July 11, 2008

RWC's 1st Annual All-Non-Star Team


First, let's get this out of the way:

BLAH BLAH BLAH TOO MANY RED SOX AND CUBS BLAH BLAH BLAH THE ALL-STAR GAME IS A JOKE BLAH BLAH BLAH WHO CARES BLAH BLAH BLAH

There.

Done and done.

So the season is over halfway through, and the Royals aren't much better (at least record-wise) than they have been the last five years. Sure, there are some young players that have the potential to be great and a decent pitching staff and an adequate bullpen bolstered by superstud closer Joakim Soria.

But watching the games, it's basically same shit, different season.

It will be years before we can discuss the plethora of Royals that SHOULD be in the All-Star Game (dear God, let that happen someday), but I'm pretty satisfied with our one selection this year. At least it's not Mark Redman.

On the other hand, the rest of the 2008 Royals roster has been loaded with Non-Stars: dead weight, under performers, drunken wifebeaters, loudmouth malcontents, and guys so insignificant that their names will be nothing more than words Royals fans throw out to make inside jokes about futility or to scare small children ("Brush your teeth, Mikey, or Tony Pena, Jr will crawl in your window at night and drink your blood!")

He's already adept at sucking the life out of every at bat, sucking the life out of the team, and just plain sucking. So that's why Tony Pena, Jr. is our first entry on our First Annual All-Non-Star Team.

Attributes: .155 Avg, .176 OBP, .204 SLG %, 41 K, 5 BB, looking suspiciously like Nosferatu.




Our second Non-Star is Esteban German. The former super-sub is playing terribly on offense and defense this season.

Attributes: .213 Avg, .247 OBP, .250 SLG %, 4 E, countless double plays not turned, 57 bat flips. On the other hand, he hasn't tried to catch any fly balls with his face this year, so that's a plus.





Then there is Alberto Callaspo. He had already been arrested for domestic abuse when the Royals traded for him in the offseason. He added a DUI a few weeks ago when he got pulled over by Maple Woods Community College Police. The Royals responded by sending him off to AA. No, not the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. They sent him to Alcoholics Anonymous, somehow making him eligible for the Disabled List.

Attributes: GLUG GLUG, VROOM VROOM, THUMP THUMP.





Jeff Fulchino and Billy Butler are quite the pair of Non-Stars.

Attributes: Is it me, or did this team just get fatter?





Joey Gathright is fast. Faster than nearly every player in the majors (except maybe Emil Brown). And he can jump over pitchers and cars. These would be good attributes if he was a track star or a superhero. Unfortunately, to be a professional baseball player, you need more than wheels and ups. You need to be able to hit.

Attributes: .250 avg, .302 OBP, .267 SLG %, 3 extra-base hits, inability to listen when another fielder yells "I got it!"





International Non-Stars Hideo Nomo and Yasuhiko Yabuta have stunk up the Royals bullpen this season.

Attributes: Yabuta, making $6 million over this season and next, is sporting a 5.46 ERA and has doled out 17 walks compared to 20 strikeouts. Since being optioned to AAA, he hasn't done much better. Hideo Nomo is out of baseball, but just became the first man to give birth. He'll be on Oprah soon, so check your local listings.






Jimmy Gobble was one of KC's best relievers last season. That was until spring training, when he stepped on a cactus and got a huge thorn stuck underneath the toenail of his big toe. Ever since this incident, he has sucked. I'm not saying the two things are related. I'm just giving you the facts.

Attributes: 7.61 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 16 BB's vs. 20 K's, 4 Wild Pitches, Ugly-Ass Feet





Just like the real All-Star game, some deserving players have to be slighted. So, apologies to Brett Tomko, John Bale, and Mark "Thug Life" Teahen.



You guys did your best to make the squad, but it was just too competetive and there were more deserving candidates.

And there you have it. Your 2008 All-Non-Star Team.

In case some of those statistics and images weren't disturbing enough for you, remember that Tony Pena, Jr. is always watching you...




Go Non-Stars! You're The Best! 


June 29, 2008

The I-70 Series in Glorious 8-Bit Color Part 12: Die, Darkman, Die!!

Before we get started, here is another RBI Baseball rom I've made featuring teams from 1980, the first season the Royals went to the World Series. Enjoy!

So things didn't go so well last night, and as I write this post, the Cards have just scored their third run on a pop-up that Mike Aviles missed because he is wearing neon orange sunglasses instead of, you know, something he can see out of.

Sigh.

So today I'm going retro. Instead of the 2008 Royals vs. the 2008 Cards, we're playing the 1985 version.

Why?

Why the hell not?

Let's do it.

Kansas City will start Bret Saberhagen against the Cards' John Tudor.



George Brett and Hal McRae reach in the first inning, but neither Steve Balboni nor current Fox Sports KC Royals Post-game show host Frank White can bring them in.

In the bottom of the first, Ozzie Smith singles and then steals second. But Saberhagen stifles the threat by striking out Tom Herr and Jack Clark.

Darryl Motley doubles to lead off the second. Lonnie Smith brings him home with a double of his own, making it Royals 1, Cards 0.



Unfortunately, Jim Sundberg comes up next and lines out to Tudor, who throws to second for the easy double play.



In the bottom of the second, Saberhagen is hitting the corners and striking guys out left and right, getting Terry Pendleton, Curt Ford, and Tony "Nosotros Creemos" Pena, Sr. all swinging.



Both pitchers get through the third easily. This is beginning to look like a pitcher's duel.

In the fourth, Balboni leads off with a double. Then White flies out to left and Vince Coleman, pretending the ball is a firecracker, throws it to second to double off Balboni, ending the threat.



In the bottom half of the inning, Terry Pendleton doubles to left. When Curt Ford hits it to White at second base, he smartly guns down Pendleton trying to take third.



So maybe this isn't so much a pitcher's duel as an exhibition of really bad baserunning.

In any case, the Cards take out Tudor for no apparent reason, and Danny Cox comes in to pitch the fifth. Sundberg greets him with a single to left, but Saberhagen grounds into a very close double play. I thought the tie went to the runner, but I guess not in RBI Baseball.



Hal McRae leads off with a double in the sixth, and the Royals have their best chance to score since the first.




Balboni makes good with an RBI double to left, and the Royals are up 2-0.



White squanders a chance to extend the lead when he fouls out to Jack Clark at first.



At least Balboni didn't get doubled off again. Motley hits a weak fly to right to end the inning, and the score remains the same.

In the bottom of the sixth, Saberhagen has slowed down a bit, but he still has enough to get Jack Clark to strike out on three pitches.



Later, George Brett fields one down the line from Willie McGee and throws all the way across the diamond to just barely get him at first.



WEB GEM!

Lonnie Smith legs out a triple to lead off the seventh, and the Royals are in business again. Jim Sundberg does the job with a slow grounder to second that brings Smith in.



Royals 3, Cardinals 0.

In the bottom of the inning, Curt Ford doubles to center, and it's time to take Sabes out.



Danny Jackson comes in to face Pena, who grounds out but moves the runner over to third. The Cards have Andy van Slyke pinch hit for Cox who drills one to short where the fielder (I guess Hal McRae? Onix Concepcion is on the bench and everyone else in the lineup has their own positions) boots it. Ford comes in to score and the Cards are on the board.



The inning ends when Jackson drops a pop up from Ozzie Smith, but manages to throw van Slyke out at home.



With one out in the eighth, Brett doubles to center and Balboni follows that up with his second RBI double.



Jackson works a fairly uneventful eighth, getting Pendleton swinging to end the inning.



The Cards bring in Todd Worrell to start the ninth, and they have now officially used all of their pitchers. He gets the Royals 1-2-3, and now it's time to hand the ball over to Quisenberry to seal the victory.

He gives up a single, then gets Ford to pop up, and strikes out Worrell and Coleman to end the game.



BALLGAME.

And the Royals win in one of the most boring RBI Basball games I've ever played. Not even a home run by either team. What's worse is that the game didn't even glitch out once...

Oh well.



So if you're keeping track, that gives the Royals a sweep of this 8-bit series, with two wins by the '08 version and one by the '85 version.

And it looks like in real life, the Cards are gonna take 2 of 3.

Big picture though: KC won the season series no matter how today's game plays out.

And that certainly deserves a hearty,

Go Royals! You're The Best!

June 28, 2008

The I-70 Series in Glorious 8-Bit Color Part 5: A New Beginning

First of all, to show you I'm a man of my word, here is another RBI Baseball rom for you fanatics. It's a 1985 version made by me. I tried to figure out how to get Springsteen's "Glory Days" to play instead of the regular music, but couldn't get it figured out. Be thankful, because that probably would have been pretty annoying, anyway.

The Royals lived up to my simulation last night, destroying the Cardinals 7-2 and it wasn't even as close as the score.

The Cardinals announcers are fond of saying that this is like our World Series. They say that, because they like to flatter themselves. They like to think that St. Louis is the center of the universe, as opposed to just another city in fly-over country like the rest of us.

You know what would be "like our World Series"?

If we were in the World Series.

This doesn't really compare in any way.

This is just another series against a team we don't like very much.

It's really not that different than when the Yankees come to town.

In fact, for this Royals fan, playing the Cardinals is not my World Series. The Royals playing the Cardinals is like RBI Baseball. So there.

Here's Game Two:

Zack Greinke will start against Braden "Burning Flies" Looper.

BBLL gets the Royals 1-2-3 in the first, including a strike out of Alex Gordon.

Conversely, Skippy Schumaker gets an infield single to start the game for St. Louis.




Greinke gets Miles to line out, but Albert Pujols, the *ahem* starting Albert Pujols, drives the first pitch over the right-field seats to quickly make it 2-0, Cards.




In the second, the Royals go three up, three down again. Not good, KC. Not good.
But Greinke matches that in the bottom half of the inning.

In the third, John Buck leads off with a single to break up Looper's no-no. Gload then hits a double-play ball, but beats it out for the fielder-s choice. Greinke is up next and we all know how much he likes to hit. He drills one right at first baseman Chris Duncan who makes the catch. Instead of stepping on first for the easy double play, he inexplicaply launches the ball into center field, where it gets all the way to the wall.




Luckily for the Cards, Gload has to tag up and only makes it to second. DeJesus lines out to first on the next pitch. Since it is the third out, it doesn't really matter than Duncan throws this one into centerfield, too.

In the bottom half of the inning, things are going well until Pujols comes up.




Yep, a solo shot to center. Pujols 3, Royals 0.

With one out in the fourth, Alex Gordon hits one up the middle and ends up on third.




It looks like the Royals finally have a chance to score.




And they do, when Guillen hits a triple himself. Pujols 3, Royals 1.

Grudzielanek comes up next and has a veteran at-bat, grounding out to the right side of the field, bringing Guillen home.




In the bottom half, Cesar Izturis gets a single and promptly steals second. With two outs, Glaus pinch hits for Looper. This move makes no sense, espcially in the fourth inning. Especially with Looper doing a pretty damn good job so far and owning the lead over a team that scored fifteen runs the night before. But hey, I guess Looper probably didn't want to get a win. He's inelegible now.




Of course, it turns out to be the right move. Glaus jacks one out to left.

If it doesn't make sense in real baseball, it must be perfect strategy in RBI Baseball.

But let's hope going to the bullpen early bites the Cards in the ass.

Kyle Lohse comes out to pitch the fifth. And my theory about the bullpen gets shot to hell when he gets KC 1-2-3.

Things are looking bleak, Royals fans.

Pujols leads off the sixth for St. Louis, and I'm pretty sure we're going to see Albert hit his third homer of the game.




But I'm wrong, yet again. Are you sensing a theme? Greinke has slowed down considerably, and his 60 mph fastballs are finally working against the Cards. Again, RBI strategy does not equal MLB strategy. But I'll take it. He strikes out Pujols on three straight slow-pitch balls.

It's the sixth, and it's a little early for the rally caps, but I suggest those Royals fans that are reading fashion some sort of crude head covering from your underwear or a bird's nest or something. Our 8-bit Royals need all the help they can get.

And DeJesus delivers with a leadoff double! Mike Aviles comes up and takes the first pitch through the left side of the infield, scoring DeJesus. Schumaker gets the ball in left and throws towards third where no one is covering.




The ball goes to the backstop and when it's all said and done, Aviles is on third and the Royals are within two.

Alex Gordon follows that up with a triple, and the Royals are only down by one run now.




Of course, on the next pitch, Guillen lines out to Lohse, who doubles Gordon off third. Rally killer?

Nope, Grudzielanek triples. Then Mark Teahen hits one to the pitcher, who throws home. Grudzielanek heads back to third and makes it. Meanwhile, Teahen has taken off for second and he makes it, too. Runners on second and third with two outs. And John Buck at the plate.

He rips one over Ankiel's head in center, and suddenly it's a tie ballgame! The Royals would be up if their basrunning was better. Teahen was two feet from home before turning around and running back to third for no reason.




Ross Gload keeps it going with a roller down the left-field line, bringing in two more and giving the Royals a 7-5 lead.




Thanks for putting bird's nests on your heads, people. You can take them off now.

Greinke is up next and suddenly he's in line to be the winning pitcher. As much as he'd like to bat, now's as good a time as any to take him out. Miguel Olivo will pinch hit.

And he lines one! But right at Schumaker.

In any case, Royals 7, Cards 5.

Bannister comes in to pitch in the bottom of the inning. After getting one of the cathing Molinas and Ludwick, up comes Lohse, who just gave up five runs and the lead. They don't pinch hit here, and maybe the Glaus-for-Looper move has come back to bite them in the ass. Lohse strikes out on three pitches.

Not much happens in the seventh, except for this beautiful grab against the screen by one of the Catching Molina Boys.




WEB GEM!

In the bottom half, Bannister keeps painting the corners and gets the Cards 1-2-3.

It's the eighth, and the Cards bring in yesterday's losing pitcher, Todd Wellemeyer. On his first pitch, Guillen shoots a double into right. On his second pitch, Mark Grudzielanek hits a single. Runners at the corners.

On the third pitch, Mark Teahen lines out to Aaron Miles, who throws to Glaus at third who throws to Duncan at first for the 4-5-3 TRIPLE PLAY.




Yeah.

That was embarrassing.

Okay, onto the bottom of the eighth.

Bannister is still dealing.

Desperate times call for desperate measurs, and that means Jason LaRue pinch hitting for Ryan Ludwick.




He lines out to Aviles and we're onto the ninth. Isringhausen comes in and easily takes down the bottom third of the Royals order.

Bannister stays in for the ninth, hoping for the long save. He strikes out Isringhausen and Schumaker, then gives up a single to Miles to make it interesting. That brings up Pujols with a chance to tie it. He has two homers and two strikeouts, and it's anyone's guess which Pujols will be at the plate for this at bat.




And the Royals win Game Two! Out-homered three to none, and they still pulled it out. Just a great, come-from-behind victory for our 8-bit boys in blue.




So that's Royals 2, Cards 0 in this completely fake series brought to you by a Nintendo game from the mid-1980's.

Let's hope they get their seventh straight win tonight.

Go Royals! You're The Best! 


June 27, 2008

The I-70 Series in Glorious 8-Bit Color Part IV: The Quest For Peace


It's that time of year again. The I-70 Series. And what better way to honor it than to play a mock version of it on a video game that came out twenty-three years ago?

I've updated the game for 2008 with current rosters and it is available to download, if you'd like a copy of it. Remember, you need a good NES emulator to play the game.

So here we go!

The I-70 Series!

The Rockies start Jeff Francis and the Royals will go with Gil Meche.




I'm just kidding. Nobody cares about that I-70 Series.

We're talking Royals-Cards.

First some brief explanations.

1) The Royals may be the home team, but to play the computer on this game, you have to be the away team. The technology wasn't quite up to letting the human player be home field.

2) There is no DH. Again, technology.

3) Because of this, I'm going to be a jerk for this first game and not let the Cards start Albert Pujols. He's coming back from injury for real tonight, but will probably be the DH, so nuts to him. If he does start in the field, well, nuts to him anyway. I want to win the first one at least.

In Game One, the Royals will start Gil Meche vs. the Cardinals' Todd Wellemeyer.

Remember him? People in KC used to call him Smellemeyer? Well, he smells no more. He's been a pretty good pitcher since going to the National League, but as the Royals have proven this season, the National League is pretty terrible.

So let's get going!

Oh, how I'd missed that beautiful music.

Dun-dun-dun-dun-duh Dun-dun-dun-dun-duh Dun-duh!

David DeJesus leads off, swinging at two outside pitches like a damned fool. Wellemeyer comes inside on his third pitch and DeJesus dumps it into left field. When Schumaker throws to second, DeJesus decides to take third, just to be a jerk. Leadoff triple and this game is looking good already.



Next up is Mike Aviles. First pitch swinging and he takes a fastball over the lights in left field. Royals up 2-0 after four pitches by Wellemeyer.




Alex Gordon gets down 0-2 and then shoots one into the right field corner for a stand up double.

Then Jose Guillen's up and he hits a line drive just over the wall in left to put the Royals up 4-0.




Perhaps when I programmed Wellemeyer I was a little too vindictive about his success after leaving KC. Maybe I should scrap this version, make him a little better and start all over.

Eh, you know what?

I don't care.

With the way the Royals are playing right now, this isn't all that improbable. Fourth Place, baby!

Mark Grudzielanek comes up and hits a grounder past shortstop Cesar Izturis. Grudz tries to stretch a double into a triple and he's meat at third. First out.

Of course, Mark Teahen hits a triple just after, meaning that running error costs KC a run.




Wellemeyer finally figures out how to pitch (or perhaps forgets how to entirely) and Miguel Olivo swings at three straight pitches in the dirt. Grudz's blunder really does cost the team when Gload flies out to left. Inning over.

Skip Schumaker leads off the bottom of the first.

Wait... "Skip"?

Seriously?

Anyway, he grounds out to first where Gload takes it to the base unassisted. I'll be honest; I was fully prepared to see him throw it into the stands, but he managed to do the right thing.

Next, Aaron Miles hits a slow roller to Aviles and beats the throw for an infield hit.

Then, Ryan Ludwick hits a blooper to left. Miles was dragging ass to second and Guillen gets the assist.

Batting cleanup, Rick Ankiel! Yeeeeeeeeahhhhh, booooooyyyy!


And he goes down swinging to end the inning.

Meche leads off the second and somehow gets a dribbler between Miles and Chris Duncan on the right side for a single.

On the first pitch to DeJesus, Meche takes off for second and is in! Meche steals a base! And he isn't wearing the lame windbreaker like most pitchers!




Of course, he tries to take third on the next pitch and is out by a mile. Then, DeJesus hits a triple and Meche just cost himself a run.




Aviles up next and he drives one to left. It looks gone!

But it isn't. It's caught. And there's DeJesus standing on home plate. For some reason, nothing, not a thing in the world, can get him off of home. He won't run back to third. Or even back to the dugout. He just stands there while Schumaker throws it to third for the easy double play. Inning over.




Meche gets a 1-2-3 second. The inning ends with Cesar Izturis popping out to Meche. The second Meche catches the ball, Izturis disappears. Just vanishes off the face of the earth.




Gordon leads off the third with a homer just inside the right foul pole to put the Royals up 5-0.




After the next two hitters get out, Teahen comes up and bunts. Wellemeyer chases it all the way to the outfield, and Ryan Ludwick in right decides to run away from the ball and into the wall. When the ball eventually gets to Ludwick, Teahen has already scored on an inside-the-park home run.




That should make it on TWIB.

Meche gets another 1-2-3 in the third, striking out two, one of those being Wellemeyer, who La Russa inexplicaply lets bat, even with Pujols on the bench.

In the fourth, keeping the exhausted Wellemeyer in the game has paid off, as he strikes out both Gload and Meche with 51 mph fastballs. But DeJesus can handle the slow pitches, and he takes one down the left field line for a double. When Wellemeyer goes to an offspeed pitch (39 mph) to start off Aviles, DeJesus steals third easily.




On the next pitch, Aviles hits a double, making it 7-0 KC.

Wellemeyer gets even slower. Here he is with a 35 mph fastball to Gordon. Gordon lays off, but gets the timing down.




On the next pitch, he hammers it out of the stadium for a two-run homer. Royals 9, Wellemeyer 0.




In the bottom of the fourth, Meche is still bringing the heat with 82 mph fastballs. He strikes out Ankiel for the second time.




Then he gets into trouble. With a runner on, he walks Troy Glaus. The next batter pops up to short center and Aviles heads out to get it. Just before he does, everyone disappears. The players, the ball the field. It's all just green. Like the stadium has turned back into the cow pasture it used to be.





When everything comes back, Kyle Lohse is pitching for the Cards against Ross Gload, and I have no idea what the hell happened. I guess Aviles made the catch, because it is still 9-0 Royals.

Lohse is pitching faster, but not doing any better. Gload gets a double and then Meche (Gil Freaking Meche!) triples, making it 10-0 Royals. I'm starting to think the Royals should just get rid of the DH.

Next up is David DeJesus, who hits an inside-the-park home run when the outfielder throws to third instead of home. It wasn't even close.




Lohse gets himself together and strikes out Aviles and Gordon to end the inning.

Meche is getting tired. He walks Izturis and gives up a single to Lohse. Miles drives in a run on an infield single. I wonder if this small ball strategy is gonna work for the Cards. They are only down by eleven now.

Then, disaster strikes. Ludwick pops up to second, Grudz overruns it, and chaos ensues. A three-run inside-the-park job, and suddenly this isn't so funny anymore.




To make it worse, the Royals do nothing in the top of the sixth. It's time to take Meche out, and Bannister comes in to start the bottom half of the inning. He proceeds to strike out Glaus on a breaking ball in the dirt and get the next two men on ground outs.

Bannister comes up to bat to lead off the seventh and grounds out himself. DeJesus drives a pitch to the wall, but Schumaker makes a spectacular catch using only the back of his freaking head.




WEB GEM!

In the bottom of the inning, La Russa finally gets wise and has Pujols hit for Lohse.




He immediately doubles.

Luckily, the next two hitters are NOT Albert Pujols, and they both strike out.

Looper comes in and the Royals go down 1-2-3 in the eighth.

Bannister does Looper even better in the bottom half, getting the Cards 1-2-3 and striking out the side, throwing nothing but junk pitches.




That's five straight K's for Bannister.

In the ninth, Isringhausen comes in. He gets pinch hitter John Buck on a fly ball. But then Gload triples. Bannister is up next, but Gathright pinch hits instead. It looks bad when he hits it right to Schumaker. But this one hits him in the face. Apparently that doesn't catch balls as easily as the back of his head. Gload almost scores, but turns around and runs back to the third when it looks like the ball will be caught. Gathright ends up on second.

On the next pitch, DeJesus triples for the third time in the game, and the Royals get some insurance runs. KC 14, St. Louis 4.




Then Aviles grounds out and DeJesus scores to make it 15-4.

Soria comes in to close it out, but the first hitter reaches when Grudz bobbles a ground and then throws to third base for some reason.

After a strikeout, La Russa does the unthinkable. He brings in Jason La Rue to pinch hit! You gotta wonder if Tony has started his post game drinking binge a little early tonight.

But it works... Soria is so rattled by Jason Larue that he walks him.

It's up to Isringhausen to hit an eleven run homer and tie this game.

He doesn't do that, but he does he a blooper to right, loading the bases for Schumaker. Soria apparently doesn't know how to perform in a non-save situation. Time to go to Greinke.




Schumaker hits a sac fly to right to make it 15-5. And now the Royals are just one out from the win.

And he strikes out Miles to end the game!

Just look at these totals.




How many of those strikeouts were Rick Ankiel?

Game One of the 8-bit series goes to the Kan City Royals! Let's hope the real Royals can do it tonight.

I'll be back tomorrow with Game Two. I'll go ahead and make Pujols a regular, because this wasn't competitive at all.

And if you find this boring or stupid, well then the hell with you.

Come back tomorrow anyway because I'll have a 1985 version of the game with the Royals available to download, and on Sunday I'll have a 1980 version of the game available to download. Consider them a worthwhile bonus for putting up with these worthless posts.

Go Royals! You're The Best!

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