Author: Jade Townsend
Going into Season 14, the San Francisco Lovers seemed as if they were finally rising in the rankings, patching up holes in their lineup and rotation alike. Ace batter Knight Triumphant returned from the Spies with teammate Fitzgerald Blackburn in tow.
The Lovers also Foreshadowed their main pitching weakness, Percival Wheeler, for King Roland in hopes of potentially giving Percy a bat in the near future. One could call this about as good of an Election the team could hope for. Despite this, with a still-flawed offense, the Lovers were not expected to do exceptionally well, being ranked 15th by BNN.
What neither BNN nor San Francisco knew, though, was that the Lovers would be in for a very, very turbulent season.
In the first days of Season 14, the Lovers made themselves known to the league, boasting a record equal to that of the eventual ILB Series runner-up Tacos. The Lovers seemed like the league’s new defensive powerhouse, giving up less runs than any other team over the course of the season.
On Day 12, wimdy’d Will transfer and new pitcher Fitzgerald Blackburn returned from Elsewhere, where they had been since late Season 13. Blackburn would eventually spend the remainder of the season in recovery from being Scattered, not losing the modification until 85 days later. On Day 15, two-star batter Theo King was swept Elsewhere and only five days after that, similarly unskilled Kichiro Guerra joined them. This series of events further optimized the Lovers’ batting and pitching alike, raising their performance to the point that they would, at times, surpass even the Tacos and hold the best record in the league. It seemed that the Lovers were on an easy path to a Postseason Birth and potentially, an Internet Series championship.
The path ahead of them, though, was rough, as the Lovers held the most difficult schedule in the league. They were forced to play nine back-to-back games against the eventual champions, the Canada Moist Talkers, and another nine-game series against their main Mild High competition, the Philly Pies. Despite this misfortune, the Lovers stayed aloft, proving that they could square off against the best.
-ides and -urbulence
This success would be cut short around 30 games later, after King and Guerra returned to play in a similar succession to how they had left. Shortly after these members of the weaker section of the Lovers lineup found their way back, the team proceeded to lose ten games straight— almost all of which they were favored to win. This dropped their record below several teams and threatened their chances of playoff contention.
Luckily, the Lovers adapted and stabilized, bringing themselves into a stalemate with the Pies as the two teams competed to avoid being seeded fourth in the playoffs. Going into the final series of the regular season, the Lovers faced the Mechanics with their chances of avoiding a Wild Card seeming likelier than ever. Despite their struggles throughout the season, the Lovers felt they had managed to power through to the playoffs.
Only two games before the end of the season, their ace batter and lead-off Knight Triumphant was swept Elsewhere. Having played Season 13 without Knight, the Lovers knew exactly what this meant: They had been rendered powerless. They would give up their last two games of the regular season to the Mechanics, and be forced to play against a Wild Card team.
The Deck was shuffled, and the Lovers were slotted to play the Baltimore Crabs, who, similarly to the Lovers, had next to no offensive prowess. This, combined with their Flinch curse, led them to underperform vastly, seeing their first regular season PARTYTIME in the team’s history. The Lovers were favored to beat the fallen champions and advance but without their star batter, the Lovers were unsure of their chances.
These suspicions would regrettably come to be a reality, as they were swept by the Crabs in a series in which the Lovers scored a total of one run across both games. Their season was over.
This was not the end of their misfortunes, though, as their turbulent season would end with tragedy. Despite the successes with their own Wills, the Lovers lost much of what brought their relative success that season. The Spies reclaimed Fitzgerald Blackburn, sending back overperforming yet lacking pitcher Karato Bean, and the Hades Tigers stole Gabriel Griffith, giving back a one-star NaN. Meanwhile, the Atlantis Georgias wimdy’d Knight Triumphant, and further wimdy’d the five-and-a-half-star hitter into the team’s Shadows.
Though the Lovers exceeded the expectations of many, it was not without many struggles and failures along the way. Though the team did not go all the way (and after their Election results, may not for the foreseeable future), their Season 14 performance shows us that the Lovers are not lost causes and that love wins, provided that it does not get ravaged by other teams’ Wills.