September 30, 2009

A New Benchmark for Baseball Futility

We can go round-and-round about how Baltimore and Washington are two entirely different cities comprised of entirely different types of residents and who support entirely different sports teams. That's worthy of probably an entire blog of its own (not to mention that we've covered it extensively in this space before).

However, DC folks... Baltimore folks... like it or not, the Census, and more importantly Major League Baseball, considers us one large market that contains two teams. There are only four other such markets in major league baseball: Chicago (Cubs/White Sox), New York (Yankees/Mets), Los Angeles Basin (Dodgers/Angels), and Bay Area (Giants/A's).

To my fellow Washingtonians and my friends up I-95 in the City that Reads, I have a message for you: We suck at baseball. I hear you telling me, "Shut up with your old news. It's football season." But no, you don't understand. We're literally the worst ever at baseball. Never before since the major league season has expanded to 162 games in 1961 have two teams in the same "market" experienced the same level of futility as the Orioles and Nats have experienced this season.

More like "cripple fight"

I've done a little bit of research into this, care of the most amazing baseball stats site that you could hope to access for free. Since the 1961 season (when as stated, the MLB season expanded to 162 games), on only seven other occasions besides this season have the two teams in the same market both lost 90 games or more.

1967 - Mets (101 games), Yankees (90 games)

1979 - A's (108 games), Giants (91 games)

1980 - Cubs (98 games), White Sox (90 games)

1986 - Cubs (90 games), White Sox (90 games)

1992 - Dodgers (99 games), Angels (90 games)

2006 - Washington (96 games), Orioles (92 games)

2008 - Washington (102 games), Orioles (93 games)

2009 - Washington (103 games
and counting), Orioles (97 games and counting)

What is striking about this is that in the first five entries above, the "better" team just barely lost 90 games. In 2008 and 2009, the Orioles and Nationals aren't really within speaking distance of a 90-loss season (93 losses is arguable). What is most striking is that as of the date of this blog entry, the Nats and Orioles have combined for more 2009 losses (200) than any other entry on this list. The next closest are the 1979 Giants and As, who combined for 199 losses. I note that the Orioles and Nats still have ten more games total which they can lose.

If the Orioles should lose three of their last five games and finish with 100 losses (or more), the Nats and O's would bring the ignomy to the DC-Baltimore Metropolitan Area of having the first dual-100-loss season ever experienced by a market with two major league baseball teams.

It's already bad. The only thing left for us all to observe through this Sunday is just how low we're going to set the bar.

6 Responses:

tunaman said...

"three other such markets"

Can't count very well, can you?

Jeremy said...

Tuna, thanks for pointing that out. Apparently the ECB Copy Editor was asleep at the switch. It's been corrected. At least I got all four markets right. That would cause a way bigger loss in credibility.

"ben" said...

Somehow I feel Boswell would take all your stats and manipulate them to show how the Nats and O's are middle of the pack, if not poised for a pennant race.

luciente said...

It's actually a Combined Statistical Metropolitan Area. Baltimore and Washington are separate run-of-the-mill Metropolitan Areas.

J-Red said...

Oooh, I'm flashing back to 2000 with all this Census talk. I was the Assistant Manager for Administration in Northern Prince George's County after all.

Great post Jeremy. You know how the Phil-Pit Steagles played during World War II? How about the BalWash Orioinals? We get credit in both the NL East and AL East standings. We'll just play 36 divisional games.

Michelangelo said...

Interleague play didn't start until 1997, so none of those other pairings of bad teams had the opportunity to get a few W's against their bad intra-market counterpart.

The series "score" this year was 4 wins for the Orioles and 2 wins for the Nationals. Arguably, both teams could have picked up a few extra losses if they didn't get to play each other 6 times.

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