Now that the Pirates are Good, Who Becomes Baseball's Biggest Laughingstock?

7/26/11 in MLB   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

For a decade or so now, the biggest laughingstock of baseball was obvious: the Pittsburgh Pirates. 18 consecutive losing seasons packed with various blunders will do that. But lo and behold, the Pirates are now not only in position to finish above .500 for the first time since 1992, they're contending in the NL Central. Obviously, a winning team can not be baseball's punchline. Thus, who takes their place at the bottom of the barrel in the major league hierarchy?

First, some teams that could be considered but probably aren't. The Nationals are back below .500, but are getting closer and have big time talents coming in Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. The Mets and Dodgers have certainly been embarrassing off-the-field, but both teams have recently been playoff teams. Finally, Moneyball haters would love to say the Athletics, but they've been more consistently mediocre than consistently bad.

Without further ado, the nominees...

Seattle Mariners

Current Record: 43-59
Last Winning Season: 2009
Last Playoff Appearance: 2001
Last Place Finishes Since 2000: 5

The Mariners weren't the first team to come to mind, that is, until they went on a 16 game losing streak. The M's have two great pitchers in King Felix and Michael Pineda, but the big problem here is the offense. Last year they scored a putrid 3.17 runs per game, one of the worst offensive performs since the advent of the DH. This year the M's have improved...to 3.28 runs a game. The future doesn't look much better. Their current roster has exactly two guys with potential: Justin Smoak (who hasn't really shown it) and Dustin Ackley (who has, but it's still very early for him). Ichiro is clearly in decline and the Chone Figgins deal with a disaster. What's amazing is the M's haven't made the playoffs since their 116 win 2001. While they have two stud pitchers and Ackley, the farm system is thin, and there's definitely a concern this is just the start, continuation really, of a long, hard road.

Kansas City Royals

Current Record: 43-59
Last Winning Season: 2003
Last Playoff Appearance: 1985
Last Place Finishes Since 2000: 7

Anyone that's read Joe Posnanski or Rany Jazayerli knows the embarrassing 25+ years of the Royals. This encapsulates the history well (in musical form!). That 2003 fluke season is actually the only above .500 for the Royals since 1993. Really, if this were solely based on past results, the Royals would win easily. However, the Royals have a trump card the other teams on this list don't have: a great farm system. Will all their great prospects pan out? Of course not. In fact, the left handed pitchers (Mike Montgomery, John Lamb, Danny Duffy) have struggled with injury and ineffectiveness. Two of the big-time hitters, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, are already up in the bigs, and there's more coming, including yet more pitching. Given that I'm thinking more future than present or past, the farm system keeps Kansas City from "winning" this battle for now, as the prospects give them some kind of hope. If they fail though, look out...
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

7/30/11   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Someone help me out. As an Orioles fan, what did I do to deserve this?

7/27/11   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

ML31 wrote:
I think the jury is still out on weather we can consider the Pirates "good" just yet.  Part of one season doesn't cut it in my book.   Let's see what they have over a couple of full seasons.  I think 18 years of crap means they earned such scrutiny.

I know that, but they do seem to be going in the right direction, but perception is often reality.

7/27/11   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Scott wrote:
Hands down the Astros.  They have 33 wins so far this season.  The next lowest team are the Orioles with 40

I'm thinking more of who inherits the long-term title of laughingstock. The Astros will be bad for a while, but they don't have the lineage of awfulness that the Royals and Orioles do. Plus, I'm biased.

7/27/11   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

I think the jury is still out on weather we can consider the Pirates "good" just yet.  Part of one season doesn't cut it in my book.   Let's see what they have over a couple of full seasons.  I think 18 years of crap means they earned such scrutiny.

7/27/11   |   RaiderSteeler15   |   21506 respect

Don't forget about the Dodgers...  Their pitching is woeful...  U might as well add the Rockies to the list as well...

7/26/11   |   Scott   |   54161 respect

Hands down the Astros.  They have 33 wins so far this season.  The next lowest team are the Orioles with 40

7/26/11   |   Dream_Machine   |   13326 respect

It Just Had To Be Mariners Photo Up there Aye GH.... Tsk Tsk Tsk...It's Not Too Late, Quick, Change The Picture, There Are No Royals Fans In Baseball Anymore... Lol

7/26/11   |   Joe_L   |   12372 respect

Quade says Cubs can get back in race this trip, adds: "I'm not a lunatic."