Maybe if I grew a third arm
I could steal the fandom’s heart
Till then I’ll keep showing up
Til the umps put my soul in park
-"My Name Is Mike Townsend", off The Garages’ Redemption Arc
This is, as promised, 500(+) words of uncontrollable gushing about today's events; I make no promises about its coherence. Blaseball's Necromancy plan has concluded in the most narratively satisfying, high-stakes, and emotionally wrenching way. If you haven't caught up on what's been happening, you need to go read that now, then come back here.
When we last left off, we'd secured Jaylen at #14 on the Idolatry chart. She held steady there as the final countdown to the election clicked to zero, where it remained for a worrying amount of time. The Discord chat began a chant of "First In, First Out"; the Commissioner, in that obscurely-threatening omnipotent tone I've mentioned before, asked if we were sure. And then, at last, the Peanut manifested, and spoke.
(I cannot explain how funny it was, as we all collectively braced for our doom, to see that the Peanut's first response was an incredulous "HOTDOGFINGERS?")
THE LEDGER MUST BE BALANCED
And then the results of decrees and blessings were revealed. The Garages, as we hoped, won Lottery Pick with 58% of the vote--which is actually high for a blessing! And Jaylen Hotdogfingers, first incinerated, Seattle's 4-star pitcher, returned to them.
We did it. We did a necromancy. We defied the gods and we won.
But not without a price. And not without a debt. The ledger must be balanced; we are under alchemy's law of equivalent exchange.
I actually stopped breathing for a moment when I saw this. Mike Townsend, everyone's favorite underdog and 1.5 star pitcher, traded places with Jaylen Hotdogfingers and "retreated to the shadows". With his sacrifice, he cemented his status as a credit to the team, a hero, and a legend.
Jaylen's not out of the woods. She has two status effects that I'm sure will be significant in the upcoming season: Returned (This player has returned from the Void), and Debted (This player must fulfill a Debt). Her new pregame ritual is "checking their pulse". But she's back. The Garages made a promise that they would try to bring her home, and they managed it. "First in, first out" became a ritual incantation, part of the magic: we spoke it into truth.
But it's Mike Townsend's fate that stays with me. The pitcher who took over for Jaylen Hotdogfingers afterwards and who struggled constantly. The player who had a diss track written about him by his own team, and who still kept trying. He left it all on the field. And he was a credit to his team, even before this: Jessica Telephone, beloved titan of blaseball, consistently struggled against him. In his retreat to the shadows, he finally has the recognition and love that he craved from his team and the fans--but he's not around to see it anymore. I want to be clear: Mike Townsend does not seem to be dead. "Retreating into shadows" is the same text that was used for the Alternate swap on the Party Line blessing; it is weirder and more interesting than just death. And it's my hope that we haven't seen the last of Mike Townsend. But for now, he's really gone, without ever getting to appreciate the end of his redemption arc. The fandom created a vision of a completely useless pitcher who everyone got frustrated at, then humanized him and gave him emotional depth, and now that the game's mechanics have taken him away, we're left with nothing but his incredible story and a couple of fantastic songs. Thank you, Mike.
So we got what we wanted, but at a price. Necromancy couldn't have made a more painful exchange. Which I feel is the point: if you're going to do Faustian magic, you have to be prepared to pay the cost.