Last night the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the New York Mets - their 82nd loss of the year - clinching a losing season. It took the Phils five years to fall from World Champs to a losing team. They did it one notch at a time.
In 2008, they took care of the Rays in the World Series, becoming champs for the first time since 1980. In 2009 they fell one notch, this time losing the World Series to the Yanks. In 2010 they lost the NLCS to the Giants. In 2011 they lost the NLDS to the Cards. In 2012 they failed to win the division. In 2013 they end up with a losing record.
The Phillies' fall was gradual, but steady. Champs to chumps in five years.
The Giants, of course, only took five weeks to accomplish the same thing. After their second world championship in three years, the G-men were once again in first place in mid-to-late May, with one of the best records in baseball. It took only five weeks, from late May to early July, to find themselves in the NL West cellar, where they have spent most of the season. Which team will recover first? What's a worse way to lose? A total collapse or a slow fade?