As the season's last day approaches, the Las Vegas Double Downs are assured of missing the playoffs for the first time in the franchise's history. The Double Downs 86-75 record will put them at least 1 game below the franchise low point (88-74 in season 3). They'll fail to win the division title for the first time ever (8 seasons). The team's 4.36 ERA is the worst since the superball era of season 1 (4.48).
So what happened? Some say this is just time and low draft picks catching up with a historically good team. Others say the lack of bullpen stalwart and team glue, Haygood "The Duke" Hunt hurt the clubhouse. Team owner gtce98 has a different opinion. The season's turning point occurred when the owner had his guard down. As he moshed to Rage Against the Machine, franchise ace, former #1 overall pick Francis Bird had turned to the dark side. An all-night craps bender left the wunderkind sleepy and fatigued for his 3rd start of the year. 2/3 of an inning later, Bird's elbow failed. Two hours after that, team doctors confirmed a stress fracture.
"I'd spent a lot of time with Francis, cautioning him about the dangers of Sin City. I thought he was in a good place, his demons behind him. I guess I was wrong."
Bird made it back to throw 12 more starts, but he wasn't the same. His 5 wins were the fewest he'd amassed as a professional. His 4.63 ERA the worst he'd posted since rookie ball. The kid is clearly at a crossroads.
So how will the owner turn around the team? Team officials are publicly silent. But inside sources tell WCM that gtce is looking for a safer place to call home. San Diego, near Bird's parents in Huntington Beach, CA is one possible destination. The photograph seen here pictures gtce, league commissioner jwendt, and an identified real-estate agent inspecting Petco Park, the possible destination of a relocated Double Down franchise.
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