The Dreaded ‘D’ Word…

Madison Bumgarner put together a performance last night that might have made Old Hoss Radbourn proud. (p/c: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Blind resume time!

Which one of these teams feels out of place?

Team A – 1,557-935 (.625) over 16 seasons, 9 WS titles, 14 pennants, 14 playoff trips
Team B – 799-427 (.651) over 8 seasons, 6 WS titles, 7 pennants, 7 playoff trips
Team C – 786-506 (.608) over 8 seasons, 4 WS titles, 6 pennants, 8 playoff trips
Team D – 632-406 (.609) over 7 seasons, 4 WS titles, 4 pennants, 4 playoff trips
Team E – 683-443 (.607) over 7 seasons, 2 WS titles, 4 pennants, 5 playoff trips
Team F – 530-235 (.693) over 5 seasons, 2 WS titles, 4 pennants, 4 playoff trips
Team G – 509-263 (.659) over 5 seasons, 3 WS titles, 4 pennants, 4 playoff trips
Team H – 476-326 (.594) over 5 seasons, 3 WS titles, 3 pennants, 5 playoff trips
Team I – 436-374 (.538) over 5 seasons, 3 WS titles, 3 pennants, 3 playoff trips
Team J – 389-217 (.642) over 4 seasons, 3 WS titles, 3 pennants, 3 playoff trips
Team K – 313-143 (.686) over 3 seasons, 2 WS titles, 3 pennants, 3 playoff trips

If you chose Team I, then you would be correct.

The group above is a list of MLB teams that are considered dynasties by the majority of experts. Each has their redeeming qualities, from stacked lineups to impossible-to-hit pitching staffs.

Now to reveal the teams from above:

Team A – 1949-64 New York Yankees
Team B – 1936-43 New York Yankees
Team C – 1996-03 New York Yankees
Team D – 1912-18 Boston Red Sox
Team E – 1970-76 Cincinnati Reds
Team F – 1906-10 Chicago Cubs
Team G – 1942-46 St. Louis Cardinals
Team H – 1971-75 Oakland Athletics
Team I – 2010-14 San Francisco Giants
Team J – 1910-13 Philadelphia Athletics
Team K – 1929-31 Philadelphia Athletics

The term dynasty in sport terms means a team that dominates its game or league for an extraordinary length of time. This rings true for every team in this study besides one – last night’s victor, the San Francisco Giants.

Yes, the Giants have won three titles in five seasons – an impressive feat, certainly. But have they been dominant? Hardly.

As the research showed above, their winning percentage of .538 during this stretch is by far the worst among the accepted baseball dynasties. Other than the 1912-18 Boston Red Sox and 1910-13 Philadelphia Athletics, the Giants are the only franchise in this list to only make the postseason on the years that they’ve won a title. In one of those playoff-less seasons (2013), San Francisco went 76-86 – one of two sub-.500 records among these teams. (The 1971 Cincinnati Reds went 79-83 after winning a National League pennant, then proceeded to average 100.4 wins in the remaining years of their stretch.)

The Giants’ winning percentage of .543 this season is the fourth-worst among World Series champions, “trailing” only the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (.516), 1987 Minnesota Twins (.525), and 2000 New York Yankees (.540). If we were still under the “old” postseason format (one wild card instead of two), San Francisco would have missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

While the numbers posted below are not perfect, they also show a lack of dominance from the Giants during this five-year stretch:

2010: 9th in NL offensive R/G (4.30), 6th in NL wRC+ (98), 2nd in NL pitching R/G (3.60), 3rd in NL FIP (3.74)
2011: 16th in NL offensive R/G (3.52), 12th in NL wRC+ (88), 2nd in NL pitching R/G (3.57), 2nd in NL FIP (3.33)
2012: 6th in NL offensive R/G (4.43), 3rd in NL wRC+ (101), 6th in NL pitching R/G (4.01), 7th in NL FIP (3.78)
2013: 10th in NL offensive R/G (3.88), 4th in NL wRC+ (100), 11th in pitching R/G (4.27), 8th in NL FIP (3.80)
2014: 5th in NL offensive R/G (4.10), 3rd in NL wRC+ (101), 6th in NL pitching R/G (3.79), 7th in NL FIP (3.58)

In addition, the postseason is practically a coin-flip nowadays. Since 2000, the top seed in either the AL or NL has made the World Series just six times, or 20 percent of the time. For the AL, the first and third seed, as well as the Wild Card winner, has advanced to the Fall Classic four times each. In the NL, the Wild Card team has played for the championship in seven of the last 15 seasons.

Even though circumstances are different and there’s more parity in the game today, it’s unfair to the baseball dynasties of the past to place the 2010-14 San Francisco Giants right beside them.

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