Season 19 was chaotic for all of the ILB. Not since the heady days of Season 11 has the league standing done such a poor job of reflecting the talent and performance of the teams in the league. In a league where losing was king, the Mexico City Wild Wings sure did do a lot of it. Between a batting average that only just dragged itself over the Mendoza line and the “pitching” stylings of Axel Cardenas, the Wild Wings dragged themselves to a league-leading 22-77, the worst record since the Season 13 Ohio Worms (21-78) and the worst record of an original team since the Season 9 Hawai’i Fridays (also 21-78). The record was so bad, in fact, that it led them to a quarterfinals exit against the eventual champion Tokyo Lift. How could this happen to a storied, once championship team, you wonder? To answer that, we must take a quick gander at the past, way back to the distant, halcyon days of… Season 17.
The Wild Wings Don’t Get Nice Things
To understand just how the Wild Wings achieved this level of losing, it is necessary to examine Season 18, which requires a quick overview of the major events of Season 17 (this could continue ad infinitum to Season 1, but in the immortal words of the scholar Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”).
In Season 17 on Day 56, during a game against the Miami Dale, Summers Preston was Feedback swapped for Nagomi McDaniel. Not only was this a dreadful hit for team morale (Summers was an original Wing), but also a significant loss of offense. In Season 16, Summers scored 17% of the Wings’ runs while only taking up 10% of the plate appearances, and led the team in almost all batting statistics. Compounding this loss, on Day 94, the Wings suffered from a Reverb that saw star pitcher Burke Gonzales and rising star Cell Barajas switched into the Lineup and batters Josh Watson and Nagomi McDaniel sent to the mound (as a side note, this occurred during the Wings’ PARTYTIME at Worldwide Field. As a result of the Dale Psychoacoustics, they copied the Wings’ Party Time Modifier and ended up having the only Party of the game. This Party went to Summers Preston, because the Blaseball gods lack subtlety and like to add insult to injury).
Nagomi was vaulted at the end of the season and Wills were spent to start to unpick the damage, but the outlook for Season 18 was bleak.
Season 18 saw the Wings struggle. Josh was almost exactly as bad a pitcher as they were projected to be with a season ERA of 5.71, and the offense turned in their worst performance in team history, with a team-wide batting average of 0.175 (which, according to Ifh-Biff, was the second-worst team batting average on record, only a hair behind that season’s Firefighters), turning the hard-working pitcher’s 54 quality starts into just 35 Wins.
Promising rookie Aurora Blortles (recruited from the Worms’ shadows thanks to a Blaseball wide effort to help the Wings have something nice) was incinerated in Game 32, and their replacement, Scarlet Caster, was an archetypal Wild Wings player— which is the kind way of saying absolutely rubbish at batting (their batting average was 0.127, which feels like it should be impossible).
As the season rolled on, a cunning plan was hatched: with such a short Rotation, the team could tank a season, accumulate many games of PARTYTIME, and then quickly unpick the tank to be somewhat good again. All it would take is Foreshadowing one of the good pitchers (Rafael Davids) for a truly terrible Shadows player, such as original Wing and far-too-cool-for-Blaseball batter Axel Cardenas. Of course, Trust Falls was almost certain to pass to chaotic effect, but surely it wouldn’t just turn winning into losing and losing into winning, right?
Season 19 started exactly as it should have; Josh Watson pitched a not too disastrous, but entirely predictable, 4-1 loss to the Dale (Summers hit a two-run home run during the game, helping the Wings from the opposing dugout). Much to everyone’s horror and bemusement, this resulted in the Wings staying at the top of the leaderboard, and powered by a record-breaking losing streak to open the season (10 games), they never relinquished that spot. Axel was everything they were advertised to be and more (conceding 40 runs in their first three games on the way to an eye-watering season-long ERA of 13.20), the Wings offense followed the league-wide trend of increased batting to return to its historic norm of “bad, but not in a record-setting way” and everybody else’s offense, powered by Hype Trains, helped suppress even the notionally good pitching of Silvia Rugrat to the point where they only won a quarter of their games.
Interestingly enough, the Wings final record of 22-77 flattered them; on Day 16, Axel Cardenas fell afoul of the Salmon Cannons installed in Atlantis and spent 10 Days Elsewhere. Silvia pulled double duty in their absence and won the game against the Kansas City Breath Mints that Axel would have been scheduled to play.
Aside from the ineptitude on display on the field, the Earlseason also saw the resumption of the weather’s war on the Mexico City Wild Wings, as Wichita Toaster was incinerated on Day 15. Wichita was the Wings’ Postseason birth from Season 13 and was promptly brought into the Lineup at the expense of Axel Cardenas. They were never an outstanding batter, joining with the established Wings Lineup players that orbit the Mendoza line on a seasonal basis. In their stead, Nickname Yamashita joined the Wings and quickly showed themselves to be every bit the player that Wichita was (and, sadly, not one iota better).
There were no other notable weather events from the season, a fact assisted by the Wings being gifted both Soundproof and Fireproof during the Latesiesta. Soul Patches were also distributed, bringing Fran Beans, Yong Wright, and Silvia Rugrat’s Soul number each up to six and moving them further away from the threat of Redaction. Hoops were installed in The Bucket, and further coffee beans were sourced, increasing the chances of Coffee 3s weather occurring.
As the season progressed, the Wings were struck with the dawning realization that as league leaders they were not going to be eliminated from the Playoffs, and therefore were not going to receive any duration of PARTYTIME. This left the Wings unable to evaluate the quandary at the heart of tanking, which is would it result in enough Partying to meaningfully boost the team, and left the Wings hoping that they could catch a break in the finals, defeat teams that were clearly better than them, and perhaps back themselves into a championship by manifesting the traditional truism/threat of the Wild Wings: Anything Can Happen. Sadly, fortune and the fact that the Wings rotation was arranged in such a way that Axel pitched the first game prevented this from happening, and the Wings bowed out of the Postseason with a loss to the eventual champions, the Tokyo Lift three games to one.
It’s German for The Gods, The.
Welcome to the Season 19 Election, where nothing matters! The Wings carefully considered their potential plans in the usual manner (lengthy discussions on Discord and numerous voting polls) and decided to go hard on an effort to get Underhanded— because Axel Cardenas having Underhanded would be objectively hilarious, and if another pitcher got it it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Wills-wise, it was time to start unpicking the tank, getting Cell Barajas back into the Rotation (another quick aside, Cell pitching was a result of Season 12’s Best Offense Blessing, the last Blessing the Wings had received), Josh to the Shadows from where they could be moved back into the Lineup in seasons to come, and Shadow Infusing an incoming player, such as Cell, Raf, or the potentially promising Season 19 playoff birth Foxy Kane.
In terms of outcomes, once more the Wild Wings’ Will discipline came to the fore. The 8% likelihood of Cell’s Shadow Infuse was the lowest mark since Season 15, and fans saw Yong Wright receiving Alternate Trust (3%). Shadow Swap Cel and Josh got enacted with an almost 60% chance. Outside of the Wings’ Wills, an Equivalent Exchange from the Crabs saw Trinity Smaht traded for Fran Beans, a move unexpected by both teams (as Wings batters aren’t the most sought-after commodity) and likely to be a one-season arrangement.
Blessings-wise, business continued as usual, which is to say that Best Offense is still the most recent Blessing the Wild Wings have won. The Wild Wings are now the team that has been the longest without a Blessing— despite the tremendous organization shown, they couldn’t summon the raw firepower of the Tacos, who ended up winning Underhanded, or the Tigers, who had the highest share of the Votes. Also, a Decree happened, but to the idea of putting Votes in Decrees the Wild Wings say, “Not today.”
Same As It Ever Was
In summation, the Mexico City Wild Wings’ Season 19 was the story of clever planning being executed well to not the result wanted due to the caprice of Blaseball in general, which when phrased like that makes it very much like most seasons for most teams in this great splort. In a season where the league was turned upside down as the Coin and the Reader are at loggerheads, the Wings rose to the bottom only to falter when winning was once again required. They left the Season without the benefits of their tank and trudged off to inter the remains of Wichita Toaster with the rest of the fallen Wild Wings in the Miguel Wheeler Memorial Tyre Fire. Anything Can Happen, and it most certainly did.
What will Season 20 hold? Well if history is any indicator, no one knows. The presence of the Underbracket makes projecting the end of the season almost as perilous as it was for Season 19. It would be hard for the Wings to lose as many games as they did in Season 19; Cell Barajas as a direct improvement over Josh Watson should single-handedly see to that. That being said, a third of the games will be pitched by Axel Cardenas. The Wings should see a return to something that approaches their recent form; not good, but not historically bad, and will probably be in the Free Wills conversation again. If nothing too disastrous happens in the upcoming season, expect to see a more competitive Wings roster in Season 21.