The Sunday Ramble
Spring training is just around the corner, full powder blues make their triumphant return, Twitter is killing bots—and fun, the Orioles have stadium issues & how to win your fantasy baseball league.
Welcome to another edition of The Ramble, a collection of notes—some Royals related, some general baseball thoughts and maybe one or two other items that you may enjoy—to help bring your weekend to a close.
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The Royals held their scaled-down FanFest on Saturday with the Royals Rally at Kauffman Stadium.
There was a little news to come out of the gathering.
I wrote about this last week on my first roster projection of 2023. Dozier is going to get every opportunity to make third base his. Personally, I think it’s a poor baseball decision, but in this market, when you’ve boxed yourself in the corner with a bad contract, this is the result.
There was also this:
We are still waiting on the outcome of Brady Singer’s arbitration case, and while it’s always fun to speculate that the two parties are talking long-term contract, I think the key phrase here is “started exploring.” All three players JJ Picollo noted are intriguing candidate. All three have had limited success in the majors. Singer had his breakout last year after a couple of underwhelming seasons. Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino were both rookies last year. All that to say I don’t think we’ll see anything this spring about contract extensions. The Royals will want to make sure they’re the right guys, which means they need to see more positive results in the regular season. Will that drive up the cost? Absolutely. But if you refer back to the Dozier contract, they want to make the right decision.
Anne Rogers has the quotes from the Zack Greinke presser on Friday. This is one that really jumped off the browser.
"That was probably the most fun I’ve had in a while, even though we didn’t win a lot of games ... " Greinke said. "The players were fun to be around, the young guys. They’re just happy to be playing, trying their hardest, trying really hard to get better. When we did go on a couple of win streaks, you could tell how much fun it’s going to be if the team ends up doing good this year. It’s going to be even better, because there are good personalities on the team."
As we all know, Greinke is brutally honest. So I don’t read this as some lip service kind of comment. The dude wants to be in Kansas City and he wants to play for this club. He likes this clubhouse.
This quote is better than the usual “we want to compete” quotes we normally get this time of year. There aren’t any guarantees of course, but if Zack is happy with the direction of this team, I’m happy with the direction of this team.
I wrote about Greinke’s return:
As I make my full transformation to Uniform Guy, I enjoyed the news on Friday…
Honestly, I’ve always been lukewarm toward the powder blues. I think it’s because it’s always been a half-assed effort. Powder blue tops and white pants offend my Uniform Guy sensibilities. If you’re going to embrace a certain style, embrace it all the way.
So this is good, very much welcome and long overdue. I’ve gone from lukewarm to chafing-dish hot.
Apparently, NHL ratings on ESPN and TNT are down around 22 percent from last year. That seems like…a lot. At Defector, Ray Ratto says that’s not our problem.
Even the fears that the regional sports networks are dying and potentially costing your local team rights fees aren't your issue. It's their issue, and if the regionals die off, the teams will come up with some other way to crowbar your wallet out of your hands. They're better at that than making the playoffs.
It’s obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated: The Royals—or any other baseball team partnered with Diamond Sports or Bally Sports—aren’t going to disappear from the airwaves (or the cable or the stream) just because a few dudes with deep pockets purposefully overleveraged their purchase of said regional sports network. If there is a demand, team owners and league officials will ensure you can watch. It may cost a little more (I doubt it would actually cost less) but the games are going to be available.
While it may not be my issue, I do want to know where I have to tune in to watch the games. And how much it’s going to cost. Ratto notes that it’s a constant dance between rights-holder and consumer in regard to how much to charge for the privilege of viewing. I suppose, but one thing I do know from last summer’s experience is that if you make it difficult to use or locate the service, potential viewers will simply give up and find something else to watch.
Do you have Twitter open when you watch a ballgame? It looks like your experience will be a bit different this summer.
Bots like Would It Dong and Umpire Scorecards aren’t going to pay this kind of money to keep posting. Why should they? What’s in it for them? What they do is a public service of sorts. The information they provide is informative and fun.
Neil Freeman, who runs @everylotnyc, a bot that tweets photos of each lot on Google Street View from tax records, shares a similar sentiment. "Any amount of money would be too much to pay to post on a site that doesn’t even ban Nazis," he told BuzzFeed news.
In stadium news, the Baltimore Orioles refused this week to trigger a five-year extension on their current lease at Camden Yards. Their current lease runs through the end of 2023. The team and Maryland Stadium Authority could hammer out a short-term agreement beyond the end of this season. But the team is looking for a deal that would…wait for it…”include upgrades to the ballpark and potential development projects in the surrounding area.”
Ahhh, yes. Development projects. Sounds so familiar.
Apparently, the MSA can borrow up to $600 million for upgrades and projects for the Orioles (with an equal amount going to the NLF’s Ravens), but they need to have a longer-term lease in place. The club is looking for a 10 to 15-year lease agreement.
Of course, Camden Yards is the park that kicked off this current round of stadium construction that is now lasted for more than 30 years. It remains one of the jewels of the game. While the Orioles are considered an up and coming franchise on the field, off of it, they’re a hot mess.
My favorite part of the clip above was Angelos promising to open the club’s financial books. And that he would meet with the media. Guess what?
I know…You’re shocked at this.
As you may (or may not) know, I’ve worked on the Baseball Prospectus Annual off and on for the last couple of years. Go ahead and accuse me of bias, but I just don’t think you can beat their fantasy coverage in the months leading up to the season. Their Fantasy Positional Series is outstanding—and comprehensive—work.
So far, they’ve covered catchers and first and second base. Each week they’re bringing around 16 articles devoted exclusively to that position.
If you’re the type who is serious about winning your fantasy baseball league you would want to get in on this.