In baseball, there’s the old adage that in a 162-game season, each team is guaranteed 60 wins and 60 losses, and it’s what a team does with those remaining 42 games that determines its fate. That has proven to be mostly true: since the turn of the century, only six teams have finished a season with fewer than 60 losses, and 13 with fewer than 60 wins.
Sometimes though, especially early in the season, it can start to feel like it’s going to be impossible to hit that 60-win mark. As a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, who began last season with a 7-20 record that mirrors that of this year's Atlanta Braves, I have been there and done that, friends. If you’re a fan of a team that seems incapable of scoring more runs than the opponent (the only verified method of winning baseball games), I have some advice for you that I’ve picked up during my time as a fan of a terrible baseball team:
- Drink plenty of fluids: Bet you thought I was gonna just talk about alcohol here. Well, you were right. Get drunk a lot. Getting drunk is fun and cool, unless you are a child. If that’s the case, alcohol is bad and you shouldn’t use it.
- Maybe try gardening: I don’t know, I’ve never done it. Could be fun, though. There are lots of how-to guides to set you up with your own home garden on line. Give them a look!
- Use a time machine and go to a time in the future when your favorite team is actually good: This one is self-explanatory.
Helpful! Below, I have some even more specific coping strategies, advice, and #analysis for the four teams that are currently on pace for less than those guaranteed 60 wins. You probably won’t get to play meaningful games in October, my friends, but better days are ahead. Unless you love the Braves--that might only get worse, pal.
Atlanta Braves: This is a lineup that is shuffling Daniel Castro and Adonis Garcia in the two-hole, and the latter cleans up when he’s not hitting in front of Freddie Freeman. No one expected the Braves to be any good this season, and they aren’t: theirs is probably the worst roster in baseball. There is hope, even though it may be a few years away, as the Braves made a habit of pillaging the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system. They grabbed three Top 100 prospects--including Aaron Blair, who started against them last week--in a pair of horrendous deals. Braves fans are few, and most of them are bad--I once attended a game at Turner Field in September during a pennant race, and the place was only 60 percent full. Sad!
Houston Astros: Oof. Yeah. Sorry bud. You came into the season imagining your squad as a legitimate World Series contender, and instead you’re buried at the bottom of the division and trailing the Mariners by 6.5 games. The Mariners! Holy moly. This feels like the cliché “sophomore slump” that folks like to talk about following a big rookie season, but on a team-wide scale. The Astros surprised everyone last season, so this regression feels normal to some degree, sort of like if the Cubs had turned out to be just okay instead of an unstoppable mutliheaded fire-breathing death monster. There’s still plenty of talent on this roster, and while the playoffs this season might be a stretch after such a disastrous start, there’s still lots to take in. Enjoy Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, settle in for a solid five years of contending baseball, and look into the dark rituals that the Cubs front office performed in order to obtain the support of the demon hordes of hell. It’ll be fine.
Minnesota Twins: Wow! Not going so well, huh? The Twins came into the season with three of the best young prospects in baseball: Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Jose Berrios. Alas, Buxton continued to struggle to hit big-league pitching and was optioned back to the minors, while Sano has scuffled with an inconsistent swing and high strikeout rates. Berrios got an earlier-than-expected call to the majors in April, and has looked like he might have electric stuff, though the results haven’t followed just yet. Last year, the Twins weren’t eliminated until the very last week of the season. This year, they were the last team to win a baseball game and the first to lose 20. That’s a bummer! But it seems like things might turn around soon. For now, enjoy the renaissance of Joe Mauer.
New York Yankees: Oh, cry me a river, you big baby. Since 1995, your team has appeared in the World Series six times, winning four championships, and missed the playoffs only thrice. You have more money than God with which to acquire free agents at will, and you game the broken international free agent system and the first-year entry draft to consistently have access to higher levels of amateur talent than most of the other teams. You had big expectations this season, but almost everyone in your lineup is over 30, and your three best hitters are 36, 39, and 32, respectively. The Yankees will be back, sooner rather than later, and all will be well in the Bronx. Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran’s money comes off the books after this season, and the albatross contracts of Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia are up after the next, so it could another season before the Yankees return to pulverizing the AL East. But it won’t be long. Patience is a virtue.
Travis Sarandos doesn't have very many writer-losses, whatever those are. You should follow him on Twitter.