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Ranking the Most Depressed MLB Fanbases So Far in 2024 Season

Kerry Miller

Getting to watch Major League Baseball nearly every day for six to seven months is awesome.

If you root for a team that's winning games or at least building toward something, that is.

For those other fanbases, however, it can get mighty depressing over the course of yet another painfully long season.

Without getting too bogged down in the definitions/terminology here, there's a fine line between a frustrated fanbase and a depressed one.

For instance, Houston fans are understandably frustrated with the team's slow start, but they still believe they can turn things around. And if they are unable to rally this season, they can take comfort in the memories of their seven consecutive ALCS appearances and the prospect of bouncing back in 2025. It was a similar situation for the New York Yankees last year.

Other fanbases aren't nearly that fortunate.

Though we've put "so far in 2024" in the headline, each of these fanbases has gone through more than just seven weeks of sorrow.

Most of them haven't had much worth getting excited about in quite some time.

Two of our 10 most depressed fanbases do cheer for teams that made the postseason in 2023. Only barely, though, and neither won a game this past October.

In fact, the most recent postseason series won by any team on this list was in 2020, when both the Oakland A's and Miami Marlins won in the wild-card round. (Suffice it to say, that feels like it happened way more than four years ago for both of those franchises.)

Not one of these 10 teams has partaken in an ALCS/NLCS since 2016, let alone a World Series.

Teams are loosely ranked in ascending order of how cruel it would be to introduce a young child to Major League Baseball by having them root for that franchise.

10. Toronto Blue Jays

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Thought about going with the San Francisco Giants here at No. 10 in light of being teased with the prospect of signing Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani, Carlos Correa, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and more over the past two offseasons, but resulting in year-round pain from what is shaping up to be a third consecutive disappointing season.

But Toronto Blue Jays fans' emotions were also seriously toyed with this past winter during the unforgettable day when Ohtani wasn't actually on that plane to Toronto, ultimately signing with the Dodgers instead.

And while the Giants have three World Series titles since 2010 to help that fanbase sleep at night, the Blue Jays haven't been to a World Series since 1993, were swept out of the wild-card round in each of their last three trips to the playoffs and are rapidly approaching a closing window with their core group.

Tripping left and right while approaching that window, we should add.

Not only is Toronto slated to lose all of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi, Danny Jansen, Justin Turner, Kevin Kiermaier, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Dan Vogelbach, Cavan Biggio and pretty much the entire bullpen to free agency between the next two offseasons, but it's also presently dead-last in the AL East and inexplicably has one of the least potent offenses in the majors.

It had at least been a decent recent ride to this point, entering 2024 on a streak of four consecutive seasons with a winning percentage of .533 or better. The only other teams in that club are the Braves and Dodgers.

Having nary a postseason victory to show for it, though, has been tough to stomach, and there may be some preemptive depression already setting in, dreading what this team might choose to do (or not do) at this year's trade deadline.

9. Cincinnati Reds

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Remember the whole "Where are you going to go?" fiasco from two years ago?

Four days into what ended up being a 100-loss season, Cincinnati Reds president and COO Phil Castellini told a frustrated fanbase in no uncertain terms to "be careful what you ask for" while basically threatening to relocate the franchise.

The team proceeded to lose 20 of its next 21 games, as that whole 2022 campaign became quite the low point of what has been a rough few decades.

Last year sparked some hope, though.

Cincinnati was supposed to be atrocious again in 2023, but a farm system that it restocked in a big way ahead of the previous summer's trade deadline delivered well ahead of schedule for a team that fell just shy of reaching the postseason. And after shoring up the pitching staff this offseason, it entered 2024 with realistic October aspirations.

However, things haven't gone remotely according to plan as of late, and the depression is flooding back in amid 15 losses in the span of 19 games.

At least there's solace to be found in the fact that the core isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The only Reds hitter reaching free agency before the 2026-27 offseason is backup catcher Luke Maile, and they've got at least three more years of team control on each of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Andrew Abbott, Alexis Diaz and other arms.

The past few weeks have stunk, but there's something long-term brewing here. That puts the Reds well ahead of the lost causes that top this list.

8. Detroit Tigers

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Figuring out where to slot the Detroit Tigers was the trickiest part of this exercise.

A few months ago, they would've had an almost irrefutable case for a spot in the top five. They were fresh off seven consecutive losing seasons—in which they paid Miguel Cabrera $212 million for 2.7 wins below replacement—and had just lost Eduardo Rodriguez to free agency while getting stuck holding the bag for four more expensive years of Javier Báez.

Only the Royals had suffered more losses than the Tigers from 2017-23, and barely so.

But now the Tigers are kind of...good?

They're still in their usual spot of gazing upward at multiple teams in the AL Central standings, but prior to Thursday, they had woken up to a .500 or better record every morning thus far this season.

It's just that Cleveland, Kansas City and Minnesota have been even better.

Tarik Skubal is a serious threat to win the AL Cy Young, if not the clear favorite for it. He's leading a pitching staff that has been one of the best in the bigs.

Riley Greene is having one heck of a year, too, though he'll need to get that batting average up if he is to be taken seriously as a candidate for AL MVP. And with Spencer Torkelson maybe finally starting to wake up at the plate, that's an exciting one-two punch, not just for this season but also for the next half-decade.

There's surely still some lingering depression/pessimism, but things are looking up for the Tigers for the first time in a long time. They are still tied with the Angels for the longest active postseason drought in baseball, but they just might be putting an end to that misfortunate run.

7. Miami Marlins

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The Miami Marlins are downright bad right now.

Really bad.

"Worst record in baseball" bad.

"Already admitted defeat and traded away arguably the most valuable player on the roster after 33 games" bad.

But can we really put this fanbase top five in the misery index when they did get to watch postseason baseball just seven months ago?

When they plausibly could have a starting rotation of Sandy Alcantara, Eury Pérez, Max Meyer, Jesús Luzardo and one of Braxton Garrett, Ryan Weathers, Edward Cabrera or Sixto Sánchez over the latter half of next season?

When this is one of just seven franchises to have won multiple World Series in the past three decades?

I appreciate that a child born early in the most recent of those championship seasons is now of legal drinking age, but do you realize how many fans would kill for one World Series in their lifetime, let alone two of them?

Even the Dodgers only have one ring since the Marlins became a franchise, so that's one of those constant bragging rights that can keep you going through the type of rough patch this franchise is presently enduring.

Still, yes, depressing times for baseball fans in South Beach.

At least the water's so clear you can see to the bottom. And hundred thousand dollar cars? Apparently everybody's got 'em. And if you're old enough to appreciate that reference to an album released in 1997, you can continue to cling to those memories of the Florida Marlins winning it all.

6. New York Mets

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When Steve Cohen took the reins in Queens nearly four years ago and immediately started spending like there's no tomorrow, it was like an injection of dopamine for a depressed Mets fanbase.

The first season under his watch was nothing special, but they won 101 games in 2022 before running up a half-billion dollar tab to ensure they didn't lose the NL East on a tiebreaker yet again.

In fairness, they didn't lose on a tiebreaker. They lost the division by a 29-game margin and embraced quite the fire sale ahead of the 2023 trade deadline—a fire sale that seemed to signal they wouldn't be putting up too much of an effort to win this season, but not enough of a fire sale to realistically pursue Shohei Ohtani this offseason, as they still somehow have the highest payroll in 2024.

The Mets did go hard in their pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but they ended up losing that bidding war to the Dodgers.

They seem to be gearing up for a massive offseason offer to Juan Soto, but will they win those sweepstakes?

And before we start worrying too much about those November-and-beyond happenings, are they legitimately a contender this year? Or are they destined for another massive fire sale with Pete Alonso headlining a long list of impending free agents?

As always, they just seem to be stuck in limbo. And having Edwin Díaz blow a save against the Phillies just two days after nearly getting no-hit by Atlanta was a sobering reminder that the Mets never get to have nice things, no matter how much they spend.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Not only have the Pittsburgh Pirates missed the postseason in each of the last eight years, but they also didn't even finish top three in the NL Central in any of the past seven.

What has to be extra upsetting for the fans growing weary of trying to care about a team that hasn't won a division in over three decades is that the Pirates are often respectable in April before bottoming out yet again.

Last year was the most tantalizing of the bunch, starting out 20-8 only to go 56-78 the rest of the way. However, they were 12-11 early in 2021 and 8-8 through 16 games in 2022 and went a combined 103-182 from there. And it looks like same old, same old this year, as a promising 9-2 start snowballed into a 19-25 mess in a hurry.

At least they're finally investing in their young players for a change, though.

They extended Mitch Keller through 2028 after previously signing Ke'Bryan Hayes through at least 2029 and Bryan Reynolds through at least 2030. They're probably already talking (at least internally) about if and when and how aggressively they want to commit to Oneil Cruz, Jared Jones and Paul Skenes for the long haul.

That takes the edge off the depression a bit, right?

Gone are the days of the Pirates basically serving as a free-agency farm system, losing guys like Barry Bonds, Gerrit Cole, Jason Bay, etc. just as they're entering their prime. At least they're building something, even if it hasn't come to fruition yet.

4. Colorado Rockies

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What exactly is the five-year plan of the Colorado Rockies?

Usually, even when things are going horribly awry for a perennial last-place franchise, you can squint and see what they had in mind; be that a contender which didn't come together as designed or a rebuild that is at least vaguely pointed in a forward direction.

But with the Rockies? I got nothing.

The 2024 team payroll of $144.5 million is below the league average of $165 million, but it still ranks 16th in the majors for no apparent reason, as they never had any hope of contending this season.

The Colorado farm system also ranks somewhere around 16th depending on who you ask, but it's top heavy with hitters when what they have desperately needed since their 1993 inception is pitching. Not only are they unable to consistently retire opposing hitters today, but there's no foreseeable tomorrow when they'll be able to do so, either.

The Nolan Arenado trade, the Trevor Story non-trade and the $182 million contract given to Kris Bryant was a three-pronged disaster of poor decisions that this club is continually paying for, and the only tangible light at the end of the tunnel is that 22-year-old shortstop Ezequiel Tovar is pretty damn good.

Whether the Rockies will actually accomplish anything or re-sign him before he hits free agency at the end of 2028 is another story.

Say this much for them, though: People still show up.

They've pretty consistently ranked in the top half of the majors in attendance despite never once winning their division.

For the 2024 home opener on a Friday afternoon against Tampa Bay, Coors Field was at 96 percent capacity with more than 48,000 people on hand for Ryan McMahon's walk-off grand slam.

The announced attendance for every Colorado home game has been north of 18,000, as it has managed to make and maintain going to Rockies games an enjoyable experience, even when the team sucks out loud.

3. Chicago White Sox

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With one World Series title (2005) and just eight postseason appearances dating back to 1920, it has never been a particularly great time to be a Chicago White Sox fan.

Even by this franchise's low-bar standards, though, things are particularly bleak these days.

Their M.O. for the better part of a century has been languishing in sub-mediocrity—not terrible, but not good, either. You have to go back to 1931-32 to find the last (and only) time they had a sub-.400 winning percentage in consecutive seasons.

But after going 61-101 (.377) last year, the White Sox are well on pace for the worst season in franchise history, currently sitting at 14-30 (.318) even after a recent flourish of wins.

They also traded away ace Dylan Cease in mid-March when he had two years of team control remaining—all but outright conceding they have no intentions of contending in 2025, either.

From afar, we applauded the Cease move, as we did the decisions to trade away Gregory Santos in February, Aaron Bummer in November and the collection of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman, Keynan Middleton and Jake Burger at last summer's deadline. It all helped them revamp what had been a terrible farm system, improving to the third-best in baseball, per our Joel Reuter's rankings from one month ago.

However, let me tell you as someone who sat in the DMV area and watched the Nationals crater and trade away the likes of Juan Soto, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and more to expedite their rebuild in recent years that making smart long-term moves provides little to no solace in the short term.

We can, from the outside, start to see a brighter tomorrow for the White Sox, but they're still stuck under a years-long rain cloud.

That said, if they trade away Luis Robert Jr. this summer and/or take any steps closer to relocating the franchise to Nashville, things could get considerably more depressing on the Southside.

2. Los Angeles Angels

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The Los Angeles Angels should have had it all, simultaneously employing two once-in-a-generation superstars for a six-year window.

Mike Trout won AL Rookie of the Year in 2012 and was voted AL MVP in each of 2014, 2016 and 2019. He finished top five in that vote for nine consecutive years.

Then along came Shohei Ohtani, winning his AL ROY in 2018 and his AL MVPs in 2021 and 2023.

In 2022, the former hit 40 home runs; the latter bashed 34 dingers while also making 28 starts with a 2.33 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 11.9 K/9.

What a dream it must have been to have them together on the same team.

But they lost 89 games that season and have not had a single winning season since 2015.

Trout has yet to experience a victory in the postseason, and Ohtani had to relocate across town to the Dodgers in pursuit of his first taste of October baseball.

All they have to show for their time with Ohtani is a compensatory, second-round draft pick this summer, and perhaps an upcoming decade worth of fans still wearing Ohtani merch to the ballpark, since there's no one (aside from Trout) left on the roster whose jersey is worth spending a few hundred dollars to get.

The high-priced players are incessantly injured and not getting any younger. The farm system is arguably the worst in baseball. There's just not much worth rooting for or reason to believe it's going to change any time soon.

Fans were teased with the prospect of Arte Moreno selling the team, which could have meant some foundational changes to their annual approach to building a team. But, nah, he decided he's around for the long term.

At least the franchise isn't moving, though. They might be terrible today, but at least the fans won't need to move to watch their team in 2025, and again in 2028. That keeps the Halos from snaring the No. 1 spot.

1. Oakland Athletics

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On the one hand, the Oakland A's haven't been the basement-dwelling dumpster fire everyone expected them to be. They've actually spent most of the season in third place in the AL West and mathematically could be one great week away from storming into top spot in the division.

However, against the backdrop of the franchise about to relocate to Sacramento for three seasons before ultimately moving to Las Vegas, this not-completely-horrendous start to the year is roughly as joy-inducing as the musicians who continued to play on the deck of the Titanic.

Depressed isn't even the right word for A's fans.

They're detached.

They've been forcibly displaced.

And they're just done with a franchise that threw in the towel a little over two years ago.

Take the recent home games against the Texas Rangers, for example.

Most fanbases have been excited to watch their team take on the reigning champions. During Texas' 10-game road trip earlier this month, the average attendance for the three-game set in Kansas City was a little north of 24,000. For the subsequent series in Colorado, it was over 35,000.

Even for a Monday-Wednesday series early in the year in notoriously sparsely populated Tropicana Stadium, Tampa Bay managed to turn out nearly 15,000 fans per game.

For Texas' May 6 series opener in Oakland, though? The announced attendance was 2,895.

They may have been counting possums, too.


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