May 26, 2006

Fangs of New York

So the Royals head to Yankee Stadium tonight with a thirteen game losing streak.

As we all know, Steinbrenner has scoured the universe for the greatest ballplayers. You may remember my theory that the Yankees are actually superhuman monsters with no regard for human life or the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If you missed it, I'd consider it maybe the finest post in this blog's history. Click here to check it out.

Based on the success of the first one, why not bust out a sequel?

So here goes, with part two of the NY Rogues Gallery.

The Real Murderer's Row:

Mariano Rivera was once a mild mannered janitor at Yankee Stadium. He hosed down the pee troughs and took pride in replacing the urinal cakes before they melted. Until one day, when he was burned alive by a malicious group of Major League Team Owners headed by David Glass. Rivera returned as a monster with an assortment of deadly pitches that haunt the dreams of every one of those Team Owner's players.


 "One, two, Mariano's coming for you."

Sure, they have one of the worst minor league farm systems in all of baseball. That didn't stop Mad Scientist George Steinbrenner. He cut off the best body parts he had from no less than seven Columbus Clippers and sewed them together to create Melky Cabrera. Unfortunately, Georgie's assistant, Igor Cashman, mistook a giant head for a big brain. As a result, the Creature doesn't know how to field flyballs.

 
"GROOOOOOOOOAN."

Randy Johnson. He's old. He's tall. He's creepy as hell. And even worse, he's got deadly flying spheres and a gang of evil dwarves (Tony Pena, Ron Guidry and Larry Bowa) on his side.

"BOOOOOOOOOOOOOYYYYYYYY!"
And finally, if Hideki Matsui is Godzilla, then Chien-Ming Wang is obviously Mothra.



"Insert sound a moth makes here."


So there you have it. Even more indisputable proof that the Yankees are not of this world.

Good luck with those brutes this weekend, Kansas City.

Don't forget to pack your holy water and crucifixes.

And pray for a quick death.

But who knows?

Melkenstein may take one off the noggin and give us a win.

Stranger things have happened.

Go Royals! You're the Best!


May 25, 2006

SUPER TERRIFIC HAPPY PROMOTION FUN TIME

The Royals are a bad team. And the attendance is starting to take a hit because of it. So what brings the fans in if the quality of the team sucks?

That's right. Promotions, promotions, promotions.

Bill Veeck knew it.

The Royals do a decent enough job of getting butts in the seats. They have several t-shirt nights, bobblehead nights, and Buck Nights (where hot dogs, small sodas and peanuts are a buck a pop). But they are missing something. I'm talking promotions that actually make the game on the field worth watching.

I have a few ideas, though.

1) Replace the basepaths with Crocodile Mile or some other reasonable facsimile. It would make for some entertaining base running as well as give Berroa an excuse for the errors he makes.






2) Forget the Seventh Inning Stretch. Each game, between the top and bottom of the seventh, Runelvys Hernandez and Matt Stairs will engage in a pie-eating contest. The winner of said contest will get to take a nap for the remainder of the game.


 
 
 
3) Fire Buddy Bell and hire a different celebrity guest manager for each game.
 
Today's guest manager: Al Roker!



 
4) Four Words: Jeremy Affeldt Dance Party!


 
Look at that marvelous bastard dance!

Any other promotional ideas? Go ahead and post them in the comments section.

I'll pick the best idea and the winner will get... well, nothing, really.

Er, I mean, my respect.

Yeah.

You want that, don't you?

I knew you did.

Go Royals! You're the best!

May 24, 2006

The Doug Mientkiewicz Fan Club

Last night, a dozen drunk kids decided to come out to Kauffman Stadium to lend support to lackluster first basemen Doug Mientkiewicz:


 
They probably did not choose Dougie based on his baseball skills. He's hitting .250 with a .338 OBP and a .331 SLG%. Brought in primarily for defense (because that's all you want at first base... forget any power or hitting ability), Dougie has helped the Royals win 10 out of their first 43 games. Yep, that glove sure has turned the ballclub around. They are now on pace to break the loss record by the 1962 Mets.

But back to the Doug Mientkiewicz Fan Club. These idiots chose him because he has twelve letters in his name. That's it.

But maybe, just maybe, Dougie would look at these goobers and be inspired to play the greatest game of his life and end the Royals' losing streak at 10.

Let's go to the highlights:



Not a good start. In the first, Dougie's ball dropped. Er, I mean, he dropped a ball. At least he managed to avoid looking like an idiot.


While batting in the second, America's Troubador Kenny Rogers drilled Dougie in the ass with a fastball. At least he managed to avoid looking like an idiot.


While running to second, Dougie fell hard on his ass as he tried to slide. At least he managed to... well, he looked pretty foolish by this point in the game.

Dougie's final line: 0-3, 1 K, 1 HBP.


 
So why didn't these kids start the Mark Grudzielanek Fan Club instead? His last name has twelve letters too. And he's actually good. Marky's line last night: 3-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 Runs.

Idiot kids.

It's okay.

It could have been worse.

Remember when the Esteban German Fan Club attended a game?



Good times, good times.

Go Royals! You're the best!

May 20, 2006

1-70 Series in Glorious 8-Bit Color: Game Three

Last night, the Royals lost their seventh straight game. They've been swept in more series than they haven't.

And last night was ridiculous. They built a five run lead on Cy Young winner, Chris Carpenter, only to piss it away. Spectacularly. After that debacle, I'm sure we're all ready to return to our 8-bit fantasy world. Here we go:

GAME THREE

So, two days ago, I stupidly decided to start Elarton in Games One and Three. Hernandez dominated yesterday. Elarton pitched like dookie in Game One. Would it be a cop out for me to remove Elarton for Hernandez at the first sign of trouble? Probably. But it’s the Royals. They need all the help they can get.

The game started off with a DeJesus single. He immediately stole second to get into scoring position.



But then Grudz struck out. Brown grounded out to second, moving DeJesus to third. It was up to Sweeney to get him home.

And he tripled!



Royals 1, Cards 0

Sanders followed with an RBI double. Matt Stairs struck out to end the inning, but the Royals were up by two after one half inning.

Time to see if I can control Elarton. First batter, Eckstein: single up the middle. Second batter, Encarnacion: Fielder’s choice. Third batter, Pujols: Double Play!

Well done, Scott. But your command still sucks.

The bottom of the Royals order went down 1-2-3 in the next inning. Surprise, surprise. Elarton doesn’t hit very well, either.

Fourth batter, Rolen: double down the right field line. Fifth batter, Edmonds: single to left. Sixth batter, Bigbie: RBI fielder's choice. Seventh batter, Spivey: long fly to left, hooking just foul. Yeah. Time for Fat Elvys.



C’mon. You want us to take the series, don’t you?

Hernandez let two of the inherited runners score, but struck out Encarnacion to end the inning. Elarton’s final line: 1 inning, 6 hits, 2 runs. That’s an 18.00 ERA, but it could have been worse if he’d stayed in.

DeJesus led off the next inning with a double, but then was doubled off second when Grudz lines out to the shortstop.

 
 
Emil Brown, of course, then popped out to end the inning.

Hernandez was looking good again, though. He struck out Pujols on three straight pitches to begin the third.



Rolen and Edmonds also went down without a fight.

Sweeney led off the fourth with a jack to left center. Just like that it was Royals 3, Cards 2.



And check out all the blue in the stands for the Sunday game. There’s a lot of young fans out there for the Sluggerrr Growth Chart.

In the bottom of the inning, Larry Bigbie struck out for like the twelfth time in the series. He’s really been the whipping boy of the 8-bit 1-70 Series. Well, aside from Elarton.


 
Above: Bigbie Goes Down.

In the fifth, the Cards replaced Carpenter with Mulder. This confused the hell out of me. Just the game before, Mulder had given up fourteen runs in seven innings before leaving the game. Today, Carpenter gave up three runs in four innings, and they brought in the guy that sucked ass the day before.

They would immediately pay for their stupidity. DeJesus led off the inning with a solo dong to right field. Then, after a Berroa double, Emil Brown hit one out.



For some reason, it looks like the fans have switched team allegiances, wearing more red now. Maybe that growth chart sucked.

Here. Judge for yourself:

 
 
What a crappy promotion.

Then Sweeney barely cleared the fence to make it back-to-back homers. And I began to think that the 8-bit Cards were purposely throwing the game. Those dirty bastards.

In any case, Royals 7, Cards 2.

Hernandez continued to pitch well. He hadn’t allowed a hit since coming into the game. In fact, he got an infield single in the sixth, meaning he had more hits than any of the batters he’d pitched to. Finally, with two outs in the seventh, Edmonds doubled to end Fat Elvys’ hitless streak. But Bigbie came up and ran into more hard luck. He lined to third where Mark Teahen made an amazing leap to snag the ball and end the threat.

 
 
WEB GEM!

Poor, poor Bigbie. I can imagine the Royals trading for him after this sad performance.

Hernandez gave up a triple to Spivey to start the seventh inning. And after getting the next batter to pop out, the Cards pinch-hit So “Did you know your first name is an adverb?” Taguchi for Mulder.

Hernandez struck him out on a beautiful 50 mph fastball. Sure, Chubbs was getting tired. At least he was still getting K’s.



Then Fatty got Eckstein on a weak grounder to first to strand Spivey on third. Still, Royals 7, Cards 2 with Isringhausen coming in to pitch the eighth for St. Louis.

Izzy immediately gave up three straight doubles to Stairs, Teahen and Buck to make it 9-2. This brought Runelvys to the plate, so it was time for a pinch hitter. I decided to go with the lefty hitter, your favorite backup catcher and mine, Paul Bako.

Of course, he struck out on three pitches.

But then, DeJesus hit the fourth double of the inning. Royals 10, Cards 2.

In the bottom of the inning, MacDougal came in and struck out the side.

Stairs contributed a homer in the ninth to give KC an insurance run.

Maybe the most exciting thing in the game happened in the bottom of the ninth, as Doogie tried to close it out. That’s right, Larry Bigbie got his first hit of the game. A broken bat infield single that he narrowly beat out.



It was like the final scene of Rudy. I had tears in my eyes. Good for you, Bigbie. Good for you.

Shortly thereafter, Bigbie was tagged out trying to steal second.

But still.

Maybe it was Bigbie’s hit that did it, but Doogie looked lost out on the mound. He gave up two straight singles. And then, a three run homer by another Rudy-esque character, David Eckstein.



MacDougal regained his composure and got the next two batters to ground out, ending the game and the series.


 
KAN CITY WINS! KAN CITY WINS!

Champions of the 8-bit 1-70 Series, your Kan City Royals.

What a great time to be a fan of a Nintendo Royals team. And what a horrible time to be a fan of an actual Royals team. Oh well, the 8-bitters in blue bounced back after a bad first game. Let's hope the 2-bit losers in blue can do the same.

Go 2-bit losers in blue! You're the best!


May 19, 2006

1-70 Series in Glorious 8-Bit Color: Game Two

GAME TWO

This game had blowout written all over it from the start. Let's begin with the five-run first inning where the 8-bit Royals had six hits, including three triples and a double.

Hernandez followed with a 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout of Pujols.

Then in the second, things got interesting. Sweeney singled. Then Sanders hit into a fielder's choice when he beat the double play throw. Mientkiewicz followed by grounding to first, where Pujols fielded and threw to second to start another double play. But nobody covered first on the throw back, allowing Minky to take second.


 
Mark Teahen then hit a shot up the middle and Mientkiewicz scored on the standup RBI triple. The FOURTH triple of the game.


 
Royals 7, Cardinals 0 after two innings.

And Hernandez, despite that bloated 5.52 ERA, was pitching very well, with five strikeouts in those first two innings.


 
Above: A nasty cutter for strike three on Larry Bigbie ended the 2nd inning.

Hernandez struck out the side again in the third, meaning he had 8 K's through 9 batters. And a no-hitter going.

And the rest of the Royals bats kept on hitting. Another triple here. A pair of doubles there. A two-run homer by Mientkiewicz. Dougie hitting one out?! Now I know the game isn't realistic.

 
 
Following that two run bomb, Fat Elvys waddled up to the plate and popped out to second on a diving play by Spivey to end the inning.

 
 
WOW, look at that play. Web Gem nominee, at least.

In the bottom of the inning, Spivey led off. How often do you see a guy make a great play and then lead off the next inning. Well, since there are nine batters, about 11% of the time, genius. Anyway, it didn't matter because he struck out on three pitches. But Fat Elvys' no-hitter was soon broken up by a Pujols triple. Hernandez stranded him at third base when he struck out Scott Rolen to end the inning. Rolen, of course, became invisible when he swung and missed:


 
In the fifth, the Royals didn't score. Why? Because I paused the game to take a piss and when I came back, I saw that Mulder had struck out the side. What kind of BS is that?!? Why have you forsaken me, pause button?

Despite his 11 strikeouts, Hernandez's fat ass was getting tired. He gave up a run in the fifth before leaving in the sixth for a pinch hitter. He left the game with the Royals up 13-1.

MacDougal came in to pitch, as I'd seen what Burgos and Elarton were capable (or incapable) of doing in yesterday's game.


 
Of course, the Cards immediately scored. It all started when Mientkiewicz fielded a grounder to first, and for no apparent reason, threw the ball into the freaking stands.



That's why Mientkiewicz won a gold glove, folks.

Royals 13, Cards 2. No outs, runner on third.

But, MacDougal followed that disaster with a monster strikeout of Pujols.


 
Then, Rolen pulled through with an RBI single. Royals 13, Cards 3. I wish the ten-run rule had gone into effect. Redbirds Rally in Progress.

Until Doogie struck out Edmonds. What, can he only pitch well to every other batter? Apparently. Bigbie got a single and then Spivey flew out to end the inning. Redbird Rally stymied.

Grudzielanek knocked in DeJesus in the next inning to gave the 8-bit Royals the 11 run lead.

In the seventh, So Taguchi pinch hit for Mulder. Don't ask me what the hell he was still doing pitching after giving up 14 runs. Taguchi popped out and MacDougal struck out the next two batters.

Isringhausen came in and delivered a 1-2-3 8th for the Cards.

In the ninth, though, the 8-bit Royals wanted to make a point. They had been embarrassed yesterday. They stepped up with three triples, two doubles, and 6 runs. The inning ended with the Royals up 20-3.


 
Burgos came in to close out the game. Would the Cards score 17 runs and send the game to extra innings?

Anything is possible with Ambiorix Burgos out there. His 8-bit version may be worse than he is in real life. Within moments, the 8-bit Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs.

 
 
Luckily, they were out of pinch hitters, so Looper had to bat. Still, he got an RBI groundout. Then, Eckstein flew out to Sanders, who gunned down the runner trying to score from third. And just like that, Game Over. Crazy, crazy ending.

And here is the headline of the next morning's Tengen Sports News:

 
 
Just look at those totals.

Tune in tomorrow to see who takes the series in the final game of the 8-bit 1-70 Series.

Go Kan City! You're the best!

(I'm the only person entertained by these posts, aren't I?)

May 18, 2006

1-70 Series in Glorious 8-Bit Color: Game One

So the Royals are coming back from another SPECTACULARLY AWFUL road trip, 0-6 and brimming with diffidence. They are now 2-20 on the road. 2-20! That means they've won 2 out of 22 games! The Royals are setting records for losing, and we're six weeks into the season. Beautiful.

But the best is yet to come. This weekend, the Cardinals take the 45 minute flight across Missouri to play our lovable losers at Kauffman Stadium.

You know how ESPN will sometimes have a couple of jackasses play the latest X-Box or Playstation sports game to speculate on how a big matchup will go? Well, I wanted to do that with this series. But, I don't have an X-Box. Nor do I have a Playstation. But, I do have a Nintendo.... emulator.

And lucky for me, some guy has updated the greatest baseball video game of all time, RBI Baseball. He has created a rom with the 2006 MLB rosters on it. If you want, you can download it here:
http://league.rbicentral.com/2k6roms.htm

He also updated the game back in the 2003 season, which you might actually enjoy playing. That was the season we had a decent team:
http://league.rbicentral.com/2k3.htm

Anyway, I am going to play the 2K6 version with the Royals vs. the Cardinals in a three game series posted in a three part series on this blog. Here goes:


GAME ONE



As you can see, I was quite limited when it came to pitching matchups. But that's RBI Baseball for you. I decided to start Elarton vs. Carpenter in game one and three and Hernandez vs. Mulder in the second game. None of these matchups will occur this weekend (Fat Elvys and Moldy won't even play), but what the hell. You'll notice players like DeJesus and Sweeney in the game because I'm not going to start Chip Ambres (who isn't on the team now anyway). Just go with the flow.

Game One started off well for the Royals. The second batter of the game, Mark Grudzielanek, took Carpenter down the line for a barely fair solo homer to put KC up 1-0.



 
In the bottom of the first, Scott Elarton baffled leadoff hitter David Eckstein. David completely disappeared when he swung on and missed a 71-mph changeup for Scott's first strikeout of the game.


 
All seemed well, until a pop fly by Juan Encarnacion was misplayed by Angel Berroa into an inside the park home run. Albert Pujols followed with a no-doubter to right-center to make it 2-1 Cards. My centerfielder didn't even move.



 
Elarton bounced back to strike out Rolen on three straight pitches, but then served up a meatball to Jim Edmonds, who knocked it over the right field fence to make it 3-1. At this point, I began to question if I'd lost all of my RBI Baseball skills from college. Or perhaps I should've started Hernandez over Elarton. As you can see from the image below, things just snowballed from there.


 
Pujols' line so far: 2-2, 1 HR, 1 2B, 4 RBI

Cardinals 9, Royals 1.

Ouch.

After a 1-2-3 second, I decide to leave Elarton out there on the mound. Surely the Cards were on the verge of ten-run ruling the Royals' asses. Might as well get it over with.

But Elarton surprised me with a 1-2-3 inning. (Probably because he didn't have to face Pujols.)

The next inning, John Buck stepped up and hit a solo shot on an 0-2 pitch.


 
Notice all the red in the stands? Damn Cardinals fans take over Kauffman Stadium even in the video game.

In the next inning, with two outs, Eckstein tripled and Encarnacion followed it with an RBI single. The score was Cards 10, Royals 2 and guess who was at the plate.

 
 
AND HE STRUCK HIM OUT ON A 37 MPH CURVEBALL. BOOYAH.

Ahem. It's still 10-2 Cards.

Ouch.

But not for long, because leading off the next inning, Emil Brown jacked one out to center to cut the lead to 7. Let the rally begin. An Edmonds error on a Sanders flyball and an RBI double by Buck made it 10-5.

In the bottom of the 4th, Burgos relieved Elarton and had a 1-2-3 inning.

DeJesus led off the fifth with a homer to make it 10-6. The Cards immediately brought in Mulder, which would never happen in real life. But anyway. He retired the next three batters.

And suddenly, the game became a pitchers' duel. Burgos was unhittable. Mulder gave up doubles in two consecutive innings, but got out of the jams. The defense behind both pitchers was great, with a particularly nice play by Teahen pictured below.



 
Web Gem, right?

And then, of course, the bottom fell out. Junior Freakin' Spivey hit a solo bomb to left. Cards 11, Royals 6. Pujols hit a two run double. Cards 13, Royals 6. Edmonds hit it clear out of the park for a two run homer. Cards 15, Royals 6.

Why did I leave Burgos in?


 
Of course, the Royals went down without a fight in the ninth.


 
And that's Game One.

Pretty impressive, no?

No.

No it wasn't.

So, this brings us to a couple of conclusions.

1) The Cardinals are good.

2) The Royals are not.

3) I am extremely rusty at RBI Baseball. Maybe I should've played a tune-up game first. How embarrassing.

4) I VOW TO WIN THE NEXT TWO GAMES.

NOT JUST FOR THE ROYALS, BUT ALSO FOR MY DIGNITY.

Tune in tomorrow, when I play Game Two of the RBI Baseball 1-70 Series. And tune into the real Game One tomorrow night at Kauffman Stadium. Let's hope the outcome is a little more favorable than my simulation.

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