Dan's Dugout: Parity Damps Down Dynasty Talk • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Parity Damps Down Dynasty Talk


Baseball once had dynasties: teams that dominated their leagues convincingly over long periods of time.

Several come to mind.

The New York Yankees, with a record 28 world championships from 1923-2009, won five straight World Series from 1949-53 and five in six years from 1936-41.

Brooklyn won its lone world championship in 1955

Brooklyn won its lone world championship in 1955

The Brooklyn Dodgers pilfered six pennants and one World Series from 1947-56.

Don’t forget the St. Louis Cardinals, fueled by the Gashouse Gang, and winners of three World Series and two National League pennants from 1926-34.

Charley Finley’s Oakland Athletics took three straight world titles sandwiched around a pair of divisional titles from 1972-74.

More currently, the San Francisco Giants are on track to take their fourth straight world championship in an even-numbered year (2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016).

Even the early Chicago Cubs, whose four pennants in the five-year stretch from 1906-1910 produced back-to-back world championships, should also be considered in any discussion of dynasties.

The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908

The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908

And so they were when authors of four popular baseball books teamed for a panel discussion called “Reign Men” at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, NJ.

Marty Appel, author of Pinstripe Empire, served as moderator. He was joined by Howard Megdal, who wrote The Cardinals Way; former AP colleague Hal Bock, whose latest work is The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty; and this columnist, author of When the Braves Ruled the Diamond: Fourteen Flags Over Atlanta.

All four wondered whether the era of dynasties could be over.

There are too many factors against such sustained excellence, primarily a complex playoff system that allows 10 of the 30 teams to reach the playoffs and often prohibits the best teams from reaching the World Series — let alone winning it.

Commissioner Manfred loves parity

Commissioner Manfred loves parity

With Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred trumpeting about parity, the corporate and television honchos who run the game like to see new winners every year.

If parity truly trumps dynasty, should we count out the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets in a rematch of last year’s World Series?

The wild-card is certainly a wild card: two teams with non-championship percentages hold a one-game playoff for the wild card with the winner advancing to the Division Series and potentially the League Championship Series and World Series.

In 2002 and 2014, both teams in the Fall Classic were wild-card winners — clubs that failed to finish first in their divisions. Kenesaw Mountain Landis must be rolling over in his grave.

With so many variables in the October equation, world champions are impossible to predict. Last-minute injuries, red-hot rookies, or even bench-warmers who seize their 15 minutes of fame can change the course of history and often do. In fact, situations change from series to series.

Fans of the New York Mets are encouraged by the depth of their starting rotation, especially after rehabbing starter Zack Wheeler returns in July. But the Chicago Cubs, seeking their first world title since 1908, believe their rotation is just as deep and that the rest of their roster is stronger. As if to prove the point, The North Siders are off to the best start in their history.

In the American League, the resilient Royals hope to reach the World Series for the third straight season.

The Kansas City Royals are after their third straight flag

The Kansas City Royals are after their third straight flag

They lost to the Giants in 2014 but beat the Mets in five games last fall.

Teams with tons of money, including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the American League and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National, will try to buy their way into postseason play. We’ll see what happens when the smoke clears after the July 31 trade deadline.

Suffice to say that the era of “Reign Men” seems over.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Too bad Vin Scully turned down a FOX request to man the mike during the All-Star Game in San Diego next month.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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