July 22, 2008

Hey Nineteen

The Royals managed to give up nineteen runs against the Tigers last night, with most of the horror coming from Jimmy Gobble, he of the 11.31 ERA.

It's ridiculous that he gets chance after chance after chance this season simply because he's left-handed.

A friend of mine suggested he should be killed. That seems much too harsh.

How about he drug him, dump him off in Sudan, and frame him for stealing?

No left hand? No problem.

Seriously, Jimmy Gobble's reign of terror must end.

When Tony Pena, Jr. of all people pitches a 1-2-3 ninth inning and strikes out Pudge Rodriguez, it proves that Jimmy Gobble shouldn't be a pitcher on any major league roster.

Of course, that doesn't mean that Pena should be either.

Some people *cough*joeposnanski*cough* are suggesting that Pena be converted. I don't think he should be. At least, not by the Royals.

Sure, he has suddenly blown us away by showing some potential, but it's at a position that would require extensive re-training. I think the fact that this is Tony Pena, Jr. is what is giving fans hard-ons. He's useless otherwise, so fans are excited about turning him into something useful. And I don't disagree that if you swap Gobble and him in the pen, that Pena couldn't manage an 11.31 ERA.

But really, if you want to make that sort of switch, it needs to happen in the minors, and Pena is out of options. I suppose they are probably going to leave him on the roster all season anyway, despite his .152 average, so maybe in the offseason they could give him a crash course in pitching at the major league level, and maybe have him do some more mop up this year, and maybe you've got a chance that he turns out to be a decent reliever in a year or two, and maybe all that hard work and unwillingness to release him was suddenly worth it, and maybe you've got one of the best stories in all of baseball when it's all said and done.

But that's a lot of maybes.

Here is a probably:

Probably, you can very easily sign an already-trained reliever to pitch better than Jimmy Gobble and a converted shortstop combined, and only for a couple million.

Hence, all of that work to convert the guy probably isn't worth it. Not for a reliever. What would be the point? If you're gonna take pity on a guy that sucks and give him every chance in the world, why didn't you try that with Angel Berroa or Scott Pose or any other bottom feeder? Why not train Jimmy Gobble to be a shortstop while we're at it?

It's a hair-brained scheme, something that shouldn't work in real life. So the guy has more raw talent in his arm than in his bat. So what? It sounds like he screwed up and picked the wrong position. It sounds like maybe Tony Pena, Sr. (a catcher of all things) would have been perfect in guiding his son in becoming a good pitcher. But I don't want the Royals to put the time and money and effort into such a change when it would be done out of sheer stubborness to make something out of him, when it would be done just to be a good story, when it would be done just to have another disposable relief pitcher.

If he wants to try that, he should do it on his own, or for another team.

But this is the Royals, and there isn't much reason otherwise to watch them or care about what is going on over the next couple of months, so despite my protests, I see this happening. Not because of the reasons I just mentioned, but because the Royals could sell it as a TV series.

That's right. Pena, Jr.'s switch won't be compelling enough on its own, but combined with several Tony's being converted, ABC might have something.

Watch Shortstop Tony Pena, Jr. become Relief Pitcher Tony Pena, Jr!

Watch Professional Skateboarder Tony Hawk become Professional Skeet Shooter Tony Hawk!

Watch sports journalist Tony Kornheiser become fashion journalist Tony Kornheiser!

Watch Tony Orlando become Dawn!

Watch Tony! Toni! Tone! become Tone! Toni! Tony!

And, of course...

Watch Tony Danza become employed!

I smell a hit.

It would be Pena's first one in quite a while.

Go Royals! You're The Best!

July 11, 2008

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

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



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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!

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