MLB The Show – World War K: Trust The Plot Twist

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Start from the Beginning – Episode 1: The History of the First Base War

Previous Episode: All Stars and aWARs

As July came to a close, everything was going according to plan for the alt-2014 Royals.  Following the all-star break, the team went on a dramatic winning streak, pulling well ahead of the AL Central.  The core of the offense–Hosmer, Burrell, Holliday, and Gordon–were finally firing on all cylinders.  Meanwhile, Strike-O-Matic, Carlos Martinez, Kyle Zimmer, and Bartolo Colon routinely provided quality starts and saved the shaky bullpen from overexposure.  It was starting to look like the Royals wouldn’t have any problem cruising to the playoffs.

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It seemed as though Strike-O-Matic and Pat Burrell didn’t have much to worry about as the trade deadline approached.  But then one morning, shortly before a press conference to honor him for yet another MLB Rookie of the Week award, Strike-O-Matic injured himself by trying to iron his shirt while he was wearing it.  Of course, he was a machine, so this wasn’t really a problem.  He just needed to repair the damage to his artificial skin and reboot.  But in the process of restarting his internal computer, Strike-O-Matic regained all of the memories he had lost during the time travel process.

After all, Strike-O-Matic had been sent back from the post-apocalyptic future of 2099 to work with Mike Trout and the Angels to save baseball.  He had only recruited Pat Burrell and joined the Royals after a memory malfunction. No one assumed this was a problem, since it shouldn’t have mattered which team Strike-O-Matic helped to win, as long as it both changed history and stopped the robot masters.  But when Strike-O-Matic’s internal computer rebooted, he remembered a terrible truth.

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MLB The Show – World War K: The New Blood (May Recap)

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Start from the Beginning – Episode 1: The History of the First Base War

Previous Episode: Trade Winds Part Two

In the dark future of 2099, robots playing baseball is commonplace.  Pitches are thrown at 150 mph.  Bats are laced with carbon fibers to increase home run distance.  Laser weapons are mounted on arms to assist with breaking up double plays.  These machines are designed with a certain brand of the sport in mind–one that fragile human flesh and bone would be unable to withstand.  But it was more than that.  Robot baseball was efficient.  It was calculated.  It was stripped of random chance and uncertainty with the virtual minds of the players guided by calculations beyond the comprehension of the human mind.

When the rogue AI K.I.R.K.G.I.B.S.O.N. selected six robot masters to send back to 2014, it did not anticipate these differences.  It believed that the robot masters would be unstoppable. It failed to take into account…the human element.  The fielders behind the robot pitchers would not be perfect.  In fact, many of them would be quite terrible.  The pitches the robot hitters faced in 2014 would be slow and unpredictable.  And so, despite everything that had gone wrong with Mike Trout’s plan to save baseball, there was still hope.

As May came to an end, and faced with a mediocre start to the season, player/GM Pat Burrell made two dramatic moves to improve the Royals.  Struggling prospect John Lamb was shipped out for the most corpulent pitcher in basebal, Bartolo Colon.  And James Shields, whose ERA was beginning to affect the tides, was traded to the Cardinals for Matt Holliday and Carlos Martinez.  This was a risky deal, as one of the six robot masters was playing for the Cardinals.  There was a good chance Shields could put everything together again, but Burrell saw enough potential in Martinez that he didn’t believe St. Louis could end up winning the deal.

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MLB The Show – World War K: The Candyman Can

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Episode 1: The History of the First Base War

Episode 2: And We Will Always Be Royals

Episode 3: Verland Before Time

The first two weeks of the season for the Kansas City Royals passed with neither a bang nor a whimper.  The team was thoroughly mediocre, and after a 5-3 start, they dropped two games in a row to settle at 5-5 in their first two turns through the rotation.  None of this could be blamed on the starting pitching, however.  All five of the Royals’ starters–Strike-O-Matic, James Shields, Bruce Chen, Jason Vargas, and Kyle Zimmer–had been fantastic.  However, the lineup was struggling to produce runs.  Sal Perez, Colby Rasmus, Alex Gordon, and Mike Moustakas all had averages below .200 and their futility prevented the relative success of Nori Aoki, Eric Hosmer, Pat Burrell, and Omar Infante from bearing much fruit.

However, this was no time for the offense to be slumping.  Game 11 pitted the Kansas City Royals against their interdivisional opponent, the Minnesota Twins.  And perhaps more importantly, it pitted Strike-O-Matic against the first of the six robot masters, the deceptive hurler Stubby Candyman.

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In the year 2099, the robot Stubby Candyman was the ace pitcher for the St. Paul Conjoined Twins, aptly renamed after the great Minneapolis Nuclear Disaster of 2051.  Unlike most robot hurlers, Candyman did not rely upon pure power to overwhelm his opponents.  Instead, his arm cannon was equipped with a variety of darting and dancing breaking breaking pitches.  His knuckleball was considered the best in all of MLB, as he could eject the baseball without any spin but still control its general trajectory towards the plate.  His slider, which was the hardest pitch he threw, could start at the knees of a left handed batter and end up on the far side of the strike zone.  And his vulcan change?  Well, he was the only one who even knew what a vulcan change actually was.

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