In sports, teams are defined by two things – their wins and their losses. Sure, players have an impact on these things, but at the end of the day, we judge teams based on that criteria. Wins lead to championships. But losses. Well, they can define a team, but in a different way. The Baltimore Orioles reached a historic defeat this past weekend. Right now, the Orioles have the worst record in the major league at 43 wins and 107 losses. This comes after a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. First baseman Chris Davis had this to say:
“It’s frustrating, to say the least. Once we hit 100, it was kind of like, I don’t know,I honestly didn’t have any words for it. It was embarrassing”.
He’s not wrong. Who wants to be part of a team that has 107 losses in a single season? Conversely, on the other side of the spectrum, you have a team like the Boston Red Sox who have a win record almost as high as Baltimore’s loss record – 103. They have tied their own club record which was set back in 1988. And they are close to beating the franchise record for losses, which was 111 by the 1939 St. Louis Browns. They’re quite close to this now, so there’s no doubt that they will get there.
And it is embarrassing. Davis also thinks that this isn’t something that you want to be associated with. Baltimore has been blanked 15 times and owns a major league-worst 26-49 record at home. Only 8,198 fans showed up at soggy Camden Yards to watch yet another defeat. What does this mean? Well, it’s a lost season for them. Will it spark some kind of action from the coaches and other staff? I should hope so. Is there anything that they can do now? Not really. They just have to ride it out at this point and hope that someone higher up gets their act together to help this team next year.
Catcher Caleb Joseph, who was part of the 2014 Orioles team that made the ALCS, said that the club has gotten away from elements that made it successful on the field:
“Losing absolutely wears on you and when you’ve done it as often as we have, sadly, it almost becomes the norm. And that’s absolutely unacceptable. And that’s what scares me about these youngsters. And the team is full of youngsters. This is not OK. And we can talk about it as much as we want and say in meetings that it’s not OK. It’s just not. On winning teams, they replace people (who don’t produce and want to win).”
It’s interesting to see that the team has fallen so far in a matter of four seasons. Sure, that might seem like a long time, but as Joseph says – the team is full of young players. In baseball, youth is an advantage – unlike in some other sports. So why are they playing so poorly? While I can’t speculate on what got them here in the first place, I can suggest that once you start losing, you expect that of yourself and your team. And then it continues until you have to do something drastic to make it stop.