When the Braves started the season 0-9, I thought “oh man, this is the year.” This was the year I would sit back and watch the Atlanta Braves drop 100 games, and I would feel some sadistic satisfaction that the organization that chose to deliberately flip the bird to all their collective fans in exchange for dirty money, would watch large numbers of said collective fans shake their heads in not mad, just disapproval.
I felt good when they finished the month of April at 5-18. I felt even better when they finished May with a record of 15-36, with more than twice the losses than they had wins. Things were even looking good when the Braves hobbled into the All-Star break at a paltry 31-58 record, a putrid win percentage of .348.
Now a .467 winning percentage is nothing to really boast about, but that’s what the Braves have played since the All-Star break, and at the time I’m writing this, they’ve gone 29-33 since the break. They’re sitting at 60-91 with 11 games to play, and even a .467 team would have difficulty in going 2-9 and securing the unholy 100-loss season.
The math simply does not favor the failure.
In other words, despite the fact that the Braves started the season on water and were once on pace to break the 120-loss record set by the Mets back in 1962, they’ve somehow found some competency and played just well enough to probably stave off a 100-loss season, for the second straight year.
Winning 100 is one of the harder feats to achieve in baseball, but apparently if you’re a sadistic Braves fan, the pursuit of losing 100 seems just as frustratingly difficult. Be it an influx of pride and determination from the players, pressure from dirty stakeholders and shareholders to not be too embarrassing of a club, the Braves have proved that striving for failure, for the sake of the future, is something that they are also incapable of achieving.
Needless to say, the Braves’ obtuse selfishness to play hard to the bitter unceremonious end has pretty much solidified that the Minnesota Twins are going to be the unanimous first pick in the 2017 draft; a well in which the Braves could very well have cashed in on an invaluable piece of the future, but instead they’ll fuck that up too, and once the crown jewel of the draft is inevitably picked by the Twins, they’ll forego all of the next best choices for some high school pitcher from LaGrange who doesn’t project to require that big of a signing bonus because despite the fact that the Braves organization is greedy, the Braves organization is also notoriously cheap; historically, they’ve missed out on numerous players who have flourished into good players, because of concerns that they’d “cost too much to sign.”
There’s way less merit to finishing in the middle of the pack as opposed to being the worst team in the league. Obviously, the worst team gets the first pick in the draft, but frankly, nobody remembers a 98-loss season. But a 100-loss season, and being the worst team in baseball? That’s something that sticks. With the organization, the fans, and even the players. It becomes a measuring stick of what not to perform near. It becomes a benchmark for fans to realize what a three game losing streak could escalate into, or when the team is doing poorly, that things could be worse. It also lets players know what kind of team performance is necessary to suck so badly.
More than just a Fight Club quote, “it isn’t until you’ve lost everything are you free to do anything,” the Braves’ stubbornness to dedicate everything to hitting bottom, is probably going to be one of those things that will prevent them from actually being able to accurately steer their way onto the road of recovery.
Other than highlights of 1995, I probably won’t live to see another Atlanta Braves championship. Or a 100-loss season.