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Royals Rumblings - News for December 28, 2018

Only 361 shopping days left until Christmas!

Division Series - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Kansas City Royals - Game Three
I miss LoCain
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

We’re #1! We’re #1! Per Rian Watt of Fangraphs the Royals participated in “The Least Consequential Pitch of 2018”.

What I love about this pitch, and why I wanted to write about it today, is how much everyone involved seems to care about it. There is, of course, a good case to be made that it is the least consequential pitch of a season of tens of thousands of pitches. The pitch didn’t matter. The game didn’t matter. The season didn’t matter. And yet there was Adalberto Mondesi, sprinting down to first, trying just as hard as he could to make it to first base in time, and there was Joey Votto, stretching his legs out to beat him. The pitch didn’t matter, when you think about it. But when you don’t think too hard about it, it’s just another opportunity to do well however you can. And that’s something. Life, too, doesn’t really matter one little bit, when held up to even the slightest scrutiny. But of course, it still does.

Eat Arby’s!

One of the Royals stories getting some national buzz the last few days is the one about Brady Singer, his parents, and their Christmas present. If you subscribe to The Athletic, monies will be donated to the Royals Review Institute for the Advancement of Rally Zoo Animals and Run Prevention Flora (RRIARZARPF for short, of course).

As that’s the end of Royals stories for today, I’m just lumping the other MLB ones in here.

Sheryl Ring of Fangraphs notes there may already be “possible legal issue[s] with MLB’s Cuba Deal”.

Many outlets are doing the “2018 MLB year in review” type stories. This one is from Dayn Perry of CBS Sports. As is the case with so many of these lists, the Royals do not appear at all.

NBC Sports is doing an article for each of their “Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2018”. For instance, #15 is this one: “More position players pitched than ever before”.

Sam Miller has my favorite idea of these with “The year that ... : What we’d bet baseball in 2018 will be remembered for forever”. The story tries to take a long view of what might be remembered from 2018 MLB in 100 years.

What you know about 1918: the flu pandemic, the end of World War I, and the Boston Red Sox winning their final World Series of the century. The last one wouldn’t have seemed historic to the average human in 1918. It came to mean something only with distance and subsequent events/non-events. So it is with some humility that we embark on the quest to identify that one thing from the 2018 baseball season our great-great-grandchildren will know about.

The Best of Royals Review (TM) is on hiatus during this holiday week.

Remember that huge story that broke in October about the Chinese intelligence hacking hardware on a bunch of servers? The long and short was that Chinese intelligence snuck chips onto some motherboards that gave backdoors into secure systems. This was done to motherboards from Super Micro Computer Inc. and affected companies including Amazon and “ almost 30 companies, including a major bank, government contractors, and the world’s most valuable company, Apple Inc”.

That was back in October. SuperMicro’s stock, which was already having problems, cratered and has since recovered only a little. SuperMicro, Amazon, Apple, the Department of Homeland Security, and the NSA all issued fierce denials of the story within a couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, a third party firm concluded an audit of SuperMicro servers that both Apple and Amazon were sold and found no security issues and “the company was still reviewing its legal options”. Meanwhile, WaPo took another swipe at Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, has stood by their reporting. The initial story claimed to have 17 separate sources to corroborate the story that includes hardware hacking in the supply chain, details about how SuperMicro servers are used by companies from video streaming to military and intelligence, and clandestine meetings between the intelligence community and leaders of industry. The Bezos-owned Washington Post reported that Bloomberg is following up on the story making sure their reporters did their due diligence, likely because of the amount of push back on the story.

I have to say that I don’t quite know what to think except that it’s facinating: below is the best I can glean from the rest of the interwebs but I’m not reporter or an industry expert with inside information. Bloomberg Businessweek is nearly 100 years old and well respected in the industry. There’s no reason to think they would just pull this out of thin air to do a cheap hit job on a company. Most think that the denials from Apple, Amazon, et al, are fairly specific and could potentially open them up to shareholder legal challenges if they turn out to be false. However, there appears to be wiggle room in some of the government denials and that’s from a current government that doesn’t exactly have a cozy relationship with the truth to begin with.

Honestly, the best theories I can find are tinfoil-hat-sounding ones about US government officials feeding Bloomberg stories to address another unspecific concern. It’s also interesting to see the editorials in WaPo (listed above and also here) where it’s clear Amazon’s ownership is coloring what is printed. Security experts keep coming out saying that it’s unlikely the servers could be compromised in the way described. However: “the tricky thing about Bloomberg’s story is that nearly everyone agrees something like it could happen, it just didn’t happen the way the report suggests”

For our Song of the Day, let’s revisit the original Star Fox. This is maybe my favorite level (and one I can almost always get 100% on). It’s just non-stop shooting. Welcome to Venom Orbit (1-5): one more until the final level