by Tyler (Inferno390)
Just over a month ago, I discussed the struggles of being a Flower trying to break through the snow and find Spring again over the last handful of seasons. In what could mainly be attributed to a long-term pitching problem, Boston’s fans have been watching with a mixture of disappointment and expectation for several seasons now, waiting for the Flowers to kick their team into a blooming frenzy.
In true Blaseball fashion, that came right in time for the Boston Flowers to shatter every expectation and make it all the way to the finals of Postseason 18 and force a thrilling five-game series against the Core Mechanics. Even though the Flowers did not win the Championship, they were crowned Wild League Champions. Because of this, I think it’s only fair that I do the team justice and talk about what got them to that point after having such disappointing seasons before.
A Stagnant Leauge
As previously discussed, there was plenty of indication that the Flowers were viable for Postseason contention based on comparable stats between them and other teams that were making it into these playoffs. Similar or better stats were being put up by the Flowers compared to teams such as the Los Angeles Unlimited Tacos, Chicago Firefighters, and Dallas Steaks in Season 16.
What came together in Season 18 was three important variables that helped the Flowers to overcome that hump and also relieve the pitching problem that was one of the main culprits. This first point of change that allowed the Flowers to rise was the relative average playing field that teams across the league dealt with for most of the season. Barring the Philly Pies, who played absurdly well and finished the season winning about 75% of their games, the entire league was playing at about the same level, with most teams putting up records in the 30’s range for Wins and developing into 40’s right as the Lateseason hit. This is the best environment for plants that want to grow. Thanks to the Flower’s growth Modifier, they played better and better as the season went on, allowing them to keep pace with a league that just wasn’t doing as well as normal, putting them in position to leap ahead in the Lateseason with a proper nudge.
This nudge came in the form of the brand new Gift Shops that had been installed across the league during the season, allowing players to donate to other teams’ wishlists while controlling what their favorite team would receive. There were quite a few options available to the league, and the Flowers ended up with Late to the Party, a seasonal Modifier that would allow them to Overperform in the Lateseason. This team-wide 20% percent boost, topping a near 5% boost from Growth, allowed the Flowers to rocket ahead width a massive win streak that set them on top of the Wild League for the rest of the season. Though the Flowers were not the only team to get this gift— 7 other teams got their hands on a Late Party— but this extra Overperformance was part of a larger puzzle that nudged the Flowers into a winning position.
A Froggy Pitcher
The other missing piece that the Flower had been needing for so long was the renewal of their pitching Rotation to take the team all the way. That came in an unexpected wimdy with the New York Millenials. Chorby Short and Castillo Turner swapped teams thanks to an Equivalent Exchange at the end of Season 17, and Short responded smashingly to the bright green environment, leading the pitchers in a glorious charge to keep pace (and eventually surpass) the rest of the league, all season long. Short pitched 25 games and won 18 of them, a 0.72 win-loss record that hadn’t been matched since Season 15. What made it even better is that the rest of the Rotation followed suit.
Cory Twelve, an old teammate of Short’s and exhilarated to be sharing a mound with them, pitched an identical 18-7 record in the best season Twelve had since Season 13. Brock Forbes pitched 24 games and ended up winning 16 of them, and Gloria Bugsnax also pitched 25 and won 15. The average Earned Run Average for the four lined up at a 2.53— the lowest it’s ever been for the team.
This complete turnaround in pitching fortune contributed heavily to the season, filling the last place in the Flower’s offense that had been floundering in a few seasons. It was a combination of this, the Lateseason power boost, and the mediocre season the rest of the league had that led to the Flowers pushing their way into the Postseason like a dandelion pushes through cracked concrete.
However, this incredible turn of events seems to not have lasted, for better or for worse. The pitching Rotation is doing much worse in Season 19 thanks to the changes rolled out by the league; not a single player in the Rotation has pitched over a 50% win record and the ERA of the Rotation is twice what it was last season. Ironically enough, this is exactly what the Flowers needed to make it to the Postseason again in the topsy turvy madness brought about by the Turntables Decree, having clinched their way in with the third best Unrecord in the Wild league.
The problem lies, however, in the long-term viability of this poor play; most of the league assumes that the Turntables Decree, in one way or another, won’t last forever, and that will put the Flowers in a poor position moving forward. The team is still plagued by the nasty pitching problem it’s had for a while, and while that is a good thing now, long term, it might make the team wither instead of bloom.