My good buddy Tommy Duncan at Sticks of Fire took the time Monday to break the news to me that over the weekend the Philadelphia Phillies became the first American pro sports franchise to reach 10,000 losses.
"Lets put a new poll up on Sticks of Fire asking who's gonna' be the next sports team to lose 10,000 games," Tommy suggested, and include all of Tampa Bay's pro sports teams as answers.
"That poll doesn't make sense," I told Tommy. "Only one local team even has an outside shot at it and it'll take about 100 years."
"You're too damned serious," Tommy retorted.
"I'm not being serious," I told him. "I'm being logical. The Rays play 162 games in a season. The Bucs play 16. The Lightning play 82. Who do you vote for with that knowledge? Do the math."
Now, any long time local sports aficionado can tell you that it feels like Tampa Bay teams have lost over 10,000 games already. The Bucs had 14 straight double-digit losing seasons before 1996, the Lightning had back-to-back-to-back 50 loss seasons, and the Devil Rays... are the Devil Rays. In honesty, the Bucs are 193-304-1 (.388) in the team's 30 year history, the Lightning are 415-553-113-38 (.384) in 14 seasons, and the Devil Rays are 615-932 (.398) in 9+ seasons. For those of you with no calculator, that equals 1,223 wins and 1,789 losses (including OTL), and 39 ties.
Grudgingly, Tommy conceded the point (but I swear, I could hear him mumble "party pooper" under his breath), but his poll concept gave me an idea of my own: What is the next major feat to be accomplished in Tampa Bay sports?
Mentioning the Bucs kickoff-return-for-a-touchdown drought was a no-brainer to begin. The Buccaneers are oh-fer the franchise (that means the team has scored a grand total of zero (0) times on kickoff returns), making it the most renowned non-accomplishment in Tampa Bay sports.
The Rays winning their division seemed like the next choice as the team has yet to win more than 70 games in a season, let alone challenge for anything more than 4th place in Major League Baseball's AL East.
From there it got murky. The Lightning have won the Stanley Cup, they've had the league MVP, they've had the league scoring leader... They've even had the most gentlemanly player in the league! What the hell could their next challenge be? Well, seeing it took the New York Rangers 54 years between Stanley Cup championships and the current longest drought in the NHL is 40 years (held by those crazy kids in Toronto, East Canucklestan) having the Lightning win the Stanley Cup a second time seemed like a good choice.
Speaking of franchises, will Tampa Bay get an NBA team before any of the aforementioned goals are reached? What about a new Major League Soccer team? Heck, there are so many feats to add to the list that we'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments.