by: Crafted Robot
“But how else do you begin to describe how a team goes from being title contenders making their first-ever appearance in the Mild League Playoff Series (Semi-Finals) to being the worst team the season after?”
This was how I introduced my first and previous Core Mechanics recap and now it serves as a textbook example of dramatic irony. Of course, nobody could have seen this season coming. So without further ado, let me tell you the story of how the Core Mechanics went from the depths of the Core to the heights of the Championship.
Fax Evasion 101
Kelvin Andante… a name that will cause most of the League to ask, “Who?” Kelvin Andante was Foreshadowed into the Rotation to replace Jolene Willowtree in Season 17 in order to protect them from a potential swap. Kelvin is an average pitcher by most standards but overlooked in a team dripping with pitching talent. The plan was for Jolene to receive a small boost to their stats and to quickly return by Shadow Fax to pitch out the rest of the season.
At least, that was the plan because Kelvin Andante turned out to really like not being stuck in the shadowy underbelly of the Core. And made it their mission to not just simply avoid the Fax, but to make it as agonizingly close as possible.
Kelvin became the master of conceding 7, 8, 9 runs at home, just enough to crush the hopes of a Core victory occurring but also to make it just seem like they were this close to being Shadow Faxed. They took it one step further; they regularly conceded 10+ runs away from home in Stadiums in which Shadow Fax did not apply. When Kelvin finally allowed 10+ runs at home, Black Hole weather led to the discovery that the Shadow Fax will not register a Black Hole swallowing a win as exceeding 10 runs.
The Breath Mints were the ones to finally bring Kelvin down on Day 84, with an 11-6 game in Salmon weather to finally free Jolene Willowtree from the Shadows, just in time to compete during the playoffs that were now within the Core’s grasp, but Jolene returned to the Mechanics with an unfamiliar face in the Lineup.
Foxy Pebble was one of the Core’s early main batters, being brought into the Lineup for their natural batting ability. The Core was desperately attempting to fine-tune their pitching while performing emergency repairs on the batting Lineup not long after the Descension in Season 15. Foxy Pebble was that emergency solution, and they were exactly what the Core needed.
Foxy was also happy to support and help the team. They used their great plate discipline and good contact hitting to get on base as much as possible, making those rare big plays or home runs count that much more to a team that struggled to put Runs on the board.
Over the seasons, as the Core began to rust and parts were replaced, Foxy had slipped down from the team’s top batters as Gia Holbrook, Adelaide Judochop, and Bees Taswell became great, competent batters in their own right. But Foxy was still there, ready to do their best and help the Core as much as they could, having a plate discipline still unmatched by most of the team.
On Day 58 of Season 18, during a Feedback event with the San Francisco Lovers, Foxy Pebble would be replaced by Cannonball Sports, a star batter for the Lovers. Unfortunately, this was a downgrade for the Lovers and the Core became conflicted. While Cannonball Sports was undeniably a fantastic hitter— as they would prove throughout the rest of the season— we bid farewell to another original member of the Core that we had grown to love dearly.
See you soon Foxy, thanks for everything you did for us.
The Mechs had the best result they could realistically have hoped for going into the Playoffs, realizing that the Hawaii Fridays vs Mechanics was inevitable as the space between the 4th and 3rd seed grew. A battle ensued for the 2nd place seed. This was due to the Friday’s Home Field Advantage gift, giving a run for free to the Fridays’ every home game. The Core getting the 2nd place seed would mean a maximum of 2 Games at The Cookout— which is exactly what happened.
The Mechanics had also received an advantage of their own, thanks to the Bargain Bin gift. Bees Taswell had become Ambitious about our Playoff chances, leading to them Overperforming in the Postseason.
We went in with as many advantages as we could against the Fridays’ stellar batting, and the first game showed with Shirai still under the effects of Coffee 3, the first game ended in a close 3.4-5 win to the Core. We had won but if that had been at the Cookout and no Coffee 3s, the result could’ve gone the opposite way. To seal the series, we would need a win at the Cookout— but how?
Spears Taylor Bloodrained our star batter Gia Holbrook to add an Out shortly after the beginning of game 2, and the results were devastating.
For those unaware, the Core Mechanics, like every team with 3 Championship wins or above, have a team-specific Evolution Mod: Georgias overperform if they get negative Runs in a game, Worms get a buff if they are last in their division. With the Maintenance Mode Modification, If any of the Mechs’ players sustain damage during a game, they receive a 4th Out from the Umpires for the rest of the game, which Spears Taylor had just done to Gia Holbrook.
10-2 was the final score for game 2 in the Core’s favor, and a shutout in the 3rd game would send the Fridays out of the Playoffs in a clean sweep. We would find out a few hours later we were to face the Pies after the Crabs had held them to a final dramatic game, but an event in that game would drastically change the course of the playoffs for the Pies.
The pitcher going against Shirai McElroy of the Mechanics in the first game of the Mild Championship series was Nerd Pacheco, who had just had a Superallergic reaction due to a stray peanut in the Crabs vs Pies series, making them completely unfit to play, and the series ended in a one-sided victory for the Mechanics.
My deepest condolences and sympathies go out to the Pies. Seeing that happen to a beloved player is unimaginable, and on behalf of not just the Core, but the whole league, we wish you and Nerd the best.
Games 2 and 3 were close contests. While the Pies batting Lineup is extraordinary, so is the often underrated defense of the Mechanics. Marking a massive tonal shift from the high scoring games of the Pies vs Crabs, the Mechanics would go on to win 2-1 and 4-3 respectively to sweep the Pies out of Playoffs and proceed to their [UNAVALIABLE] finals, their first since descending in Season 12 to play another team new to the finals, the Boston Flowers.
The Flowers vs Mechs series would go down to the wire: losing the first game 6-4, before stealing the lead back in Games 2 and 3, winning 4-1 and 3-0, respectively. Finally, under the blistering heat of Sun 2, Chorby Short pitched an amazing game to end Game 4 in a 4-1 loss for the Mechanics. The final would go to a final game.
The Final Game
“Now lets go out there and show the Flowers; we’re not finished here just yet!” chants of “MECHS GOOD” and dedications to deceased Core members and those on other teams are read out “FOR HANDS SCOREBURG, FOR RUFFIAN APPLESAUCE.” The names continue to be read aloud as we share stories of how this team has become our home, and we wouldn’t change it for a thing.
Welcome to the Core, ten minutes before Game 5 to decide who will win the ILB Championship, and we’re nervous.
The number of hits has been approximately the same for both sides throughout the series, with the Core hitting more home runs, it will likely all come down to a low scoring pitching duel.
That’s exactly how it plays out. Mechanics go up 1 before the Flowers equalize. The Core begins to edge away with Mindy Kugel, who just last season batting for the first time, having nerves of steel to bat singles in separate innings to bring Christian Combs and Bees Taswell home.
Top of the 6th, we’re up 3-1, and we all know who our hopes come down to, Jolene Willowtree. They are pitching the game of their life, recreating what Chorby Short had just done to use in Game 4, the Flowers trying with all their might to get on base, but it doesn’t happen. Strikeout after strikeout happens as the Core nervously counts down how many Outs the Flowers have left 9, 8, 7 quickly becomes 3, 2, 1… 0.
I throw the Core Mechanics cap I’ve been clutching into the air as the Core Mechanics erupt, those of who were coherent enough managed to scream out a “YESSS” or “WE DID IT,” and the rest of us sound like we’ve had a little bit too much apple juice for a brief minute.
We felt on top of the world for hours, and while this season could have played out so drastically differently such as: What if Nerd Pacheco never sustained that awful Superallergic reaction? What if we hadn’t Feedbacked and received Cannonball Sports from the Lovers?
We can only deal in the present and the outcomes that the cold, calculating Blaseball Gods present us with and take it from there.
I do hope one day, though, that the teams we faced, the teams that supported us, and everyone in between, has their time on Blaseball’s grandest stage to make their own story and to carry that story with you long after the spotlight dims. Because I have to tell you, I’ll be carrying this one for a long time, of how something I never thought would be possible happened right before my eyes, because odds are odds for a reason. They leave room for miracles to happen.