This year in sports has provided fans with some impressive milestones. The Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry have shattered team and individual records aplenty, and they're not even done yet. The Chicago Cubs are on pace to surpass every other team in baseball history for wins in a season. (They're currently operating with a 2-to-1 ratio of runs scored to runs allowed.)
And yet, in the face of this greatness, Mike Pesca cannot help but be drawn to the most miserable teams, those that have failed or continue to fail at historic levels. These teams — and the stats that illustrate their struggles — speak to Pesca at a deeper level.
"I love the terrible teams. I love the hapless. I love the desperate. I find them every bit as compelling as the great teams. Not pleasing to watch, but fascinating to ponder. So remember those stats? The fun facts I threw at you about the Warriors in the beginning? Those are nice to know. Maybe they flesh out how good the teams are. But really, it's the wins and losses that tell the story. The greatness of those teams is apparent, like a painting by Monet. But with terrible teams, like the 76ers or the Atlanta Braves, they're like a work by Francis Bacon or, better yet, Hieronymus Bosch: grotesqueries, but with fascinating texture."
Mike Pesca hosts the daily podcast, The Gist, from Slate and is a panelist on the sports podcast HANG UP AND LISTEN; which posts every Monday. Listen to Pesca's complete thoughts by clicking the play button below the headline at the top of the page.
This segment aired on May 14, 2016.