This year's Phillies aren't as awful as tradition would suggest, but they can't fight history. From their perch a respectably mediocre two games over .500, they can see a new milestone: 10,000 losses. The Times visits Philadelphia, where the baseball has been so bad for so long that the never-before-accomplished feat lies a mere 14 defeats away.
The Phillies have operated in the same city, under the same name, for longer than any other professional sports team—125 years. And for most of those years, they've been colossally bad. Fans speak of violence, of destiny, and even of the glass-half-full perspective. Says one sports-radio host, "We might be first to 10,000, but we’re first in something."