By Luc “The Riff” Arpeggio
The Breckenridge Jazz Hands weren’t Internet League Blaseball’s worst team in Season 13 — that honor goes to the Ohio Worms, who set a Blaseball record for the fewest wins (14) in a season. They weren’t even the worst team in their own division.
A casual observer of the final regular season standings on Friday afternoon might assume the Jazz Hands, who finished with 43 wins, had an altogether mediocre season. They would be wrong.
The Jazz Hands were easily the unluckiest blallclub in Season 13. You name it, the team experienced it: missing players, incinerations, allergic reactions, blood drains, roster shuffles. Jazz Hands fans watched with increasing horror as beloved players on a once-solid roster were blindfolded, spun around, handed a bat and pushed into traffic.
Here’s a breakdown of one of the saddest seasons in ILB history:
The Great Elsewhere Tour of 2021
The Jazz Hands woes began in Game 13, when noted anticapitalist Elijah Valenzuela was swept away to Elsewhere during Flooding weather. Valenzuela was followed in quick succession by teammates Conrad Vaughan, Tamara Crankit, and Collins Melon, who decided to take their small but talented ensemble on a brief tour.
The team wouldn’t be reunited in full until Game 41. Eli remained Scattered for 30 more games, but for a brief time it seemed as if the worst of Season 13 was over. Hahahahahahah.
Breckenridge’s version of the Red Wedding began mostly innocuously, when pitcher Combs Estes swallowed a stray peanut in Game 43 and suffered an allergic reaction. The impact of that peanut wouldn’t be seen in full until Game 64, which kicked off what some Jazz Hands’ faithful have dubbed Blue Thursday.
During Game 64, a burst of Reverb shuffled the Jazz Hands’ roster like a small child flinging a box of puzzle pieces across a room. The event sent pitchers Lowe Forbes, Combs Estes and Campos Arias to the lineup while Conrad Vaughan, Kathy Mathews and Holden Stanton joined the rotation. The players who swapped spots were largely Not Good At The Other Thing.
Things somehow got worse a few games later, when Wyatt Pothos — the team’s ace pitcher, Queen, and general badass — suffered an allergic reaction to a stray peanut, derailing what had been a record-breaking season for her up until that point.
Thursday, somehow, was not over. During game 72, still-Scattered Elijah Valenzuela and Combs Estes had their blood drained by Knight Triumphant — leaving Estes, uh, a little out of sorts.
Because the Jazz Hands lineup needed more holes for some reason, Campos Arias was Swept Away on Day 82 and Stephens Lightner got the peanut treatment during game 84.
Sometime during all of that, the Jazz Hands were looped twice in the same game by the Wild Wings, losing two wins to Black Hole weather in the process. Fun!
Incineration of Combs Estes
At this point, Jazz Hands fans were firmly in #PARTYTIME mode. The team was able to put a small band-aid on a gaping wound with a few late season Parties, but the Blaseball Gods had one more surprise up their sleeves.
On Day 98, a rogue umpire incinerated Estes during the top of the 7th inning, bringing the Jazz Hands’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Season to a close on an especially miserable note.
Combs may not have known the top of the bat from the bottom, but they were a solid pitcher and an excellent dancer with a flair for the dramatic who made sure all their teammates were always impeccably dressed. RIV, Combs. We’ll miss you.
On the heels of one of the most chaotic seasons in ILB history, the Jazz Hands are now firmly in rebuilding mode. And despite a brief lateseason move to Denver, I believe they have what it takes to succeed.