The Salina Stockade have a really bad record.
In fact, a recent article from The Ringer highlighted the team as the worst pro baseball team of 2017. The Kansas team finished its season with 18 wins and 72 losses.
Daniel Aldrich is a former player and current manager for the team. The way he described it on KCUR's Central Standard, he doesn't view the season as a total failure.
"And that's the story that I want to tell — is a team that started out 2-35. I mean, that's got to be a historical pace," Aldrich said. "And by the end of the season, we had teams up against the ropes almost every night. We were playing clean baseball despite all of the things we had against us."
The Salina Stockade was formed last year to replace a franchise that folded last minute in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. Aldrich said while other teams in the Pecos League had two-week spring trainings, the Stockade had two days.
"They needed an easy fix, and we were it," Aldrich said.
The makeshift team had a challenging season alongside its grueling record. Aldrich said the Stockade’s home stadium didn’t meet the league’s standards, so its players spent almost all of the season on the road.
“We knew what we were up against. We weren't going to have the fan support or any support really,” Aldrich said. “We knew it was going to be a tough season, and it definitely tested our mettle.”
The team significantly improved toward the end of its season, but those wins came after a few grueling losses.
"We were in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and I think we lost all three games by double digits. We'd gotten smacked around a little bit before that, but that was about the worst it got," Aldrich said.
At the beginning of the season, the Stockade’s had 2 wins and 40 losses, but they finished the season with 18 wins. Aldrich said if you consider those wins paired with the team’s close losses, the Stockades actually had a remarkable turnaround.
“I think if you read between the lines on the statistics and the record and see the improvement that we made, I think it tells a different story,” Aldrich said.
Danielle Hogerty is an intern for KCUR’s Central Standard.