December 03, 2009
So here's a question: If Joe Orsulak and Mike Boddicker are sitting around a case of champagne right now — and really, why wouldn't they be? — will they crack it open once their ignominious record is safe or once it is surpassed by those lowly Nets?
I would venture to say the latter because the constant comparisons to other pro sports teams who go down like a burning zeppelin out of the gate have to be getting pretty tiresome. As you might remember, the 1988 Orioles lost their first 21 games of the season, setting a record for a pro sports franchise and becoming fodder for wise aleck columnists like Tony Kornheiser and a national punchline in the process. (If you're a certain age, you remember that Michael Jackson glove joke. If you're not, you've heard it about another team.)
More than 20 years later, the '88 O's are still the standard bearer for downright bad debuts and will be the first team mentioned unless the Nets have four more losses in them before their first victory. (Though they should get at least one against the next four teams — Bobcats, Knicks, Bulls and Warriors — right?)
Back to comparing the losing streaks of the O's and Nets: During my spring training rounds in 2008, I asked members of the Rockies to compare their run at the end of the 2007 season to a huge winning streak that the Houston Rockets were on. Matt Holliday(notes) and Co. remained pretty noncommittal — both were great accomplishments, they said — but I concluded that the random "any given day" nature of baseball, combined with the do-or-die playoff consequences that were facing the team, gave the Rockies the edge on being impressive.
I'm not sure if the '88 Orioles or '09 Nets suck more — I'm not the NBA expert around here — but I'm guessing that Larry Sheets is sitting at his awesome amusement park in Carroll County while desperately hoping the Nets put the debate to bed with 10 more losses.