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What is baseball’s most hopeless franchise?

Sep 4, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT

Being hopeless isn’t just about losing. That’s why it’s not the Astros or Cubs. It’s not about expectations, which is why the Yankees aren’t there. It isn’t about fan anger, bad front office decisions and missed opportunities. That’s what keeps the Phillies out of the list. And it’s not about being cursed.

Nope: it takes a special mixture of losing and team circumstances. Which is why, according to Grant Brisbee at SB Nation, the Colorado Rockies are the most hopeless franchise in baseball.

Go check out his reasoning, which is hard to argue with. He also touches on the relative hopelessness of some of those other franchises mentioned above.

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  1. recoveringcubsfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    I strongly disagree, inasmuch as one can disagree with a nebulous argument. “Screwed” is a team with no prospects, bad management, no money or a no-spend philosophy, and no fans. Not one of those things is applicable to the Rockies. I am not a fan, but I actually made a point of buying tickets to see them play on the road this year, because I wanted to see Tulo, Arenado, Rosario, The Blackmon Enigma, LeMahieu, and even Josh Rutledge, God help me. I think that’s a pretty exciting lineup and they play good defense. Maybe they need to do something radical, like get a bunch of grade-A relievers and lean heavily on 1 or 2 inning bursts from them, rather than a traditional pitching rotation and a bullpen used sparingly. I don’t know. But I think they’re only one step from being quite good, which doesn’t sound like they’re in any way screwed. The Chicago White Sox are more screw-eficent, in my opinion. There’s only one player on the team anyone wants to see, the farm system is bare except for Rodon, and they have a dinosaur owner who hates to pay people for their work. They have fans, sure, but they play in a fugly park and are least-loved in their own city among sports teams. Oh, and they play in a good division, so expect more losing seasons until the other teams exhaust their new golden ages.

    And in that whole article, not any focus on Houston. Strange…

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      I forgot to say something, so I’ll just reply to myself, thanks: the article’s whole basis for “screwed” (spoiler alert!) is “geography”: pitching is tough in Denver and hitting away from Coors is also apparently tough (but I think post-Dexter Fowler, that isn’t really demonstrably true anymore? I’m lazy, so I’ll let someone else look that up.).

      I don’t think “geography, dude” is a good basis for saying a team is “screwed.” Something is lacking in that argument.

    • Hard On For Harden - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      For the Astros omission, MLB obviously didn’t begin play in 2009. Despite all the Lastros stuff, they had never finished in last place until the end of McLane’s tenure.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        That’s fair. But in terms of current state, I was discussing this yesterday with a longtime Astros fan and he ran through all the possibilities he could think of and, yeah, pretty much concluded that they are screwed unless a miracle happens. Even if they build a solid lineup – which they certainly can do/are doing – they are years from having any pitching, they seem confused about who they want to be, they apparently treat their prospects and draft picks like poo, and they play in a now-murderous division. It’s a tough row to hoe.

      • hk62 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        They are not years from having any pitching (that would be the Cubs who have an all stud position player situation taking place) – HOU has serious arms at Hi-A and above. The reason Cosart was expendable was those arms. Granted they have to prove it at the major league level, but they have the guys with minor league track records to do it. Starters and bullpen arms. They will also have to spend some money on pitching but its not like the position players are going to be expensive for a long while.

    • jsala02 - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      recoveringcubsfan, the division the Astros play in will be very look like garbage soon when you have Pujols, Fielder, Cano, and others making big money well in decline. IMO Houston is taking its lumps now, to build around players like Altuve, Springer, Kuechel, Foltynewicz, Correa, and others. Nobody thought Tampa could compete with NY and BOS and they have proven otherwise.

      • Ren Ignatiago - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        For this Red Sox current season, teams in the AL east can pretty much compete against em on a high note. Opposing teams will use their struggles to their advantage.

    • bringin1234 - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Im guessing its the rivalry of Cubs Sox that clouds your vision. That’s ok, Im a diehard sox fan that can say if the cubs get pitching and their players are half as good as they say, then they will be amazing. But as for the White Sox…. not even close. Your claim that only Abreu is worth seeing….you forget Sale.

      As for the farm system….they are rebuilding it thanks to Kenny trading away guys like Gio and Hudson for vets. But Rodon is one, Erik Johnson, Marcus Simien, Matt Davidson, Tim Anderson, Micah Johnson plus younger guys in the league like Adam Eaton and Alexi is far from terrible. The Sox bullpen is awful and that’s why they look so bad, but with Dunn off the books and Konerko retiring and Beckham gone…… theres room to sign guys and theres hope.

      Because they don’t have a bunch of top 10 rated prospects, doesn’t mean theyre bad.

    • coryrox78 - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      As a Rockies fan, I would have to agree with most of your assesment. I don’t think Rutledge is an every day player, and Rosario is a terrible catcher, but there are some bright spots. I hope you got a look at Corey Dickerson because he’s a big part of the future if the Rox are smart about it. If we can find someone to catch the ball and some guys to stay healthy and pitch behind De La Rosa I think exciting things are possible.

      • coryrox78 - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

        My comment was supposed to be directed at recoveringcubsfan…whoops

  2. Old Gator - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    No mention of the Feesh here. Possibly their two surprise championships skew the curve. Possibly their core of impressive young talent skews the curve. Possibly the ten year, three hundred million dollar extension the Iron Giant is going to sign with them this orfseason skews the curve.* Maybe an irregularity in the Chandler wobble or a monster solar storm that bombarded Grant Brisbee’s frontal cortex with terrawatts skews the curve. However, I modestly submit that having a cheapskate egomaniac like Scrooge McLoria as an owner trumps their farm depth, hot young peetchers, the Iron Giant, their magical shortstop, and that bizarre stadium they built hoping to lure unsuspecting tourists orf the expressway with dazzled expressions of “hey, are we at Epcot already????”

    *Psst…this was a joke. I just had to see that expression on Craig’s face. Sorry.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      Release Mr. Calcalterra and we promise, no harm will come to you.

      As usual, I don’t understand half of your references (which speaks to my southern schooling), but I agree that Miami, should it ever stop developing prospects, would be a screwed franchise, indeed. Bad owner, bad stadium, no fans, and low expectations unless further notice.

      It’s a really bizarre MLB roster, actually, with its collection of hackers like Jones and slappers like Adeiny, and then the one complete hitter in Cassius Clay. They play good defense and they somehow make that bullpen work. If Loria were not in charge and, say, they had kept Girardi as manager, imagine what a havoc-wreaking wild card that team could have been!

      • Old Gator - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        I betcha my schooling was southerner than yours. Let’s hear it for Miami Beach High! Unless you went to Homestead, middle keys or Key West, I gotcha beat. My real education came in combustible and/or tablet form.

        Just to note, there’s only one everyday player prospect with serious offensive potential left in the Feesh farm system, Colin Moran, and their catching prospect J P Realmuto will be up shortly for a longer look. Realmuto’s value for the next year, assuming the Feesh hang onto Salty, is to replace the wimp-wanded Jeff Mathis. But all the rest of their “deep” farmhands are pitchers. Someone has to drive in runs, for Buddha’s sake, especially considering that the Iron Giant will be gone after next season, if he even lasts that long.

      • mazblast - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        Gator,

        Didn’t Moran go to Houston in the Cosart deal?

      • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        Yikes, he did. Thanks for the heads up. I guess they had to include Moran to get them to take a chance on Marisnick. Well, that tallies nicely with the Feesh philosophy of young, controllable stud peetchers, wimpwanded scrapheap hitters and RSP numbers it would take a quantum mechanic to plot.

  3. brewcrewfan54 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    I’m pretty sure my Brewers will never win a World Series. I figure its just time to accept it. At least the Packers have given me plenty to cheer for for most of my life.

    • brewcrewchamps - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      Hey man, I know we’re going through some hard times as of late, but let’s not abandon ship yet. Maybe, er….probably, for this year, but for the rest of time? Cheer up buddy, football starts tonight

    • cshearing - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      Not against Seattle they don’t.

      • kopy - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        He’s probably been alive longer than 24 hours.

  4. thomas844 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    The easiest answer would be to say the Cubs since they have been a ringless bunch of punching bags for so long. But man, with guys like Soler, Baez, and Bryant emerging as well as a fan base that is still strong, they are far from a hopeless franchise.

    • gloccamorra - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      Look at the Cubbie’s roster in 1969. Look where (how) they finished.

  5. yahmule - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    The thin air is no bigger an issue for Colorado than travel is for Seattle. The rich drunken idiot brother duo in charge is what’s crippling the franchise and it will as long as they own the team.

  6. 4d3fect - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    I’m thinking any one of the teams on the short end of ongoing territorial disputes is on that list: e.g., Athletics, Nationals.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      If TV money continues to be the biggest cudgel to bludgeon opponents with, you might be right!

    • sabatimus - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:53 PM

      You mean two teams that are near-locks to make the postseason this year?

      • 4d3fect - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        No argument from me on that point. Just thinking long term survival club wise.

    • sire2334 - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      As a fan I get where you’re going with this, but the Nats are still making out okay and the deal will be changing soon anyway. Besides, having the richest owner in baseball doesn’t hurt either. They have no excuses.

      • 4d3fect - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Oh yeah, I’m not crying over some billionaire’s lost pocket change, doesn’t concern me in the least. Apart from that, a club might want a defined area to depend upon for revenue.

    • simon94022 - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:27 PM

      Even with the MASN situation, the Nats are a highly profitable franchise and the primary team in a top 10 media market. They play in a publicly financed new stadium and are about as stable as any franchise in MLB.

      The A’s are a completely different story. Nobody knows the answer to that situation.

      • mazblast - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        Billy Beane knows everything, and the national media will confirm that. After all, look at all the WS rings he wears.

  7. chargrz - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    The Padres have to be at the top as they have a long history of cheap owners and inept scouting.

    • gloccamorra - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      They have a long history of front office/owner instability. But Ray and Joan Kroc weren’t cheap, and neither was John Moores, until his costly divorce and rising player salaries made him fall out of love with baseball. The last 10 years have been the worst, with 4 general managers and three owners.

  8. Last Road Reviews - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    As long as the Wilpons own the Mets they will continue to be a mess.

  9. randygnyc - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    The Rays have to be considered. Worst ballpark AND fanbase in any of the major sports. They have been playing over their heads for the last few years and IMO, that’s their ceiling.

    • paint771 - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:22 PM

      The Rays have a fanbase?

      But yeah, agreed.

      The Rays = best organization and worst franchise in MLB.

      I think most baseball folks confuse the former for the latter and give them a pass on things like this. They shouldn’t. Winning papers over a lot of things, but ultimately it’s a franchise with no future. I would be shocked if it were still around in any currently recognizable form in 20 years. Sure it’s easy to say that a team that wins can’t be called hopeless, but when winning doesn’t do anything to win fans, make money, build a brand, attract players, create history (that anyone cares about), or otherwise matter – well hell you’d almost rather be a beloved loser.

      But, it’s a great organization. So at least we can look forward to watching them play when they move to Charlotte.

  10. jsala02 - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Cubs have over 100 years of proving they are hopeless.

  11. penguins87and71 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    I would say right now the Phillies and the Rockies. I would say the all time hopeless franchise is probably the Pittsburgh Pirates. Twenty straight years of losing is pretty bad.

    • mazblast - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      IIRC, the Phils and White Sox are the all-time loss leaders. The Pirates are doing alright–finally. If you had asked this question five years ago, though, yeah, even this lifelong Pirates fan (my first game was at Forbes Field, I’m that old) would have agreed. Helpless, hopeless, and endlessly losing. They got their act together, they broke the “curse”, plus they have the best ballpark in MLB according to most surveys.

      Most hopeless? The record says the Cubs until they prove otherwise. Other contenders–the Rays, Padres, Indians, and Mets.

    • florida76 - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:35 AM

      If baseball began in 1993, and ended in 2012, the Pirates would be classified as a hopeless franchise. But in reality, when we take into account the whole picture, it’s one of the most storied in MLB. The Bucs trail only the Yanks, Cards, and Red Sox in World Titles won by their home cities, and boast a high number of hall of famers as well.

      And if we’re talking about a segment of time, the Pirates won more World Titles in the 1970s than the Atlanta Braves have managed since 1966(when they became the Atlanta Braves).

  12. blingslade - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:44 AM

    All a sudden people forget about the KC Royals?

    • jkcalhoun - Sep 5, 2014 at 2:45 AM

      I believe you are referring to those first place Kansas City Royals. The ones the Tigers may yet catch up to but so far haven’t.

      Nope, haven’t forgotten them.

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