Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Silly World Series

The World Series starts today. It's something of a difficult time for me as a Cubs fan, especially when it's in town, like it is this year with the Giants playing in their third World Series in ten years. That wasn't always the case. When the Giants played in 2002, I was able to enjoy it. At the time I had no realistic expectations that the Cubs would ever play in one, and I'd never been in a city to host a World Series game before. It was fun. Then 2003 happened, when the Cubs came 5 outs away from the National League Pennant only to blow it. Then they had two solid teams in 2007 and 2008, had the best record in the League in 2008, and got swept out of the Division Series both years by the Dodgers. I just can't enjoy the World Series after that. The Cubs got too close. I probably could if the A's went, being my adopted American League rooting interest, but I just can't get into the Giants. I guess I never forgave them for 1989.

For those who don't know, the Cubs haven't won a World Series in 104 years, and haven't played in one 67 years, both are by far the longest streaks.Other teams have had similar droughts. Before 1980, Phillies fans had never known a World Series Championship. The Red Sox and White Sox ended 80+ year championship droughts in 2004 and 2005 respectively. But all those droughts ended, while the Cubs' still endures.

Still I got to thinking, it's not like I've been alive for all of those 104 years or even all of those 67 years. Effectively, it's just been a 38 year drought for me. I wondered how many other teams haven't played in or won a World Series in that time. Unlike most of you who would have to run to Wikipedia to look that information up, I actually know from memory every team that's won and lost a World Series since 1972, so I could just think on it for a bit.

There are 30 teams. When I was born there were only 26. In my lifetime, 27 different teams have played in the World Series. That's right, more teams have played in the World Series than there were teams when I was born, and the Cubs still haven't made it. I only had a 1 in 10 chance of becoming a fan of a team who wouldn't play in a World Series before I would turn 39, but I defied the odds.

The other two to miss are the Seattle Mariners and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, neither of which have ever played in a World Series in franchise history. To be fair, the Mariners didn't exist until 1977, so they're only working on a 36 year span of futility. The Nationals didn't move to D.C. until 2005, so unless there are a lot of Nats fans who lived and died by the Expos, they can't really feel my pain. Sure, as a city, Washington hasn't hosted a World Series game since 1933 or ever won a title, but they also didn't have a team for over 30 years in that span. I suppose you could argue which is worse.

Of the 30 teams, 20 have won a World Series in my lifetime. The 7 who have played and not won are the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, and Milwaukee Brewers. With the exception of Cleveland, none of those teams existed the last time the Cubs played in a Worlds Series in 1945. Cleveland, incidentally, has the next longest active title drought at 64 years, but even they've won a World Series since the Cubs last even played in one.

All that is to say... this sucks.

World Series appearances and wins (in bold) since 1974:

New York Yankees: 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009
St. Louis Cardinals: 1982, 1985, 1987, 2004, 2006, 2011
Philadelphia Phillies: 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008, 2009
Los Angeles Dodgers: 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988
Atlanta Braves: 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999
Boston Red Sox: 1975, 1986, 20042007
Oakland A's: 1974, 1988, 1989, 1990
San Francisco Giants: 1989, 2002, 2010, 2012 (outcome undetermined)
Cincinnati Reds: 1975, 1976, 1990
Detroit Tigers: 1984, 2006, 2012 (outcome undetermined)
Miami Marlins: 19972003
Toronto Blue Jays: 1992, 1993
Minnesota Twins: 1987, 1991
New York Mets: 1986, 2000
Kansas City Royals: 1980, 1985
Baltimore Orioles: 1979, 1983
Texas Rangers: 2010, 2011
San Diego Padres: 1984, 2000
Cleveland Indians: 1995, 1997
Chicago White Sox: 2005
Los Angeles Angels: 2002
Arizona Diamondbacks: 2001
Pittsburgh Pirates: 1979
Tampa Bay Rays: 2008
Colorado Rockies: 2007
Houston Astros: 2005
Milwaukee Brewers: 1982

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