D-league, M-League, what’s in a letter?

Once again I’m writing at the end of one season just as another begins. For all of Renmei’s leagues from B on down, our seasons ended Sunday with some joy in triumph and some agony of defeat. I led D2 through the 3rd session but had a couple tough sessions at the end and fell to 7th. But this season that was still enough to be above the border for moving up. I will be a top D-league player next season! Wheeee!

And what is D but just a letter? Not so different from A, B, C, or even M! Sure, but for a fluke, couldn’t I be be in any of those leagues too?!

Yes M-League began the next day and it is nice to have some mahjong to focus on other than my own. The teams didn’t change much in the off season, only one team chose to expand their roster to a full 4 players. Kadokawa Knights chose Shingo Hori to fill out their team, and as a member of Kyokai, that means one fewer team that is entirely Renmei. Even with my mahjong superhero Sawazaki still there, I may have to switch my unswerving adoration and allegiance back to Ex Furinkazan. Oh Takki/Aki/Katsumata, I never really left you.

It was interesting to see which players the teams chose to begin their assaults on the 2020 season. Of course nobody makes it into M-League without being something of a heavy hitter, but I think teams do consider one or two members to be their go to Ace(s). To kick off this season however, I feel like the home run champions were not in the starting lineups. I wonder if a lesson was learned last year and teams are adjusting their strategy.

In the 2019 season, some teams relied heavily on their aces, in particular Uotani of Phoenix, Kadokawa on Sawazaki, and Ooi from Abemas. To be fair, they did have stellar seasons making it tempting to go back to them again and again to get the wins. But it was the calm, cool and collected Kobayashi who nailed the landing in the final game, after more even representation from the rest of team Pirates earlier in the final series. (Heavy hitter, ace, kickoff, landing nailed, am I mixing my sports metaphors enough or do we need more?) Are teams trying to get all their players onto the field more? It was a winning strategy for Kadokawa. Okada played among the fewest games of all the players in M-League last season but put in a strong showing to start her team in a positive direction on day one of this year.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to finding more inspiration for my game in the high pressure battles of M-league. Tokyo league’s fall/winter season begins next month; WRC picks up again this month, and I’m still toward the top of North Kanto going into the second half of that league. Hopefully when the insanity that has been 2020 is finally in the past, my association with the letter D will also be a distant memory. For tonight, go Takki!

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