In Season 20 of Internet League Blaseball, winning was restored to its rightful place of being desired. Teams at the bottom of the standings got to partake in their own Postseason fun of competing for the Underchampionship, and with the continuing presence of Axel Cardenas in the Rotation, the Mexico City Wild Wings were the hot preseason pick for the inaugural Underchampion. Powered by the worst non-loss record in the League (24-75), the Wings tore through the Wild Underbracket before falling to the San Francisco Lovers in the Underchampionship series. Will the Wings continue this run of futility into Season 22? Let’s examine the tape to find out.
I Want To Go Home
When last we left the Wild Wings, they had successfully brought Cell Barajas back from the Shadows to lead off the Rotation but were still having to contend with a weaker batting Lineup and approximately 33 Days of Axel Cardenas pitching without Underhanded. The season started promisingly by the standard set of expectations, which is to say there were no catastrophic outcomes. Five of the opening seven series were in the familiar and relatively safe confines of The Bucket, and the Wings exited that stretch with an 8-13 record; not great, but resembling a reasonable Blaseball team (in the way that a 6-year-old child’s drawings resemble actual people).
Following that, however, the Wings went on a whirlwind rodeo tour of the Wild League; an 11 series tour involving trips to Breckenridge, Miami, Hades, a weeklong stay in Chicago, Atlantis, The Hellmouth, Los Angeles, and back to The Hellmouth. The extended road-trip included two eight-game losing streaks, trips to Elsewhere for Brock Watson and Burke Gonzales (and, much less consequentially, Tai Beanbag), and the final sinking of any pretense of the Wings being traditionally competitive, with their records being 15-39 at the end of the ordeal.
Upon getting home, they promptly lost the next 12 games.
Up, Up, and Away
By the time the Latesiesta came about, it was clear that a push for the Underchampionship would be the only chance the Wild Wings had of taking home any accolades this season. The league was also looking towards the newly-installed Depth Chart with growing concern; it had become clear how close each team was to potentially having players become fodder for the Consumers. With that in mind, the Wild Wings installed Balloons in The Bucket to try and keep it dry, and Tunnels beneath it to increase drainage and only occasionally engage in crimes.
They received Gifts generously purchased by many, including the Steaks, Magic, and the mysterious Alaskan Immortals, allowing them to Underperform in the Lateseason, and Brock specifically to Underperform in the Postseason. They also made sure that they were immune to incinerations for the rest of the season; to this point, the weather had mercifully turned its face away from the Wild Wings, and the Wings did not want to ruin that streak. On Day 75, shortly after the commencement of the Lateseason and shortly after the Seattle Garages, the Wild Wings entered partytime, and they made sure they partied. The Wings had 14 separate Parties over the last 24 days of the season, and all players bar Trinity Smaht and Burke Gonzales received at least one boost.
The Tunnels underneath The Bucket, now Ratified in Non-Physical Law, also became a very busy place. 12 separate run-thefts were reported, with a full half of the thefts perpetrated by Silvia Rugrat. More audaciously, Axel Cardenas used the Tunnels to steal the cap right off of the head of an Elsewhere and Scattered Nandy Slumps in a move that was both described as incredibly cool and extraordinarily illegal.
The Wings confidently stumbled their way to a 24-75 record and 26 wins, securing the top seed in the Wild Underbracket by record and the League Underbracket by Divine Favour. The Division Series saw the Wings sweep the Wild Card Tokyo Lift with impressive game-losing performances from Axel and Silvia, the Championship Series saw the Atlantis Georgias defeated 4-1 due to Black Hole oddities before the Internet League Underchampionship Series was lost 3-1 to the San Francisco Lovers. Whilst one tries to hold off apportioning credit and blame in a team sport, it must be noted that the Wild Wings won the first game of the Lovers series 2-1 without scoring a home run; both Runs in the victory were a result of Axel Cardenas absconding through the Tunnels under The Bucket with the handiwork of the Lovers’ Lineup. That being said, the alternate reality where Axel commits no crimes would have resulted in Cell Barajas pitching the fifth game, and Cell demonstrated the most competence of the Wings pitchers during the Postseason, so it may not have changed the eventual result. Congratulations to the San Francisco Lovers on their Season 20 Underchampionship!
Home, Where My Love Lies Waiting
Heading towards Election season, the Wings fans coalesced around three options for their Wills. Priority one was bringing Summers Preston home from the Dale. Summers was an original Wing, and for a long time the star batter, and the past four seasons had been difficult without them. Meanwhile, in Miami Summers had just finished a stellar season, ending with a 0.310 batting average. Given their relative abilities, it was suggested that Trinity Smaht be offered up for the trade. The fans were growing restless with the continued lack of success, and a plan was drawn up to swap Axel Cardenas back to the shadows for Rafael Davids. Finally, the thought of turning a middling batter into a more consistent performer was deemed appealing, and another original wing, Yong Wright, was targeted to become a Magnifier.
Blessings wise, a push was made to win Backup or Down in an effort to make the fan-favorite Shadowed Wyatt Glover significantly lighter, Shot Caller was looked upon favorably, and the Wings decided to contribute funds towards Green Light for the good of the Wild High. With their traditionally goodwill discipline and horrid Blessing luck, hopes for the Election were running high.
Sadly, only portions of the plan came together. The fans of Wyatt Glover pushed hard enough that they were brought out of the Shadows, sending Scarlet Caster back. A small portion of dedicated fans took the opportunity to prune the Lineup by sending Nickname Yamashita to the Shadows. Wyatt Glover spent but a brief moment in the Lineup before being Attracted back home to the Magic (a period of time occasionally referred to as a Gwiffin in Mexico City, after the Shadows player Adkins Gwiffin who entered and then immediately left the Wings Lineup due to the Disappearing Acts Blessing in Season 9). Much to the surprise of everybody, the Wings won the Blessing Backup or Down, but as Wyatt Glover was no longer in the Shadows (or, for that matter, Mexico) it fell upon Rafael Davids. Evelton McBlase II Roamed across from the Lift, immediately becoming the worst Wings batter. But in a move that was just as good for morale as it was the Lineup, Trinity Smaht was traded to the Miami Dale for Summers Preston. Sitting behind fellow original Wings Yong Wright and Stephanie Winters, they should have plenty of opportunities to drive home runners and make a drastic difference to the offensive capabilities of the Wild Wings.
With Hope In Your Heart
There are only so many games that can be won when Axel Cardenas is conceding 8.6 runs every game. The offensive improvements, both through the addition of Summers and the subtraction of Scarlet Caster and Nickname Yamashita should provide much needed run support to the rest of the pitching staff, but the hole to dig out of is probably too deep. Will the Wings compete for the Underchampionship again this season? Probably. But there’s a good chance that they won’t be entering the Underbracket as the number 1 seed, and after two seasons of losing 75 or more games, it’s a hope the fans can hang their hat on.