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Royals Rumblings - News for December 3, 2021

MLB Owners Lockout: Day 2

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Briefcase filed with money
More relevant to baseball right now than the sport

C’mon, Royals social media guy or gal, read the room. This was posted yesterday:

Minor league moves yesterday:

Much like Max did yesterday at RR, Lynn Worthy had a lockout primer at The Star:

As expected, Major League Baseball’s owners officially locked out the players effective at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday following the expiration of the most recent collective-bargaining agreement. That decision set in motion baseball’s first work stoppage in 26 years. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addressed a letter to baseball fans after the impasse became official.

Speaking of said letter, it was the main “story” on the MLB website yesterday. It’s not long but it’s a bit of a difficult read as, well,

That is why I am so disappointed about the situation in which our game finds itself today. Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.

I’m going to just let Joe handle this:

Who does he see as at fault, of course?

From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions... Regrettably, it appears the Players Association came to the bargaining table with a strategy of confrontation over compromise.

But, don’t worry, this lockout is about making negotiations happen sooner:

We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time... In fact, we are taking this step now because it accelerates the urgency for an agreement with as much runway as possible to avoid doing damage to the 2022 season... MLB is ready to work around the clock to meet that goal. I urge the Players Association to join us at the table.

With that sort of rhetoric, I’m sure they were hard at work Wednesday, up until the 11th hour trying to negotiate a settlement. Oh, wait, no? “They met again later in the day for seven minutes before MLB officials abruptly left the Four Seasons, telling the union that the negotiations are over.

The MLBPA also released a statement yesterday:

Also on the MLB website, all player images were removed, as were recent stories. MLB put up a story about this, too:

You may notice that the content on this site looks a little different than usual. The reason for this is because the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players and the league expired just before midnight on Dec. 1 and a new CBA is currently being negotiated between the owners and the MLBPA.

Until a new agreement is reached, there will be limitations on the type of content we display. As a result, you will see a lot more content that focuses on the game’s rich history. Once a new agreement is reached, the up-to-the minute news and analysis you have come to expect will continue as usual.

A number of players clowned this on Twitter, changing their profile pics to the blank player image.

At Inside the Crown, David Lesky tells us how the lockout will play out:

As of right now, I’d be very, very surprised if even spring training reporting is impacted by this. Here’s my prediction: You won’t hear much for the rest of the year. You’ll get restless. You’ll think that baseball is never coming back. Hopefully in Kansas City we’ll be comforted by another Chiefs Super Bowl run, but maybe not. And then they’ll start talking sporadically for a couple weeks into mid-January before meetings pick up and I’d bet on a deal by February 1. Three months is a long time for rosters on to look like this: {image of weird blank MLB faces - my words, not David’s}

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter goes through the Royals pre-lockout transactions:

Whether it’s Byron Buxton staying in Minnesota; Javy Baez going to Detroit; or the White Sox adding some bullpen help, it has felt like other teams over the past month have gotten better, while the Royals roster has pretty much stayed the same, with the exception of the Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez addition to the 40-man roster.

Royals blog roundup:

Just a random short Off-Topic section here. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ll be watching the original Matrix trilogy soon, in anticipation of the new entry (low expectations but I’ll give it a shot). Maybe it’ll be a documentary soon. Two AI stories floated to the top of social media this week that had me thinking “(chuckles) I’m in danger”.

First, there’s this: World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say.

The US scientists who created the first living robots say the life forms, known as xenobots, can now reproduce — and in a way not seen in plants and animals. Formed from the stem cells of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which it takes its name, xenobots are less than a millimeter (0.04 inches) wide. The tiny blobs were first unveiled in 2020 after experiments showed that they could move, work together in groups and self-heal.

That’s at least 5 super blazing red flags for anyone who has seen more than a handful of science fiction movies. From the frog DNA in Jurrasic Park that helped them lose control of breeding to the new way to breed to the self-healing.

While the prospect of self-replicating biotechnology could spark concern, the researchers said that the living machines were entirely contained in a lab and easily extinguished, as they are biodegradable and regulated by ethics experts.

I’m sure there’s no possible way they could escape and they were flawlessly programmed...

Meanwhile, we’re manufacturing the robots from I, Robot (movie not book). It takes place in 2035 so we’re right on schedule to make sentient robots that definitely won’t turn on us. By then, Will Smith will be in his 60s. Oh, and there probably won’t be a convenient plot device to save humanity where magic good robots can be injected into the evil robot with a giant needle.

These stories got me to re-read Tim Urban’s two-parter on AI from Wait But Why (which I’m almost certain I’ve posted here before). It’s long but if you make it to the middle of the second part, the Turry story has always stuck with me.

Since we don’t have any MLB news to talk about for a couple of weeks, how about we head across the Pacific to recap the CPBL, KBO, and NPB over the next three weeks?

We last checked in with the CPBL in September:

As for the CPBL, games were suspended [due to COVID] from May 18th through July 12. And, as of mid-August, games were back to 25% capacity. However, masking is required, food is not permitted, and musical instruments are not allowed.

Unfortunately, it’s gotten a bit more difficult to follow the CPBL as they’ve redone their website but taken down the English portion. Last year’s runner-up, the CTBC Brothers, won the first half title so they will be in the playoffs. The second half race is tight with the Uni-Lions holding a 1 game lead over our rooting interest, the Rakuten Monkeys. Regular season games are scheduled all the way into late November, so it looks like they’re trying to make up some of the games lost to the pandemic.

Rakuten players would finish with the batting crown (Chen Chun-Hsiu’s .352) and HR crown (my favorite player, Chu Yu-Hsien, at 22), they would fade down the stretch and finish the second half in last place. Speaking of home runs and Rakuten, Lin Chih-Sheng of the 1st half champion CTBC Brothers made history on November 21st against the Monkeys. With the Brothers down 3-0 in the 7th, the 39yo launched a grand slam. It was the 289th home run in his 18 season CPBL career and tied Chang Tai-Shan atop the CPBL career home run list.

The Uni-President Lions claimed the second half title to set up a rematch of last year’s Taiwan Series. In 2020, the Uni-Lions were down 3-1 to the Brothers but won the last three games of the series to claim the title. This year’s series just finished up Wednesday. The Brothers dominated the series, sweeping the Lions 4-0:

I picked up Neo TWEWY on Black Friday and I’ll eventually get around to it. Time to revisit that wonderful soundtrack. This is the sixth track I’ve featured here in six years (wait - that can’t be right) as I have a rule where I can only feature a game once a year. Previous tracks were Calling (2016), Hybrid (2017), Long Dream (2018), Someday (2019), and Twister (2020).