Remember 2014? It wasn't that long ago.
The world moves fast, though. Success in sports can be very fleeting. Two examples in the here and now would be the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals.
Those two teams squared off in the American League Championship Series in 2014. Baseball's final four. Hell, the Royals won the World Series in 2015 and the Orioles were an AL wild-card team in 2016.
Now, they are dregs.
It's not a coincidence I bring this up right now. Entering Tuesday's action, both sit at 34-78, tied for the worst record in baseball. If that looks particularly atrocious, it's because it is.
That record is good for a .304 winning percentage. That's a 162-game pace of 49 wins and -- brace yourself -- 113 losses.
The Orioles have only lost 100 games twice (not counting the St. Louis Browns era). The Orioles record for losses in a season is 107. The Royals franchise has seen four 100-loss seasons, but the record is "just" 106 (2005).
The Orioles have won six pennants and three World Series in 65 years in Baltimore. The Royals have won four pennants and two World Series in 50 years of existence.
Basically, these are two historically pretty good franchises putting up historically awful seasons just four years after playing for the AL title.
In fact, here are the teams with the most losses in the 162-game era, along with the pace of these two teams.
- 1962 Mets, 120 losses
- 2003 Tigers, 119 losses
- 2018 Royals, 113 losses*
- 2018 Orioles, 113 losses*
- 1965 Mets, 112 losses
- 2013 Astros, 111 losses
- 2004 Diamondbacks, 111 losses
- 1963 Mets, 111 losses
- 1969 Expos, 110 losses
- 1969 Padres, 110 losses
Remember some of those teams? Just dreadful. The Royals and Orioles right now are worse than both.
The Orioles are 44 1/2 games out in the AL East and -- get this! -- their elimination number in the division is only six. It's Aug. 7!
The Royals have an MLB-worst negative-202 run differential.
It's bad. It's terrible. It's awful.
For what it's worth, SportsLine has the Royals with just a five percent chance of winning fewer than 50 games (with a projection of 55-107) and the Orioles had just a 19 percent chance (with a projection of 51-111). That we're even running simulations to see if they end up with fewer than 50 wins in a 162-game schedule pretty much says it all, right?
And these two franchises were playing for the biggest crown less than four years ago. Fleeting, for sure.