There are times when this season seems like it has no end. That’s not exactly a bad thing if you want my honest opinion. I would welcome a never-ending baseball season even if it did mean that my team was destined to be in the bottom third of the standings forever. Bad baseball is better than no baseball any day of the week. Still, when your team isn’t doing well it does make time seem to stand still.
It seems like every time I go to the ballpark I hear fans expressing their displeasure with the players, the front office, the commissioner, the guy selling overpriced beer, even the guy at the front gates that held them up and made them stand out in the heat. Having a losing season seems to make everything worse.
And while the Diamondbacks have been playing slightly better as of late, they still find themselves well below .500 and out of contention. Listening to other fans, this has been the worst season ever. I’m here to tell you that I lived through the great depression of 2004 when the team lost 111 games and this is nothing compared to that season.
I’ll admit there are some similarities between this year and 2004. Both teams were decimated by injuries and had to rely upon players that were not adequately prepared to handle the situation at hand. Both teams also saw turmoil in the coaching realm and saw managers removed during the season. Beyond that though, is this year really as bad as 2004?
Curious I decided to see how bad 2009 was when compared to past years. Using the data collected from NowHitting, I created a spreadsheet that showed each season and how the team did from game 1 to game 162. I tracked wins and losses and team standings over the entire season. The data is broken out by season so I could compare one year to the next.
As I began looking at the data I was shocked to find how closely this season mapped to that fateful 2004 season. Through the first half of the season this year mimicked the 2004 campaign. Beginning at game 81 the team began playing much better and has seen a change in their fortunes.
If the team continues to win at the same pace as they did in July and through this point in August, they should end up with a record comparable to what they had in 2005 or 2006. It won’t reach the levels the team had during their play-off seasons but will be much better than 2004 or even 1998.
This exercise brought out several interesting facts. First, the Diamondbacks have been above .500 for 7 of their first 12 seasons. There were only 2 games separating the 2001 World Championship season and the 2007 season where the Diamondbacks went to the National League Championship Series. Neither 2001 nor 2007 were the best 2 years in franchise history. I had forgotten how good the 2002 team was finishing 11 games ahead of the 2001 team.
I have no idea what this all means other than the fact that I really need to find a new hobby because I obviously have no life outside of baseball. I guess the one thing that did come out of this is that the next time someone tells me that this is the worst season in the world I can confidently exclaim, no it is actually the third worst season and if we win 4 more games it will be the fifth worst team in franchise history.