Everybody loves a winner. It’s the losers no one can decide on. Some, like the Chicago Cubs, are lovable losers with a rich history. But the Cubbies’ futility only extends to the number of years they haven’t won the World Series, so it’s not a losing streak, per se. They just make it a habit of playing sub-par baseball. Real losing streaks cause players, team owners, media, fans and coaching staffs to wring their hands in frustration and make the promise that “tomorrow’s another day.” Well, when a team is in the midst of long drought, tomorrow never seems to come. Take the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers, for example. They lost LeBron to his egotistical “Decision”, then promptly went on a skid of 26 games in a row, post-LBJ. Guess they can thank this year’s Philadelphia 76ers, who have joined them in futility.
It’s not like there wasn’t precedent for the Orioles’ 1988 season-opening swoon. The dreadful O’s lost 42 of their last 56 games in the 1987 season, finishing 67-95. Sure, the roster featured seasoned vets and stars like Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr., and even up-and-comer Curt Schilling, but they were the exception. Management had pared the roster down to include just 11 of 24 regulars from the ill-fated ’87 squad. A harbinger of things to come was a 12-0 Opening Day drubbing to Milwaukee at old Memorial Stadium. After the sixth loss, Baltimore fired manager Cal Ripken Sr., to no avail. Fifteen more losses followed under new manager Frank Robinson, punctuated by poor fielding, lousy hitting and just plain bad luck.