1. Fascinating 2-part series from Roto Authority. You know how, every spring, MLB players swear they've lost weight, gained muscle, or improved their body through some radical new workout system? These articles put those claims to the test.
Part I - Players who claim to have lost weight, gained muscle, or lost body fat percentage.
Part II: Vision improvement, new exercise routine, finally healthy, working on a new pitch, expected to run more
2. A horribly fascinating list of pro athletes who have illegitimate kids. Yikes.
3. Jonah Keri brings us this hilarious video of Pat Burrell showing off his condo. The video's old, apparently, but it's a hoot.
4. Royals Review's own devil_fingers makes his debut at Driveline Mechanics by awarding Gold Gloves...to designated hitters. He works in a Justin Huber reference, so you know it's good.
5. This wouldn't be a true Baseball and Other Things link post without a link to some of my own work offsite, so here are 7 little things I miss about baseball season.
6. Dick Kaegel is again unrealistically optimistic at Royals.com. The money quote is the very last paragraph, which I will post here in case you don't want to read the whole article:
Everyone seems ready to surge into '09 after a super September lifted the Royals into fourth place, ending a four-year stay in the American League Central cellar. If there's to be a new version of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, fans in Kansas City have a candidate in mind.
Sigh. Oh, Dick Kaegel. You honestly think that the '09 Royals and the '08 Rays are similar things? That's...cute, but horribly misguided. I'm amazed there are still so many baseball journalists - people whose job it is to know about baseball - who still refer to the Tampa Bay '08 season as "a total surprise" and things like that.
I'm no professional sportswriter, but I wasn't totally shocked by the Rays. You know why? I spent 20 bucks on a Baseball Prospectus book, and then read it. It's not that hard to be somewhat educated, and if mainstream writers continue to insist on staying in dark caves where only grit and RBIs matter, they are cheating their readers. It's not noble to hang on to antiquated sports ideals at the expense of actual expertise. Not when your entire job is to inform fans about a sport.
The Royals can not, and will not, have the kind of season that the Rays just did. The Rays spent years acquiring talent and building up a young core, and made a small number of moves last offseason that, in the words of the '08 Baseball Prospectus book, "[made] the Rays more of a real baseball team rather than a random assemblage of talented youngsters."
The Royals do not have an assemblage, random or not, of talented youngsters. They have a few elite pitchers, and a few sundry parts on offense who are either "solid," "unproven," or "horrible." Kansas City can't just make one trade, like the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza deal, that will allow everything to fall into place for a playoff run. The Mike Jacobs acquisition isn't going to boost this team from the depths of hell to a 97-win season. Ditto for Coco Crisp. And signing Kyle Farnsworth for such a huge salary might actually damn us all to more hellfire.
So no, Dick Kaegel, don't try to say that the Royals are a candidate to do what the Rays did last year. That's an uninformed, hacky, stupidly optimistic proposition that does no good for anyone. False hope isn't enough to float a fan base that's been this far from goodness for this long. Please...just stop. You're hurting me.
...Wow, that got a lot more bitter than I thought it would. One more link for you:
7. Keith has supplied us with the latest profile of a Royals prospect: 2008 third round draftee Tyler Sample.
K, I think that's all. Happy Tuesday!