The Most Discouraging Franchises of the Last Decade
This idea isn’t as much about the worst teams over the 2004-2013 span as it is about the franchises that have done the most to strip away hope from their fans in the last decade. The surest way to do it is by losing games, but a franchise can also achieve it by lying to fans, teasing them with good teams that fall short of the World Series, hapless personnel management, and ugly public relations maneuvers. With that in mind, here’s the list I came up with for the five most discouraging franchises of the last decade. I think the Marlins clearly come in last, but there are quite a few other franchises that have worked hard to turn away their fans over the last 10 years.
5 Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals First the Montreal fans lost their team, then the D.C. fans watched two 100-loss seasons, their team crumple in the 2012 NLDS, and deep disappointment in 2013.
4 Toronto Blue Jays Their 10-year win-loss record is not terrible, but during those years, Toronto’s consistently looked up at the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays/Devil Rays. No playoff appearances since Joe Carter’s homer for a team that you can argue was the best in MLB from 1984 through ’93.
3 Chicago Cubs They won the N.L. Central twice, but got swept in the NLDS both times, have three straight 90-loss seasons, and fans saw the White Sox and Red Sox end their title droughts. It was one of the worst 10-year stretches a franchise can have, even by Cub standards.
2 Seattle Mariners After a 1995 through 2003 run of four playoff appearances and three ALCS entries that ended with four straight 90-win seasons, the M’s have been consistently dreadful. Still no World Series appearance for the franchise, which faces a growing effort by fans to depose its senior executives.
1 Florida/Miami Marlins At the end of October 2003, no one could’ve suspected this franchise would turn so sour. Right now, Jose Fernandez is about all that offsets a five-year streak of declining win totals.