The worst five-year run in sports
Over the last twenty years, we have witnessed a trend in sports. The trend shows that winning is contagious. During this time period, we have seen cities—with more than one professional team—ride the momentum of other teams located within the same area.
It all started with Boston and their team, the New England Patriots. Shortly after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2002, the Red Soxs, Bruins and Celtics all won championships. While some attribute this to luck or coincidence, I do not find these factors to be the case. My reasoning behind this belief stems from what we have now seen also happen in Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. These cities pose a clear rippling effect of winning in their programs.
At the same time, however, losing can be just as contagious as winning for a city. The heartbreaking losses that a city suffers in one sport has been shown to affect the other sports located in that city.
Taking this into account, I would like to give a city the credit it deserves. No, I do not want to highlight the achievements of Boston or Chicago. Instead, I would like to recognize the city of St. Louis for having one of the worst five-year runs in sports history. This type of recognition does not merit a trophy, but instead a column, written by a fan who was present for it all.
It all began in 2013…
Cardinals lose the World Series to the Boston Red Sox:
The Cardinals were coming off a great series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the N.L. Championship. If you remember correctly, that series was where people started discussing whether Clayton Kershaw could pitch in the playoffs—what good times. The actual World Series itself was painful for any Cardinals fan to watch. I like to think of this event as the catalyst that jump-started this whole rut we are now in.
2014: Sam Braford re-tears his ACL in back-to-back seasons:
The former “first-overall selection” from Oklahoma might have one of the biggest “what if” careers in NFL history. Before he was being traded around the league, Bradford gave the city of St. Louis hope. In his rookie season, he led the Rams to a 7-9 record where they ended within one game of making the playoffs. Maybe it was bad luck—or me telling everyone the Rams were back—but Bradford would never sustain that success. In 2013, Bradford tore his ACL in a game against the Panthers and would miss the remainder of the season.
This story doesn’t end with a happy ending. In pre-season the following year, Bradford re-tore his ACL and the rams eventually traded him for Nick Foles; yeah, the guy who just won Super Bowl MVP. Don’t worry, we cut him. You’re welcome Philly.
2015: St. Louis Blues win the central, followed by an upset in six games by Minnesota in the first Round:
If you remember from that year, the St. Louis Blues were one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They were led by Olympic hero T.J. Oshie and upcoming superstar Vladimir Tarasenko. As we headed into this series, many were speculating about a potential meeting in the next round against the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course, with high expectations, the Blues were upset in the first round. Maybe the Minnesota Wild were the better team, or maybe the Blues were just cursed. I feel better admitting to the curse, but I will let you be the judge.
2015: Cardinals lose in first round of the playoffs to the Chicago Cubs:
The Cardinals finished the 2015 regular season with the best record in baseball. The first-round collapse was a little surprising at the time but showed promise with the young Cubs roster. For the fans of St. Louis, the collapse was magnified because it was the Cubs—our biggest rival. However, I am not bitter at all. I won’t even mention that the Cubs got swept in the next round because that would be off topic and unnecessary.
2016: The Rams relocate to Los Angeles:
This one hurt the most of all for fans of St. Louis. When St. Louis initially received the Rams in 1995, there was always the threat of departure. This led many to believe that the Rams should have never gone there to begin with.
2017: Rams make the playoffs after 11 consecutive losing seasons in St. Louis:
The Rams only had success in the early stage of their arrival. After that, it was over a decade of bad records and early draft pics. The fans of St. Louis were split on whether or not to even like the Rams anymore. I am happy that the Rams made the playoffs, but it feels wrong. It feels like two friends of mine got divorced, and now they want me to pick a side.
2018: Currently, and yet to come:
The Blues began the year as one of the hottest teams in the NHL and with the best record in the Western Conference. Due to the Blues’ curse—or the Mike Yeo effect—the Blues went 4-8 in the month of February. As a result, the Blues waved the white flag and traded away Paul Stastny. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, the Blues got me all excited that they might secure that last Wildcard spot. The Blues were eliminated in the last game of the season and missed the playoffs. This brings us to present day, and the trends seems to be continuing. However, all things come to an end, eventually. I hope…
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