Royals “Festivus”: El incidente de la resina de pino; Royals-Angels Brawl of ’98; Bauer regression in ’21?

So in my household, my dad was a big Seinfeld fan (I know, pretty white, I get it). And thus, as I was perusing my Twitter, I saw this, which made me realize what today, December 23rd, was in the Seinfeld universe:

For those who are unfamiliar with Seinfeld, “Festivus” is the insane, self-created holiday by George Costanza’s (Jason Alexander) father Frank (played by Jerry Stiller, who recently passed away in May). While the main emphasis of the episode was a strike at Kramer’s (played by Michael Richards) line of work (a bagel shop), the “Festivus” storyline has been the episode’s most lasting memory with fans of the show. Here is a clip outlining the complete story of “Festivus”:

One of the main events of “Festivus” is the “airing of grievances”, in which people share all the ways others in the room “disappointed them” over the past year. Because I’m not the kind of killjoy that Frank is, I am going to flip it, and instead share a few items out there that I felt were worth sharing with the Royals fan community. While it’s not as extensive as a “Royals Rumblings” on Royals Review, I wanted to share out some videos and articles on this “faux” holiday.

Photo Credit: Robert F. Rodriguez/The Journal News via AP

“El incidente de la resina de pino” by Carlos Parra Machado of “Notas de Baseball”

This whole video is in Spanish, so I know most Royals fans may not be able to access it. However, I am trying to learn more Spanish to help me professionally (I teach at a high school where most students and their families identify as Latinx) and it’s well-done videos like this that help me in that endeavor (in addition to Telenovelas on Netflix and Reggaeton). Machado is based out of Kansas City, and can be found on Twitter here. In addition to having a YouTube account, he is a Royals beat writer for “Con Las Bases Llenas“, a baseball blog for Spanish-speaking MLB fans.

In the video below, he talks about George Brett and the Pine Tar incident, as well as all the history leading up to it. As stated before, it’s all in Spanish, but if you do habla any Espanol, it is an informative and thorough piece that is worth checking out:

I have been in Kansas City now for seven-and-a-half years, and what always strikes me is how diverse Kansas City is becoming, especially when it comes to Latinx and Hispanic representation. With the game constantly seeing more and more Latino players each season, both at the Major and Minor League level, it is nice to see that representation as well here in Kansas City. Content creators like Machado show that there is growing diversity among Royals “nation” and that Royals fans are not just white, which is what you tend to see when one flips on a Royals baseball game (or any baseball game really) on television. Hopefully, Machado continues to get opportunities, as he is definitely a valuable asset to the Spanish-speaking baseball community here in Kansas City.

Photo Credit:

Royals-Angels “Brawls” of 1998

The 1998 season was pretty much a season to forget for Kansas City Royals fans. The Royals went 72-89, finishing third in the American League Central that season. However, that season did produce a crazy moment at Kauffman Stadium, as the Royals and Los Angeles (then Anaheim) Angels got into a massive brawl on June 3rd that resulted in 11 suspensions (nine players and both managers).

What made this brawl memorable was that TWO separate fights broke out. The first fight occurred after Royals pitcher plunked Angels hitter Phil Nevin, which resulted in Pittsley body-slamming the former first overall pick on the mound. Royals pitcher Scott Sevice then hit Darin Erstad in the top of the ninth, and Angels reliever Mike Holtz hit Royals second baseman Jose Offerman in the bottom of the ninth, which sparked the second fight of the evening.

Here are the brawls on tape:

A lot of great stuff in this video clip: those retro Angels uniforms; the body slam; the sparse, but loud Royals crowd; Royals Felix Martinez going straight crazy; and Angels Terry Collins getting some notoriety among Royals fans at Kauffman Stadium before becoming infamous after leaving Matt Harvey in the ninth in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

Lastly, in the AP report, this nugget from Nevin is classic “old guy” baseball talk, as he pretty much puts out a “hit” on the Royals’ Martinez in the press. How he didn’t get an additional suspension on this quote alone is mind-baffling:

Nevin said of Martinez, who has a history of fighting in the minor leagues, “If he ever comes back (to the majors), he’s a marked man.″

“Suspensions in Royals-Angels Brawl” by Associated Press

Wow, 90’s Royals baseball was something else, even if the team kind of sucked.

Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Bauer and his challenges for 2021, by Michael Ajeto of Pitcher List

The Royals are not in the hunt for Trevor Bauer at all. However, any time one mentions Bauer among Royals fans, this is the first thing that will come up, always:

Bauer is the most highly-sought after free agent this Winter, and Bauer, and his agent Rachel Luba, are milking it for all they got, as they are frequently teasing other teams and their fan bases on social media, especially Twitter. Personally, while I think Bauer is one of the game’s Top 10 pitchers (perhaps Top 5), I think any contract may be an “over pay”, especially after the precedent that Gerrit Cole set last off-season.

Michael Ajeto, who writes for Lookout Landing, the Mariners’ SB Nation blog, and Pitcher List, made a good case that Bauer would have trouble repeating his 2020 Cy Young performance in his most recent piece below for Pitcher List:

One aspect that Ajeto brought up was Bauer’s abnormal pop up rate, which would be difficult to repeat over a full 162-game season. Here is what Ajeto said about the difficulty of repeating that percentage again in 2021:

Bauer ranks the highest in pop-up percentage in baseball. It’s a skill that he’s always had — he ranks in the 66th percentile in pop-up percentage from 2018 to 2019 — but this is quite the jump for him, given he had the most pop-ups in the league. So, the question becomes this: is this sustainable? 

Bauer might not have this fastball next year. If he loses any spin, he’ll lose pop-ups with it. The other issue is that fastball pop-up percentage isn’t very sticky.

“Trevor Bauer Will Be Hard-Pressed To Repeat His 2020” by Michael Ajeto; Pitcher List

The narrative and data Ajeto presents paints is a complete picture of Bauer’s 2020 in Cincinnati that should give baseball fans a better perspective of what Bauer could provide a MLB team in 2021. It will be interesting to see how Bauer’s free agency process will play out, especially in an economy where teams seem to be less willing to shell out big bucks to players. That being said, he’s still a premiere pitching talent, even with the considerable risk he carries.

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