The Last Dance: Short Circuit 3 Downtempo Recap
Organized by: Finn
The Georgias Hubris Cycle reached cataclysmic heights this season as we went from a record-breaking 113 wins and a nice 69% win rate in the main season to being viciously swept out of the postseason in our first round. So what went wrong?
The Georgias were abuzz right from the start as we were projected to be the strongest team this season, due to a very solid pitching rotation and a great defence to back it up. However our offence was comparatively mediocre, despite a few star players in the form of fan-favourite 80s horror protagonist Penelope Video, deep-sea rave DJ Hyena Dropper, and Gianna Schenn who became our best hitter thanks to an incredible Yummy reaction only to be stranded at the end of our Lineup by a Reverb.
By the end of the main season we had given up fewer runs than any other team, but were only tenth in total runs scored. This reliance on defence gave us a lot of close games, and while the length of the main season ensured it averaged out in our favour, for the postseason it left us easily at risk of being eliminated by a few bad games.
And what a few bad games they were. With the rise in overall league offence from the midseason Elections, combined with the Georgias failing to secure any Squid Gifts or Blood Jams and choking in both of our Prize Matches, it was probably inevitable that our initial advantage would wear off. Things went even more disastrously in the second game against the Shoe Thieves when a massive blizzard froze the weaker half of the Shoe Thieves’ Lineup, leaving us facing an absolutely deadly array of batters, including former Georgia Babka McCoy, who was Feedbacked for Lorcan Griffey earlier in the season.
-Jangalian (Jangalian#7646 on Discord)
Charleston Shoe Thieves
This Circuit we’re highlighting (but not Charging) Zora Kramer, a garbage pitcher whose fighting spirit inspired us all.
Our playoff series versus the Wild Wings showed the depth of Zora’s grit. They pitched first, eager to give us a win, and immediately gave up a 2-run homer. We lost that game 19–6, and Zora squatted on the mound, disappointed. They tried, but the rest of the Rotation would have to carry us.
But in the third game, a winter storm Froze two subsequent pitchers, and Zora was called back from the bullpen! A second chance. Zora took a breath, concentrated. A hardened gaze through the snowstorm.
The Wings scored 7 runs that inning. Final score: 25–3. Zora was in anguish. Had they not tried hard enough? They looked inward as we looked to the next game and to Hartley Pebble, who had already given us a win this series.
But wait— who’s that walking to the mound? It’s Zora! They begged for one last chance to give their team a win, and who could say no to that hunger, that drive? So, in defiance of all reason, bottom-of-the-league Zora Kramer took the mound for the third time in a five-game series.
Each pitch was a herculean effort. Visibly straining, Zora held the Wings to one run for an unthinkable six innings. We watched in disbelief as they tore themselves apart to keep us in this series. By the seventh inning, they were spent, but never stopped fighting. The Wings won, but only by two runs.
Zora’s heart was broken, but ours were full of pride. They left it all on the mound, and what more could you ask of a player? We didn’t charge Zora Kramer, but don’t let that fool you. Zora will be with us forever, in heart and sole.
-Jeremy T (APieceOfWorkAmI#8349)
Well, if nothing else, the Chicago Firefighters had another interesting Circuit.
Let’s start from the beginning: when the teams were first revealed, we appeared to have a pretty standard Firefighters team. Average at best with some half decent batters, bad pitching, okay defense, and far more peanut allergies than not. It seemed as though we would be headed for the Fiesta, if we were lucky.
That did not happen.
Less than 40 games into the season, the Firefighters experienced a Night Shift for the thirdCircuit in a row, bringing out Owen Turbo, who would end up being the best pitcher in the League (and despite Feedbacking to the Spies, would only lose two games the entire season), inevitably helping the team narrowly miss the Fiesta.
That’s not where the weather stopped, though. The team had three Feedbacks over the course of the season: a shockingly mutually beneficial early one with the Crabs, the aforementioned Turbo feedback for Cher Kumar of the Spies (which took a day to go through because of “features”), and a late season batter swap with the Garages. With the Firefighters only having two non-Allergic players, it was no surprise when fan favourite Tube Nebula got decimated by a Peanut (and was equally not shocking when they became our Guest of Honor). Most notably, however, was Craig Faucet getting incinerated and proceeding to play another 10 games afterwards, who despite our best efforts— was not even charged for their troubles.
The thing is, none of these things stopped the Firefighters. Despite winning no Blessings or items, being bombarded with weather, and using their only boosts to salvage a hurt player, they managed to claw their way to third seed, claiming fifth in the league despite all odds. And more than anything, I think that’s the story of the Firefighters this Circuit and beyond; the ability to make something out of nothing.
The Hellmouth Sunbeam entered this Short Circuit right where they wanted to be– bound for the .500 line. Sure, in a season with parties for the worst teams and Playoffs for the best, that had downsides, but the Beams knew what they were about… and then they tanked their way into the midseason fiesta badly enough to get into round one and they were ready to Party their way to the top! And then… they didn’t. One game in EPT, a bit of timeline shenanigans, and the fiesta ended with the Beams better than before but not playoffs material. But not for long!
Because then the Beams claimed (one of) the Title Belt(s) and Royce Spider decided to sit on it, the universe decided that that was Royce’s. And then… the belt got taken. But not for long! Because then the Beams got the only Wild Card slot! They were in the Playoffs! They were going for the championship! And then… they got kicked out round one. And all this happened in a bog-theatre-gothic horror-small town with a chandelier containing the last shards of a dead sun. And their final record was 82-80.
There were icons, like Sun Paladin Amanda Rowdy, or incineration replacement Calvin Revenant, or Samuel ‘Slamuel’ Finnegan, but there was one real hero. Julian Greene had plenty going for them. An early standout on the starting roster, Julian entered the world with 3.9 batting stars. They’d have a top 10 OPS+ (ignoring all the undead invaders from another universe) and a taste for snacking on snow which would bring them to nearly 5 batting stars over the course of the season (before dragging them back to a measly 4.5). But who cares about that? Pregame Ritual Charging? Let’s gooooooooooooo!
San Francisco Lovers
It was a beat-down for the Lovers this circuit, trying their best to sell their angle to no avail. The team narrowly slid their way into the midseason Fiesta, missing out on all the action before it could even begin. According to insider sources, a feud between the Lovers and the Mexico City Wild Wings started to get hot after headliner Fontaine Teacup Feedbacked with Liv Chan, but the show was not over for this B-Team yet.
The Lovers held to their wills, and held up their pants holding onto one of the… two title belts until right before the Postseason. When Parker declared reunification, it was a headliner match against Miami. It was a clean finish with the Lovers on the mat. Miami went on into the post season, leaving the Lovers to nurse their aches & bruises.
Eliot Heartfield was sent up into the Mic with the hope that they wouldn’t be destined to become just another Jannetty, but the fate of our Charged players is a story line for another era. All in all, these Lovers couldn’t keep the gold, but that didn’t mean this season wasn’t a popcorn match. With the circuits over and the next era in limbo, maybe this team can get on after all.
-Avery M. (Ackasi#9049 on Discord)
Mexico City Wild Wings
The Mexico City Wild Wings were good this Short Circuit. This was very confusing for a lot of long term Wings fans, because the Wings have never been good. Even when they won their Championship, they came from fourth in the conference. Even when Burke Gonzales was one of the best pitchers in the League they were barely a 0.500 team. So 99 wins and a trip to the Championship, even if it was to lose to The Breath Mints. (a fine, deserving winner) was the sort of inexplicable thing that tested the very boundaries of the game’s capabilities to handle, and was thus appropriate for a Short Circuit.
The “why” of the Wings being good is actually very easy to explain. They hit the ball a lot (1468, first in the League), hit it the furthest (SLG 0.501, first) and thus scored the most runs (975, first). Such was the ferocious offensive output that meant it almost didn’t matter that Tobias Diallo and Mitch Pink forgot where the strike zone was for innings at a time (third and fourth in walks league wide, respectively).
The continual high performance of Soledad Drama, Nova Bye, Alonso Clement, and Lillian McKinley (a 98% consensus pick to charge the microphone) led to the most improbable Wings team to ever exist, a rollicking riotous ball of fun that wasn’t constrained by the Wings of seasons past, and featured such fantastic names as Genesis Toad and Slow McDonald.
Will the Wings be this good again? Probably not. But it won’t matter. The one time we were good was fun, and underdog stories are also fun, and maybe one day we’ll get to see Lillian hit a ball a long way again. Which will be fun.
-BNN Wild Wings correspondent Spludge
The Pies have traditionally been very good at Elections, so the Front Office started this Short Circuit by enacting a Faustian Pact to have more Elections than we knew what to do with. However, the Front Office failed to read this diabolical document closely enough, missing the footnote where it said anything the Pies elect either wouldn’t matter or wouldn’t actually ever be received by the team.
The mood in the Pies locker room was high despite all this; the team partied hard in the Mid-Season Fiesta, culminating in Nadia Outlaw proclaiming, “I’m never leaving Philly!” and chaining themselves to the radiator. This served to deny the Microphone’s later Feedback attempt, leaving the Wild Wings’ Slow McDonald standing outside the clubhouse.
Kristi Finnegan and Wolf Buss carried the team’s rotation post-parties, and things seemed to be up for the Pies in the second half of the season, until Seyyid Goodhart ate a Peanut and went from one of the worst pitchers in the ILB to the absolute worst in franchise history across all dimensions, proving that you don’t need to be Superallegic to ruin your pitching career.
Although Kid Darling had been sent to party early in hopes the additional training would prime them for Charging the Microphone at season’s end, by the time it was clear the Pies’ playoff hopes were dashed, it became equally clear that Kid’s performance was a disappointment, failing to meet any expectations whatsoever. Seeing this underwhelming lateseason play, the Pies elected to send grizzled power hitter, Ariana Beard in their place.
The Pies have been thoroughly undercooked in the last few circuits; they can only hope the long siesta will give them enough time in the oven to emerge crisp, hot, fresh, and ready by the time Blaseball returns.
-Ads (wilcxck#8979 on Discord)
At the start of this Circuit, the Garages were bad. The team was cursed with the highest Patheticism in the League by a mile, such that even making contact with the ball was a miracle. No player exemplified this like Dimi Wobbler, who generated as the worst of the worst, a dismal 0.6 stars. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Garages sighed, laughed (because you have to laugh) and awaited the Party Time they knew was coming.
Then, on Day 3, Dimi Wobbler hit a solo home run to shame the Breath Mints, who would go on to win the Championship. It was their first hit.
Dimi “Warbler” Wobbler, a tiny bird with incredible vibes and very little skill, was on a quest to prove that a positive attitude can overcome any statistical shortcomings. On Day 42, the Garages experienced a full-team Reverb. Instead of the worst batting in the League, they now had the worst pitching. Dimi moved four spots higher in the Lineup. They continued to be bad at Blaseball.
As the Garages’ Guest of Honor, Dimi partied three times and got better. Then Dimi partied again during a game. Suddenly, the silly little bird with excellent vibes had three batting stars. Dimi’s name started to pop up in scoring events more… and more… and more. Despite spending the first half of the season struggling to get on base, they ended with the second-most hits and stolen bases.
All season, the other Garages suffered under the Weather. Reverb decimated the rotation. Their best batter got incinerated; two more Feedbacked away. An already-terrible pitcher had an allergic reaction right after their final game. Dimi just hit the ball some more.
That’s the power of a positive attitude.
The pitchers were idols, the hitters were yuru-chara mascots and the fans were feeling an unfamiliar tingle of… hope?
Tokyo rolled a strong team. Almost from the start the Lift were chasing a Playoff spot. They couldn’t keep pace with the Ballad-leading Wild Wings, that was clear early on, but the batting of Pop Tomorrah and some creditable pitching meant a winning record at Midseason and third place in Downtempo. Precisely none of this was thanks to Herb Swamp.
Idol performer Art Dembélé was a strikeout machine with Ruthlessness the way a sea has wet. Baffled cruise-ship tourist Seth Bitters was a sexagenarian workhorse with decent ERA but never the wins to show for it. Even Omar “Give Us” Nothing had fans. Herb Swamp, meanwhile, was a firebombed storefront of a player with one-third of a pitching star, Forbidden Knowledge that was painful to read, and not even a tragic backstory to lean on.
But the Tokyo Lift are all about gains. Rather than build an already solid performer into a titan the fans hailed Swamp as their Guest of Honour. Three parties revealed a promising hitter, if still a pitcher for whom mediocrity was but a distant dream.
A Yummy reaction late in the season changed that. Post-Peanut Herb was a monster in every department, bar their day job, and perfectly serviceable there. It wasn’t enough to save the campaign, the Lift having lost all momentum after back-to-back sweeps by the Shoe Thieves and Wings, but joyful fans now coalesced around Swamp as the little kappa that could. And, in some universe, she still might.
Wait, is that hope again?
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