As the unofficial second-half of the baseball season got underway, I noticed in the standings that the Phillies had been outscored this year by 155 runs in 93 games. That means they lost by an average of 1.67 runs per game and that seemed like an awful lot to me. So I tried to do a bit of statistical searching and here is what I came up with:
In 1899, the Cleveland Spiders were an ultimately awful team – but there was a method to their stinkitude. One owner had two ball clubs at the time and he put all the good players on one team and left the Spiders with bupkes. That team holds the record for being outscored in a full season; their negative run differential was a whopping minus-723. Their record for the year was 20-134.
[Aside: The Spiders had exactly one 2-game winning streak all season long.]
Ignoring that team because of its unusual ownership situation, the worst run differentials for a season have been:
The 1932 Boston Red Sox (minus-349) posted a season record of 43-111. This team lost by an average of 2.27 runs per game.
The 2003 Detroit Tigers (minus-337) posted a season record of 43-119. This team lost by an average of 2.08 runs per game.
The 1962 Mets (minus-331) posted a season record of 42-120. This team lost by an average of 2.04 runs per game.
It might seem as if the 2015 Phillies are not even near approaching these levels of non-competitiveness until you think that the Phillies are trying to trade off their best starting pitcher (Cole Hamels) and their best relief pitcher (Jonathon Papelbon). If they pull off those trades with 60 games or so left on the schedule, who knows how many times they could lose games by a score of 9-1…
Just to give you an idea of how bad the Phillies are this year, the second worst negative run differential as of yesterday belonged to the Chicago White Sox who had been outscored by only 74 runs in 89 games (0.83 runs per game). The Phillies’ average margin of defeat is twice as big as the next worst team in MLB!
Given how badly the Phillies have played this year, it is not shocking to see that the Phillies have dropped more than any other MLB team in average attendance as compared to last year. They still average 24,423 fans per game but that attendance represents a drop of 6,014 from last year. There are 5 teams below the Phillies in average attendance this year but 4 of those 5 teams are perpetually at the bottom of the MLB attendance rankings. The Phillies need to find a way to “goose attendance” and I have an idea for them to consider:
The Phillies will need to hire a new manager next year. It will not matter whom they hire; the team is going to be bad again next year. So, maybe the idea would be to hire a manager who would – by his presence – generate interest in the team. Remember, one can generate interest in a positive or a negative way; and with that in mind, perhaps they should consider hiring …
Ozzie will not make the Phillies into contenders but he will get people in Philly talking about and paying attention to the Phillies. Let me be clear; I am not suggesting this would be a long-term move for the team. My Over/Under for how long Ozzie Guillen would last in Philly is 15 months.
Greg Cote had this comment in the Miami Herald over the weekend:
“Dan Patrick, Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann and now Colin Cowherd. Will the last star to leave ESPN please turn out the light?”
I might add Jason Whitlock to that list even though he is still technically with ESPN but he is not in charge of the about-to-launch website The Undefeated. Greg Cote is onto something here; all of these folks are hugely talented and opinionated people. And ESPN had all of them and managed to find a way to lose all of them. I have no idea how the suits on mahogany row at Disney Corp see all of this, but no one who is paying even the least bit of attention can fail to see that this is both a “talent drain” and a “brain drain”.
I read recently that Russell Wilson said that God spoke to him just after the interception at the goal line in the Super Bowl and it is because of that communication that he has dealt with that disappointment as calmly as he has. Look, I am in no way going to make light of or discount any sort of communication that took place between any athlete and his Deity. Nevertheless, I do have to make this observation:
Seattle Seahawks’ fans probably wish that God had spoken to the Seahawks’ coaching staff about a minute before that occurrence so that they might have chosen to call a less stupid play at the goal line…
Finally, one more timely observation from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“Milestone: It has been 15 days since an NFL player blew off any fingers playing with fireworks.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………