in six starts. He was 3-5 with a 6.04 ERA at Omaha.

Unfortunately, Skoglund, now 27 and a veteran of six professional seasons, has yet to recapture the magic of his major league debut, a night when he faced down and out-dueled one of the game’s greats. The memory of that effort is fading against the backdrop of his troubling major league and minor league records of 2-11 and 20-26.

Skoglund is a pre-arbitration player occupying a spot on the Royals’ 40-man roster; the November 20 deadline for the club to finalize that roster for Rule 5 Draft purposes is only days away. The Royals have decisions to make about Skoglund–should they stay the course and keep him on the 40-man, exposing a more promising player to the draft, or open up his spot? Should they tender him a contract for next season?

Eric Skoglund’s career with the Kansas City Royals is at a crossroads. His masterpiece major league debut against Justin Verlander remains the apex of that career; little else of his six pro seasons suggests a bright future. The Royals have a history of forgiving transgressions of the game’s substance policies and second chances are their norm but, considering Skoglund’s unremarkable six-season performance on the mound, his time with the club may have run out.

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THE APPEAL of baseball for me has always been as much about its past as its present. No sport embraces its history as much as baseball. The boys of summers past were heroes, and the older we get, the better they were.

Major leaguers play on beautifully manicured fields of green. They dazzle with their talent. They fill our summers — and our winters — with endless and unresolvable arguments about who was the best we ever saw.

Who you got, Mantle or Trout? How would Ty Cobb fare against Max Scherzer? That sort of thing.

Unfortunately, what the game does not provide so much anymore are the characters, the guys who intentionally or unintentionally stood out from the crowd with their humor, their quirks, their idiosyncrasies, their malaprops.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders calls himself a Democratic socialist, but is not a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Tom Troy
Socialists brought technology to Lucas County’s Dem debate party
Today’s players are businessmen first, ballplayers second, and the game is poorer for it. Long gone are the guys with the colorful nicknames: Catfish, Oil Can, Pumpsie, and the Goose.

Most fans know about Yogi Berra’s flair for a funny line. Speaking of a restaurant in New York, Yogi once said “nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

On another occasion he observed that “we made too many wrong mistakes.”

He said of a player who batted both right-handed and left-handed: “he’s amphibious.”

Trying to explain the afternoon shadows in Yankee Stadium, Yogi noted that “it gets late early out there.”

I think old Yogi knew exactly what he was saying and did it for laughs. I’m old enough to miss him.

Yogi may have given the game its most memorable lines, but he was hardly alone.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives on Air Force One at Pitt Greenville Airport, in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday, July 17, 2019.
Mike Sigov
Mike Sigov: Trump should ‘go back’ to Russia
Relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry might have been a close second.

Here are a few Quisenberries:

“I’ve seen the future, and it’s much like the present, only longer.”

“Our fielders have to catch a lot of balls, or at least deflect them to someone who can.”

Of an articulate teammate, Mr. Quisenberry noted that “he didn’t sound like a baseball player. He said things like ‘nevertheless’ and ‘if, in fact.’”

Casey Stengel also deserves a spot on the leaderboard here.

During his years managing often difficult Yankee players, he warned his barber, “Don’t cut my throat. I may want to do that myself.”

Of one of his young players, Casey observed that “he’s only 20, with a good chance in 10 years of being 30.”

Lefty Gomez was asked once if he threw a spitter, an illegal pitch. “Not intentionally,” he replied, “but I sweat easy.”

Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee had one of baseball’s most fitting nicknames — the “Spaceman” — back in the 1970s. It was richly deserved. Defending his diet at the time, which featured bananas, he made a good point: “Did you ever see a monkey with a cramp?”

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax reflected on playing games outdoors in Houston before the Astrodome was built: “Some of the bugs there are twin-engine jobs.”

Another Hall of Famer, pitcher Garry Maddox, was asked to describe a grand slam home run he had surrendered. “As I remember it, the bases were loaded,” he said.

Pitcher Bill Terry bragged facetiously about himself: “I had great control. I never missed the other fellow’s bat.”

Slugger Reggie Jackson explained that whenever he was in a hitting slump, he would be inundated with well-meaning suggestions for snapping out of it. “You want to try them all, but you can’t. You’re like a mosquito in a nudist camp. You don’t know where to start.”

The legendary Babe Ruth, questioning the umpire’s judgment after the ump called a blazing fastball a strike: “That last one sounded kinda high to me.”

Umpire Ron Luciano said throwing players out of the game was like riding a bicycle. “Once you get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun.”

It was also Mr. Luciano who observed that whenever an umpire reminisces about his career, he inevitably begins every story with the same line: “It wasn’t funny at the time.”

Speaking of pitcher Phil Niekro’s unhittable knuckleball, outfielder Rick Monday observed that “it actually giggles at you as it goes by.”

Kansas City shortstop Fred Patek was asked how it felt to be the shortest player in the major leagues at 5 feet, 5 inches. “A heck of a lot better than being the shortest player in the minors,” he replied.

The Tigers’ great Hank Greenberg insisted that “the only way to get along with newspapermen is to say something one minute and something different the next.”

Wait. What?

A San Diego second baseman named Tim Flannery acknowledged he was superstitious during a 14-game hitting streak. “Every night after I got a hit, I ate Chinese food and drank tequila. I had to stop hitting or die.”

All of these players are of an earlier era in baseball, and all these quotes have been culled from a variety of sources. They still make me laugh.

Perhaps my favorite is a quote from team executive Clark Griffith, bemoaning the haplessness of his pitchers. “The fans,” he said, “like to see home runs. So we have assembled a pitching staff for their enjoyment.”

They say that major league baseball attendance is down again this year. Maybe we need more characters like Yogi and Bill Lee.

But as Yogi himself once explained, “If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.”

Thomas Walton is the retired Editor and Vice President of The Blade. His column appears every other Sunday. His radio commentary, “Life As We Know It,” can be heard on WGTE public radio every Monday at 5:44 p.m. during “All Things Considered.” Contact him at [email protected]

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Acquiring major-league caliber pitching clearly sits atop the list of offseason priorities for the Kansas City Royals.

Constructing a staff deep with quality arms capable of consistent performance in the rotation and bullpen will be crucial to pulling the club out of the malaise of three consecutive losing seasons and back-to-back 100-loss seasons.

The rules of baseball mimic those of real estate with a slight twist. Instead of location, location, location being the mantra, it’s pitching, pitching, pitching.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore and the baseball operations staff aim to address a pitching staff that ranked near the bottom of the majors in opponent’s batting average (.273, 28th), WHIP (1.48, 29th), ERA (5.20, 27th), and opponent’s OBP (.348, 29th) and strikeouts per nine innings (7.8, 29th).

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The Royals have potential bullpen help in the former of like Jorge Lopez and Glenn Sparkman, both who’ve spent time in the starting rotation, as well as fireballer Jesse Hahn coming back from injury. Their targets in free agency will be starting pitchers, and there will be an abundance of options.

“There’s a lot of championship-caliber starters on the market,” Moore said this week at the MLB general managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona. “We’re certainly going to explore that market. I can’t sit here and tell you that we’re going to be in a position to execute anything, but we’ll explore that market.”

In recent years, the Royals have established a willingness to take fliers on veteran pitchers on low-risk short-term deals, such as Homer Bailey last offseason. They signed him to a one-year deal, knowing he’d serve as a potential trade chip late in the season.

Will they aim this offseason to sign more stop-gap type remedies or might they go after a free-agent worthy of a multi-year deal?

Moore has left the door open for either or perhaps both.

“A value-based signing like Homer Bailey, you always have room for that,” Moore said. “But we’re going to look, and we’re going to try to add a starter or two if possible.”

Other Royals takeaways from the GM meetings:

Multi-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winning catcher Salvador Perez remains on schedule with his recovery from Tommy John surgery in order to be ready for spring training. He’ll work go through his usual offseason workouts in Miami with catching coach Pedro Grifol and several of the young catchers in the farm system such as Meibrys Viloria and MJ Melendez.

Don’t be surprised if the Royals give Perez more days off or get him in the lineup at designated hitter or first base early in the season as he gets re-acclimated to the routine of playing daily.

Manager Mike Matheny, Grifol and head trainer Nick Kenney will collectively manage Perez’s usage during the season.

American League home run champion and franchise single-season record setter Jorge Soler reportedly switched agents this past week to the same agency, Excel Sports Management, that represents Alex Gordon.

Royals star Jorge Soler has fired ACES and moved to Casey Close of Excel

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 12, 2019
Soler can opt for arbitration this offseason, which will increase his salary significantly. He’ll still have two more seasons remaining under control with the Royals after having hit 48 homers, collected 117 RBIs, scored 95 runs and posted a slash line of .265/.354/.569 in 2019.

While Moore wouldn’t speak specifically to any negotiations future or otherwise regarding Soler, it’s clear he’d be a candidate for an extension before he hits free agency.

“Historically, we’ve always shown a willingness to sign our young players to long-term contracts, and we’ve had our share of success doing that,” Moore said. “I don’t anticipate not trying to lock up some of our young players long-term. We were successful last year with Whit Merrifield, and that proved to be beneficial not only with Whit but for us. We’ll explore those opportunities with the players who are currently on our roster.”

Dynamic shortstop Adalberto Mondesi has been rehabbing in Kansas City this offseason with the team’s physical therapist Jeff Blum. Mondesi had shoulder surgery Oct. 2, but remains on pace to be ready for opening day. All indications thus far have been encouraging.

While the Royals signed Chris Owings last season in part as insurance at shortstop in case Mondesi’s injury history cropped up again, they feel they’re better suited with internal candidates to cover the position if he misses extended time next season. Nicky Lopez and Humberto Arteaga give the club options to handle the position defensively.

The Royals may look this offseason for minor-league depth at the spot.

First baseman Ryan O’Hearn has had wildly variant results in the majors since late in the 2018 season. Through his first 49 games, the left-handed hitting slugger racked up 34 RBIs, tied for the second-most in franchise history to start a career. He also had 26 extra-base hits, including 13 home runs, in that span.

This past season, he struggled to the point that the club demoted him to Triple-A mid-season. He returned to the majors in late July. Overall, he batted .195 with a .281 on-base percentage and a .369 slugging percentage to go with 14 home runs in 105 games.

He showed signs of improvement in the season’s final month when he slashed .250/.283/.536. The Royals are not ready to give up on him being a contributor to the big-league club, and have seen him make strides defensively.

“I believe in him as a hitter,” Moore said. “He works too hard. He’s too smart. He’s extremely competitive. There’s no reason for us not to believe in Ryan O’Hearn.”

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DENVER — Brandon Crawford didn’t know he had a chance to join a couple of Hall of Famers when he came up with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Monday afternoon. All he knew was that he was facing something he hadn’t previously seen in the big leagues.

Crawford dug in and looked up at Mark Reynolds, a first baseman who was asked to mop it up on the mound in the ninth inning of the Giants’ 19-2 win at Coors Field. Reynolds was the first position player Crawford had faced in the big leagues.

“It was a weird feeling,” Crawford said. “But it’s bases loaded, one out — it’s still an at-bat that counts.”

Crawford made sure of that, bouncing a single up the middle to drive in two more runs. He finished with eight RBI, tying a San Francisco Giants record previously shared by Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda. He became the first shortstop in MLB history to record five hits and eight RBI in one game. Crawford said the big day was due to his teammates.

“I hit with a lot of guys on base, that was nice,” he said. “The whole lineup contributed.”

That was rarely the case in the first three months of the season. But in the days leading up to the break, you could see Crawford, Buster Posey and other members of the core starting to turn it on, mixing in with Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater and other newcomers.

Crawford took a five-game hitting streak into the game and added three walks over the weekend in Milwaukee. The breakout came Monday. He homered in the first to help the Giants take a 5-0 lead and added a long shot to right in the sixth.

[RELATED: Breaking down red-hot Giants' historic game at the plate]

In one game, Crawford raised his average from .226 to .239. His OPS jumped from .654 to .695. That’s hard to do nearly 100 games into the season — unless you have the type of day that has you in the same company as Hall of Famers.

“I’ve been feeling good,” Crawford said. “I’m seeing the ball well. You expect to get hits when that happens.”

Brandon Crawford ties Giants record held by Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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It’s the off-season which means it’s time to work on some side-projects while we wait for the Winter Meetings, at least, but probably more realistically Spring Training. The project I’m currently working on is a pitch for the next, great baseball movie. It will, of course, star the Royals. Basically, the idea is the same as Space Jam, but instead of being a remake or a sequel it will be a spiritual successor. An alien race challenges the denizens of earth to a baseball series – best out of seven, naturally – for the fate of our planet. Just like in the original movie they steal all of the skills of the game’s greatest players. Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Gerrit Cole, etc.

Without having any of those guys around the heroes of this movie are forced to do some outside-the-box thinking. Turns out there is another alien race that really has a lot of respect for the Royals because of Whit Merrifield’s grit. So they offer the earth a deal: the humans can borrow one of their time machines and build a roster out of players from earth’s history, but only Royals. And only players from the past because the prime directive of time travel is you can never go to the future. Unless it’s Back to the Future. But that’s a whole separate issue.

Oh, and you also can’t just take the same player from different years because then the universe would implode or something.

Anyway, so the best part of this project is figuring out which Royals you would get from which years to build the best possible team to face off against the alien invaders. Obviously, you’re going to have George Brett. But which Brett do you take? Thanks to FanGraphs and their version of the WAR stat we have a definitive answer.

Starting Lineup by Position
Catcher – 1979 Darrell Porter (7.5 fWAR)

Darrell hit 20 home runs from the catcher spot in 1979 which was only fifth-most among catchers that year. Still, he was by far the most valuable catcher both year and in Royals’ history. He also scored and drove in more than 100 runs and tied for the lead for all catchers with a 144 wRC+ that year.

First Base – 1975 John Mayberry (7.3 fWAR)

This was the year Mayberry set what was then the franchise record in home runs at 34.

Second Base – 2018 Whit Merrifield (5.2 fWAR)

I have to admit, I expected we’d be putting a Frank White season here. But it seems Frank never had a year that measured up to Whit in 2018. And people want to say his trade value wouldn’t diminish. Psh. The good news is that putting a version of Whit Merrifield in the lineup should please the time-traveling aliens.

Third Base – 1980 George Brett (9.1 fWAR)

I think this must have been the most easily predictable roster choice. Brett’s MVP season where he chased .400 for most of the summer and helped lead the Royals to their first AL pennant and World Series appearance.

Shortstop – 1997 Jay Bell (5.4 fWAR)

Jay only had one season with the Royals but what a year it was. His 21 dingers remain the best by a Royals’ shortstop in a single season. The 2014 edition of Alcides Escobar (the one that caused a small riot when he was allowed to bat with the game on the line early in the year) comes in third on this list.

Outfield – 1978 Amos Otis (7.2 fWAR)

You had to figure Amos Otis, with the third most valuable career in Royals history, was going to end up here somewhere. The 1978 edition ranks highest in defense out of any year he ever played and added 22 home runs and 32 steals to the mix. He could do it all.

Outfield – 1980 Willie Wilson (7.0 fWAR)

Man, that 1980 team was stacked. Willie Wilson stole 79 bags, that year, a career-best. He also had 15 triples which ties with two other iterations of himself for third-most by a Royal (the person in first is the 1985 version of Willie Wilson with 21)

Outfield – 2003 Carlos Beltran (6.9 fWAR)

Would you believe Beltran ranks lower in defense here than our Wilson and Otis? He also ranks higher in offense and base-running. That’s right, Beltran stole only 41 bases but FanGraphs Baserunning stat says he was better than 1980 Willie Wilson there. Beltran also put up 26 bombs.

Designated Hitter – 1976 Hal McRae (4.4 fWAR)

If you want to understand what people mean when they say home runs are less valuable now than ever get this: Jorge Soler’s 2019 season ranks sixth all-time among Royals Designated Hitter seasons despite is 48 bombs. Hal’s season in 1976, obviously, was the most valuable. He hit only eight home runs that year. People didn’t hit as many home runs so you didn’t have to hit as many to be among the best hitters in the sport.

2013 Salvador Perez (3.5 fWAR)

This was Salvy’s first full season in the big leagues and he was ready to make the most out of it. He had only a 6.2% swinging-strike rate, that year. It was also by far his best season defensively, according to the FanGraphs def stat. Perez actually had the third most valuable season as a catcher in Royals history, Porter holds both of the top two.

2008 Mike Aviles (4.4 fWAR)

Again, I was going to try and slide Frank White onto the bench but Mike Aviles actually had a better season in 2008 than White ever did. In fact, Aviles had the best season for any infielder not named Merrifield, Brett, Bell, Kevin Seitzer, or Jose Offerman. Technically, Seitz probably belongs here with his 5.1 fWAR but I don’t trust him to play the middle-infield.

2011 Alex Gordon (6.6 fWAR)

This was Alex’s first full season in the outfield. He called his shot before the season saying he was going to dominate and dominate he did. 23 home runs, 17 stolen bases, gold glove defense, and a batting average over .300. Alex fits well on the bench because he can play some third and first in a pinch, as well.

2015 Lorenzo Cain (6.1 fWAR)

This was the year Cain finished runner-up as the AL MVP while helping the Royals win their first World Series in 30 years. Cain is our pinch-running specialist but there won’t be a huge drop off if he takes the field or is allowed to hit, either.

2009 Zack Greinke

1977 Dennis Leonard

1989 Bret Saberhagen

1993 Kevin Appier

That’s a pair of Cy Young Award winners and then two guys who easily could have been. Dennis Leonard was the most valuable pitcher in all of baseball in 1977 and Kevin Appier was the fourth most valuable, and only 0.1 fWAR behind the only pitcher in the AL rated more highly than him, Randy Johnson. Both pitchers were bested in the voting by guys who were significantly less valuable than they were. Leonard, in particular, was robbed as Sparky Lyle was a reliever who was good but pitched a fraction of the innings.

2014 Wade Davis

2013 Greg Holland

1983 Dan Quisenberry

1989 Jeff Montgomery

2017 Mike Minor

2007 Joakim Soria

2016 Kelvin Herrera

2008 Ramon Ramirez

This bullpen is a whos-who of Royals Relievers throughout the decades. And then you have Mike Minor, who was admittedly very good for the one year he pitched for the Royals. And finally, as the twenty-fifth man on the roster, you have 2008 Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez was actually tied with several others for the fifteenth-most valuable reliever season in Royals history but there were repeats of the other guys all throughout the better placings.

I had honestly forgotten Ramirez ever pitched for the Royals. He only pitched for them in 2008. The Royals dealt Jorge De La Rosa to the Rockies to get him and then, following his successful campaign, flipped him to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp. 2008 was by far his best season as a big leaguer. He had other years with ERAs under 3, but they were usually accompanied by FIPs over 4. Regardless of all that, if Ramirez is pitching against the aliens in this scenario something has probably gone horribly, terribly wrong.

So those guys represent the best seasons at their respective positions for the Royals in team history. What do you think? Should that team be capable of defeating the alien invaders I imagined up? Who are you surprised did and didn’t make the cut? Who would you have manage this club? Will this movie make all of the money?