Well, at least we’re not Oakland.
Small consolation at the best of times, I know. But it’s all I’ve got left to offer.
If you’re a fellow Colorado Rockies fan, you get it. And if you’re a fellow Colorado Rockies fan, I am so, so sorry.
One. Hundred. Losses.
And beyond, naturally. The count stood at 102 when I wrote this and may have added one or two more by the time our final out of the year was recorded on Sunday. But as usual, it’s the big round number that stands out, the mark of infamy that no Rockies team had ever before reached.
One hundred losses.
We’re not the first team to ever get here, of course. We’re not even the first one this season. The aforementioned Oakland A’s (111 losses at this writing) had a year that almost gave the tragic 1962 Mets a run for their money. Lest anyone forget, that was the year manager Casey Stengel uttered the immortal words “Can’t anybody here play this game?”
So yeah. We’re not the worst of the worst of the worst.
Um … yay?
It’s not just the bad season, of course. Everyone gets them eventually. It’s that there have been so many for so long, years where even “mediocre” has seemed like an aspirational goal. It’s been 16 years since “Rocktober” now. Only four of those have seen winning seasons. The last one – admittedly, one of our best teams since those brief World Series days – was five years ago.
But even there, it’s not just that it’s happened. It’s how. Get any group of Rockies fans together for longer than ten minutes and you’ll hear the same grumbles. “The owners don’t care. They don’t have to. People keep coming … they could lose every game and still make money.”
I don’t live in the Monforts’ heads, so I can’t swear to whether that’s true, though I have my theories. (That’s half the fun of being a fan, after all.) But the fact that it’s even credible is toxic.
After all, it’s a problem that goes beyond baseball. A problem that can be summed up in four words.
“It’s all about me.”
It fills the headlines every day. We see it in political showdowns that play poker with people’s lives and well-being. We see it in collisions at every level, where the fears or ambitions of a few can run roughshod over everyone else. During the height of the pandemic, it was an opponent almost as dangerous as the virus itself, when all of us had to remember that our actions affected more than just ourselves.
To be honest, we’re better at that than we give ourselves credit for. Most of us know that we should be looking beyond our own skin, that our neighbors matter. But like a person standing in a doorway, it only takes a few to get in the way of everyone else – not just by what they do or prevent, but by building a feeling of despair that accelerates the cycle. When you start to feel like nothing can be done, you’re less likely to do anything.
Heavy thoughts for something as light as a bad baseball season, I know. But the answer’s the same. Awareness. Hope. Determination. Not to give up, not to wait for things to magically get better, but to act. To remind the self-focused – in the owner’s box or in the nation – that we’re here and we won’t be taken for granted.
Interesting stat – out of all the baseball teams that have lost 100 games, about one in eight had a winning season the next year. Even the “average” mega-loser made their way back to the playoffs in about seven years. Change can happen … once there’s the willingness to do it.
It’s time to play ball. Push hard. And remember, we’re not Oakland.
It’s not much of a battle cry, but it’s a start.