The Arizona Diamondbacks have lost 11 games in a row. The last time they lost that many consecutive games was back in the hell-storm which was the 2004 season. From July 9-25, they actually lost fourteen games in a row. We could match that by the end of this series on Sunday. So that’s something to get excited about... But the 2004 streak was a bit different. When it began, the D-backs were already in last place, 161⁄2 games back in the NL West. The campaign hadn’t begun that badly; 26 games in, slugger Richie Sexson had provided one of the franchise’s all-time moments, and the team were a respectable 12-14, only four games back of the Dodgers and Giants.
But Sexson tore his shoulder apart on a checked swing, and was done after ninety at-bats (and nine home-runs!) for Arizona. Things cratered rapidly thereafter. Indeed, there had already been an eleven-game losing streak before The Big One. From June 18-29, the Diamondbacks were 0-11, including a spell of four times in five games where the opposition were walk-off winners. That dumped the team into the NL West’s basement, and they spent just one day out of it the rest of the way. They had one winning streak of more than two games - they won three - and were overall 39-97 after the semi-decent start. Things peaked with the fourteen consecutive losses in July.
The team was swept in five straight series, losing on the road in San Francisco, before coming home to Bank One Ballpark to be swept by Los Angeles, SF again. Houston and Colorado. Most of the games weren’t very close, either: half of the defeats were by margins of five or more runs. But like this 2021 team, they had chances to end the run. On July 15, the first game back after the All-Star break, when the streak was just three, Arizona were 3-0 up going into the eighth against the Dodgers, and lost 4-3. But the closest the team came to victory was two days later. They led 6-4 after eight innings, but a two-run homer by Robin Ventura off Brian Bruney with one out in the ninth gave LA a 7-6 win.
Like all losing streaks, this one did eventually come to an end. In this case, it was immediately after the end of the 11-game homestand, where Arizona lost every game. They went to Houston, and with one out in the top of the first, Scott Hairston and Luis Gonzalez hit back-to-back homeruns. That was good enough, as Brandon Webb pitched one-run ball into the eighth inning, and Danny Bautista added some insurance with a two-run single in the ninth. The D-backs won 4-1, and the nightmare was over. Well, kinda. There was still a nine-game losing streak to come in August, and a seven-game one in September. But after you’ve lost fourteen in a row, those barely count.
It’s a losing run which has not been equaled in the National League since, with the Reds (2006) and Pirates (2015) coming closest, each enduring 13 defeats in a row. There have been longer in the American League, most notably the Kansas City Royals, who lost nineteen straight games during the 2005 campaign. I sincerely hope that’s a mark which the Diamondbacks don’t quite challenge. But let’s take a look at what life was like seventeen years ago, the last time the Diamondbacks had such a terrible streak.
- Zack Greinke and Yadier Molina had just made their debuts, in May and June respectively. The 24-year-old Albert Pujols, meanwhile, was already in his fourth season. Sorry, make that:
- During the streak, I, Robot was the top movie at the box-office.
- Geraldo Perdomo, the youngest Diamondback this year, was four.
- Usher had both the #1 and #2 songs on the Billboard Top 100, with Burn and Confessions Part II
- Gas cost $1.95 a gallon. It was actually cheaper than that last April. Now? Not so much.
- Billie Eilish was two.
- The nation was still struggling to come to terms with the sight of Janet Jackson’s nipple during the Super Bowl.
- Torey Lovullo managed the Kinston Indians of the Carolina League to an 88-50 record and the championship.
- Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in federal prison.
- The Boston Red Sox were on the way to their first World Series title since 1918.
- Something called a “Facebook” had started in February that year. However, it was only available to Harvard University students, and was clearly never going to amount to anything.
- There was no SnakePit. At the time, I had a blog, But It’s A DRY Heat..., which was used as a coping mechanism to avoid me burdening Mrs. SnakePit with my opinions regarding the terrible team.