Scenes from Spring Training: Welcome to 2013, Royals fans

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This was the rare spring training game that got more interesting as opposed to less interesting as it went on. And the reason for it was the very reason why I came here today: the Royals system is stocked.

But the system is still young, and for as good as Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and all of the rest of the bumper crop of talent is, they still have to wait until the waning innings of an early spring training game to get in on the action.

And get in they did.  In the bottom of the eighth, with the game tied 3-3, Lorenzo Cain doubled to left center. He was then singled in by Mike Moustakas.  Eric Hosmer followed and walked before the inning ended. The Royals went up 4-3, and that lead held as they went on to win the game by that score. The final two outs of the game came on a diving catch by Lorenzo Cain in right center, who then doubled a runner off second, kicking off Wilbert Harrison’s “Kansas City” on the loudspeakers. It was sweet.

It’s going to be a long year, Royals fans. The team is going to lose a lot of games. But there is hope. And it’s not going to be long before your boys are winning a lot of games.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.