MLB The Show – World War K: Halfway There (June Recap)

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

Previous Episode: More Like Chief Blah-Hoo

In the far-flung future, June 30 will be remembered as one of the turning points of the Base Wars.  On June 29, 2081, US President Emma Jeter ordered an overnight attack on a server farm in silicon valley.  This battle was known as the Net Offensive, Brought to You by State Farm.  (Corporate sponsorships of major military actions had become the norm in the 2040s, starting with the Mountain Dew-mascus Assault in 2042, and by 2081 no one was even moderately shocked by the idea.)

The Net Offensive Brought to You by State Farm began with the firebombing of Paolo Alto, which was made exceedingly difficult by the fact that the pilots could not use computers for targeting or navigation.  Dozens of jets took to the air over central California, dropping tons of explosives on everything that looked remotely like a server farm.  By the June 30, they actually started to hit meaningful targets.  President Jeter spent the morning deep in her secure bunker, watching a live feed of the attacks.  Every time the headquarters of an early 2000s  tech startup went up in flames, she would pound her chest and mutter “yeah jeets”.  Despite the fact that the Net Offensive Brought to You by State Farm was ultimately successful, this fact would be brought up multiple times during her impeachment hearings the next year.

But in the innocent days before the Base Wars, June 30 was not known for a violent battle.  At best it was known as Chan Ho Park’s birthday.  Or the midway point of the baseball season.

Why didn't I come out of retirement for this season?

Why didn’t I come out of retirement for this season like Ray King and Kei Igawa?

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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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World War K Episode 2: And We Will Always Be Royals

 

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Episode 1: The History of The First Base War

 

It is said that nothing worth doing is ever easy, and this is doubly true of time travel.  The fabric of the past resists change, not unlike a stubborn mule or the American South.  To move a human-sized pitching machine from the war-torn hell of the year 2099 to the slightly less war-torn hell of 2014 is a process with many steps, and there are numerous things that could go wrong.  It is thought that the power-crazed Artificial Intelligence K.I.R.K.G.I.B.S.O.N. actually sent back an army of robot masters to destroy baseball, and only the six most hardy even survived the trip.

When the aged Mike Trout programmed the Strike-O-Matic to go back to 2014 to stop the robot masters, he gave it a simple enough mission.  The Strike-O-Matic was instructed to find Mike Trout in the past and join the Angels to defeat the nefarious plans of K.I.R.K.G.I.B.S.O.N.  Unfortunately,  Strike-O-Matic’s memory was stored on a Chinese knockoff “Zandisk” solid state hard drive, which Trout had purchased on eBay.  This flash memory was poorly insulated from the terrible magnetic effects of time travel, and by the time Strike-O-Matic arrived in the year 2014, everything it had been programmed to do was corrupted.

The Strike-O-Matic only had a vague idea that he had to join forces with the best player in baseball and outplay some other robots, but everything else was lost to the corruption.  Ever resourceful, Strike-O-Matic turned to the resource that it assumed was the most reliable–networked crowdsourcing.  Strike-O-Matic didn’t understand that in 2014, the internet was only quasi-regulated and that people still thought “trolling” was fun.  Also, its irony meter had been destroyed by the massive influx of irony created during time travel, so it took the first response it received as the gospel truth.

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World War K: The History of the First Base War (MLB: The Show)

As we venture into the new century, several generations have known nothing but the Base Wars.  Robot versus robot.  Robot versus man.  Man versus man.  It is not news.  It is not history.  It is merely life.  For the young people of the year 2099, it is nothing to go to the ballpark and see a robot with tank treads for a leg attempt to decapitate a floating robot with a laser sword.  The cyber-checkpoints are routine, and the e-police are just another fixture on the street corner, twirling their e-batons and compiling their e-donuts.

There was a time before this neon mecha-hellscape.  Once, you could walk down the street without seeing the roving gangs of hobodroids, shaking down the robourgeoisie for their laser-rubles.  It was a simpler time, before the airs was filled with the scream of holodrones and we lived under the constant threat of quantum terrorism.  How did we get here?  And how will this end?  The answer to both of those questions is one and the same.  Because of time travel.

This is the history of the First and Last Base War.

WWK

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