readers forum, sports

The Agony Of Defeat: The Thirteenth Voreblog Readers Forum


The Pittsburgh Pirates recently achieved notoriety for becoming the first North American professional sports team — ever — to post a losing record for seventeen straight seasons. Then they went out the next night and set another dubious record by allowing eight consecutive lead-off hits to the Cubs, prompting Pirates manager John Russell to say, “I’ve never really seen anything like that, but it happened.” Finally, the Buccos capped off their series yesterday with an 8-5 loss, their 12th in 13 games.

Matt Masterson recently posed the question, “What’s worse … being a Bengals fan or being a Pirates fan?” This led us to wonder: Are there things even worse than being a Bengals or Pirates fan? I mean, we’ve got Cubs fans out there. We’ve got Cleveland fans of all stripes. Maybe some of you are sadly devoted to the Washington Generals for all we know.

Is it better to suffer in crushing sub-mediocrity for seventeen years (see Pirates, Bengals, Los Angeles Clippers, Dennis Kucinich)? Or to flirt with success — even a championship! — but fall short (see Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Utah Jazz, Johnny Lawrence)?

Ponder those questions as you reflect on this gallery of losers!


“I let everyone down and NBC cancelled Kings!”


“And I missed the last episode!”


“We play at Madison Square Garden and make millions!”


“It has just now occurred to me that life is cruel.”


“I can’t believe Senate Democrats caved on the public option!”


“I am a shell of a man. And I’m out of beef jerky.”


“They say pain is weakness leaving the body, but it feels to me like a demonic squirrel fatally puncturing my carotid artery.”


We are not sure who is winning and who is losing in this picture.


“Don’t blame me … I voted for Wendell Willkie!”


Humanity Fail.


This is tragic on so many levels.


C’mon, wallow in self-pity — comment now!


14 thoughts on “The Agony Of Defeat: The Thirteenth Voreblog Readers Forum

  1. I will now make my argument why being a Bengals fan is the worst of all hells to live in:

    1. Since becoming owner Mike Brown have gone 101-187-1 for a stunning .349 winning percentage. This is the worst for any major sports franchise in that 18 years (that includes the Pirates).

    2. The Bengals have not won a playoff game in the 18 years Brown has been owner.

    3. The Bengals have NEVER won a Championship.

    4. From 2005-2006 the Bengals had 10 players arrested in a 14-month span.

    5. The Taxpayers of Hamilton Co. have paid $458,000,000 for the Bengals stadium which has never seen a playoff win. Not only do they suck but they have the single best stadium deal of ALL TIME!

    6. And for those that think the Bengals have had some success recently… since the playoff game against the Steelers in 2005 the Bengals have put together a 19-34-1 record.

    On top of all of this unlike Pirates fans who are likely to be Steelers and Penguins fans, the Reds have also sucked since 1996.

    WHO DEY!

  2. 1. I greatly appreciate that you included a photo of (arguably) the biggest win ever for UK football.

    2. I greatly appreciate that you managed to get a Wendell Wilkie reference into this post.

    Matt- You forgot #7. Two days ago, on this very blog, I referred to all Bengals fans as douchebags. I have received no argument from anyone disputing that statement. They don’t even have the strength left to fight it.

    I came to that conclusion after attending a Bengals/Packers game a few years back. Once it was certain that the Bengals were going to win, their fans continued to trash talk to all of the Packers fans in attendance. I thought to myself then “Wouldn’t it be fitting for the Bengals to soon begin a decline into the absolute laughing stocks of not only the NFL but, possibly, the entirety of professional sports”.


  3. Mike – the douchebag level at Bengals games is extremely high. As a Bengals fan I am often embarrassed by other Bengals fans. So no I will not deny it. Perhaps the most remarkable part of your post was the statement, “Once it was certain that the Bengals were going to win…” I cannot remember a game in the last 18 years where it was certain the Bengals were going to win.

  4. I’d also like to add a comment that Who Dey has to be the worst most obnoxious, dare we call it a cheer?, in all of NFL Football. And this coming from a Steelers fan who knows a thing or two about being obnoxious.

    Ben- I don’t understand why you don’t just start cheering for the Pens and Steelers as well. Sure the Pirates suck, but Pirates games are more about an ice cold ahron (Iron City for you non-‘burghers) and a dog than they are about baseball. Sure I’d love to see a winning Pirates team, but I’d certainly rather cheer for the losing Pirates than be stuck saying ‘Who Dey’ and cheering for the Bungles.

  5. Reason #1 I needed to get out of Cincinnati: Who Dey.

    That noise is intolerable. And this is coming from a Cubs fan, who has witnessed more than his share of boorish behavior. And that, “Go, Cubs, Go” song? God awful. But I support the team nonetheless.

    Also, another reason to hate Cincinnati’s teams: The Reds blowing it against the Rockies last night, preventing the Cubs from catching up in the wild card race.

  6. Yes, Bengals fans are poor, sad, hapless souls forever married to a man (Mike Brown) who not only will never love them back, but will also charge $458 million on the credit card they co-signed.

    I don’t understand you, Bengals fans, but I will acknowledge that it must really suck to be you.

    What gives Pirates fans the edge in misery is the way Pittsburgh began this dismal 17-year slide. I’ve never seen a more heartbreaking loss than Game 7 of the 92 NL Championship. I was that kid in the Oklahoma shirt pictured above.

    Nevertheless, I think we can acknowledge that we — Bengals and Pirates fans alike — are kindred spirits who could exchange alcohol-soaked tales of woe til the cows come home.

    Emily — I will never find room in my heart to love the Steelers. And I don’t really care about hockey. So Pittsburgh’s other titles are cold comfort.

    Matthew — You make no case for the tragic existence of Cubs fans. Are we to assume none can be made?

    I thought for sure you Cubs fans would be all over this.

  7. Honestly, sir, we Cubs fans are so used to the “agony of defeat” that it doesn’t even shock us when it happens. I’ve been prepared for failure since I was four, thanks to the Cubs. When Leon Durham made that error in 1984, we were not shocked. The Giants sweep in 1989 was typical. 1998 was all about Sosa, the playoffs were just a bonus. When Bartman lunged for that ball, and Gonzalez botched the grounder in 2003, I didn’t budge from my seat, expression did not change. And when the god awful James Loney smashed that grand slam last year, I considered it another day in the life.

    You see, I refuse to wallow in any self-pity. To love this team is to expect the worst. I don’t necessarily see this as tragic. It’s admirable, even. That’s true love, to care so much about something, KNOWING that it will never return the favor. That’s as selfless of an action as you’re going to get. Well, that and dying for the sins of humanity, but whatever.

  8. And unlike the Bengals and Pirates, the Cubs organization is run pretty well. They spend money when they need to and seem to honestly care about their fans. What this comes down to is just bad luck and the weight of millions of fans on those players’ shoulders. I couldn’t handle that pressure, could you?

  9. Although I don’t quite share Mr. Leathers’ fatalism, I think he nailed what it’s like to be a Cubs fan. I would only add that no other fans (save the ones in Cleveland) have to deal with the curse blarney that Cubs fans do. When the Chicago National League Ball Club came so tantalizingly close to nirvana in 2003, Fox thought it would be cute to enter and exit all of its studio bits by having a goat run across the screen. Classy. I don’t believe in curses, but until the Cubs win it all, I’m afraid I’m going to have to talk about how I don’t believe in them.

    Making things worse is that the other “cursed” franchise has recently won TWO World Series and is now the model for how to run a baseball team. It certainly didn’t help that those guys who play in the south part of Chicago won it all, as well.

    But none of this compares to what it must feel like to be a Seattle Supersonics fan. I mean, can you imagine? The league and the soulless owners conspire to steal the team, using an anemic and phony excuse, and meanwhile the team just so happens to include the best young player this side of Derrick Rose. I was a Browns fan until Modell happened, and when the Ravens won the Super Bowl I spent eighteen straight days puking. When Durant inevitably takes his team to the top, it will be like that for Sonics fans, only much, much, much worse.

    Poor Paul Brogan.

  10. Ben – Let me counter your point Pirates fans having it worse than Bengals fans because of how it all began. If you remember correctly the Bengals lost a Super Bowl in the last minute and since that time have basically done nothing. So Bengals fans know a little something about a tragic loss in the last seconds of a game.

    And to answer the questions about why Bengals fans remain Bengals fans… it’s because it’s all we know. You grow up knowing the misery and you die knowing the misery. It’s how it is.

  11. This really is a perverse pissing contest. “My team has made me more miserable!” “No, mine has!” Yes, the Super Bowl loss undoubtedly scarred you and other young Bengals fans alike in ways much like the 92 game did me. Can we measure and compare the exquisiteness of our pain and declare one greater than the other? Probably not. Unless, by some miracle, the NFL and MLB agreed to let the two teams play. They could dub it The Misery Bowl Series of Despair. Then we could all throw eggs at Mike Brown and Sid Bream after the game. You gotta admit, that would be pretty cathartic.

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