I fully expect the Royals to get totally Yosted tonight. They had such a strong run up until a few days ago that they haven't played an elimination game since that one-game play-in, which, as you may recall, Ned Yost did basically everything in his power to lose. I think he'll do the same tonight; I think this is basically it for them. That means this is just about the last time you may have to put up with an Indians fan musing about rooting for the Royals. I'm not sure what makes that so irksome, but let's just agree that it is rather than belabor the point.
I am not rooting for the Royals. I had a moment of appreciating the idea of a speed-and-defense playoff warrior, but it didn't last. Their methods of winning are, after all, not all that different from the Twins, and we all hate the Twins' BS, right? Here's the thing, though: I have been kind of rooting for "RoyalsReview," or rather, a writer who until mid-2012 was long known by that byline. The blog RoyalsReview was run solely by this guy, and that was his byline. His real name was (and still is) Will McDonald, and his articles are now archived under the pen name "Freneau." But he was just plain R.R. for a long time.
Unsurprisingly, I identify with R.R. His long and inspiring tenure as a blogger coincided with my long collaboration with Ryan here, but R.R.'s tenure was different. For one thing, he was a one-man show, and he was brilliant. He combined Ryan's relentless comprehension, my technocratic rumination, Andrew's touch of the absurd and even YoDaddyWags' jarring literacy. He was an original. The other thing was that the Royals were ungodly awful over his tenure. We covered both big triumphs and agonizing disappointments, but R.R. was basically covering the Indians of the 1980s. And he did it in a pretty amazing way that has influenced dozens of other writers.
As the Indians improbably made a dramatic stab a playoff spot in 2013, at one point I did find myself wondering, did I manage to time all this exactly wrong? What if this is the year, and I've basically removed myself from the hoopla? Had the Indians won it all in 2007 or 2009, I would have been right in my element, a recognized expert. I would have savored every second of it, as a fan and as someone taking a stab at establishing an identity in the baseball-writing firmament. How unfair would it be if the Indians waited until I'd gone away to do something special?
So I have found myself wondering about old R.R. this offseason. Chris Antonetti once explained to me that once your'e working within the industry, you form friendships that span the entire league, and you find yourself rooting for your friends to enjoy success rather than thinking about teams (other than the one that employs you). I feel a version of that for R.R. He was in the top rank of that first pioneering generation of baseball bloggers, which spanned SBN, Baseball Prospectus and a handful of other sites. He's stepped away now, more or less out of sight and out of mind, gone off to live his "real life." I am not rooting for the Royals, but I do sincerely hope that R.R. is taking a full measure of satisfaction from his old Royals this October. He's one fan who deserves it.
Game 55 Open Thread - Indians (24-29) at Royals (21-33) - Royals Review — Cliff Lee and Gil Meche debate literature (May 2008).
Gil Meche Calls Cliff Lee After His Game One Victory - Royals Review — the classic sequel (October 2010).
One for Wil(l)neau, or #willmcdonaldthebest | NotGraphs Baseball — Matt Klaassen summarizes R.R.'s unique and surprisingly diverse contributions to the form, in case you're wondering why I think this guy was a big deal.
Royals' Ned Yost: 'We're going to go to Game 7' — OK, I guess that's settled.
Can't blame Ned Yost for this one | FOX Sports — Sadly, Rob Neyer is right about this, although just because Yost didn't lose this one doesn't mean he didn't try.
It’s OK, Kansas City, you won’t see Madison Bumgarner again. Probably. | HardballTalk — I'm not so sure about this. I can't think why they wouldn't use him in Game 7 if needed. Hell, I'm not sure it would be totallly crazy to start him in Game 7. Why not throw him out there for a few innings to start the game, just to rattle the Royals?
Around the Game
It looks either Paul Molitor or Torey Lovullo will be the Twins’ new manager | HardballTalk — Lovullo spent 2001-2009 as a rather successful minor league coach and manager for the Indians, including three seasons in Buffalo as manager, in addition to three seasons in Buffalo as a player. The Indians may achieve a certain manager-bridesmaid hat trick, with Lovullo, Kevin Cash and Sandy Alomar all finishing second for three different manager spots.
Roc Nation ties have Red Sox looking to deal Yoenis Cespedes - NY Daily News — Everybody hates Yoenis. Can't say I'm entirely surprised.
About the Indians
Inbox: Will Carrasco maintain momentum? | indians.com — Bastian deals with pitching and options, pretty deftly.
Would you trade Jason Kipnis and David Murphy? Hey, Hoynsie! | cleveland.com — Hoynes deals with these issues ... not as deftly. And yes, I'm feeling an itch. Like you had to ask.
Fall Stars Game filled to brim with talent | indians.com — Two Indians prospects make the AFL All-Star Game. OMG. SO. EXCITING.
Kluber lubrication solutions — I think we need to talk about this.