It’s a marathon, not a race
The beauty of the Major League Baseball season is that a bad April doesn’t ruin dreams in October. With a 162-game schedule, teams have an opportunity to find themselves before becoming championship material. In fact, much like betting at the best online casino, taking a few spins to figure out the best approach adds a little excitement to the proceedings.
With the MLB season just starting to get underway, there are plenty of reasons for teams that start slow not to panic. A few adjustments, a change in managerial positions or adding a few pieces at the trade deadline can make all the difference between a losing season and winning the World Series. Here’s a look at a few teams that righted the ship.
The Miami Marlins have a wonderfully bizarre existence as a franchise. Since coming into the league in 1993, the franchise has never won a National League East title, but has won the World Series twice. In 2003, the Marlins appeared to be headed nowhere.
The then-Florida Marlins started the season 16-22 and fired manager Jeff Torborg, replacing him with 73-year-old Jack McKeon. McKeon didn’t right the ship right away, as the Marlins sunk to 19-29 following a six-game losing streak. However, Florida rallied behind its excellent pitching staff.
Josh Beckett, who would finish the season 9-8 with a 3.04 ERA, would become a postseason hero after being average in the regular season. Brad Penn, Mark Redman and Dontrelle Willis tied for a team-high 14 wins. The Marlins would finish the season 91-71 to grab a Wild Card spot.
Florida would then topple the San Francisco Giants 3-1 and the Chicago Cubs 4-2 to reach teh World Series. Beckett would go on to be named World Series MVP as the Marlins beat the New York Yankees 4-2 in the World Series. McKeon would be named manager of the year.
We are Family
The Pittsburgh Pirates, long before they became the MLB’s longest-running joke, were among the best teams in baseball in the 1970s. During the 1979 season, the Pirates were six games below .500 in mid-May and didn’t get above .500 for good until they beat Chicago 9-2 on May 30 to improve to 22-21 on May 30.
Pittsburgh never looked back after its slow start. The Pirates’ consistent play chased down the Montreal Expos for first place and finished the season 98-64 and won the NL East crown. Pittsburgh then swept rival Cincinnati in the NL Championship series. That set up a meeting with the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, which was a rematch of the 1971 Fall Classic.
The second meeting wasn’t too much different from the first. Both series had gone seven games. Pittsburgh would win the World Series thanks to a home run from Willie Stargell, who shared the NL MVP with St. Louis Cardinals’ Keith Hernandez and was the World Series MVP, in Game 7.
Stargell led the Pirates with 32 home runs and drove in 82 RBIs. Right fielder Dave Parker also support Stargell with 25 home runs and drove in 94 runs.
April struggles stretch until August
The 2021 Atlanta Braves didn’t get above .500 for good until they beat Washington 5-4 on August 8 to reach 57-56. But once the Braves had a taste for success, Atlanta didn’t have any problems crushing the rest of the NL East. The Braves finished the year 88-73, 6.5-games in front of Philadelphia to win the division.
Atlanta dropped the first game of the NLDS before winning three straight to send the Milwaukee Brewers packing. In the NLCS, the Braves went 3-0 on their home field to send the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers packing in a six-game series. Atlanta then went on to bulldoze the Houston Astros in six games. The Braves beat up Houston 7-0 in Game 6 to clinch their first World Series title since 1995 and fourth in franchise history.
Atlanta was able to win partially on the strength of its youthful bats. Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies, who are both 24, led the team by driving in 107 and 106 runs, respectively. Veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman also belted 31 home runs and collected 86 RBIs for the Braves.