At the end of this season, the Washington Nationals finished as the worst team in baseball, with a record of 59-103 (0.364). To add insult to injury, the Baltimore Orioles finished as the worst team in the American League, 64-98 (0.395). So if you had the misfortune to watch all the Orioles and Nationals games on MASN, you saw a combined record of 123-201 (0.380).
This set me to wondering how bad this really is. In most two-team markets, when one team is up, the other one is down, right? Well, not always. I went looking through the season standings in Retrosheet, searching for two teams in the same market that finished at the bottom of the division.
For our purposes, I defined a
market as two teams close enough together so that TV viewers could watch both teams over the air, even if TV didn't exist in the year in question. Thus we include Baltimore/Washington, Los Angeles/Anaheim, and San Francisco/Oakland, not to mention Chicago/Chicago, and, historically, St. Louis/St. Louis, Boston/Boston, and New York/New York/Brooklyn.
The table below shows all the years I found two teams in the same market being at the bottom. You'd think divisional play would have increased the chances for this sort of thing, but in 40 years it has only happened three times, and neither Baltimore 2008 nor San Francisco/Oakland 1995 were at the bottom of their respective leagues, only their divisions.
Looking at this list, I begin to understand why Philadelphia fans have a reputation for being so mean.
|Year||Worst Team||W||L||Pct.||Other Team||W||L||Pct.||Tot. W||Tot. L||Pct.|
|1919||Phil. AL||36||104||.257||Phil. NL||47||90||.343||83||194||.300|
|1942||Phil. NL||42||109||.278||Phil. AL||55||99||.357||97||208||.318|
|1906||Bos. AL||49||105||.318||Bos. NL||49||102||.325||98||207||.321|
|1945||Phil. NL||46||108||.299||Phil. AL||52||98||.347||98||206||.322|
|1938||Phil. NL||45||105||.300||Phil. AL||53||99||.349||98||204||.325|
|1921||Phil. NL||51||103||.331||Phil. AL||51||103||.331||102||206||.331|
|1940||Phil. NL||50||103||.327||Phil. AL||54||100||.351||104||203||.339|
|1941||Phil. NL||43||111||.279||Phil. AL||64||90||.416||107||201||.347|
|1936||Phil. AL||53||100||.346||Phil. NL||54||100||.351||107||200||.349|
|1913||StL NL||51||99||.340||StL AL||57||96||.373||108||195||.356|
|1920||Phil. AL||48||106||.312||Phil. NL||62||91||.405||110||197||.358|
|1929||Bos. NL||56||98||.364||Bos. AL||58||96||.377||114||194||.370|
|1922||Bos. NL||53||100||.346||Bos. AL||61||93||.396||114||193||.371|
|1948||Chi AL||51||101||.336||Chi NL||64||90||.416||115||191||.376|
|2009||Wash. NL||59||103||.364||Balt. AL||64||98||.395||123||201||.380|
|2008||Wash. NL||59||102||.366||Balt. AL||68||93||.422||127||195||.394|
|1995||SF NL||67||77||.465||Oak. AL||67||77||.465||134||154||.465|