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MLB

Are the Cincinnati Reds on pace to be the worst MLB team in history?

One of the greatest franchises in MLB history, the Cincinnati Reds have sunk to new, and historic, depths. But are they the worst team ever fielded?

Jeffrey May
Update:
One of the greatest franchises in MLB history, the Cincinnati Reds have sunk to new, and historic, depths. But are they the worst team ever fielded?
Charles LeClaireUSA TODAY Sports

For those of us who grew up in the 70′s, yes that is a very long time ago, we will all have a place in our heart for the Big Red Machine. Johnny Bench’s Saturday morning tv show, The Baseball Bunch, got us out and practicing our drills. Pre-scandal Charlie Hustle had us sliding face first into second base. Believe it or not, that wasn’t very common back then. Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, Sr., Sparky Anderson, I mean, good Lord!

They were one of the greatest teams in the history of baseball. Ever. You know, they say that as you age, the world around you starts to look unrecognizable to you. That is certainly true now. The 2022 Cincinnati Reds are now competing to become one of the worst teams in the history of baseball. Yes, that means “ever”, too.

With an abysmal start to the season, the Reds are currently 7-24. It is early days yet, and we have yet to make it into summer proper, but if this trend continues, the Reds are on pace for a 125-loss season. That would put them into an exclusive club as one of the worst teams ever fielded.

Their current win percentage is .226 and if that holds for the season, that would make them the lowest-wining side since 1900. It isn’t quite the worst ever, since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders went 20-134 for a .130 win percentage. But that is only part of the story. The runs that they are giving up versus the runs that they are not scoring puts their run differential for this season in line to be minus 376. Again, the 1899 Spiders topped that with a minus 723, but nobody else comes close.

As unpalatable as this all is to the fans, this is actually part and parcel of the business plan enacted by owner Bob Castellini and his son Phil. They run a chop shop. It is a tried and true business model for sports franchises all over the world. Get top prospects, give them a few years playing experience, build up their value and sell them on for a profit. Strip the team for parts. Your club writhes around in the dumps and your bank account grows fat.

Recently, when asked about fan frustration, Castellini replied that he was frustrated, too. Frustrated that he couldn’t make more profit. He then floated the idea of moving the team to a bigger market. So there you have it, an owner with his finger on the pulse of his fan base. Just don’t ask which finger.

For those of us who hold The Baseball Bunch to be a sacred part of our childhood, it hurts profoundly to see the Reds so low. But it looks like that pain won’t be eased any time soon.

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